Rev Steven Lawrence was consecrated as the fifth Bishop of the Evangelical Lutheran Church in Malaysia (ELCM), a partner church of the LCA/NZ, on 4 July.
Due to the COVID-19 pandemic, the service of consecration was re-designed, as the church sought to meet the new requirement of local authorities. The congregation attending Zion Cathedral in downtown Kuala Lumpur was reduced to less than a third of capacity and congregants were physically distanced from each other. Presiding officials wore masks and gloves, together with their usual liturgical vestments, and most attendees joined the ceremony via live-stream broadcast.
Pastor Matt Anker, the LCA/NZ’s Assistant to the Bishop – International Mission was among the virtual congregation.
‘While it was disappointing not to be present with our dear brothers and sisters, it was a joy to participate from a distance, knowing that the Holy Spirit was working to equip Bishop Steven for the tasks of office’, Pastor Matt said.
‘In a message to me later that night Bishop Steven expressed his deep appreciation for our “virtual participation” in this milestone for his church, and humbly asked for the prayers of the people of the LCA as he takes up an incredibly challenging vocation.’
Elected as bishop on 9 November 2019, Bishop Steven was ordained as a pastor of the ELCM on 31 October 2006. From 2014 to 2017, he served as the Lutheran World Federation (LWF) Regional Officer and was responsible for implementing the program of the LWF Area Secretary for Asia, supporting partner churches, hosting conferences and providing opportunities for mutual support and networking.