Partnership between two evangelical church districts:
Tambarare in Tansania (ELCT - NED)
and Vlotho in Germany (ECG – ECW)
Christians are part of God's worldwide and international people, so it may come in useful to become better acquainted with at least some of its various members. In Eastern Westphalia a lot of contacts have been established with Christians in Tansania, among them those with the neighbouring districts Minden, Lübbecke, Bielefeld and Gütersloh. In Germany new contacts have also been formed based on the partnership, with regular meetings and seminars on Tansania. They are conducted by our Missionary Society, the 'UEM, United Evangelical Mission, Wuppertal', and the 'oekumenical workshop Bethel, Bielefeld.
Since 1983/84 a partnership has existed between two church districts. The partner 'Vlotho' is part of the Evangelical Church of Westphalia, led by präses Alfred Buß, Bielefeld, whereas the partner 'Tambarare' (which means 'plain') is a part of one Ev. - Lutheran Church in Tansania called 'North-Eastern Diocese (NED) led by bishop Stephen Munga Ph.D, Lushoto. The parishioners live in the plain facing the Usambara- mountains, along the road from Mombo to Tanga, in the eastern part of the mountain range and the extensive plain and steppe.
The Tambarare-District consists of 12 parishes of about 250 subparishes, in three different areas:
1. Mission-Region: Mombol, Kwalukonge, Handeni, Gombero (including many Massai areas)
2. Central Region: Korogwe, Emao, Mshihwi (and Kalalani)
3. East-Usambara Region: Hale, Kabuku, Muheza, Mlingano, Amani
The Superintendent, district pastor, Rev. Hokelai Shekizongolo, who has been in office since June 2006, lives in the city of Korogwe, Tanga Region. He is supported by the executive committee of the church district, the 12 pastors and many church elders, the 57 evangelists and 13 parish workers. Although there is an increase in the number of parishioners, the number of parishes has been reduced from 13 to 12 in order to guarantee the payment of the pastors and their staff. The pastors visit their districts several times a year. Day-to-day work is carried out by the evangelists, parishworkers, subparish-leaders: they hold services, teach, support the groups and visit parishioners together with the churchelders. Young people and families with all their children participate in the life of the congregation. Choirs play an important role in the services and in the parishes. They encourage people to come to faith by visiting them at their homeplaces and preaching the gospel with music.
There are considerable differences as far as the ways of life are concerned in Tansania and Vlotho. Tansania is among the poorest countries in spite of its richness in various resources: magnifieent national parks, snow-covered mountain peaks, lakes, coast, steppe, miracles of nature in abundance and many animals. And in addition to that: people belonging to various ethnic groups, speaking 120 different languages.The partnership allows us to recognize the differences and to ask ourselves what is indispensable for today's life and survival. Trust in our Heavenly Father, who has revealed himself in Jesus Christ, this is the reliable and firm foundation of our partnership. Our faith in him enables us to face the future with confidence. lt encourages us to profess Christianity and serve HIS cause in the respective country.
The contacts are fostered by regular visits. The Vlotho delegation of 2004 invited Tambarare people to come to Vlotho in 2006. In 2006 four people from Tambarare visited Vlotho and issued an invitation to Tambarare for 2008. - Every year on the last Sunday in January partnership service is held. It is alternately prepared by parishes in Vlotho and Tambarare respectively, and is celebrated in all parishes of either districts, giving strong evidence of the shared centre of our partnership. In addition to that, we pray for each other, exchange the latest information on current schemes, projects and special events, and we keep in touch by writing letters.
Our tasks are coordinated by partnership committees with a lot of parishioners being involved from either congregation.Since the very beginning of our partnership a contract has regulated matters.
Various projects are set up to support Christians in Tambarare.
The latest projects in detail:
1) Support for the roofing of Church buildings with corrugated iron sheets: in 12 parishes for 29 different church roofs and for parish houses in 2006 and 2007.
2) 54 bicycles for the evangelists and parishworkers in all parishes
3) one motorcycle ('picki-picki') for each parish, 2 new ones for Hale and Kwalukonge in 2004
4) a new district-car to cover the enormous distances, December 2003
5) women's employment: agricultural projects and support for HIV orphans in 2004 and 2006
6) youth work: 9 new trumpets in 2004 and keyboards in 2003
7) education: school fees for 18 (!) school-students in Lwandai and Bangala, since 2004
8) office building: support for the district office building in the Korogwe-Mtonga since 2004
9) kindergarten: support for kindergarten in Muheza, Kwalukonge and Korogwe in 2006
10) further education for six evangelists in Korogwe, Teachers Resouces Centre, since 2004
The partnership-committee in Vlotho District deals with a lot of different issues concerning Tansania, e.g.: campaign for remission of debts in 2000, African literature and music, agriculture, one world shops, i.e. selling goods from Tansania to the benefit of the partnership; health care: the church providing medical treatment in the Bumbuli hospital and Gombero dispensary; Islam and Christianity in Tansania; HIV campaign and the 20-year anniversary of our partnership in 2004.
Visits and Consultations
* Consultation of partnership in Lushoto, August 2003, NED and Germany, participants from Vlotho: Annegret Fabry and Wolfram Giedinghagen; afterwards visit to all parishes in Tambarare.
* Delegation 2004: on the occasion of the anniversary in Tansania, a brass ensemble with 9 persons travelled from Vlotho to Tambarare in August. They brouhgt 9 instruments as a jubilee gift to Tambarare.
* The partnership's 20' anniversary celebration in Germany, with guests from Tambarare: Superintendent Rev. John Fisha and Rev. Ernest Mngazija, 10. October 2004, Bad Oeynhausen, service and meeting with brass ensemble (delegation 2004) and gospel choir Dehme.
* Delegation 2006: They stayed in Vlotho district in June and visit the district, many parishes and institutions. Four members of Tambarare visited Vlotho: Sup. Hokelai Shekizongolo, Korogwe, Mrs. Grace Mweta, Mombo, Mrs. Rehema Ngimbuchi, Hale and Mr. James Liymo, Korgowe.
To support the partnership collections, gifts and donations are required which enable us to carry out the individual projects and to support our partners in their community work. The Church district of Vlotho has kindly provided an annual fixed amount, and neither the parishes nor individual parishioners would let anything stop them from giving Christians in Tansania financial support, year after year. Their generosity deserves our grateful thanks! In addition to that, the Vlotho district opened a special account in 2000, designed to ensure all projects can be carried out on a long-term basis. Each amount payed into this account is doubled by the Church district; the interest earned is allocated for the partnership.
Donations: In cash: to the parishes in Vlotho district or to the bank account of the Vlotho district.
'Bank for Church and Diaconic', Dortmund (in german: KD-BANK), sort code: 350 601 90,
account number: 2007 237 025. Payments either for the support of current projects: as payment for “Tambarare” or for the long-term maintenance of the partnership, as payment for “Tambarare -Sonderfonds'” (I.e. instead of birthday presents, wedding, on the occasion of bequests, inheritance, donations etc.)
For further information please contact:
For Tambarare District:
Rev. Hokelai Shekizongolo, P.O. Box 425, Korogwe (Tanga-Region), Tansania
For Vlotho District:
Rev. Markus Freitag, Detmolder Str. 207, 32545 Bad Oeynhausen, phone +49 5731 79 65 05
Rev. Eckard Teismann, 32584 Löhne-Mahnen, Königstr.24, phone: +49 5723 3354, Fax: +49 5732 3525
Date: May 2007, written by Rev. Giedinghagen, E-Mail: firstname.lastname@example.org