UEM News


On the 100th anniversary of the death of Ludwig Ingwer Nommensen

At the memorial service for Ludwig Ingwer Nommensen. (Photo: Homar Distajo/UEM Asia)

The UEM, together with its member church HKBP, held a seminar day and a solemn service to commemorate the German missionary Ludwig Ingwer Nommensen, who died 100 years ago. A one-day workshop was held at the HKBP College of Biblical Women in Laguboti on May 22 with around 100 participants. On the podium were Pastor Dr J.R. Hutauruk (former Ephorus of the HKBP and former vice-moderator of the UEM), pastor Dr Uwe Hummel (lecturer at the church academy of the GKE in Banjarmasin), Reverend Rosmalia Barus (Director of the diaconic department of the GBKP and vice moderator of UEM), pastor Dr Tuhoni Telaumbanua (Ephorus of the BNKP) and Rev. Dr Martongo Sitinjak (head of the koinonia department of the HBKP). In the opening service, Rev. Willem Simarmata, Moderator of the UEM, called on member churches to reflect on the patient and self-sacrificing spirit of the mission, Nommensen encountered during his work in the name of the Holy Spirit, and in spite of the challenges and difficulties in the Batak country.

Dr Darwin Lumbantobing, Ephorus of the HKBP, expressed his happiness about this event. He emphasized how important Nommensen was to the emergence of the churches in the land of the Batak. Nevertheless, the concept of mission must always be viewed historically critically and evaluated in the respective context and current era and filled with life. Pastor Rosmalia Barus spoke of a diaconal approach to mission that is transformative and reformative. The church should be an instrument of God to liberate people from poverty, oppression and injustice. Dr Telaumbanua critically compared the educational institutions of today's Protestant churches with the way missionaries of that time worked. "The churches must work for the formation of the people of God. This is the legacy of the missionaries to the churches, "said Telaumbanua, while Dr JR Hutauruk encouraged the member churches of the UEM to continue to be the salt and the light of the earth for the people of Indonesia currently facing the problem of increasing extremism and the practice of violence in the name of religion. Dr Uwe Hummel called for empowering the people of Indonesia in the spirit of Christ, Dr Martongo Sitinjak recalled how important it was for the missionaries to invoke the Bible. That is why Nommensen translated the bible into the Batak language, and Dr Andar Parlindungan said on behalf of the UEM: "Taking Nommensen as an example, we are invited to work together and hand in hand in the worldwide ecumenism five pillars of UEM for the people: Evangelization, Development, Advocacy, Diakonia and Partnership. "The workshop was attended by Christians from North Sumatra and Java The GKE church in Kalimantan, which has applied for membership of the UEM, was represented by three participants.

3000 visitors attended the memorial service on May 23, which was organized by the HKBP and UEM. The service began with a wreath-laying ceremony and a time of contemplation at the grave of Nommensen in Sigumpar. During the service, candles were lit to commemorate all other missionaries who died in Indonesia.

Rev. Dr Andar Parlindungan (head of the UEM Department "Training & Empowerment")

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