Formation of the 27 ELCT Dioceses
The first missionary societies in Tanganyika
The Berlin III Missionary Society, also known as the Evangelical Missionary Society for East Africa (EMS), was the first to send Lutheran missionaries from German who planted the seed that eventually formed the Evangelical Lutheran Church in Tanzania. Their first missionary station was opened at Kigamboni in Dar es Salaam in 1887.
The second team, Berlin I, was also from Germany. They entered Tanganyika from South Africa and settled in the Southern Highlands and opened their first missionary station in 1891 at Ipagika or Pipagika (Wangemannshöhe) in the area that later became ELCT Konde Diocese.
In 1890 Berlin III change its role and became Bethel Mission and settle in Tanga where it established a mission station at Mbuyukenda. In 1910 the missionaries opened a mission station in Bukoba, Kagera Region while they were planning to go to Rwanda.
The third mission society that worked in Tanzania was Leipzig Mission Society, again from Germany. This society entered the country in 1893 and opened its first station at Kidia, Old Moshi in Kilimanjaro region.
This mission activity continued to bear fruit in spite of the interruptions of the Hehe/German War in 1891, the Majimaji war of 1905/6, the 1st World War 1914-1918 and later on the 2nd World War of 1939-1945.
Formation of the ELCT
By 1938, there were seven churches in Tanganyika, as the country was known at that time. In 1938, the churches formed a federation known as the Federation of Lutheran Churches in Tanganyika.
On June 19, 1963, the seven Churches, under the umbrella of a federation, merged to become synods and dioceses of a single Church, known as the Evangelical Lutheran Church in Tanganyika. The following year, when the union with Zanzibar produced a change of the national name to Tanzania, the Church was renamed the Evangelical Lutheran church in Tanzania.
The Church has 27 Dioceses as follows:
3) Pare Diocese
10) South Central Diocese
13) Mbulu Diocese
14) Iringa Diocese
15) Dodoma Diocese
17) Diocese in Mara Region
18) Diocese of Meru
19) South Western Diocese
20) Morogoro Diocese
23) Ruvuma Diocese
25) Mwanga Diocese
27) Western Diocese