Officially begun in 1987 as a synod to synod program with a primary focus on educating pastors for the rapidly growing
Evangelical Lutheran Church in Tanzania, the synod's companion synod relationship with the Iringa Diocese has evolved
into a grassroots movement in which congregations in the Saint Paul Area Synod are matched with congregations in the
The companion congregation program focuses on five areas, including prayer, communication, scholarships for
secondary and post-secondary education, exchange visits, and financial support. Seventy partnerships have been formed
with congregations in Iringa Diocese.
Participating congregations agree to pray for one another regularly and to engage in regular communication through
email, videos, letters, or photographs. Providing scholarships is an investment
in the next generation of Tanzanian leadership, and exchanges between congregations affirm unity in mission and
foster cultural understanding. In addition, Saint Paul Area Synod congregations support Tanzanian congregations with
a minimum $1,000 annually, which might include the purchase of roofing and building materials, program support,
livestock, or bicycles for evangelists.
Since its inception in 1987, thousands of visitors from the Saint Paul Area Synod have visited Iringa. More than 100
have traveled to this synod from Iringa. The Iringa Choir has visited the SPAS, performing concerts in congregations
throughout the area. These visits have strengthened and cemented relationships with partner parishes by enabling
visitors to understand the culture, faith, and life of our brothers and sisters in Christ living in Iringa.
In addition, affiliated groups working through congregations in this synod have helped to drill wells to provide clean,
sustainable water to villages, taught classes in sanitation and hygiene, provided support to an orphanage, donated
livestock, funded secondary school scholarships to more than 1500 students annually, roofed worship centers, provided
modest pensions for retired pastors or their widows, worked to upgrade the Ilula Lutheran Health Center to a district
hospital and provided agricultural training programs to help move farming beyond subsistence levels.