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April 30, 2012

D. Jensen Seyenkulo, churchwide staff, elected bishop, Lutheran Church in Liberia

D. Jensen Seyenkulo, ELCA program director for disability ministries and support of rostered leaders in Congregational and Synodical Mission, was elected bishop of the Lutheran Church in Liberia April 28. Seyenkulo won 59.62 percent of the vote on the first ballot. His installation will take place Sunday, July 1, at St. Peter's Lutheran Church, Monrovia, Liberia.

Seyenkulo, a pastor of the Lutheran Church in Liberia, and Dick Thompson, a Lutheran Church–Missouri Synod pastor, founded the Kuwaa Mission. A venture of ELCA and LCMS congregations and the Liberian church, the mission provides wells and clean water for the Kuwaa area of Liberia.

"I think the Lutheran Church in Liberia has a lot of potential," Seyenkulo told those gathered for the church's convention. "Our future is bright because of the wealth of young people we have who are so strongly committed to the ministry. ... We have a lot to offer for the building of our own faith and the faith of those who yet do not know our Lord Jesus Christ. There is joy in Christ! You sense that joy when our traditional people sing."

Jensen Seyenkulo
Jensen Seyenkulo teaches a course at the Lutheran School of Theology at Chicago.

Seyenkulo has worked at the ELCA churchwide offices since 2005. Previously he served the ELCA as pastor of St. Mark Lutheran Church, Chicago, and as an interim at several Chicago-area congregations, including Bethany, Lemont, Ill. His calls in Liberia include pastor of Bong Mine Parish (1982-1984) and the Gbarnga Parish (1987-1991). He was also an instructor at the Gbarnga School of Theology (1987-1991).

Seyenkulo earned a master's of theology degree from Luther Seminary, St. Paul, Minn., in 1987. He earned another master's of theology in 1995 and a doctorate from the Lutheran School of Theology at Chicago in 1999. His bachelor of divinity degree came from the Gbarnga School of Theology. While at that seminary, Seyenkulo was chosen by the Lutheran World Federation to spend one year representing the continent of Africa at the Lutheran seminary in São Leopoldo, Brazil.

Seyenkulo currently serves on the candidacy committee of the Metropolitan Chicago Synod and on the board of Currents, a theological journal published by LSTC in cooperation with Wartburg Theological Seminary, Dubuque, Iowa, and Pacific Lutheran Theological Seminary, Berkeley, Calif. He has taught in both the synod's Diakonia program and the ELCA's Theological Education for Emerging Ministries program.

Seyenkulo and his wife, Linda Johnson Seyenkulo, co-wrote the 2010-11 Lutheran Woman Today (now Gather) Bible study, "Unity in the Midst of Diversity." An ELCA pastor, she serves Trinity Lutheran Church, Park Forest, Ill. 

Trinity Lutheran Church, friends and well-wishers will hold a service of celebration Saturday, June 9 at 1 p.m.

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