Since 2006, the Rev. Arden Strasser has served with the leaders of the Evangelical Lutheran Church in Zambia, to reinvigorate and strengthen the church and develop all aspects of ministry, including outreach, church administration, and leadership. The ELC-Zambia is quickly changing, and in order to increase management capacity for effective change, he functions as a mentor, advisor, and collaborator.
He says, “I don’t work alone, but always with another Zambian pastor.” Even after years in Africa, Pr. Strasser is still learning to communicate more effectively cross-culturally and is grateful for the unique ways Christ is revealed in the church in Zambia. Besides work with the leaders in the capital city, Lusaka, he is also involved with congregations throughout Zambia for workshops, outreach, worship, a micro-credit development program and the implementation of anti-malaria education. Your powerful partnership, as an ELCA congregation member, is truly valued and appreciated by the ELC-Zambia.
The Companion Synod Program is a concrete expression of the communion fellowship among the 140 member churches of the Lutheran World Federation (LWF). It’s also an exciting way to engage in global mission! The Upstate New York Synod has two companion synods: ELC-Zambia and ELC-Zimbabwe, each located in southern Africa. Companion Synod relationships embody the concept of accompaniment: walking together in service and celebration.
Our partnership with ELC-Zimbabwe matches congregations to parishes and the synod office to the national church. This relationship grows through mutual visits by lay and ordained leaders to and from Zimbabwe. Our congregations that are partnered with Zimbabwe parishes are encouraged to pray for one another and to share the gifts each has to offer. Sharing material gifts means a Zimbabwe parish can purchase altar cloths, communion supplies, choral music, or digital access to facilitate communication.
The relationship with the ELC-Zambia is newer, and is between the national church and Upstate New York congregations. In addition to prayers and communication, our congregations have collaborated to provide Kindles for pastors (pre-loaded with books for pastoral education, Martin Luther’s works, etc.) Congregations contributed to the purchase land and seed for sustainable rice farming and the building of a nursery school.