TRULY INTERNATIONAL — FIRST BJS/SKL SEMINARS ABROAD
The international character of BJS/SKL (Brothes of John the Steadfast/Sisters of Katie Luther) has been evident from the beginning with current membership representing at least three countries beyond the US borders — Canada, Finland and Kenya. Now we have an opportunity to increase our international vision — afterall, promoting and equipping Lutheran laity as defenders of the faith is a global need. Associate Director Suzanne Zobel is invited to Kenya for seminars among the Meru and Maasai Lutheran congregations — specifically working with women and youth on Luther’s Small Catechism. Additional sharing of the historic examples of Lutheran lay defenders of the faith reflects what we are also striving for through our US regional seminars that are now in the works. A special project with the Somali Lutheran women is on the agenda (more to be described on Suzanne’s return for security reasons). While in Kenya, Suzanne will meet with Rev. James May (Lutherans in Africa) and Bishop Kaliisa of the Lutheran Church in Rwanda to discuss future opportunities for cooperative efforts by BJS/SKL in Africa.
Education, especially theological, is a great need throughout Africa as it is here in the US. While efforts are made by others to provide this education for pastors and church leaders (among them the strong work of Luther Academy), in most places little or no emphasis is given to the laity. Pastors serve multiple congregations and have limits on their time and ability to provide this education, so we have a tremendous opportunity to support and encourage our Lutheran brothers and sisters who desire to grow in knowledge of the faith and to be equipped to defend it against the challenges to the Church in their places.
The current opportunities result from Suzanne’s previous 16 years of work and contacts in Africa and from BJS/SKL desire to carry out their goals of encouraging and equipping laity, not just in the US, but wherever the Lutheran Church is (and needs to be) — “Defenders Without Borders?” We also want to provide our members and chapters the opportunity to support and, a feasible, participate in future work. Consider a US chapter with a sister/brother chapter in Kenya, Zambia, Sudan or Finland.
If you would like to support this initial step forward for BJS/SKL, your financial contributions may be sent through PayPal or to Steadfast Lutherans, P.O. Box 380616, Clinton Township, MI 48038. Suzanne’s trip is receiving some excellent financial support from generous donors but we would appreciate each of our readers to consider a gift to help support this international reach of BJS/SKL.
Suzanne E. Zobel