Inspire people with global stories during the holidays
Celebrate Christ’s coming into the world during Advent, Christmas and Epiphany with three inspirational stories in the newest Hand in Hand: Stories from the Global Church. Request 1-10 free copies at 800-638-3522 or RIS@elca.org. Order 11-2,000 free copies at www.ELCA.org/GlobalMission-Resources. Free shipping and handling. You can also download these stories as copy-ready bulletin inserts at www.elca.org/Resources/GlobalChurch.
An update …
on our Companion Synod visit to the Kotte District of the ELCPNGSubmitted by Pr. Gary Teske (10/13)
CHANGED BY LOVE…
The final night in Finschhafen, Papua New Guinea found us sitting in the guest house at Heldsbach. Heldsbach is the Church Station where the district offices of the Kotte District of the Evangelical Lutheran Church in Papua New Guinea are located. We were talking with Walter Teunzac, our primary host, guide and shepherd, and President Kelly Rabisang. The “We” I refer to was the foursome of myself, Gary Teske, Rev. Len Dale of the Synod Office, Rev. Keith Holste and Rev. Penny Holste, Co-Pastors of Christ Lutheran Church in Webster Groves, Missouri. We were wrapping up a week spent with the two of them as well as Philip and Wanga, Gumo and Sakarayape (don’t even try pronouncing that one), and Peuka who prepared the most wonderful meals of taro and yams cooked in coconut milk, and a host of other partners and friends from the Kotte District. On that final evening, President Rabisang said to us, “Many other groups from our overseas partner churches have visited us over the years, and after they left, everything was just the same as before they had come. However, when you leave us tomorrow, you leave us in a different place than we were when you arrived.” That week proved the truth of our Central States Synod Mission Statement. That week of honest, animated discussion and sharing around matters of faith and life, all marinated in love in much the same way that our food was soaked in coconut milk, left all of us all “changed,” and in a different place than we had been when we arrived. MORE
(click image above to be redirected to an online photo album)
An update …
on our Companion Synod Ministries with the Synod of the Urals, Siberia and the Far East of Russia, and the Kotte District of the Evangelical Lutheran Church in Papua New Guinea.Submitted by Pr. Gary Teske, Companion Synod Team Chair (0913)
RUSSIA: Pastor Alexander Lapochenko and the president of the congregation at Arsenyev where he serves, Evgeny, were present at the Central States Synod Assembly this past June. They were here thanks largely to Trinity Lutheran Church in Great Bend who provided the funds for their visit, and Pastor Jim Strasen who worked out most of their itinerary as they visited congregations in St. Louis, Wichita and Central Kansas following the Assembly. We also had Pastor Bradn Buerkle and his family with us who was able to translate for Alexander and Evgeny. Pastor Buerkle is an ELCA Pastor serving with the Lutheran Church in Russia who was interpreter and guide for the Central States Synod delegation who visited Russia last September. The three Russian visitors as well as Pastor Buerkle’s family were very well received by everyone they encountered and helped broaden and deepen our relationship with the Lutheran Church of the Urals, Siberia and the Far East. The Central States Synod has been asked by the Synod of the Urals, Siberia and the Far East of Russia to fund the salary for Pastor Lapochenko for 3 years beginning in January of 2013. Their visit helped generate support for this project. We are delighted to report that an additional $6500.00 is being sent for his support this month which should cover his salary through at least next April and possibly even through May. We are helping meet a vital need for the Lutheran Churches in Russia by helping provide pastoral leadership, something that is in very short supply. So, please promote this project at every opportunity. Bishop Schaude, Dean Manfred Brockmann and the church of Eastern Russia are depending upon us.
PAPUA NEW GUINEA: Pastor Gary Teske, Pastor Len Dale Jr, Pastor Keith Holste and Pastor Penny Holste are flying out on September 22nd for Papua New Guinea to spend nearly two weeks in the Kotte District of the ELCPNG. The Kotte District is the Companion District of the Central States Synod. You may recall that in 2012, Pastor Walter Tuenzac visited our Synod. Pastor Walter is the official communicator of the Kotte District. We sent him back to Papua New Guinea with a laptop computer, a large storage battery to recharge his computer, and a solar array to recharge the storage battery, and since then, communications with PNG have greatly improved. On this visit, we will be building (rebuilding and strengthening) relationships with the people of the Kotte Dstrict including a relatively new District President, Rev. Kelly Rabisang. We will also spend time in a workshop exploring the topic of Stewardship with our partners. We anticipate that we and they will be enriched by this sharing of insights on this topic from our very different perspectives. We will also be assessing what more is needed for them to be able to communicate effectively with us, with their partners in Australia and Germany as well as with the rest of the ELCPNG. We hope to visit Rev. Ann Klavano while in PNG. Ann is serving on the faculty of Senior Flierl Seminary near Finschhafen. Our synod has a special tie to Ann because she did her Internship with Prairie Faith Parish in west-central Kansas. We will also be reviewing a partnership covenant agreement between the Kotte District and the CSS-ELCA and signing that agreement. And finally, we will be talking about short and long term ways that we can be of help to one another, learn from one another and enrich one another’s ministries. We will be sharing the results of this visit with as much of the synod as possible in as many ways as possible upon our return.
The Central States Synod needs to develop a more extensive network of people throughout the synod to help disseminate information about companion synod activities and events and help promote them. This network could also help with hosting visitors from our companion churches, and either participate in Companion Synod Visits, or help identify people who can (or both). If you would be interested in being a part of such a network, or know of someone who would like to be a part of this network, please contact Pastor Gary Teske at “firstname.lastname@example.org” with that information.
Remember in Prayer …
- We invite your prayers for the congregations in the Far East of Russia, Bishop Otto Shaude, Dean Manfred Brockman, Rev. Alexander Lapochenko and all of the leadership of the Lutheran Synod of the Urals, Siberia and the Far East.
- Please pray for Keith and Penny Holste, Len Dale Jr. and Gary Teske as they visit our Companion District in Papua New Guinea between September 22nd and October 11.
- Please pray for the people of Syria, not formally our companion synod, but certainly our brothers, sisters and cousins who are suffering unimaginably at this time.
Gary W. Teske, Chairperson
Companion Synod Team – CSS-ELCA
Celebrate Global Church SundayPosted Aug. 6, 2013 by Hand In Hand
This fall, congregations are invited to celebrate our connections and common mission in Christ’s global church in conjunction with World Day of Prayer for Peace (Sept. 21), World Communion Sunday (Oct. 6) or Lutheran World Federation Sunday (Oct. 27). Here are some ways to get started:
- Pick a day to observe Global Church Sunday and announce it in your church bulletin and newsletter.
- Plan a global church inspired worship service. Find worship resources at www.ELCA.org/worship.
- Share inspiring stories from the global church with your congregation by downloading Hand in Hand bulletin inserts at www.ELCA.org/handinhand or ordering multiple free Hand in Hand newsletters at www.ELCA.org/GlobalMission-Resources.
- Host a global church-themed coffee hour, complete with themed placemats and other resources available online at www.ELCA.org/GlobalMission-Resources.
- Invite a missionary or Young Adult in Global Mission volunteer that you support to write a special note to the congregation or arrange for a Skype visit or short video greeting.
- Know former missionaries or Young Adults in Global Mission volunteers? Invite them to tell their stories in church.
- Take a special offering to support ELCA Missionaries, Young Adults in Global Mission, International Leaders or Global Ministries. Learn more by calling 800-638-3522, ext.2657, or emailing email@example.com.
- See more at: http://blogs.elca.org/handinhand/elca-gms/celebrate-global-church-sunday-3-06082013/#sthash.sDtWC7wV.dpuf
Russian Visitors’ Journey in Central States — June 7-25, 2013Submitted by Pr. Jim Strasen, Trinity Lutheran Church, Great Bend, Kan.
Alexander Lapochenko, pastor of St. Luke’s Lutheran Church in Arsenyev, Russia, and Evgeny Slinchecnko, lay preacher and president of St. Luke’s, arrived at the Kansas City International Airport, on Friday, June 7, 2013, in the morning. They were met by Pastor Jim Strasen (Trinity Lutheran, Great Bend, Kansas) and Pastor Bradn Buerkle (Evangelical Lutheran Mission of Lower Saxony, missionary to Russia) and transported to the Central States Synod Assembly, meeting at the Sheraton Hotel in Overland Park, Kansas. On Friday afternoon, Pastor Alexander and Evgeny had the opportunity to address the assembly and were well received. On Saturday evening they attended worship at Atonement Lutheran Church in Overland Park. On Sunday when the assembly ended, they traveled with Pastor Karen Scherer (Unity Lutheran, Bel-Nor, Missouri) to St. Louis, where they were hosted by Unity and by Christ Lutheran in Webster Groves (see following report).
On Thursday, June 13, Pastor Alexander and Evgeny flew from St. Louis to Kansas City, when Pastor Gary Teske (Trinity Lutheran, Lawrence, Kansas) met them and transported them to Junction City. There Pastor Jim and Miriam Strasen picked them up and hosted them in Great Bend that evening. They attended the Great Bend City Band concert at the courthouse band shell with the Strasens. The next day they met Petr Grigorev, who grew up in Vladivostok but now resides in Ellinwood and works in Great Bend, at his place of business, Petr’ Frame House. Petr would be their translator for the coming week. On Friday afternoon Pastor Strasen transported Pastor Alexander and Evgeny to the home of Pastor John and Anne Schroeppel (retired) in Hutchinson, Kansas, who hosted them that evening and drove them to Wichita on Saturday. Pastor Lowell Michelson (Reformation Lutheran, Wichita) worked on hosts and translators for their time in Wichita. They attended worship at St. Paul Lutheran Church in Peabody, Kansas, on Sunday morning and attended the installation of Pastor Bruce Freeman at Cross of Glory Lutheran Church in Derby, Kansas, on Sunday afternoon. After the service, Pastor Jim and Miriam Strasen picked them up and returned them to their Great Bend home.
On Monday, June 17, Petr accompanied Pastor Alexander, Evgeny, and Pastor Jim to a local cattle feed lot for a tour. In the evening the four drove up to Emmanuel Lutheran Church in Hoisington to meet with a Bible study. No one showed up for the study, so they met with Pastor Steve Little in the parsonage. On Tuesday, all four attended the Area Ministry Two study day at St. John Lutheran Church in Russell. Pastor Alexander and Evgeny remained in Russell for two nights, hosted by Pastor Roger and Barbara Dennis. On Wednesday Petr drove up to Russell to accompany our Russian visitors to various sites and to the evening meal and presentation at St. John’s. Then Petr returned to Great Bend. On Thursday morning, Pastor Roger returned them to Great Bend. In the afternoon Pastor Alexander and Evgeny (with Petr and Pastor Jim) were interviewed by Susan Thacker for an article in the Great Bend Tribune newspaper. Pastor Alexander and Evgeny again attended the Great Bend City Band concert with the Strasens in the evening. On Friday, June 21, they took a tour of the Eagle Radio station, courtesy of announcer Scott Donovan. Then they traveled to Larned to visit Fort Larned National Park and on the way back stopped by to see Pawnee Rock. That evening the four of them traveled to Zion Lutheran Church in Beloit, Kansas, where Pastor Alexander and Evgeny gave their presentation to about twenty members of Zion. Pastor Rick and Debby Raymer hosted them for supper at a local restaurant after the presentation. Then the group returned to Great Bend. During their stay in Great Bend, they also visited a number of other churches, the library, the Schaffer Art Gallery on the Campus of Barton Community College, and many stores downtown and in the community.
On Saturday evening Pastor Alexander and Evgeny attended worship at Trinity Lutheran Church in Great Bend, and assisted with the distribution of the Lord’s Supper. Pastor Alexander prayed the Lord’s Prayer in Russian during the service. They provided the same assistance during both worship services on Sunday morning at Trinity. The Joyful Praise Ringers (bell choir), particularly for the experience of our visitors, provided special musical offerings for both services. Pastor Alexander and Evgeny made their presentation during the 9:15 Education Hour to more than 90 adults, youth, and children. The presentation included maps of Russia, pictures of Vladivostok and Arsenyev and the surrounding land, pictures of the people and church of St. Luke’s Lutheran Church in Arsenyev, including the remodeling that is progressing well. The presentation gave the audience a good idea of the challenges facing the Lutheran church in Far-East Russia, the joys of the people there, as well as the important part we play in the support of their ministry in Christ, the ministry we share in our different place in the world.
After worship the congregation had a potluck dinner, during which time, our Russian friends were presented with gifts and had the opportunity to visit with many people. Petr was present for all the worship services, the presentation, and the meal. In the afternoon Edd Jackson, who had traveled to Arsenyev with the group from Trinity in 2009, gave Pastor Alexander, Evgeny, Petr, and Pastor Jim a tour of his truck (for transporting oil industry machinery) and of the Great Bend Historical Society. That evening Miriam and Pastor Jim hosted Edd and Pam Jackson and Deanna, Charlie, and Tanner Swank (Deanna had also visited Arsenyev in 2009) along with Pastor Alexander and Evgeny and Petr at their house for supper and a nice reunion of sorts.
On Monday, June 24, Pastor Jim and Miriam took Pastor Alexander, Evgeny, and Petr to Ellsworth to ride on combines involved in the wheat harvest. In the evening Petr and his wife hosted Pastor Alexander and Evgeny in their home for supper. Pastor Jim and Miriam drove them to the Kansas City International Airport on Tuesday and saw them off on their 7:15 p.m. flight back to Russia.
Overall, our Russian guests had wonderful opportunities to share their ministry in Arsenyev with many people and to experience our American (and Lutheran) context for ministry here in the center of the United States. Many thanks go to all those who hosted Pastor Alexander and Evgeny, to those who showed them around, to those who translated for them (particularly Petr Grigorev), and to those who provided meals for them (particularly Miriam Strasen).
Submitted by Pr. Keith Holste, Christ Lutheran Church, Webster Groves, Mo.
We were pleased to host Pr. Alexander and Evgeny with the help of the good folks at Unity Lutheran, Bel-Nor who housed them, hosted them showing the city, giving them rest time, an audience at an evening event, and arranging for air transportation to Wichita. Thanks much, Unity !
We at Christ Lutheran had them for the day of June 11. We had an interpreter in the morning and evening from the Latvian Lutheran congregation that meets in our building. A Webster U. student from Russia was able to help us in the afternoon.
In the morning we visited St. Philip’s Lutheran in St. Louis city. We had a conversation with Janis Hutchinson about the Outreach Ministry out of the congregation. Pr. Ledbetter also showed the church building and outside gave a description of the ministry context. We proceeded to the site of the former Immanuel Lutheran and viewed the building exterior, mentioned the historic Lutheran cemetery there, and described the Project Cope ministry across the street.
After lunch we visited two local ministries–one for youth and one for elderly. Epworth Children’s Home Society is located here in Webster Groves and in its local facility has four types of programs for youth in trouble or from troubled circumstances. We received a verbal description of the programs and a tour of the facility with explanations, also, from staff in the various departments. We proceeded to Lutheran Senior Services at Laclede Groves which has a multi-level approach to senior residence and care. We visited in the apartment of a Christ Lutheran member who is a resident there.
For supper we pulled together a potluck which drew about 30 people mostly from Christ who then saw the pictures from Russia and with the aid of the interpreter were about to converse with Alexander and Evgeny.
Visit https://plus.google.com/photos/106381181551429920184/albums/5890708402576590929?authkey=CLSVzdHEwIv8BA for pictures from the day:
Pictures 1, 2, and 4 show Alexander, Evgeny, Janis Huchison, and interpreter discussing the Outreach Ministry at St. Philip’s. Number 3 shows Evgeny, Alexander, Pr. Roy Ledbetter, myself, and the interpreter’s son, Eric in the chancel at St. Philip’s.
Picture 5 shows a lineup at Epworth Children’s Home Society with Kevin Drollinger, Christ member and Home director on the left, the student interpreter next to him, and Volunteer Director Margaret Mahan on the far right.
Picture 6 shows Alex and Evgeny with Christ member Gwen Hickman, a resident at LSS Laclede Groves who hosted us in her apartment, in the chapel at the facility.
The final two are shots from the evening meal and time of sharing.
We hope that everyone is having a quality time with them as we felt we had. We pray the rest of their journey is blessed by the Spirit and they can go home with renewed energy and new ideas for ministry in their context.
Missionary supporters in Central States SynodBy Pastor Lanny Westphal, Director, ELCA Global Church and Missionary Sponsorship
Dear friends in Christ,
I’m happy to tell you that in 2012 congregations and members of your synod provided financial gifts to support these ELCA global missionaries:
- Meghan Bryte, Young Adults in Global Mission, Mexico
- Bradn Buerkle, Education, Russia
- Claire Flesch (from this synod), Young Adults in Global Mission, United Kingdom
- Erik Grayvold, Young Adults in Global Mission, Jerusalem/West Bank
- Jenna Homeyer (from this synod), Young Adults in Global Mission, Jerusalem/West Bank
- Rodney Nordby & Nancy Anderson, Development, Papua New Guinea
- Mark & Linda Nygard, Education, Egypt
- Erin Odgers, Education, Egypt
- Kaleb Sutherland (from this synod), Young Adults in Global Mission, South Africa
- Joseph & Deborah Troester, Development, CAR
- Dorcas Wang, Evangelism, China
Download/view reports for Central States Synod:
- Missionary Sponsorship Gifts from congregations and W-ELCA units
- Missionary Sponsorship Current Covenants
The Central States Synod has designated the Epiphany Season as a Season of Global Awareness. Each year since 2003 resolutions have been passed at the Synod Assembly that encourages all congregations to nurture their relationships with our Companion Synods (the Evangelical Lutheran Church of Papua New Guinea and the Evangelical Lutheran Church in Russia and Other States) during the Epiphany Season.
Resources have been revised for use by congregations in celebrating the Season of Global Awareness in 2013. Download Companion Synod Packet 2013 for updates, worship resources, recipes, prayer requests and opportunities for congregational participation. Please see below for more!
Pastors from Russia to visit Central States SynodBy Pr. Gary Teske, Companion Synod Team Chair (0313)
Pastor Alexander Lapochenko, Pastor of the Lutheran Church in Arsenyev Russia together with the president of that congregation and Pastor Bradn Buerkle, an American Pastor serving in Novosibirsk with the Lutheran Church of the Urals, Siberia and the Far East will be visiting Trinity Lutheran Church in Great Bend, Kan. and congregations across the Central States Synod in late May and early June. They will also be in attendance at the Central States Synod Assembly in June. Pastor Lapochenko is the pastor that the Central States Synod is supporting for a three year period from 2013-2015.
This will be a wonderful opportunity for those Central States Synod congregations who have already committed to support Rev. Lapochenko to meet this pastor who is so important to the ministry of the Lutheran Church in the Far East due to the shortage of pastors, particularly, Russian-Lutheran pastors. It will also be a great opportunity for congregations and individuals across the synod to learn about the ministry of our Companion Church in the Far East of Russia, and to build relationships with some of the leadership of that church. If you, your congregation, Area Ministry or group would be interested in hosting Pr. Lapochenko, Mr. Evgeniy or Pr. Bradn Buerkle, please contact Pr. Jim Strasen at 620-793-7894 or at firstname.lastname@example.org, or Pr. Gary Teske at 785-843-4150 or email@example.com.
We express our appreciation to Trinity Lutheran Church in Great Bend for funding a significant portion of their visit, but, additional funds need to be raised to cover the cost of their visit. Please consider having a special offering or making a special contribution toward the visitation expenses for these visitors from Russia. Of course, an ideal time to do this would be on the Third Sunday of Easter, April 14th which was designated at the 2012 Synod Assembly as the Sunday to remember our “Cousin Christians” in Russia.
Visiting Companion Synod SynodsBy Pr. Janice Kibler, Bishop’s Associate (0912)
On September 15, eight representatives of the Central States Synod will start their two week journey to Russia to meet, learn, and share in relationship building with our Companion Synod, the Evangelical Lutheran Church in the Urals, Siberia and the Far East. Bishop Mansholt, Anita Mansholt (Immanuel, Kansas City MO), Pr. Loren Mai (Bethany, Lindsborg KS), Peggy Schaefer (Trinity, Chesterfield MO), Rebecca Blocksome (Trinity, Lawrence KS), Jim Cooper (Trinity, Lawrence KS), Pr. Gary Teske (Trinity, Lawrence KS) and Kathie Walter (Holy Cross, Overland Park KS) will start the trip in Moscow where they will be introduced to the work we support in the Moscow Protestant Chaplaincy, as well as meet with Bp. Brauer of the Evangelical Lutheran Church of European Russia (http://www.thelutheran.org/article/article.cfm?article_id=10690). Traveling 5 time zones east, they will spend time in Siberia at Krasnoyarsk, where their host, Pr. Bradn Buerkle (our ELCA missionary serving in Russia, http://russiancorrespondent.blogspot.com) will introduce them to the context and ministries. Crossing another 3 time zones east, they will fly to the Russian Far East and share time with St. John Lutheran in Khabarovsk before taking the train south and visiting with St. Luke’s in Arsenyev and St. Mary’s in Ussuriysk.
Arriving in Vladivostok in time for the grand celebration of the 20th anniversary of St. Paul’s in Vladivostok, they will meet with Bp. Schaude of the Evangelical Lutheran Church in the Urals, Siberia and the Far East. Both Pr. Manfred Brockman and the congregation are celebrating the revival of the Lutheran Church during an event-filled festival (http://www.luthvostok.com/?a=page&id=290) which our group will attend as our ambassadors.We pray for those who are traveling, and those who will receive them as guests, that relationships may be formed that demonstrate what it means to accompany one another as the body of Christ, and we look forward to the stories they will share.Thank you to all who support our Companion Synod relationships through your offerings. We were privileged to receive Pr. Walter Tzuenzac from Papua New Guinea as our guest during the summer, and anticipate sending a group to PNG early next year to provide some training that the Kote District has requested. Because of the travel costs involved, your support is greatly appreciated.
[Ed. Note: Bishop Mansholt will be posting to a Blog during the trip to Russia — the address will be announced soon and it will be linked to the synod website and Facebook page.]
Young Adults to take The Plunge
Next spring, a group of young adults will take part in a new initiative to deepen their spirituality and global awareness through a visit to the ecumenical centers in Geneva, Switzerland, and Taizé, France.
It’s called the Plunge, and it will happen on May 29-June 9, 2013. For four days, young adults from Canada and the United States will visit the Lutheran World Federation and World Council of Churches in Geneva to learn how we are connected across the globe through the church. Then they will travel to the Taize community in southern France for a retreat week. There they will experience firsthand the unique style of worship and music that arises from that community as it welcomes youth from across the globe.
More information will be out soon, please direct immediate questions to Pr. Mark Anderson at firstname.lastname@example.org or Pr. Lanny Westphal at email@example.com or visit www.elca.org/localevents.
Solidarity Sunday with Papua New Guinea — February 5, 2012
Download two options for special prayers on Solidarity Sunday: Prayer Ideas
Winter 2011/2012 Russian Correspondent Newsletter
Download the recent newsletter from missionary, Bradn Buerkle: Russian Correspondent
Christmas Greetings from Papua New Guinea
Download Christmas letter from Pr. Rod Norby and Nancy Anderson: Amamas tru
Order the new 2012 Global Mission Map Brochure now!
Filled with a panorama of photos and stories from across the globe, an overview of mission rooted in relationship.
Learn how your gifts and offerings are turned into effective ministry around the world. Perfect for Epiphany, for annual meetings, and more.
To order 10 or fewer copies, call 800/638-3522 or email firstname.lastname@example.org. To order more than 10, see http://resources.elca.org/Products-Global_Mission.html.
“Hand in Hand”
The winter 2011 issue of the Global Mission Support Quarterly Newsletter is available and may be downloaded or orders may be placed for multiple copies. Visit www.elca.org/handinhand.
… for Travelers to Far-East Russia and report, provided by a group of travelers from Trinity, Great Bend, Kan. following their trip in Sept. 2009. Download: Russia Trip.
… from visits to Russia are available:
- ELCROS PowerPoint Presentation [2.77MB]
- ELCROS PDF file of PowerPoint Presentation [537KB]
- ELCROS Images from previous years (PDF format) [108KB]
… to songs from Papua New Guinea:
… may be obtained by following these links:
- Evangelical Lutheran Church of Papua New Guinea
- Evangelical Lutheran Church in Russia and Other States
- http://www.luthvostok.com/?lang=eng (Hosted by the Lutheran Churches in far eastern Russia)
Companion Synod Trip Update
… Evangelical Lutheran Church in Russia and Other States (ELCROS) Written by Bishop Jerry Mansholt for the Companion Delegation — April/May 2007
Please download the following PDF files: