Loaves and Fishes in Abundance
I am always surprised where I will find something about hunger and how we are called to help bring it [...]
Date posted: Thursday 03 January 2019
As we turn the page on a new year, it's hard to believe that I'm well into my second year here in Tanzania. I could never have imagined when I arrived in August 2017 what joy this position would bring me or how my call to ministry would develop in this role.
While in seminary I was on the Diaconal Ministry track. I learned that Diaconal Ministers "stand at the intersection of church and society." They help to carry the word of God and the love of Christ to the world outside the church - quite often to people who are marginalized by society. Diaconal Ministers then bring that world back into the church, to inform the church about what is going on outside the church walls... not in the sense of relating world events, but rather in the sense of alerting the church to the world's needs.
It occurs to me now that this pretty well describes my work and my role. As Bega Kwa Bega Program Coordinator, I stand between the church (the ELCT as well as the ELCA) and the world (the members of the parishes here and in St. Paul, as well as many others interested in or affected by this relationship). In facilitating communication between the two I help to interpret one to the other. To borrow a phrase from the ELCA constitution's description of the responsibilities of a Minister of Word and Service, I am able to "speak publicly to the world in solidarity with the poor and oppressed, calling for justice and proclaiming God's love for the world, witnessing to the realm of God in the community, the nation, and abroad."
I think it's a pretty neat thing as a minister to have a foot in both spheres. I love serving the church but working out in the real world with people who are hungry for the love of God is also a blessing. I enjoy being the go-between... And getting to do it in Tanzania is icing on the cake!
Here's wishing you all a happy and successful 2019.
Mungu Awabariki (God bless you all),
Deacon April Trout
BKB Program Coordinator