Another year comes to a close and our hearts are full of gratitude.

During our most recent visit, Bishop Gaville commented many times, “This relationship is such a gift to our diocese.” For those of us involved in Bega Kwa Bega from the Saint Paul Area Synod side, the feeling is mutual.

Today I’d like to thank a group of people who tend, lead and guide this companionship. They are members of the Iringa Committee and BKB Program Team Volunteers. They bring an amazing array of skills and expertise to our work together, in areas of accounting, strategic planning, fundraising, organizing, cross-cultural competence, event planning, education and travel. They also bring a spirit of curiosity and a level of commitment that serves us well. Whether attending our bimonthly meetings in person or digitally, they are “all in.”

The Iringa Committee is led by the very capable Caryn Josephson (Prince of Peace, Roseville) and includes members Barb Lind (House of Prayer), The Rev. Dale Stiles (St. Paul, Wyoming), The Rev. Lynda Thompson (First), Barb Damlo (Christus Victor), Laurie Johnson (Gustavus Adolphus), Ginny Rudolph (Augustana), Russ Hilliard (Holy Trinity, NH), Harold Torunsky (Incarnation), Beth Hostager (St. Stephen, West St. Paul), The Rev. Karsten Nelson (Our Redeemer), The Rev. Chris Smith (Friends of Huruma), Jim Wolf (St. Mark, North St. Paul), Helen Yotter (Amazing Grace), Birdie Olson (St. James) and Michael Johnson (Trinity, Stillwater).

Our Program Team of Cluster Leaders provides volunteer support year-round, communicating with subsets of congregations and collecting scholarship pledges. Our volunteer Travel Coordinators provide skilled advice as travel groups develop itineraries, and then manage reservations for lodging and ground transportation. Many thanks to Jim Wolf, Caryn & Jim Josephson, The Rev. Dale Stiles, The Rev. Karsten Nelson, Elizabeth Hendrickson, Birdie Olson, Russ Hilliard and Jo Whiting, as well as travel experts Jan Sower and Terry Lohmann.

In addition, we have committees who work on administration & finance, endowment awards, strategic planning, scholarship and education, event planning, and equity outreach issues (a newly formed group). In addition to those named above, in the past year these groups included The Rev. Rolf Olson, Linka Holey, Bo Skillman, Eric Elton, Karen Sawyer Smith, Clay Morlock, Ken Olson, Sue and Dave Klevan, Virginia Altman, Lea Thornton, and Dan McIntyre. Please send me a note if you’d like to get involved in one of these areas in the new year.

With deep gratitude for the whole community of Bega Kwa Bega, in both Iringa and St. Paul,

Asante sana,

Kirsten Levorson
Director of Bega Kwa Bega