The Gift of Presence
For nearly two weeks, those of us in the Saint Paul Area Synod have been blessed by the presence of ou[...]
Communication is a buzz-word around Bega Kwa Bega these days. In Minnesota it is an area of focus for the Strategic Planning Committee. It is also an issue that has come up a lot recently in my own work here, in Iringa. Ineffective communication -- or failure to communicate at all -- gets in the way of the relationships that the Bega Kwa Bega team works so hard to uphold and move forward.
The concern is not one-sided. Recently the Bega Kwa Bega Committee of the Iringa Diocese (DIRA) met to discuss issues and concerns related to the DIRA-SPAS partnership. One of the items on their agenda that stimulated a lengthy conversation was, in fact, communication.
Pastor Lusungu Msigwa, BKB-DIRA Coordinator, summarized the committee’s discussion this way: “The general feeling is that all DIRA parishes must write [to their partners in the U.S.]. We told them that many things can be written, because they have many stories. All the parishes should write.”
He continued, “We found they don’t communicate. Iringa parishes have complained that they do not hear from their partners. Our response is, ‘Have you written to them? It’s two-way traffic.’ Some parishes receive communication from their partners, or cards, or gifts, and we deliver them, and they do not reply. They remain silent.”
Going forward, what is the best way to improve communication? Through practice on both sides!
In the United States, we are encouraging all partnered congregations to work harder at communicating with their companion in Iringa – sharing prayer requests, news about congregational life, joys and concerns... anything, really. On the Tanzanian side of the partnership BKB-DIRA will be doing the same, asking each DIRA parish to write to its partner at least three times per year. Pastor Msigwa and I will do all that we can to assist in passing communication back and forth for those partnerships that do not have direct communication with one another. For those who can communicate with their partners via email or WhatsApp, we ask that you always copy the BKB office so that we are on the same page.
“We know that people are busy,” says Msigwa. “Three times a year – this is not much.”
Deacon April Trout
BKB-SPAS Program Coordinator