CLIHM Educator Handbook: Introduction

Brief Historical Background

Concordia Lutheran Institute for Holy Ministry (CLIHM) is a theological institute of the Evangelical Lutheran Church of South Sudan/Sudan (ELCSS/S). Its roots go back to Khartoum, Sudan toward the very beginning of the 21st Century, 2001. A class of 10 candidates graduated and were ordained into the Lutheran ministry of the ELCSS/S. Due to political unrest and internal problems the seminary discontinued its service for several years. The young, aggressive ELCSS/S created a seminary to train and equip men and women for doing professional church work in the capital city, Khartoum. Desperately needed were Lutheran pastors and deaconesses for the work and ministry of the church. In 2008, CLIHM was moved to its current location in Yambio, a major town in Western Equatoria State of South Sudan. The late Rev. Jephthah Dachi, a missionary educator from Kenya, served as its first principal under the auspices of the Lutheran Heritage Foundation (LHF).

CLIHM’s curriculum comprises four major branches of theological studies: Exegetical, Systematics, Practical, and Historical (all courses taught are found in the CLIHM COURSE DESCRIPTION MANUAL). The seminary awards a diploma in theology to students who successfully complete the pastoral training program. CLIHM has thus far graduated four, four-year classes of candidates for the Lutheran Holy Ministry. Currently, there are 70 ordained pastors and evangelists serving the more than 150,000 baptized members in South Sudan and the neighboring countries.

For 30 years, the Lutheran Heritage Foundation supported the seminary program with a goal of not only raising pastors, but also nurturing the knowledge and skills of translating Lutheran books into the more than 60 languages in South Sudan and Sudan. On September 18, 2022, the LCMS received the ELCSS/S into Altar and Pulpit Fellowship at the International Lutheran Council (ILC) held in Kisumu, Kenya.

There would not be an ELCSS/S if Rev. Dr. Robert Rahn had not shared his vision with LCMS saints. As LHF observes 30 years of printing good Lutheran books, we thank God for Rev. Dr. Rahn’s tireless service and love which has been captured by the words of the founding Bishop of the ELCSS/S, Rev. Andrew Mbugo Elisa: “The ELCS [ELCSS/S] will never forget to remember in our prayers the services and support given to a young church like ours by LHF. . . we accord a special word of thanks to Rev. Dr. Robert Rahn, who has been a true Christian brother, father, pastor and believer to the Sudanese people. May God grant him wisdom and good health.”[1]

The faithfulness of the visiting instructors has been a blessing for the young ELCSS/S. Visiting instructors provide for their own air tickets, health care needs and visa fees to travel to South Sudan. They prepare an academic course in the form of a syllabus for two weeks or more of educating and equipping CLIHM’s students. Visiting instructors who have earned advanced degrees help to raise the seminary’s academic insights. Hopefully, CLIHM will one day offer a Bachelor of Theology degree to CLIHM’s graduates. The present class of 2022 will graduate in 2025. The Lutheran Heritage Foundation and the ELCSS/S invite you to consider volunteering for a life changing experience of serving in South Sudan.

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