Accompaniment with Lutherans in Senegal
Members of the 2017 GCS Delegation to Senegal eat around the bowl with members of the Dakar Parrish and a YAGM.
What is Accompaniment?
We understand accompaniment as walking together in a solidarity that practices interdependence and mutuality. The basis for this accompaniment, or what the New Testament calls koinonia, is found in the God-human relationship in which God accompanies us in Jesus Christ through the Holy Spirit.
Accompaniment is more than an exclusive contract between two or more companion churches. It is a walking together in Jesus Christ of two or more churches in companionship and in service in God’s mission.5 In the walking together on the road to Emmaus, the Lord reveals himself to his companions. While walking together, each of the two disciples’ and Jesus’ stories become interlocked. Their three stories become intertwined. As the stories come together, God’s plan in Jesus’ resurrection becomes clearer. A new community, the church, begins to emerge in Jerusalem. In sharing a meal the companions recognize the presence of Jesus with them.
Accompaniment emphasizes relationship before resources. Development of programs and allocation of resources flow from how companions relate, rather than vice versa. Accompaniment is valued for its own sake as well as for its results. It is open-ended with no foregone conclusions. The companions learn together in the journey. Accompaniment binds companions more closely to their Lord and further informs their mission.
A primary reality of accompaniment is the mutual respect of the companions. The conversation is no longer between a giver and a receiver but between two churches, each of which has gifts to give and to receive.
We are a church that believes God is calling us into the world – together. Walking together we achieve things on a scale and scope that we could never do otherwise.
Young Adult Exchange July 2019
In 2019 a group of young adults from the Grand canyon Synod will be traveling to Senegal to form relationships with our Senegalese brothers and sisters in Christ. Representing the Grand Canyon Synod was Julie, Sam, Stephanie and Geraldine. They each appreciated the opportunity to create deeper relationships with our friends on the African continent.
Former ELS Secretary General Pascal Kama
Pascal visited the Grand Canyon Synod in January 2018 to share about the ELS and to learn about the GCS. Pascal started his journey in Las Vegas, hosted by Pastor Paul Block of New Song (Henderson). Not only was he able to take in a Cirque du Soleil show, he met with other local pastors. Pascal was pleased to know there are churches in Las Vegas doing the good work of the gospel.
On his way to Northern Arizona, a quick stop was made at the Grand Canyon. Pascal then was hosted by George and Rosemary Kaiser of Sedona. They toured him around that amazing part of the synod and visited with members at Christ (Sedona).
Pascal made his way to Phoenix and reconnected with Julie Gerrish, a former YAGM who spent last year in the same town where Pascal works. While in the city, he worshipped at Lord of Life (Sun City), toured the Beatitudes, visit with students at ASU, visited the preschool at Esperanza (Phoenix), shared about the Lutheran Church in Senegal with congregations of the Capital Conference, and spoke with youth at the new C.A.L.L. ministry (confirmation among local Lutherans). Not only was he excited to spend time with the youth, he also was able to meet a woman who is 105 years old.
Then it was south to Tucson to spend Wednesday evening with campus ministry at U of A. Pastor Ron Rude hosted Pascal and accompanied him to a gathering at Desert Hills (Green Valley). From Tucson, Pascal traveled to Yuma (yes Yuma) and was able to cross over into California, walk on the Imperial Sand Dunes, see the Border Fence, and worship with the saints at Gloria de Cristo and Faith (Yuma). He was even treated to a good old fashioned potluck luncheon.
Yes, Pascal covered a lot of ground in the grand Canyon Synod because that is what we have a lot of! But he also got to spend time meeting people, sharing about the work of his church, and learning about what it means to be Lutheran in our Southwestern environment.
Pascal was surprised to notice how much older the average person at our congregations is compared to the congregations in Senegal. Of course, in Senegal 52% or people are under the age of 20, so this would make sense. He also appreciated the wide variety of food available to him from burgers to tacos to Chinese and even a Senegalese meal, prepared especially for him and served around the bowl (Senegalese-style) at Holy Trinity (Chandler). Pascal was also grateful for this opportunity to meet many different people. He truly appreciated being able to look out over the Grand Canyon and take in its beauty and majesty. But most significant, Pascal desires to deepen our companion church relationship and will be working on many new initiatives to make this happen.
Please continue to hold in prayer the Lutheran Church in Senegal. Pray for Pascal and the other leaders of the church. Pray for Pastor Kristin Engstrom, who supervises six Young Adults in Global Mission serving this year among our Senegalese brothers and sisters. Pray for God to reveal to you how your congregation may get involved in this partnership.