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General secretary of Ulanga-Kilombero Diocese visits NWIM Synod

Philorian Mpendaye values friends in NW Intermountain Synod. Photos courtesy of Philorian Mpendaye and Moses Nuaka


Philorian Mpendaye, general secretary of the Ulanga-Kilombero Diocese (EKD) of the Evangelical Lutheran Church in Tanzania, will be a guest of the Northwest Intermountain (NWIM) Synod of the Evangelical Lutheran Church in America (ELCA) from April 10 to May 23.

He will meet delegates at the Synod Assembly from April 28 to 30 in Pasco and will visit people in the synod's 12 clusters and many of the 90 congregations in Eastern Washington and Idaho.

It is his second visit. Previously, Philorian was in the synod from March 1 to May 4, 2001, on a teacher exchange, primarily in Bonners Ferry schools.

His presence then and now gives a human face to the synod's companionship with the UKD.

In 2001, he visited parishes and schools to learn strategies of education by observing classes and talking with teachers.

Moses Nuaka shows a plentiful crop, and last year's poor crop.

Then he returned to Tanzania where he integrated ideas and developed a teachers' guide that described a more interactive teaching-learning style to be used by teachers in church-managed secondary schools in Tanzania, including at Tumaini Seminary in Malinyi.

"I saw how U.S. teachers and students had more flexibility and freedom. U.S. schools have more discussions to help students think critically," Philorian said.

He not only brought ideas into his own teaching at Tumaini, but also held seminars for teachers in church-managed schools in the Eastern Zone of Tanzania and shared them with colleagues until 2008, when he became general secretary of the diocese.

Now living in Ifakara as general secretary, Philorian is in charge of the diocesan business matters as chief executive and accounting officer.

Moses Nuaka shows a plentiful crop, and last year's poor crop.

He oversees the work of the diocese, supervises heads of departments and institutions, and  undertakes the administrative and employment responsibilities in all diocesan units—the head office, departments, districts, parishes and institutions. He prepares agendas of the General Assembly, Executive Council, and the executive, constitutional, finance and human resource committees in consultation with the bishop.

Philorian also implements resolutions of the assembly, council and committees. He manages employee matters, including acquisition, training, supervising and assuring welfare and retirement benefits.

Bishop Renard Mtenji is primarily the spiritual leader but he undertakes administrative tasks, too.

Since 2013, Philorian has also been secretary of companionships, which are with two German Evangelical Lutheran synods—Central Germany, Bavaria—and with the Langenhorner Tansania Arbeitskreis, the Berlin Mission Work and Lugala Arbeitskreis, the Danish Lutheran Mission, SoliadrMed and the NWIM Synod.

Each of those companionships brings relationships and assists with ministries, the hospital and school.

Companions helped build an assembly hall at Tumaini so students, who previously ate outside and ran into a classroom during the rainy season, had an indoor place to eat. Partners have also provided small classrooms and houses for staff and teachers, Philorian said.

The synod contributed to constructing the Martin Luther Spiritual and Conference Center.

To increase security, a wall is now being built around Tumaini, a boarding school with 106 students.

"It is important for our companionship ties to be first about proclaiming the Gospel of Jesus Christ, as well as to extend hospitality to strengthen relationships with one another through the shared practices of prayer, presence and discussion of challenges in doing God's mission," said Philorian.

"These relationships influence our lives as we serve our common Lord Jesus Christ," he commented.

He also highlighted the impact of NWIM Synod Women in supporting the education of 20 girls a year at Tumaini.

One is now studying for a master's in mass communication in Germany. Some are nurses, hospital technicians and pastors. Many are active in their churches and communities.

One woman who graduated from Tumaini is a pastor and currently is pursuing a doctoral degree in theology at Tumaini University Makumira in Arusha, he pointed out.

Copyright@ The Fig Tree, April 2023