A Growing Companionship

Date posted: Wednesday 30 May 2018

At our recent Synod Assembly, we adopted new bylaws that replace the Guatemala Task Force with a new Guatemala Committee. You might be wondering, "So what? Why does this matter?"


Well, this new structure is needed precisely because our companion synod relationship with ILAG has grown and matured. A task force is only temporary, while a committee is not. This committee structure will:


  • fully integrate our companion relationship with Guatemala into the normal life and work of our synod;
  • assure donors that all monies raised and transferred will occur in a fully transparent and accountable manner; and
  • provide for succession as key leaders come and go.


As importantly, this new structure will enable more people and congregations to experience the transforming power of walking side by side with our Guatemalan brothers and sisters in Christ. Administration will occur through a group of elected leaders (the "Guatemala Committee") accountable to the Bishop and the Synod Council, while everyone else ("Guatemala Friends") will be free to focus on fun, interesting, and meaningful events that strengthen and expand relationships.


This year we've held two such events - the Accompaniment Workshop in February, and the Guatemala Gala in April. At the workshop, experienced travelers shared inspiring stories of discovery and transformation. At the Gala, we raised money to help transform young women's lives through construction and operation of an expanded Milagro (Miracle) Women's Center.


Under our new structure, we will be creating additional events. That might include a training event for health promotion, or a workshop on education, where participants could learn to create craft packages or math games for the teachers at El Mirador primary school. This is an exciting opportunity to be creative, and all ideas are welcome!


Your congregation council will soon be invited to name a "congregational coordinator". This person will be the point of contact for nominating members for the Guatemala Committee. This person will also help with communicating Guatemala news and events widely within your congregation. We hope everyone will respond and embrace this new structure, so that our companion relationship with Guatemala will continue to grow and deepen!


For more information, please contact me at the synod office at 651-224-4313 or email me at joe.lees@spas-elca.org.


The Rev. Joe Lees

Assistant to the Bishop for Vital Congregations, Vital Partnerships