//Global Companion Synod
Global Companion Synod 2019-10-30T12:46:20-04:00

Global Companion Synod Relationship

New Guinea Islands District, Evangelical Lutheran Church in Papua New Guinea
Virginia Synod, Evangelical Lutheran Church in America

Papua New Guinea is a stunningly beautiful place with stunningly beautiful people! The Virginia Synod is blessed to be in a companion synod relationship with the New Guinea Islands District. Together we live as God’s people and as faithful followers of Jesus. We support one another in sharing the gospel, praying for God’s people, sharing the sacraments, and living as disciples. Together we are one community of God’s people – spread across our respective areas of the world but one people of God always!

Mi amamas bilong God long God mekim yumi kam bum wantaim na kamap famili bilong God.
(I give thanks to God because God brings us together as one family of God!)

The ELCPNG has 17 districts which are like ELCA synods. Each district is divided into circuits, like VA Synod conferences. Each district is led by a District President, like the Synod Bishop. The New Guinea Islands District is led by District President Pastor Tobby Eleasar. Lutherans are the second largest Christian denomination in PNG, where they faithfully witness to God’s grace which justifies us through faith.

Our relationship together as sisters, brothers, and siblings in Christ is rooted in accompaniment which promotes the values of mutuality, inclusivity, vulnerability, empowerment and sustainability. We respect one another’s uniqueness within our common Lutheran faith. Our relationship together mutually strengthens us to deepen our commitment as a community of faith, building up the body of Christ.

Synod Contact:
Diane Giessler, Coordinator of Companion Synod Program
(540) 745-3667
Click here to link to the ELCA Global Mission

Virginia Synod Miniterium Bring Greetings to PNG

The Companion Synod relationship exists for the purpose of strengthening one another for life and mission within the body of Christ. It offers us the privilege of participating in the life of another church through pray, study, communication and exchange of persons and resources. It opens our eyes to the global challenge that Christ offers us today and calls us to deepen our commitment and discipleship as individual persons and as a community of faith.

  • 2019 – Assistant to the Bishop The Rev. Kelly Bayer Derrick, The Rev. Michael Church, Diane Giessler, and Matt Wertman visited the capitol city of Port Moresby and NGI District.
  • 2011 – Following several years of major fundraising, The Women of the Virginia Synodical Women’s Organization of the WELCA brought two women from the Islands District to the VA Synod.  Mary Irasua and Mirium Muyambe attended the VSWO Convention and visited many congregations throughout Virginia.  They were wonderful ambassadors for Christ.
  • 2008 – Bishop Mauney, Ann Mitchell, Diane Giessler and 3 VA Synod Youth (Matt Wertman, Danielle Martin and Suzanne Rhodes) visited the capitol city of Port Moresby and the NGI District.
  • 2008 – NGI District Women’s President, Rose Kidabing visited VA Synod and attended the WELCA Trienniel Convention in Washington.
  • 2007 – Companion Synod Coordinator, Diane Giessler and Mary Short and Karen Mayer visited ELCPNG headquarters, NGI District and 2 PNG seminaries located in other areas of PNG.
  • 2006 – Bonnie Weppler a missionary to PNG visited the VA Synod.
  • 2005 – Pres. Hynna Motec and youth director, Dacca Wagai visited during VA Synod Assembly.
  • 2004 – Rev. Chip Gunsten and Global Mission Chair, Diane Giessler w/ 5 others visited PNG.
  • 2003 – Rev. Jimmy Joe, ELCPNG Overseas Affairs official visited the VA Synod.
  • 2002 – Rev. Roewe Roenu, President of NGI visited VA Synod w/ a three party delegation.
  • 2000 – Bishop Mauney, Rev. Paul Pingel chair of the Global Mission and 3 others traveled to the NGI District.
  • 1992 – Judy Wagner St. Pierre visited PNG (8 days in NGI) with the WELCA Woman to Woman Exchange Program
  • 1995 – Bishop Richard Bansemer’s delegation of 6 visited all 4 circuits of the NGI District
  • 1998 – Mary Tankulu, Bialla, WNBritain, enrolled as a student at Roanoke College and
    graduated in 2002.
  • 1990 – Hona Lewen, Kavieng, New Ireland, visited as part of a Women of the ELCA Woman to Woman Exchange Program.

Papua New Guinea (an independent nation since 1975) is NORTH of the northern tip of Australia and the region that is a Companion to the VA Synod are the islands EAST of the PNG main island where you see KIMBE, RABAUL and KAVIENG on the map.

Geographically, the NGI District comprises 4 church circuits (like Virginia Synod conferences) that align with PNG provinces. Kimbe and Bialla Circuits are in W. New Britain Province. Rabaul is in E. New Britain and Kavieng Circuit is in New Ireland Province.

ELCPNG was born in July 1886 when the Rev. Johannes Flierl, a German missionary set up the first mission station new Finschhafen, a port of call for overseas shipping. It was 13 years before the first baptisms were performed. Today, the ELCPNG is the second largest Christian denomination in Papua New Guinea, with about 1.6 million members (about 20% of the PNG population).

The New Guinea Islands District and the Virginia Synod work together to support various ministries in the NGI District. Here are just a few:

  • Virginia Synodical Women’s Organization sponsored the visit of two women (Mary Irasua and Mirium Myambee) from the NGI District to the VA Synod in 2011.
  • Virginia Synod Youth raised funds a second time to aid in a NGI district-wide project to establish a district center that would among other things provide space for youth activity coordination. Project has been on hold while NGI leadership updates procedures.
  • The Virginia Synod Project that began in 2007 has the most significant on-going positive impact is the School Fee Assistance for NGI District Pastor’s children. This project began after the VA Synod learned that it was very difficult, if not impossible, for pastors to afford to send their children to the PNG tuition-based school. Due to the generosity of Virginia Synod congregations and individuals, we achieved funding for every NGI pastor’s child. In addition, we have sponsored NGI men as seminarians and some NGI students at large to attend church based institutions.
  • Virginia Synod Youth raised funds for construction of two elementary classrooms located on the Martin Luther Seminary campus in 2002.
  • Some of the youth funds were used to help the NGI District host a national ELCPNG Youth Conference by purchasing tarps and sound system.
  • The VSWO help the NGI District Women begin a Literacy Program and for one circuit to acquire sewing machines to begin an outreach program.

The Virginia Synod of the Evangelical Lutheran Church in America (ELCA) brings Christmas greetings to our siblings in Evangelical Lutheran Church of Papua New Guinea (ELC-PNG). The Virginia Synod and ELC-PNG are companion synods.

President Tobby Eleasar of the New Guinea Islands District of the Evangelical Lutheran Church in Papua New Guinea wanted to send a message to the Virginia Synod, his partner synod in the U.S.. He extends his thanks to the people of Virginia for receiving him with such open arms during his visit this past year and he tells of his goals for his district. The video was first shown at the Gathering of the Ministerium in October.

Help support a student from the Islands District of Papua New Guinea! You can help pastors send their children to school. Below is the list that includes the pastor’s name, their children’s names and their school fees. It shows who has already sponsored a child and the children still in need of sponsorship.

NGI Student sponsor 2013

Boys at Soi BiallaGirls at Soi Bialla

If you would like to sponsor a child contact Diane Giessler at (540) 745-3667 or zephyr@swva.net

Payment for the school fees pledged are due by the end of they year (December 2013). Checks can be mailed to the attention of Billie Spencer at the Synod Office with “PNG Student” written in the memo line.

We also support seminarians from the NGI District and a few other students who attend our church related college.

Zimike Saros is a third year student and president of the student council at Sr. Flierl Seminary.

Zimike Saros is a third year student and president of the student council at Sr. Flierl Seminary.

Thank you note from Sr. Flierl Seminary

Thank you note from Sr. Flierl Seminary

Haringke Heco is in his fifth and final year.

Haringke Heco is in his fifth and final year.