- Lutheran churches continue to see their highest growth rates in Africa. In Tanzania, 670,000 new members to the church were registered in 2009, making the Tanzanian Lutheran Church the second largest world-wide.
According to statistics revealed by the Lutheran World Federation (LWF) today, the Christian society continues to grow fastest in Africa and Asia, while it is declining in the Americas. The total number of members in churches belonging to the LWF last year rose by 1,589,225 to just over 70 million.
Most of this growth is confined to sub-Saharan Africa. "Membership in churches belonging to the LWF in Africa over the past year rose by 1,233,413 or 7.1 percent to a total of 18,520,690" according to these new statistics.
The Evangelical Lutheran Church in Tanzania is now the largest LWF member church on the continent, with an increase of around 670,247 members (14.5 percent) recorded last year. This brings the current total to 5,302,727. The Lutheran Church in Tanzania thus becomes the second largest Lutheran church in the world after Church of Sweden, which has 6.75 million members.
The second largest LWF member church in Africa is the Ethiopian Evangelical Church Mekane Yesus. The membership of the Ethiopian church community increased by 267,336 or 5.3 percent to 5,279,822, also making it the third largest Lutheran church world-wide.
With its unchanged membership of around 3 million people, the Malagasy Lutheran Church remains the third largest LWF member church in Africa.
The fourth largest Lutheran church in Africa, the Lutheran Church of Christ in Nigeria, drew 154,950 new members, representing a growth of 8.9 percent for a total of 1.9 million. The other Lutheran church in the country, the Lutheran Church of Nigeria, reported 150,000 members, an increase of 15,000 or 11.1 percent.
Other LWF member churches reporting substantial increases included the Evangelical Lutheran Church in Mozambique - up by 6,124 or 94.5 percent to 12,606 total - , the Evangelical Lutheran Church of Angola - up by 11,000 or around 38 percent to 40,000 - and the Evangelical Lutheran Church in the Republic of Namibia, which added 70,000 new members for a present total of 420,000, an increase of 20 percent.
The highest percentage increase among non-LWF Lutheran churches in Africa was reported by the Church of the Lutheran Brethren of Chad, up by 92,379 or approximately 434 percent, to a total of 113,684. The membership of non-LWF Lutheran churches on the continent was 196,989, an increase of around 142,774.
The Lutheran church has its historic stronghold in Northern Europe, mainly Germany and Scandinavia, where it is dominant since the 16th century.
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