serving together

Kenya: National Deaconess Association of ELCK

A brief history of the ELCK
The Evangelical Lutheran Church in Kenya (ELCK) is the church that was born out of the work of the Swedish Lutheran Mission in 1948 under the name Swedish Lutheran Mission (SLM). In 1963, the name of the Church was changed and registered as the Lutheran Church of Kenya (LCK).In 1973, the name of the Church was changed to ELCK with three districts, namely North Kisii, South Kisii and Nyanza. In 1996, the Church adopted the Episcopal polity of the Church and the first Bishop of the ELCK was elected. In 2002, the church was restructured into Dioceses, forming the Central, Lake, South-West and North-West Dioceses. The first Archbishop of the ELCK was elected the same year under the title, Presiding Bishop and each Diocese elected a Diocesan Bishop.

(from WCC website) The Kenya Evangelical Lutheran Church was formerly known as the Kenya Synod of the Evangelical Lutheran Church in Tanzania. The church owes its origins to the work that German and Swedish Lutheran missionaries started prior to the first world war, in the former German colony of Tanganyika. They left the area in the early 1940s. Lutheran services were established in 1965 in Nairobi and Mombasa at the request of Tanzanian members of the ELCT working in Kenya. The ELCT-Kenya synod was officially registered in Kenya in 1968. The work expanded over a much wider area and steps were taken to become autonomous. In 1989 the Kenya synod was given permission to register as an independent entity. It was officially inaugurated as the Kenya Evangelical Lutheran Church (KELC) in 1992. The church currently has nine mission areas in Kenya. In addition to the pastors, evangelists and deacons, it employs ten parish workers. It is in partnership with the Evangelical Lutheran Church in America, the Evangelical Lutheran Church in Bavaria and the Evangelical Lutheran Church in North Elbia (both in Germany), and with the ELCT.

30.000 members in the ELCK.

Key people
Deaconess Mary Okeyo
was an outstanding deaconess in Kenya. Here’s a link that speaks about her life and witness, and her untimely and sudden death in 2012.

Deaconess Eunita Odongo, from Kadongo, Kenya, is a deaconess in the ELCK (Evangelical Lutheran Church of Kenya). In her position, she works closely with Project 24 which was spearheaded from North Dakota (USA) some years ago and whose goal it is to build six Orphan Rescue Centers in each of Kenya’s four dioceses for a total of 24. Eunita also works with the 1001 Orphans Program, a partnership between the Lutheran Church Missouri Synod’s World Relief and Human Care and the Evangelical Lutheran Church in Kenya, to connect Kenyan orphans with Christian families. In 2011, Eunita studied Sustainable International Development at Brandeis University in Boston.


Facebook page here.

Information to be collected includes (but is not limited to) the following questions.


A brief history (may include links to documents and websites) – how did it all get started? What are the key dates and events? Are there documents that are part of the history (please specify)?


Diaconal ministry agents: consecretrated/commissioned/ordained/other?

Title: Sister, Deaconess, Deacon, Rev, etc


Historical information and dates re formation/recognition of diaconal ministry agents in the denomination/church agency.


Does the diaconal ministry agent wear a distinctive uniform? Are diaconal ministry agents able to be married? Are they remunerated? Do they live in community (eg motherhouse) or independently? Etc.


What kind of training/formation do diaconal ministry agents receive before formal recognition in their church. Are there expectations of ongoing training, or professional development? If yes, what is expected and how often does it happen?


How many diaconal ministry agents are there currently in the denomination or church agency? Any comment on trends in numbers?


Are there key people (historical or current) in the organization who have provided significant leadership. Any weblinks to their story, or a short write up?


Who are the current leaders in the diaconal association? (photos, ‘blurb’).


Relationship of diaconal ministry agents to a denomination/church agency


An overview of main responsibilities for diaconal ministry agents (past and present). Are they located within a church, a particular facility or agency, or community based? Are diaconal ministry agents appointed to individual placements or work together on projects or in institutions?


Are diaconal ministry agents able to preside at sacraments (communion, baptism, weddings etc)?


Who makes the appointments for diaconal ministry agents eg they apply for positions, they are appointed (eg by a Bishop, by the conference office, or another body/committee).


Is there a length of time for appointments (eg usually less than 5 years, usually between 5 and 10 years, at the discretion of the diaconal ministry agent or at the discretion of the appointing body), appointed to and remain with a particular mother house, etc.


Do diaconal ministry agents organize conferences, seminars, gatherings for professional development, pastoral peer support etc? How often and what is the nature of these events?


Key issues and challenges in the contemporary ministry context


Do the diaconal ministry agents have ‘code of conduct’ or ‘code of ethics’ that inform ethical and behavioral expectations for ministry?


Key documents (historical, vision and mission etc) – links or PDF or Word files




Links to relevant articles, websites etc


Other areas of interest……


(information to Rev Sandy Boyce, President, DIAKONIA World Federation,, to upload to this website)