GENESIS OF MELPA LUTHERAN CHURCH IN PNG
The Evangelical Lutheran church’s history in the country took a new turn over the weekend when discontented members broke away and formed a new church in the Western Highlands Province. Melpa Lutheran church, launched on Sunday at Dobel, Mount Hagen, would now make its own ecumenical, political and social decisions, and not be a member of ELC’s council or attend its synods, a spokesman said.
Pastor Honi Pangun said: “MLC was formed because the Evangelical Lutheran church’s headquarters did not recognise and support our circuit financially or provide church services over the past 15 years. “It’s not us who are leaving ELC, it is ELC that is leaving us.”
ELC’s national Bishop Dr Wesley Kigasung on Friday told the Melpa council not to launch their new church, but MLC members said they had registered with the Government and that they were no longer under the hierarchy of the ELC-PNG. It is believed Melpa Lutheran church will build its own headquarters in Mount Hagen. The launching ceremony was attended by 10,000 people.
MLC is the third Lutheran church in the country. The other two are the Evangelical Lutheran-PNG and Gutnius Lutheran Church in Enga Province.