The Lao Samphan Methodist Church Pastors
by B. and E. Barte
Bishop Rev. Bruce Ough Blesses 39 LSMC Certified Pastors.
In September 2011, the second annual meeting of the Lao Samphan Methodist Church (LSMC) of the South East Asia Mission Initiative--which includes Laos, Thailand, and Vietnam--was held. Rev. Bruce Ough, presiding bishop of the West Ohio Conference and president of the General Board of Global Ministries of The United Methodist Church, recognized and blessed 39 certified pastors of the LSMC.
These church leaders are working on their lay pastor course of studies (LPCOS). Their goal is to become mission pastors and ordained clergy of The United Methodist Church, fulfilling guidelines from the South East Asia Licensing Pastors Committee (based on The Book of Discipline and/or directives from the relevant body of The United Methodist Church) toward a self-led, self-governed, and self-sustained Methodist Church in Laos.
In attendance were Rev. John Nuessle, associate general secretary of the General Board of Global Ministries; Rev. Joyce Frye, the administrative assistant to the bishop; and guests from a covenant church of LSMC, Linworth United Methodist Church in West Ohio, which included Joel and Beth Rabb, family members of the late Rev. Clint Rabb. Among the LSMC delegates were two Global Ministries mission personnel and 43 Lao Methodists.
The annual meeting opened with the celebration of Holy Communion. Then various ministries of LSMC were celebrated, and the meeting closed with the commitment of faithful church leaders--both lay and certified pastors present, as well as all their coworkers and congregations--to the worldwide ministry of the church in Laos. As Christianity in Laos is still restricted, to be a Christian leader requires full submission, self-sacrifice, and courage, and so the meeting affirmed God's call, "Here I am, Lord...send me."
Currently, there are 65 local congregations of the Lao Samphan Methodist Church, (samphan means united). Among the 72 church leaders, 39 are certified pastors and 33 are leaders of congregations and candidates for certification. There are 5,048 listed members of the church.
In March 2011, four Lao finished their Diploma in Theology in Phayao Bible Seminary. This school year, three are working on their final Bachelor in Theology and two are in their third year and one in the first year for a Diploma in Theology.
To sponsor the LSMC Pastors' Supplement Salary, you can send any amount to Laos Mission Initiative, Advance #14927A and specify donation as "LSMC Pastors' Support." Or you can be in partnership with one congregation at $100.00 per month or more (which includes pastor's supplement support) and designate it "Church Partnership Support." Specify church name if already identified upon consultation with the Lao Mission leadership. Visit the Global Ministries website and go to the Advance Giving page.
Date posted: Oct 12, 2011