Greetings! This month I’d like to share some updates from our companions in South Africa. ~Pr. Megan
2019 Report from the SW MN Companion Synod Committee
Sometimes churches, like families go through growing pains. For another year our sisters and brothers in the Southeastern Diocese of the Evangelical Lutheran Church in Southern Africa have has their work interrupted and their ministries slowed because of growing pains caused by difficulties between their churchwide structure and their dioceses. Especially our companion diocese, the South Eastern Diocese has experienced turmoil. A diocese in South Africa is the equivalent to what we call a synod.
While we are pained to see our shared ministries slowed, we are encouraged that their Health and Wellness Committee on the Diocesan level continues to work and share programs between Circuits in the in the Diocese. Work among people living in poverty, many of whom are elderly, where little health care is available, are being helped because of the work of this committee along with help from conferences in our synod who support a salary for the Committee’s Coordinator. Many of our conferences also support the Health and Wellness Committee in their partner Circuit where hot meals are served, and gardens are growing to supplement the pantries of local families.
We also know that the work of parishes in the various circuits continues at the local levels. Sunday School materials shared by Lutheran Churches across southern Africa are available and are being used in parishes that share training for those who teach Sunday School in local congregations. Women’s leagues, Men’s leagues and Youth Leagues continue to meet separately in parishes and within circuits. Scholarships and help with uniforms continue to go to school children at all levels.
We are also very hopeful that ELCSA now has a new Presiding Bishop and their Church Council with the Presiding Bishop recently passed a resolution that they hold an extra meeting to discuss what needs to be done to have elections for a new Bishop in the Southeastern Diocese and to help them proceed to elect their new leadership at all levels. That meeting was scheduled for May 27, 2019. We wait eagerly for news from this meeting and are hopeful that present crisis will pass. We pray that this meeting will set us all on a new path that we may share again getting to know each other and again learn how we can grow in faith together and join in sharing God’s Good News of grace and love for our Lord, each other and our neighbors.
Even as this begins we know we here in SW MN must continue to pray patiently. As happens in many families we will wait for there to be recognition and reorganization. We rely on our Lord who wants only the best for our brothers and sisters in South Africa and our sharing of faith and ministry together. We know we can be God’s hands and feet here in Minnesota and in South Africa.
For the committee- Marie Nelson, Chair
Update on the Bishopstowe Deanery Project in the Umngeni Circuit
You may remember that fundraising project our conference did for the roof on the Bishopstowe Deanery/Circuit Center in our companion circuit in South Africa. The roof has been completed. The work that needs to be completed to make the center usable has been halted due to the problems that are taking place in the church at large in South Africa. Since they also now have doors and windows, they are able to secure the structure.
The South Africans remain grateful for our help and are anxious to move on to the next phase of their project. Please continue to pray for their efforts.
Peg Hatlestad, Crow River Conference Partnership Committee
Pastor Megan finds that she rarely has all the right answers, but tries to help her community ask better questions.