Establishment of Trinity Lutheran Seminary

African continent and South Sudan

Last summer, the Lutheran Church of South Sudan (LCSS) undertook the huge task of establishing a seminary in Gamela. The establishment of the seminary there is due to the ongoing crisis in South Sudan, and the region hosts hundreds of thousands of our refugees.

Before the war, the LCSS worked with regional and international partners to establish the seminary in Malakal, South Sudan. However, the war forced a change in location and LCSS changed the name of the institution from the LCSS Theological Seminary to Trinity Lutheran Seminary. The change of name helps avoid complications with operating an institution in a foreign territory. Trinity Lutheran Seminary is at its final stage of registration with the Ethiopian government, which will grant TLS a license and a permission to operate and provide theological training to the refugees in Ethiopia.

Trinity Lutheran Seminary has a five member Board of Directors headed by the President of the LCSS, and a committee for curriculum, a Candidacy Committee and thee person Food Committee. The Curriculum Setting Committee is comprised of two representatives from the Lutheran Church of South Sudan, two representatives from the Mekane Yesus Seminary, one representative from Western Gambella Bethel Synod of the EECMY and one from the Accrediting Council for Theological Education in Africa (ACTEA). The ACTEA provides general guidance for establishing and operating a theological education in Africa and continue to provide onsite quality assurance to the institutions. The ACTEA recommends a library of about 10,000 copies for the theological education. The library could either carry hard or soft (e-library) copies or both.

We are grateful for the partnership between the LCSS and the Institute of Lutheran Theology (ILT), which will give us help with technology, equipment, curriculum, books and the use of an e-library.

Facility for Trinity Lutheran Seminary

TLS operates and offers classes at a nearby high school. The Ethiopian public school system offers classes only in the morning, which allows the TLS to offer classes in the afternoon and on Saturdays. The seminary rents a space to accommodate housing, office space, and food preparation and the dining for the students.

Faculty and Staff

The Trinity Lutheran Seminary has recruited three Faculty members, a Dean, Administrative Assistance (also a bookkeeper), Security Guard, housekeeper and three cooks. The Dean takes charge of the administrative oversight and teaches along with four other faculty. The qualification of the faculty meets recommendations by the Accrediting Council for Theological Education in Africa.

Rev. Eric Swensson

from: Rev. Eric Jonas Swensson


The LCSS’ Board of Directors approved twelve students for theological education this year. Two of the students were approved for Bachelor of Theology and the other ten for Certificate and Diploma in Theology. The Trinity Lutheran Seminary offers only Certificate and Diploma (equivalent to Associate Degree) in Theology in 2014/2015 academic year. This decision was made based on the capacity of the institution and the resources available. The LCSS placed the two Bachelor of Theology students, James Tor Chol and Augustine Ladu Martin, at Hosanna and Mekane Yesus Seminaries respectively. Hosanna Seminary is a Mekane Yesus’ Synodical seminary just outside Addis Ababa. Augustine is a candidate for ordained ministry from the Greater Equatorial District while James, also a candidate for ordained ministry, hails from the Greater Upper Nile District.

Clearly funds are necessary to build a school, both to have a facility and to pay salaries to teachers and staff. It should also be plainly clear the majority of these funds will come from our friends in the United States. The people of South Sudan have a special relationship with Americans. Of course, we also wish to be in touch with Christians everywhere who desire to spread the Good News of Jesus Christ.

We believe this is a wonderful opportunity for mission. We have this chance to feed people the Word of God. There is a famine in South Sudan, but through this work it will not include the Gospel.

Send your love offerings to Zion Lutheran Church, Des Moines, Iowa. Rev. John Kline can answer any questions.

To support the mission of the LCSS, please contact:

Rev. John Kline
Zion Lutheran Church
4300 Beaver Ave.
DesMoines, Iowa 50310
Phone: (515) 270.8142