Title: Program Director
Company: African National Ministries
Location: Elk Grove Village, Illinois, United States
Joseph Bocko, Program Director at African National Ministries, has been recognized by Marquis Who’s Who Top Executives for dedication, achievements, and leadership in church administration.
Hailing from Bukoba, Tanzania, Dr. Bocko initially obtained a Bachelor of Theology from Tumaini University Makumira in Tanzania in 1975. That year, he was ordained a pastor in the Evangelical Lutheran Church in Tanzania (ELCT), North Western Diocese. He then followed with a diploma in social pedagogics from the University of Kassel in Hessen, Germany in 1979 and continued his education with a Master of Studies in 1984 from Wartburg Theological Seminary in Dubuque, Iowa and a Doctor of Philosophy in educational studies from Trinity International University in Deerfield, Illinois in 1997.
Dr. Bocko excelled as a secretary for Evangelical Lutheran Church in Tanzania (ELCT) from 1985 to 1993 and as Diocesan Youth Director Coordinating Children and Youth Ministry for over 300 congregations. After immigrating to the United States, he provided spiritual guidance from 1998 to 2011 as pastor of the Metro Chicago Synod of Reformation Evangelical Lutheran Church in Chicago, where he served as secretary of the Developing Communities Project from 2006 to 2012. In 2011, he became program director of the African National Ministries Program Director, ECLA. In this capacity, he coordinates about 250 African national treaties in the United States, involving caucuses in West Africa, Ghana, Nigeria, Liberia, Congo, Cameroon, Niger and Sierra Leone.
According to Dr. Bocko, he attained success through persistence, as well as the tireless support of his wife, Jessica. He had originally planned to serve the Evangelical Lutheran Church in America in Chicago for only two years, but he believes that God had a different plan for him. As he was saying goodbye to the members, a 12-year-old girl suddenly spoke in front of an audience of 800 people. With tears streaming down her face, she said, “Pastor Bocko, you are the only father I know. Please don’t leave us alone.” Her plea was soon echoed by the president of the church council, as well as the leader of their organization for women. Eventually, he and his wife read the young girl’s plea as divine providence and decided to stay.
Dr. Bocko’s career highlight was serving two terms with the National Council of Churches Committee on Public Education and Literacy of the No Child Left Behind group through appointments made by George W. Bush, former president of the United States. His service on the committee allowed him to gain valuable knowledge and experience, as well as an opportunity to meet Bill Gates, who donated 50 brand new computers to the Reformation Evangelical Lutheran Church, a Lutheran (ELCA) church in Chicago, Illinois, where he was a pastor. He also highlights his years in Germany in the late 1970s, where he bravely smuggled Bibles to the east side of the Berlin Wall.
Dr. Bocko intends to complete a book within the coming years, for which he has already written close to 200 pages for the publication. He has deferred his plan to retire, having received word from the presiding bishop of the Evangelical Lutheran Church in America (ELCA) that his services are still very much needed in the organization.
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