Companionship Banners!
For months, members of St. Andrew's Blessed Piecemakers have been working hard creating two banners so that each congregation would have a banner to remind them of the companionship they share. The Blessed Piecemakers chose a baptismal shell as a symbol of the companionship we share as brothers and sisters in Christ through baptism. Even though St. Andrew and Mcheni are nearly half the world apart, Paul reminds us, "for in Christ Jesus you are all children of God through faith. As many of you as were baptized into Christ have clothed yourselves with Christ. There is no longer Jew or Greek, there is no longer slave or free, there is no longer male and female; for all of you are one in Christ Jesus" (Galatians 3:26-28, NRSV). May these banners remind us that we are all one in Christ Jesus:

 

 


Christmas in July-The Gift of Health
During July 2005, St. Andrew collected needed items for AIDS/Hospice, Midwife and Tropical Ulcer Kits to Gonja Hospital in the Pare Diocese of Tanzania. The supplies were packaged and sent by sea container to Gonja Hospital in the fall as part of a joint effort by the Southeastern Iowa Synod and Global Health Ministries (www.ghm.org). During August, the Vacation Bible School students helped in this effort by rolling bandages. This is one way St. Andrew has sought to further companionship with Mcheni because Gonja Hospital and its dispensaries are a major source of health care in the Pare Diocese.

Particular items we are collecting include:
· Bath towels and wash cloths
· Wrapped bars of hand soap
· Flat bed sheets (washed, used and of any color and size are fine)
· Toothbrushes
· Tubes of toothpaste
· “Pick” combs
· Nail Clippers
· Band-Aids
· Multivitamins (100-200 count bottles)
· Tylenol or ibuprofen (100-200 count bottles)
· Kitchen household gloves (size: medium)
· 2 cord ties: 8" narrow lengths of selvage, 1/4" twill tape or heavy white knit/crochet cotton
· Razor blades (single-edge and safety-wrapped)
· 36" square muslin or sheeting
· Newborn stocking caps (keep hand-knit ones very small)
· Small cotton-blend or flannel shirts (waist length only as the babies do not wear diapers)
· Receiving blankets
· Plastic or latex gloves
· Small devotional booklets (non-current ones are fine)
· Knitted or crocheted bandages (see bulletin board outside the music room for instructions)


On February 28, 2005, Pr. Timothy Msangi signed a Companionship Covenant on behalf of Mcheni Lutheran Parish, which created a companion congregation relationship between Mcheni and St. Andrew. In this covenant, each church has accepted the following covenantal agreements:

1. We agree to pray for each other as often as possible, especially as a part of regular worship.

2. We agree to learn more about the congregation, city, state, and country in which our partner congregation lives and serves.

3. We will help each other in this endeavor by exchanging information and suggestions for learning through letter, newspaper clippings, photographs, or any other means available

4. In addition to informing each other of our current programs and outreach ministries, we agree to invite mutual participation in each other’s future faith community activities.

5. Individual-to-individual relationships must be the foundation of our partnership in mission. We will explore every possibility to foster such relationships; for example, visits and/or letters between pastors, church leaders, church councils and committees, and other appropriate groups from our respective congregations.

6. In an attempt to further foster individual-to individual relationships, we agree to encourage visits by members of Mcheni Lutheran Parish and St. Andrew Lutheran Church whenever possible.

Information about Mcheni Lutheran Parish:

Mcheni is located in the mountainous region of the Pare diocese--about 24km from the town of Mwanga. Mcheni has an extension of its congregation, Mangio, which also serves as a place of worship for approximately 100 people. Below are pictures of Mcheni (left) and Mangio (right).

Pr. Timothy described the area and population around Mcheni in a letter to St. Andrew. The following two paragraphs are excerpts from this letter:

"Most of the people in this area are local farmers growing bananas, beans, maize in small portions also keeping animal especially cattle (zero grazing). Each family has around 2 – 5 cattle. There are some people who are employed as primary and secondary teachers and other are rural government officers. Most of the people are out of Mcheni. Some are employed by the government and others in private sectors in different parts of Tanzania.

Our Parish has around 1500 baptized Christians. We have about 250 – 300 people in worship each Sunday. As I have said, most of our Christians are worked in towns that is why we have such a small number in Sunday service. We have two houses of worship – Mcheni (center) and Mangio and extension – a small building which can accommodate about 100 people. We are building a new build, which will accommodate about 400 people. This is because the numbers of Christians are increasing day after day. Up to now we have around 150 people. We have other services during a week, Bible study and confirmation classes. We have first and second year classes. Each class attends two times a week. We have also three choirs in our parish. Two choir from center – Kwaya kuu and second Kwaya ya Ufunuo. In Mangio we have only one choir – Kwaya ya Agape."

What St. Andrew is doing to further our companionship:

As part of this companionship relationship, St. Andrew's Blessed Piecemakers are preparing two identical banners–one for each congregation to celebrate this special relationship. Bishop Hougen has already spoken to the members of St. Andrew about his recent sabbatical in the Pare diocese where he taught a class with his brother and Bishop Msangi to many of the pastors in the Pare diocese. Vicar Allen has presented an adult forum on Tanzania and maintains a bulletin board with information about Mcheni Lutheran Parish. Special emphasis was given at St. Andrew to our relationship with Mcheni during worship on February 12/13, 2005, as part of the Southeastern Iowa Synod's Multicultural Weekend. Speakers have been contacted for future adult forums on Tanzania and companionship relationships. We also hope to work with Global Health Ministries in the future to prepare Midwife and Hospice Kits to be sent to hospitals and dispensaries in the Pare diocese. Yet, the greatest way to further our companionship is to visit Mcheni. If you are interested in traveling to the Pare diocese on one of the Southeastern Iowa Synod trips, contact the synod office (319-338-1273) or the church office for more information.

For more information about our companion congregation and how you can help, please contact the church office.