//Papua New Guinea Partnership
Papua New Guinea Partnership 2017-08-23T12:19:56+00:00

Papua New Guinea Partnership

global_mission_logoAs Ambassadors for Christ, The Virginia Synod continues to build a partnership with the New Guinea Islands District (NGI) the Evangelical Lutheran Church of Papua New Guinea (PNG) that began with the ELCA’s (Mission 90) emphasis in the early 1990s. Every ELCA synod has a companion assigned to them and some have adopted additional partners. Three other synods (North Carolina, Central States and NW Lower Michigan) have partnerships with a PNG district. Our growing relationship with the NGI District of PNG has been the VA Synod’s primary global mission emphasis since 1990.

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

Check out our latest message to Papua New Guinea, a video from Power in the Spirit with over 300 Virginia Lutherans singing “Meri meri bilong God”

Greetings to PNG 2 from Virginia Synod, ELCA on Vimeo.

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.









  • VA Synod Youth raised funds for construction of two elementary classrooms located on the Martin Luther Seminary campus in 2002.
  • VA 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.
  • VA 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.
  • 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 VA 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 VA 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.
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.

1990 – Hona Lewen, Kavieng, New Ireland, visited as part of a Women of the ELCA Woman to Woman Exchange Program.
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.
2000 – Bishop Mauney, Rev. Paul Pingel chair of the Global Mission and 3 others traveled to the NGI District.
2002 – Rev. Roewe Roenu, President of NGI visited VA Synod w/ a three party delegation.
2003 – Rev. Jimmy Joe, ELCPNG Overseas Affairs official visited the VA Synod.
2004 – Rev. Chip Gunsten and Global Mission Chair, Diane Giessler w/ 5 others visited PNG.
2005 – Pres. Hynna Motec and youth director, Dacca Wagai visited during VA Synod Assembly.
2006 – Bonnie Weppler a missionary to PNG visited the VA Synod.
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.
2008 – NGI District Women’s President, Rose Kidabing visited VA Synod and attended the WELCA Trienniel Convention in Washington.
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.
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.
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 the circled names KIMBE, RABAUL and KAVIENG on the map to the left.

Geographically, the NGI District comprises 4 church circuits (like our 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.

Since our companionship was established with the Evangelical Lutheran Church (ELC) of PNG in 1989, it has been led by 3 different Bishops and the NGI District (formed in 1984) has been served by 6 presidents. The current NGI president is The Rev. Tobby Eleasar. 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.