The Magazine of The Evangelical Lutheran Church in America


Suriname: 'We work together'

Today's Lutherans contribute to multifaith, multiethnic respect

On a busy weekday in Paramaribo, Suriname, an Amerindian couple walks past Maarten Luther Kerk (Martin Luther Church). A man with dreadlocks holds a birdcage to his chest. A blonde woman pedals by on a bicycle. Two matrons in saris enter the Chinese grocery store across the street.

Diego Stoutenburg and Danielle Dokman
Diego Stoutenburg and Danielle Dokman participate in a Lutheran youth training event in Suriname.

In Suriname, people who trace their roots to Ghana, Indonesia, India, China, Brazil and the Netherlands live, work and worship side by side. Hindu temples stand cheek to jowl with Moravian churches. "We are brothers, no problem," said the imam of the Keizerstraat Mosque, nodding toward the Neve Shalom synagogue next door.

It's an achievement for a South American country—and Lutheran church body—whose independence was crafted from years of colonialism, slavery and oppression.

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