Global Mission is about being in accompaniment with others. What exactly does that mean?
Accompaniment-literally, walking together side by side-is a mutual relationship and journey where the presence of God is revealed.
Central Africans have their own expression for accompaniment: maboko na maboko¸ which means “hand in hand.”
The biblical roots of accompaniment are found in the incarnation of Jesus when God walks with us. One of the stories that unfolds this presence is in Luke 24:13-35, the Easter story of the friends walking on the road to Emmaus. The disciples on the road, the accompanying stranger, the dialogue and examination of scripture, the extending of hospitality and a meal, and finally, the revelation of the risen Christ in the breaking of bread, all provide images of our journey together in God’s mission.
The Upstate NY Synod practices accompaniment through a companion synod relationship with the Evangelical Lutheran Church in Zimbabwe (ELCZ) and the Evangelical Lutheran Church in Zambia (ELCZa). Local congregations practice accompaniment when they meet mission partners as equals and build relationship along with providing support. View a presentation on Accompaniment.
Two books are suggested as community reads to support the theme,
Building Bridges, of the 2017 Upstate NY Synod Assembly. These books address how charity is typically enacted by religious organizations, how we sometimes hurt when our intent is to help, and how we can re-envision mission.
Toxic Charity: How Churches and Charities Hurt Those They Help
(and how to reverse it) by Robert D. Lupton (2012).
Charity Detox: What Charity Would Look Like if We Cared About the Results by Robert D. Lupton (2016). Available on Amazon for around $10
While everything in these books may not apply to your congregation and while you may not totally agree with all the ideas, take time to read, reflect and discuss within your congregation and with others in the synod about how ministry and mission is enacted, where the power lies, and how relationships are developed.