Church of the Lutheran Confession of India

Go into the highways and hedges, and compel them to come in, that my house may be filled.

History of the CLCI

Rev. V.S.Benjamin had been working with the Andhra Evangelical Lutheran Church since 1953. He left the AELC in 1980 and had been working independently with his Lutheran churches along with his school duties. At that time He was working as a school master.

Initial Contact

Rev. V.S. with John

Rev. V.S. with John

Brother John Rohrbach, a member of Zion, Ipswich, S.D., came to India on a 4H project. While he was in India, he was hospitalized for ten days. At that time Rev. V.S.Benjamin visited him served him along with his pastors. Rev. V.S told him about joining in a new Lutheran church body. Then Bro. John wrote a letter to the CLC Board of Missions (BoM) about this incident. When Bro. John communicated this to his brethren in the Church of the Lutheran Confession in USA, there was joy aplenty, which then led to action. This happend in Dec 10, 1981.

January 1983

With David Schirenbeck

With David Schierenbeck

A visitation team from the CLC, consisted of Bro. John Rohrbach and Pastors David Schierenbeck and David Koenig came to Nidubrolu, Guntur District, Andhra Pradesh State, India. They held doctrinal discussions with Rev. V.S. Benjamin. Then there was a doctrinal agreement the CLC US and Rev. V.S.Benjamin was willing to continue to work with the CLC.  Rev David Schierenbeck as chairman of the BoM submitted the report to the president of the CLC Synod.

April 1983

Based upon doctrinal agreement with the CLC – US, Rev.V.S. Benjamin started the Church of the Lutheran Confession of India (CLCI), and registered it.  Then Rev. V.S. started an orphanage with the great support from CLC Board of Missions under Project Kinship. (Kids In Need – Source of Help for India’s Poor.) Thus the orphanage was established in Nidubrolu. For more details on this orphanage see Social services.

Rev. David - Rev. Norbert

Rev. David – Rev. Norbert

January 1984

From CLC – US, a visitation team came to India, consisting of Pastors Norbert Reim and David Koenig to visit Pastor Benjamin and his people.  As of 1986 the CLCI consisted of 22 pastors and 35 congregations representing about 2,800 souls.

February 1989

Rev. V.S. with Bro. Lee

Rev. V.S. with Bro. Lee

A visitation team of Pastor Norbert Reim and Mr. Lee Krueger (member of the BoM) came to India to visit our CLCI. They recommended that Pastor Benjamin’s son, Jyothi, be brought to the USA for training at ILC to return then to India to assist his father in serving the Lord.

Jyothi with Prof.Lau, ILC President 1990

Jyothi with Prof.Lau, ILC President 1990

In September 1989, Jyothi Benjamin went to US and began his courses at ILC-US and, upon finishing the two year program returned to India in July 1991.

June 1992

Under the supervision of Rev. V.S.Benjamin, the CLCI had improved to over 30 congregations of approximately 5,000 souls. In 25 years of work by Pastor Benjamin, nearly 8,000 souls have been baptized. 35 orphans were being cared in our orphanage at Nidubrolu.

January 1994

A visitation team of Pastors Daniel Fleischer and Mark Bohde came to India to visited some of the CLCI congregations.

Rev. Mark Bhode

Rev. Mark Bhode

July 1997

A visitation consists of seminarian Todd Ohlmann and Pastors Walter Schaller and David Koenig, came to India to visit the CLCI. They recognized the need of training pastors in the CLCI and recommended to the BoM, to start a Seminary in the CLCI. At that time the CLCI was expanding into a new tribal area and doing repeated evangelistic efforts at Kakinada, East Godavari District of Andhra Pradesh.

May 1998

Pastor Jyothi Benjamin began his Bible Institute program on a two-year basis at Nidubrolu. For more details on this CLCI Bible Institute please  see Seminary.

Summer of 1998

Volunteer Karen Strike came to India and spent a month working with the our orphans at Nidubrolu (CLCI), especially helping them with English.

June-August 1999

During this time, volunteers Lawrence and Natasha Bade came to India to visit our CLCI. Rev. Lawrence preached and taught pastors and seminary students in the Seminary while Sister Natasha taught the orphans English at  our CLCI orphanage.

In the Year 2000

January – BoM members, Pastor Bruce Naumann and Bro. Jack Mayhew, accompanied by Pastor Koenig came to India to visit our CLCI.

Rev. David, Rev. Bruce and Bro. Mayhew

Rev. David, Rev. Bruce and Bro. Mayhew

They have visited some our CLCI congregations at Prakasam, Guntur and Krishana Districts and also have visited some of our congregations in Hyderabad area.

June – The first two graduates of the seminary were Isaiah and Jacob. Pastor Jacob went out to one of our CLCI congregation at Kakumanu village and while  Pastor Isaiah served a congregation at Mannava village and was called as a part time instructor at the seminary. During this summer no volunteers came over under the Mission Helper Program.
September– There were 16 in training at the school which had an added third year. Rev. V.S. Benjamin’s younger son, Nireekshana, gave up his secular job and began full-time church work.
Statistics – 68 congregations with 6997 souls – work was also going on in Madya Pradesh State – 30 orphans are being cared for.

In the Year 2001

July-August – Mission Helpers came from the USA to assist the brethren.

Rev. V.S. with Rev. Mike and Bro. Peter

Rev. V.S. with Rev. Mike and Bro. Peter

Pastor Mike Schierenbeck and Peter Evensen taught at the seminary at Nidubrolu, preached in the congregations and worked with the orphans.

July 19-21 – The First Joint English Pastoral Conference was held at Chennai with six representatives from our CLCI, five mission helpers from the USA, 12 representatives from the BELC and the missionary present.

In the Year 2002

March – VBS was held in several stations with a total attendance of 915.
June – The Bible Institute graduated three men. Attendance for the new year was sixteen.
September 25-27 – The Second Joint English Pastoral Conference was held at Guntur with Pastor Mark Bohde, of Thailand, as chairman.
October 14-17 – Mission Helper, Tim Schreyer, visited few of our CLCI congregations and worked with the orphans.
Statistics – The CLCI showed an increase to 69 congregations with over 7000 souls.

In the Year 2003

Rev. David, Sisters Busse, Owings and Bro. Peter

Rev. David, Sisters Busse, Owings and Bro. Peter

June – Nidubrolu Bible Institute graduated another class. Seventeen are in the new school year.
July 15-August 5 – Missionary Rev. David Koenig and Mission Helpers Bro. Evensen, Sisters Busse and Owings arrive to visit our CLCI. The two sisters taught lessons and games to  the orphans going over material used in VBS. Peter Evensen teaches in the seminary.
July-October – Missionary goes on three circuits during which he teaches at Nidubrolu. Hindi and Telugu catechisms are secured. Bibles are purchased for distribution.
August 13-14 – English Pastoral Conference is held in Chennai and attended by CLCI men. Total attendance is 24.

In the Year 2004

September 8-10 Joint English Pastoral Conference was held in Guntur.
October 23 – A dedication of the second floor (for students and orphan boys) was held by Rev. David Koenig.
December 26 – A Tsunami hit the east coast of India and Pastor Ohlmann came over to assist with word and work.
Statistics – The CLCI has approximately 80 pastors serving around 7000 souls. The Bible Institute had an enrollment of 23.

In the Year 2005

January – Pastor Ohlmann visited our CLCI to help the victims of December tsunami.

Rev. Todd's Tshumani visit

Rev. Todd’s Tsunami visit

June – Six men graduated and 32 are enrolled in the Seminary.

June 26-July 20 – Mission Helpers Rev. Paul Nolting (in seminary),  Sisters Kristen Nolting, Lindsey Paul, and Dana Wuerch (working in VBS) assisted the CLCI.

August 13 – September 28 – Mission Helper Bro. Paul Stockman helped in a variety of ways, especially in computer work and teaching.

September 7-9 – Pastors and students attended Joint English Pastoral Conference at Chennai.

Rev. Nolting, Sisters Kirsten, Linzy and D with Rev. V.S.Benjamin's family

Mission Helpers Rev. Nolting, Sisters Kirsten, Linsey and Dana  with Rev. V.S.Benjamin’s family

In the Year 2006

Pastor Jyothi with Rev. Joel

Pastor Jyothi with Rev. Joel

June – Six graduated from the seminary at Nidubrolu. Thirty-two are enrolled.
September – Joint Pastoral Conference was held in Guntur from the 27th to 29th.
October – Pastors Ohlmann and J. Fleischer worked at Nidubrolu. They visited some of our CLCI congregations and taught in th seminary.

In the Year 2007

June – The seminary graduated(9th year) 12 on June 15th.
July – August – Mission Helpers worked from July 10 to Aug. 1. They were: Pastor Baker, Sandy Baker, Heidi Maas, Kate Friedrichs, Whitney Martin, and Aprill Lillo.

Mission Helpers - 2007

Mission Helpers – 2007

September – Joint English Conference was attended in Sept. Missionary Rev David Koenig was in the field in Feb. 12 to July 21, Sept. 12 to Oct. 21.

In the Year 2008

February – Pastor M. Ude arrived to work in India.

Rev. Ude, preaching at Davulooru CLCI Congregation

Rev. Ude, preaching at Davulooru CLCI Congregation

April – Mission Helper, Larry Dassow, visited the CLCI along with Rev. David Koenig and Rev. Ude.

June – Pastors Ude and Ohlmann attend the CLCI Seminary graduation of the largest class yet of 14 also celebrating the 10th anniversary of the school.

October 9-10 – Joint Leaders’ Meeting is held in Nellore between the CLCI and BELC leaders to consider the work and cooperation in it. Reports from all were given. This replaces the Joint English Pastoral Conference this year to Nellore.

Statistics – The CLCI has 203 congregations around 10,181 souls. The Bible Institute had an enrollment of 38 students.

Seminary Students and staff with Rev. Ude

Seminary Students and staff with Rev. Ude

In the Year 2009

January 18th to 31st

Rev. David, Sister Mary and Rev. Kham

Rev. David, Sister Mary and Rev. Kham

Rev. David Koenig, Sister Mary Koenig and Rev. Kham from Mynmaar  visited the CLCI at Nidubrolu. Rev. David taught in Seminary from 19th to 22nd January. It was a great blessing for many newly established CLCI congregations to meet honorable missionary Rev. Koenig, Sister Mary Koenig and Rev Kham. During this tour of outreach in January, nearly thousand members heard the good news of the Gospel and a total of 13 new churches received ministry. The Lord has used Rev. David in a great way in this evangelism tour. Even though the night prayer meetings were filled with fog and heavy dew, many hundreds of people heard the Word of God from Rev. David Many people were touched, encouraged and equipped with the Lord’s strength. Members and Pastors were refreshed, challenged and revived by the manifest presence of God’s word. We distributed New Testaments to the children and Books of John Gospel to the elders in all the congregations. Rev. David prayed for many sick people in all most all the congregations. Rev. David preached in English and Pastor Jyothi translated in to Telugu. We give God all glory for this wonderful mission.