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:

1) North Western Diocese

2) North Eastern Diocese

3) Pare Diocese

4) Northern Diocese

5) North Central Diocese

6) Karagwe Diocese

7) Central Diocese

8) Southern Diocese

9) Konde Diocese

10) South Central Diocese

11) Ulanga/Kilombero Diocese

12) Eastern and Coastal Diocese

13) Mbulu Diocese

14) Iringa Diocese

15) Dodoma Diocese

16) East of Lake Victoria Diocese

17) Diocese in Mara Region

18) Diocese of Meru

19) South Western Diocese

20) Morogoro Diocese

21) South East of Lake Victoria Diocese

22) South Eastern Diocese

23) Ruvuma Diocese

24) Lake Tanganyika Diocese

25) Mwanga Diocese

26) West Central Diocese

27) Western Diocese