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The Magazine of The Evangelical Lutheran Church in America

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A ministry 'blessing & challenge'

Sudanese find a welcome home in Southeastern Minnesota

As Wal Reat walked past Our Savior Lutheran Church, Faribault, Minn., he heard a music group practicing. Reat asked if he and other Sudanese could worship there, and they were welcomed in.

Two years later in 2003, the Sudanese began holding worship at Our Savior in their Nuer language. Today between 25 and 30 gather for worship each Sunday afternoon as members of Nile Our Savior Lutheran Chapel.

Khan Bayek (left), Mary Kun, Elizabeth
Khan Bayek (left), Mary Kun, Elizabeth Kueth, Elizabeth Chol and Nyakhoach Dak lead music at Nile Our Savior Lutheran Chapel in Faribault, Minn., where many Sudanese have settled in the past 10 years.
In 2008, Nile Our Savior became the Southeastern Minnesota Synod's first ethnic-specific synodically authorized worshiping community. Its name honors the area from which they came (Nasir, Sudan, near the Nile River) and its host congregation.

"I never imagined that I would be doing multicultural ministry," said Steven H. Delzer, a pastor of Our Savior. "This experience has come with tremendous blessing and challenges. The Sudanese people are caring and kind, and this congregation's response has been amazing."

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