The ELCG is twinned with the Eastern Synod under the Companion Synod Program. The Eastern Synod Bishop Michael Pryse (bottom right) made his third trip to Guyana in May 2005.
The ELCG headquarters are in the city of New Amsterdam and the President is Rev Roy Thakurdyal.
Many Lutheran pastors emigrated from Guyana in the past and are now in the United States and Canada. Presently, there are only 8 ELCG pastors to serve 48 congregations in 14 multi-point parishes. There are about 11,000 members. (Also in photo: Rev Guenther Dahle, Eastern Synod Assistant to the Bishop, 3rd from left, and Rev Paul Johnson, ELCIC Assistant to the Bishop, far right)
To help address this shortage of pastors, the ELCG submitted a request to the ELCIC Volunteers in Mission program, known as VIM, for a pastor to go to Guyana and serve in Georgetown.
Rev Barry and Alice Lang responded to this request. They served the Redeemer Parish in Georgetown as Volunteers in Mission from August 2002 to July 2004. After serving as Long-term Missionaries for more than 40 years in three countries, the Langs returned to Guyana, the location of their first posting.
As the Lang's placement ended, the ELCG renewed their request to the VIM program. Rev Jack and Valerie Frederick responded and arrived in Georgetown in July 2004. The Fredericks appreciated the ministry at the Redeemer Parish which includes a food for the poor program and a large confirmation class and youth group.
Heavy rains began right after Christmas 2004 and more than a metre of rain fell in a month. The worst rains in Guyana in more than a hundred years resulted in extensive flooding in the country. Jack Frederick was able to maintain his sense of humour – the sign says "Do not park on the grass".
The main floor of the parsonage and the church were flooded. The Fredericks along with a guest from the Wartburg Seminary in the United States (centre) managed okay by retreating to the second story. Many people in the villages around Georgetown were less fortunate – the water was waist deep and there was no place to go. Fifteen people died from an intestinal disease. GHDA sent $5,000 to assist the ELCG with their relief efforts.
In addition to Redeemer, the Fredericks worked with the Ascension Parish where Jack served as interim pastor. This three-point parish includes two churches in Georgetown and one at Sand Hills on the Demerara River. The Fredericks concluded their service in Guyana and returned to Canada on June 7, 2005.
The dedication service for the Lutheran Lay Academy took place on May 1, 2005 at the beginning of the ELCG's 62nd Annual Convention. The Lay Academy is being developed by the ELCG to help address its shortage of trained leaders. Mission in the World was able to direct $5,000 for the Lay Academy in March 2005, made possible by GHDA and the CLWR priority partnership grant program.