The Southeastern Iowa Synod has been in a companion relationship with the Pare Diocese of the Evangelical Lutheran Church in Tanzania (ELCT) since 1988. This companion relationship is a gift to the whole body of Christ as we continue to live and serve together in The Name of Jesus.
The Rev. Charles Mjema, Bishop of the Pare Diocese, informed us a year ago that the ELCT has granted permission to the Mwanga district (northern part of the diocese) to separate and form a new diocese. The following is a letter I received from Bishop Mjema last week.
Greetings from Pare Diocese in the Name of our Savior Jesus Christ.
The Pare Diocese is one of the 24 Dioceses of Evangelical Lutheran Church in Tanzania (ELCT) started in year 1975 where formerly was a district of Northern Diocese since 1963. It has worked in two Government Districts namely Same and Mwangasince then to date.
In the mid 1990s, there arose a demand from Pare Diocesan members residing from the Mwanga District to have their own Diocese. The magnitude of this demand pushed the Pare Diocese and ELCT to accept their need and was debated by different Church units until 2015. The ELCT General Meeting, held in August 2015, resolved that Mwanga be granted a Diocese. Since August 2015, the Pare Diocese has been in a transition towards division.
Meanwhile, both parties are in preparation of re-birth of Pare Diocese and birth of the Diocese at Mwanga.
Pare Diocese members residing from Same are remaining with the name Pare Diocese and those of the Mwanga district are coming with another name. This has always been the case when one part of the diocese decides to separates from the other.
This is an official statement from Pare Diocese as regards to current situation in Pare Diocese.
Rt. Rev. Charles Rabson Mjema
Bishop Pare Diocese
As the Pare Diocese navigates this transition, we walk alongside them, first and foremost, in prayer. This is the essence of accompaniment.
Because our Churchwide partners in Global Mission establish companion synod relationships, we are working closely with them to determine our next steps even as we await further news from Bishop Mjema as to the timing of the formation of the new diocese.
There are things about the future that we do not know. But we trust that God is present in all that is still unfolding.
In the meantime, we continue in our companionship with the Pare Diocese of the ELCT. I invite your prayers for our companions and for one another as we strive together to be faithful witnesses to the good news of Jesus Christ.