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Church at Ilbura

Tanzania Companionship Committee

The Tanzania Companionship Committee is the bridge of support between this synod and the North Western Diocese of the Evangelical Lutheran Church in Tanzania. The committee hosts visitors from Tanzania, raises funds, coordinates the endowment fund for educational ministries, and works to deepen and strengthen our relationship. Our primary focus is commitment to Christian education in the diocese, especially by supporting American teachers at Kibeta English Medium Primary School (KEMPS).

Committee chair: Pastor Dan Ward


Michelle Mercado, our newest KEMPS teacher, began in August 2014 along with husband Trevor and sons Patricio and Nino. The family will be there for two years. Meet Teacher Michelle here and follow her blog.


Every year we remember and celebrate our relationship with the North Western Diocese. We invite congregations to celebrate our companionship on the last Sunday of September, or any fall Sunday you choose. Here are some worship resources and suggestions. This year, special Udugu Sunday offerings will go toward scholarships for KEMPS students. Please contact Lois Rimbo if you would like to invite a speaker to your congregation.


Named in memory of his beloved mother, the Tilchen Computer Lab (TCL) was generously donated in 2006 by Mr. Henry Timnick to KEMPS, our Lutheran primary school in Tanzania. Recently Mr. Timnick issued a challenge grant saying that he would donate $20,000 if others could raise an additional $12,000 toward the upgrade. MNYS churches were asked to raise offerings for this purpose as part of 2013 Udugu Sunday celebrations. The Tanzania Companionship Committee is pleased to announce that the challenge has been successfully met and that the Tilchen Computer Lab will soon be completely upgraded with new computers. There is also a plan to raise additional funds to maintain the lab for the future.


Has your congregation ever considered partnering with a global companion? These MNYS congregations are now partnering with congregations in Tanzania, geographically located here.

St. John's, Poughkeepsie and Kashura Parish

Christ/Cristo, Freeport and Kikomero Parish

Advent, Manhattan and Biirabo Parish

Trinity, Brewster and Kibondo Parish

Good Shepherd, Plainview and Kashenye Parish

Cross of Christ, Babylon and Kaagya Parish

United, Mount Vernon and Kanyinya Parish

Saint Peter's, Manhattan and Bukoba Cathedral

Companion congregation relationships grapple with our oneness in Christ as we grow in relationship and share the gospel. Friendships are formed and opportunities for experiencing another culture are offered. If you or your congregation is interested, please contact Rebekah Thornhill for a partnership guide.


What does it mean to be companion synods?
It means that together, we will:

  • be accountable to one another through a built-in review process
  • commit to being transparent in our companionship
  • commit to clear and strong communication
  • pray for the Holy Spirit’s guidance
  • seek to develop long-term relationships of mutual support for the sake of God's mission
  • value and use the diverse gifts the Holy Spirit has given us.


In 2003, the Synod Assembly voted to create a permanent $1 million endowment fund for Christian education in the North Western Diocese. The interest (5% per year) is funding the salaries and expenses of the two American teachers at KEMPS.

While the endowment is self-sustaining, donations are gratefully received to strengthen the work. Checks should be made payable to the Metropolitan New York Synod with "Tanzania endowment fund" in the memo line. You can also designate your online gift here. Thank you!

Consider visiting Tanzania

Potential trip in October 2015

Read our e-Newsletter

Tanzania Update: Autumn 2013



North Western Diocese website

Endowment Resolution

2010 Synod Assembly video

Committee Members

Pr. Perucy Butiku, staff

Pr. Dan Ward, chair

Pr. Rosalind Brathwaite

Dcn. Rich Ferolito

Pr. Carol Fryer
John Hinsch
Gayle Kliever

Judy Lorkowski
Pr. John Krahn
Lois Rimbo
Margarent Wenger


Mwangaza Partnership

Part of our synod’s ministry with our companion synod in Tanzania is through our support of Mwangaza Partnership for Education. Since 1996, Mwangaza has provided learning opportunities for secondary school teachers and students, women leaders and congregational teams by working through the 20 dioceses of the Evangelical Lutheran Church in Tanzania (ELCT). Learn more at www.mwangazapartnership.org.


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