The Magazine of The Evangelical Lutheran Church in America


Accompaniment around the globe

The ELCA's accompaniment model for mission takes many forms.

When the Evangelical Lutheran Church in Chile wanted to start a congregation north of Santiago, it looked to the ELCA for help. Raquel Rodriguez, ELCA director for Latin America and the Caribbean, says, "We couldn't send an ELCA pastor that met their qualifications, but we did find someone in the Salvadoran Lutheran Synod, and Pastor Blanca Irma Rodriguez (no relation) started work there in January."

The Chilean church's role in setting the parameters for a mission is now the norm for the ELCA. Discussion or negotiation may be involved, but the companion church or agency makes the final decision.

Rosella Kameo describes her work at Satya Wacana Christian University in Indonesia as "a specific assignment that the university has designed to meet its needs."

"I'm called because the position requires the particular expertise that I happen to have," she says. "I work under the supervision of Indonesians in everything I do."

Eighteen churches throughout the Indonesian archipelago support this interdenominational Christian university. It has more than 12,000 students.

Scott Johnson is a lay missionary and teacher of theological education at Betela Regional Seminary in northern Madagascar. Of the differences in the churches, he says: "The Malagasy Lutheran Church is a growing church. It has an effective outreach to adults, and you see many more adult baptisms there than you're likely to find in any Lutheran church in the States or Europe.

"Malagasy Lutherans have a vivid sense of the spiritual aspects of life. The church has a very active ministry of healing. We can also benefit from our African brothers and sisters when it comes to hymnody, song and melody. Their songs give us a whole new vocabulary to express our faith and praise."


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February issue


Embracing diversity