St. John’s Mission Partner team focuses on developing and maintaining a relationship with the mission partners of our church, praying for them, and educating our congregation about these relationships.
St. John’s has several types of mission relationships. These include:
1. Partner congregations through the ELCA Companion Synod Program. The Southeast Minnesota Synod has partnerships with the Central Diocese of the Evangelical Lutheran Church of Tanzania, and with the Evangelical Lutheran Church of Colombia. St. John’s is partnered with a congregation in each country: Iambi Lutheran Church in the town of Iambi, Tanzania, and El Salvador Lutheran in the town of El Cocuy, Colombia.
The synod handbook says of these relationships: “A partner congregation relationship provides an expanded view of the Body of Christ, broadens the vision of the congregation’s mission, is a tangible sign of the mission, and provides opportunities to build personal relationships with Christians in another culture.” These relationships do not focus on financial support, but on walking side by side in mutual solidarity, which is called accompaniment. The Road to Emmaus story in Luke is the scriptural basis for accompaniment. This story of Jesus reminds us that mission is a journey and that Christ is already present in encounters and visits wherever we go. Our church stays in touch with our partners by email, sending delegates on synod trips to their churches, hosting them when they visit our synod, and praying for each other.
For more about the Evangelical Lutheran Church of Tanzania (ELCT), go to http://www.elct.org/home.html
For more about the Evangelical Lutheran Church of Colombia (IELCO), go to their Spanish language web page at http://www.ielco.org/.
2. Financial support is given to the health care and educational programs of our partner synods in Tanzania and Colombia. This includes support for the Lutheran schools and universities, scholarships for the students at these schools, and support for Lutheran hospitals and clinics.
For more about the ELCA Missionary Sponsorship Program go to http://www.elca.org and click on Global Mission at the bottom of the page, then the Quick Link to “Supporting a missionary.”
3. Missionary Sponsorship program of the ELCA. The ELCA supports over 240 missionaries in more than 40 countries. Currently St. John’s is helping to sponsor two missionary couples:
- Randy and Carol Stubbs, who direct and teach in the music department at Tumainin Lutheran University Makumira in Tanzania. This program trains church musicians as well as music teachers for the country. Read the Stubbs website at: http://s421181158.onlinehome.us/Site/Welcome.html
- Curtis and Katie Kline who serve with the Evangelical Lutheran Church of Colombia. Curtis is involved with human rights projects with the Lutheran congregations, and accompaniment of the Kogi indigenous people. Katie is involved in leadership training for women and youth. Read the Kline’s blog here: http://8000feetandcounting.blogspot.com
Current members of the team are: Chris Anderson, Jennifer Edwins, Norma Gilbertson, David Norman, Jane Rinehart (chairperson and member of the synod Tanzania Operations team), Kathy Shea, Julie Thorsheim, and Kristi Wermager (Spanish translator and member of the synod Colombia Operations team). The team is under the Benevolence and Social Concerns Board.