LCMS World Relief and Human Care (WR-HC) remembers the life and ministry of Rev. Doris Jean Louis, pastor of the First Evangelical Lutheran Church in Port-au-Prince, Haiti. Louis, known as the father of Lutheranism in Haiti, was allegedly murdered the evening of March 12 by a group of men as the pastor entered his home.
Rev. Matthew Harrison, executive director of WR-HC, remembers Doris as “a fine and gentle man,” and offered the assistance of WR-HC to his family in their time of need. Harrison posted a recent video interview with Louis on his blog.
Born in 1944, Louis became a Christian as a child. He was a trained radio technician. While attending a non-Lutheran seminary in the Caribbean, he came to the realization that his view of the doctrine of eternal election was Lutheran. Louis met with Dr. Robert Preus, then president of Concordia Theological Seminary in Fort Wayne, Ind., and Dr. Allan Buckmann, then with LCMS World Mission, who supported Louis’ plan to start a Lutheran church in Haiti. In 1979, Louis returned to the United States to study at CTS. On Nov. 26, 1980, Louis graduated, receiving his master’s of divinity degree, qualifying him to serve as a Lutheran pastor. He was ordained in the mid-1980s.
Louis founded four churches, three Christian day schools, three literacy schools, one vocational school, a Lutheran foundation, and a medical center in Haiti. For Louis’ full biography, visit www.haitilutheran.org/biographies.html.
On March 2, LCMS President Gerald B. Kieschnick, Rev. Glenn F. Merritt, director of Disaster Response with WR-HC, and Dr. Jorge Groh, regional director for Latin America with LCMS World Mission, along with members of the Evangelical Lutheran Church of Haiti, met with Louis to discuss unmet needs and ongoing recovery to the Jan. 12 earthquake.
“I join with all those who knew Pastor Louis in praying for his family and church. He was a dignified and distinguished leader who was committed to confessional Lutheranism and the outreach of the Gospel through a wide range of ministries. His gentle presence and composure will be missed,” said Merritt.
Dr. Douglas L. Rutt, associate professor of Pastoral Ministry and Missions with CTS and former LCMS World Mission area secretary for Latin America, called the alleged murder “very sad news,” adding that “everyone who knew Pastor Louis respected him as the father of Lutheranism in Haiti.”
Rev. Gregory S. Walton, president of the LCMS Florida-Georgia District, sent an e-mail to congregations March 13 urging them to lift up Louis’ family in prayer. “We pray that God’s mercy, comfort and peace would surround his family, the Lutheran community in Haiti, and the whole nation still embroiled in such difficulty following the devastating earthquakes,” he wrote.