By Bishop Ann Svennungsen

If you are Christian growing up in Northeastern Nigeria, you will likely face additional hurdles when applying for university or secondary school. If you were a Christian growing up in Leipzig under Soviet rule, the same could be true.

For so many reasons, I am amazed and grateful for our companion synod relationships with both the Lutheran Church of Christ in Nigeria (LCCN) and the Leipzig District of the Evangelical Lutheran Church in Saxony, Germany. Their faithful witness during two different – but similar – times of oppression is just one of them.

Last Friday, we waited with great anticipation for the flight from Nigeria – bringing Archbishop Musa and Pastor Ruth Filibus to Minneapolis. Throughout the next ten days, you are invited to experience – in person – their witness to Christ and their wisdom about the global church.

“Musa and Ruth Filibus are incredible people – with a wonderful sense of humor; deep love for family, church, and the world; and stories of faith and life that inspire and encourage.”

Archbishop Musa and Pastor Ruth Filibus (both in center) with pastoral leadership of the Lutheran Church of Christ in Nigeria

They are not newcomers to the Twin Cities. The Archbishop received his PhD from Luther Seminary in 1998, with Dr. Robert Albers serving as his doctoral advisor. During the fourth year of his work here, Pastor Ruth joined him, along with their then-12-year-old daughter. They made St. Philip’s Lutheran in Fridley their home for the year and are eager to see their friends there this Wednesday night at a congregational dinner.

When the Archbishop was ordained in 1992, former Minneapolis Area Synod Bishop David Olson was in Nigeria to participate in the laying on of hands. For the first years of his ministry, he taught at and quickly became the provost of Bronnum Lutheran Seminary.


BUT, ARCHBISHOP FILIBUS BRINGS even more than his deep wisdom and experience in the Lutheran Church of Christ in Nigeria. From 2002-2013, he worked in Geneva as the Africa Secretary and then Deputy General Secretary of Lutheran World Federation (LWF), a communion of 145 member churches from across the world. Sensing God’s call to continue ministry in his homeland, Filibus returned to become a diocesan (synod) bishop in 2013, and then was elected Archbishop in 2017.

Just a few months later, he was overwhelmingly elected him as LWR president, where he will serve a seven-year term as presiding officer of the assembly and oversee the LWF’s life and work in consultation with the General Secretary.

In addition, Musa and Ruth Filibus are incredible people – with a wonderful sense of humor; deep love for family, church, and the world; and stories of faith and life that inspire and encourage.

We are so grateful for the immense generosity they are extending to our synod by their presence with us for nearly two weeks – and their openness to meet with us on several occasions. We truly hope you will take advantage of this remarkable opportunity to meet and listen to one of the global church’s most respected leaders. The following are events you are welcome to consider attending. (Yes, Ramsey might be a trek from New Prague, but it’s a lot closer than Numan, Nigeria!)


Archbishop Musa Filibus’ schedule in the Twin Cities 

Friday, May 4

Keynote Address at the Minneapolis Area Synod at Lord of Life Lutheran Church in Ramsey (approximately 4:30pm)

Saturday, May 5

Possible second address depending on time; check synod website Saturday morning for adjusted schedule

Sunday, May 6

Greeting at St. Philip the Deacon Lutheran Church in Plymouth worship services

Reception for Bitrus Family at St. Paul-Reformation Lutheran Church (2:00 p.m.)

Monday, May 7

Reception for companion synod congregations at Mount Olive Lutheran Church in Minneapolis (5:00-7:00 p.m.)

Tuesday, May 8               

Reception for deans and Synod Council at the synod office (4:00-6:00 p.m.)

Wednesday, May 9        

Coffee and conversation with rostered ministers at Synod Office (2:00-4:00 p.m.)

Thursday, May 10           

Sermon at Luther Seminary Chapel (11:00 a.m.)

Friday, May 11                 

Return to Nigeria