On January 24, the Montana Synod is celebrating Companionship Sunday. We are celebrating that we are part of a church that is worldwide. January 24 is in the midst of the Week of Prayer for Christian Unity. We are celebrating our global mission partners in the ELCA. And we are celebrating our companion synods, the Bolivian Evangelical Lutheran Church and the Cape Orange Diocese of the Evangelical Lutheran Church of Southern Africa.
There are many ways to celebrate our global partnerships. We are providing resources for you. They include a list of resource people you can contact for speaking on companion synods either in person or by Skype. Some are local, some are not. Some are available Sundays, some are available other times. If you want to have a companionship celebration some time other than January 24, go for it.
In addition, we are providing an ELCA-produced resource called "Global Church Sunday," a litany of thanks for the Cape Orange Diocese and a litany of thanks for the Bolivian Church. All these resources are available as part of the News of the Week.
You may want to highlight global ministry by featuring the Young Adults in Global Mission program. This program gives young adults the opportunity to live in a country and work in a service ministry or agency. Young adults from the Montana Synod have served in Mexico, England, Palestine, Malaysia, Madagascar, South Africa, Argentina and more. We now have pastors who were once YAGMs. Any former YAGM will tell you-the experienced changed their lives forever.
Global mission is all about accompaniment. We walk together. We learn about one another. We share our strengths. And we share our weaknesses. We share the experience of Christ in our lives, knowing that wherever we go, Christ is already there.
So we learn about ministry of indigenous people in Bolivia. And we learn about radical forgiveness in South Africa. When we enter into conversations with Christians from other places, we learn new ways of understanding God, new ways of loving and being loved by Jesus.
On my office wall I have a collection of crosses. One is a study cross, made of a congregation's pews they no longer use. Another is made of barbed wire. I have crosses from different parts of the world-some colorful, some stark, some empty, and some with various depictions of Christ on the cross. Each cross tells the story of Jesus' death and resurrection. Each tells it with a twist, making it local. I learn from these crosses, as I learn from my sisters and brothers who practice their Christian faith across the globe.
I invite you to celebrate Companionship Sunday, and to pray for our global partners during this Epiphany Season and beyond!
Jessica Crist, Bishop
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Bishop Jessica Crist
Bishop of the Montana Synod of the ELCA