Supported by over 45 years of professional experience in theology and civic service, Dr. Joseph Mutashoberwa Bocko has served as the African national ministries program director for the Evangelical Lutheran Church of America (ELCA) since 2011. Earlier in his career, he was the secretary of the Developing Communities Project in Chicago between 2006 and 2012, an appointed member of the Chicago Development Community Advisory Council between 2002 and 2011, and a pastor for the Metro Chicago Synod of Reformation ECLA between 1998 and 2011.
Likewise, Dr. Bocko was appointed as a member of the No Child Left Behind National Committee in 2001. Prior to immigrating to the United States, he lived in the United Republic of Tanzania, where he was a pastor and a secretary of the Evangelical Lutheran Church in Tanzania (ELCT) from 1975 to 1976 and from 1985 to 1993, respectively. Furthermore, he was a diocesan youth director for over 300 congregations in Tanzania from 1980 to 1982. Among the many highlights of his career, Dr. Bocko is especially proud of serving two terms with the National Council of Churches Committee on Public Education and Literacy of the No Child Left Behind program through appointments made by former President George W. Bush. During this time, Dr. Bocko gained valuable knowledge and experience, having also met Bill Gates, who donated 50 new computers to the ELCA in Chicago.
To prepare for his fulfilling career, Dr. Bocko pursued a formal education at Tumaini University, receiving a Bachelor of Theology in 1975. He went on to receive a diploma in social pedagogics from the University of Kassel in 1979 and a Master of Science in Theology from the Wartburg Theological Seminary in 1984. Many years later, Dr. Bocko earned a Doctor of Philosophy in educational studies from Trinity International University in 1997. He was ordained as a pastor through the ELCT in Tanzania in 1975.
As a testament to his success, Dr. Bocko received the Lilly Endowment National Clergy Renewal Program Award in 2008. Having participated in several mission trips to West Germany, he feels gratified by his experiences in bravely transporting Bibles to the east side of the Berlin Wall in the late 1970s. Looking forward, he intends to finish writing a book and continue serving the ELCA.