The Montana Synod is invited to celebrate the 80th anniversary of our Companion Church, the Iglesia Evangelical Lutherana Boliviana (the Bolivian Evangelical Lutheran Church) in September. While appreciative of the missionaries who brought the Lutheran Church to Bolivia, the Church is proud to have been independent for 80 years. Delegations from our Synod celebrated the 70th anniversary of the church, and the 75th. And now we are gathering a small delegation to join our partners in celebrating their 80th anniversary.
The way we do global mission is accompaniment. We know we are not bringing the Gospel to Bolivia.
We know that the Gospel is already there. We go to Bolivia, and indeed to any of our global companions, as partners, as sisters and brothers in Christ. We go to learn from each other, share with each other.
As we get to know each other better as Companion churches, we find out about each other’s strengths and needs. The Bolivian church is an all indigenous church. We as a primarily white church have a lot to learn about ministry by, to and among the native peoples of the land, with all their ethnic and linguistic diversity. Last summer, when a delegation came from Bolivia to Montana, they were able to meet with with the American Indian/ Alaska Native Lutheran Association, who had their gathering at Our Saviour’s Rocky Boy. There was a sharing of common experiences, both historic and contemporary, and some powerful connections. It was good to be with indigenous church leaders from our Companion Church.
Our Bolivian partners are very interested in our LPA program. When they visited in 2017, they had the opportunity to visit with a number of LPAs in the Montana Synod. Like us, they have more congregations than pastors, and are looking for a way to train people ,much as we train our LPAs, appropriate to their context. Pr. Stacey Siebrasse is translating our LPA manual, and we intend to take it with us when we visit.
The anniversary is the weekend of September 7. We are assembling a small delegation, comprised of some people who have been there before, and some who have not. We are looking for interested people, particularly LPAs. Familiarity with Spanish is helpful, but not essential. We are looking to build up our cadre of people committed to our Companion Synod.
The trip will start approximately September 6, and last 10 days-two weeks. If you are interested in being part of the delegation, please contact me. Jcrist@montanasynod.org.
Jessica Crist, Bishop
Bishop Jessica Crist
Bishop of the Montana Synod of the ELCA