Teaming up for ministry education

My name is Emmanuel Som Yalamu. I am an ordained pastor of the Evangelical Lutheran Church of Papua New Guinea (ELC–PNG). I am originally from Siassi District, one of the 17 districts of ELC–PNG. I am married to Linda and we are blessed with three children, Samarita, 12, Petryn, 8, and Roland Dean, 1.

I currently serve as a New Testament lecturer at Martin Luther Seminary (MLS) in Lae, PNG, a position I hold after graduating from the University of Divinity with a Master of Theology degree in March 2015. Since June 2018, I have been studying on another scholarship from two LCA congregations and LCA International Mission for a PhD.

Since the establishment of ELC–PNG in 1977, only five pastors have completed a doctorate, of which two have passed away, the late Rev Dr Kigasung, who was awarded a PhD in Historical Theology and the late Rev Dr Kemung, who was a PhD in Missiology. Two further pastors are currently serving the church, Rev Dr Rupulga, who is a Doctor of Ministry in New Testament, and Rev Dr Gwayaweng, who has a PhD in Christian Education. Last month the ELC–PNG Head Bishop, Rev Jack Urame, graduated with a PhD in Social Sciences.

Rev Dr Rupulga is Principal at MLS and Rev Dr Gwayaweng is Head of Practical Theology at Pacific Theological College in Fiji. Of the five doctorate holders, two were sponsored by LCA International Mission – Rev Dr Rupulga and Rev Dr Urame. I am privileged to currently be the third doctorate scholarship holder sponsored by LCA International Mission.

Furthermore, a new partnership has begun between MLS and Australian Lutheran College (ALC). This partnership’s purpose is to work towards developing a Master of Theology coursework program for MLS. The partnership was sparked by a recent visit by ELC–PNG executives to the LCA and ALC in Australia. This started a series of discussions between LCA International Mission/ALC and ELC–PNG Overseas Affairs/MLS, resulting in a return visit by ALC Principal, Rev James Winderlich, and ALC Dean of Studies, Rev Dr Stephen Haar, to MLS last year. This partnership is in its planning and implementation stage.

Since its establishment in 1966, MLS has been offering the Bachelor of Theology as the highest academic degree. The partnership with ALC aims to identify MLS lecturers who already have a Master’s degree in a theological area to go through a Research Methodology course. Those who pass the post-graduate certificate with high achievements may apply for a PhD program at ALC. Currently at MLS, there are no doctorate holders in the areas of Old Testament Studies, Systematic Theology, Historical Theology, and Pastoral Theology. Through this partnership with ALC, MLS will be able to upgrade the qualifications of its lecturers to the stage where offering Master of Theology degree coursework will be plausible.

This story was also published in the April 2019 edition of Border Crossings, the magazine of LCA International Mission.

If you would like to know more about opportunities to personally support a scholarship recipient in your congregation during their stay in Australia, or ways in which you can financially and prayerfully support LCA International Mission’s scholarship program, you are invited to phone Nevin on (08) 8267 7300 or email

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