Tanzanian Companion Church


Dar es Salaam, Tanzania, East Africa        AND             Manistique, Michigan USA


Through the Northern Great Lakes Synod, Zion Lutheran Church was matched with a companion Church in Tanzania, Africa.  Our mission was to partner with Magomeni Lutheran Church so that we could learn about different cultures and ways to show our love for God.  This was not to be a monetary relationship but one of sharing and caring for each other. 



The original Tanzanian Companion Church Committee started at Zion Lutheran Church in 2002 and Zion members became involved in a variety of planned African activities.  Some of the activities included two luncheons featuring African recipes and a Tanzanian Sunday service lead by Pastor Langseth from Calumet, MI. The committee members planned these activities so that Zion members could get a feel for the customs of their Tanzanian neighbors.


Contact with Magomeni Lutheran Church during that time was through e-mails with “Boni” (or Boniface) and Kim Fannin.  Boni was singing with a Lutheran Youth Encounter group traveling to this area.  Boni is now a Pastor and was married this past summer (2011).


During that time also, a wall hanging was made and given to our Companion Church Magomeni Lutheran Church in Dar es Salaam and letters were sent by Zion’s Sunday School Children to be given to the Sunday School Children at Magomeni.


A beautifully handcrafted sign was given to us by Magomeni Lutheran Church and the sign has hung in our Church entryway ever since.  (See pictures of the sign prior).  Next time you are in our Church you may want to make sure to take a moment to look at it!


In 2008, the Northern Great Lakes Synod put out a call for a work crew to go to Kisarawe Lutheran Junior Seminary in East Africa in rural Kisarawe, Tanzania.  Eleven people from the Upper Peninsula answered the call and began to prepare to leave for 32 days from June 8th to July 9th, 2009.   Zion Lutheran Church had two members that were part of the work crew, Bonnie and Ken Groh.


Front row:  Nancy Bird-Hancock, Rev. Tim Bernard-formerly of Marquette, Ann Christiansen-Gladstone, and Ruth Snyder-Munising.
Back row:  Loni Rochon-Niagara, WI, Ken Cygan-Hancock, Bonnie Groh-Manistique, Ken Groh-Manistique, and Jean Cygan-Calumet.
Not pictured:  Pastor Robert Langseth and Deloris Langseth who were already at the Luther House in Dar es Salaam, Tanzania.


The work crew spent most of the time at the school in Kisarawe but on two of the weekends they spent time at a host families home and were able to worship with their Companion Congragation.  


Mrs. Helen Baruti, Bonnie & Ken’s host, is a member of Magomeni and is also a Church Elder.
This picture was taken at 10:30 pm on June 9th, 2009.  Tanzania is 7 hours ahead of us. It was 56⁰ degrees in Marquette when we departed Sawyer International Airport and 92⁰ in Tanzania when we arrived there.       


Magomeni Lutheran Church
This picture was taken as members were starting to arrive for the 7:00 am church service.  The average church services lasts approxiamtely 2 ½ to 3 hours and includes much singing and celebration.  Two services are held on Sunday mornings.


One of several choirs at Magomeni Church.
Magomeni  Lutheran Church is in urban Dar es Salaam.  In contrast, Zion Lutheran Church being in a small town with about 300 church members, while Magomeni is in a large city with approximately 3,000 members and growing.                                   


Receiving a gift of altar cloths from Magomeni to take home to Zion Lutheran Church.
(Pictured are:  Ken Groh, Helen Baruti, Bonnie Groh and Gad Mkemwa.)  Gad was the interpreter for Bonnie and Ken and the Chair of the Evangelism Committee.


Magomeni Lutheran Church is getting ready for ground breaking for a new church. 
They have indicated that they have outgrown the present church.  This picture shows a part of the overflow crowd that worshipped in the section attached to the Church.


Ken and Bonnie received a wonderful, warm reception at Magomeni Lutheran Church and the parish Elders there indicated a sincere desire to re-vitalize the Companion Church program with Zion Lutheran Church. So this is where the Tanzanian Companion Church Committee begins its second part of their story.


Comments from Bonnie and Ken Groh
“The first year after arriving home from Africa, we were asked to do many presentions about our experience while on the work crew.  That kept us very busy!  But we felt the need to start with the Tanzanian Committee in order to re-vitalize our relationship with Magomeni.
 Several people volunteered to be on the committee that began in September of 2009 and have been very helpful in planning and carrying out the activities planned.  We appreciate having such a great group to work together with!”


The Committee started out by members participating in an inservice, the writing of an action plan, developing a mission statement and setting up goals and activities.


They helped to plan and put on a Community Awareness Program.  The program attended by approximately 50 people, heard some facts and information about Tanzania, viewed a power point presentation and saw a fashion show of African clothing and the showing of artifacts and souveniors.  Food items such as those available in Africa, were served at the end of the presentation.



A special Tanzanian Sunday was held at Zion Lutheran Church on March 20th, 2011 with Pastor Robert Langseth and Deloris Langseth of Calumet, MI sharing the sermon message, music  and Tanzanian information.  The Langseth’s had been to Tanzania nine times by the time they did this service.  (They since returned to Tanzania in June 2011 to supervise another work crew!).

A Tanzanian “feast”  followed the special service.  
Our church was made ready for the Tanzanian Sunday service with the new altar cloths that were given by our companion church Magomeni Lutheran.


The new altar albs that were a gift from Magomeni Lutheran Church. They were used for the Tanzanian Sunday as well as during the Lenten Season.



Pastor Bob Langseth and Deloris leading us in the “Tembo” song.  The Swahili word tembo means elephant in the English language.


Linda Levin is dressed in an African dress and is stirring the special red bean dish she made for the meal


Pastor and Mrs. Langseth accepting our gifts to take to the Kisarawe School on the 2011 work crew


Vee designed the placemats while the Sunday School Children  and Staff filled in the color.  They were very nice!!   Thank you.



Have you ever seen 2,000 mosquitoes hanging from a ceiling? 
Well, the congregation and visitors at Zion Lutheran Church did this past fall.  Two thousand mosquitoes arrived from First Lutheran Church in Gladstone and were hung from the ceiling in the fellowhip hall.  (Thank you to the First Lutheran Church Members for sharing the mosquitoes with us).
For every dollar that was donated by someone, a mosquito came down.  Thankfully the mosquitoes are gone.   We now will donate the money to the three year Anti-Malaria Campaign that is being spearheaded  by the ELCA (Evangelical Lutheran Church in America).  
This is a very important project as a child dies every 45 seconds from malaria in Africa.  With time, effort and money, malaria can be prevented.  To learn more about this Campaign visit: www.elca.org/malaria
We were glad to help out and want to thank all of the many people who donated so generously to this worthy cause.  
The mosquitoes have now gone to Faith Lutheran Church in Rock to further the Malaria Campaign efforts.    We wish them well and pray they find it as rewarding and fun as we did.

We have been involved in “Dresses for Africa” and the School Children Project also.
The Committee is presently working on other plans and will share them as they develop.  Our main focus is to continue to strengthen our companionship with Magomeni Lutheran Church.  We are excited about the future possibilities with them.



Please check you Sunday bulletin, newsletter or call the office to be sure of the meeting date and time.  We have had to change a couple of dates in the past two years and we wouldn’t want to miss having you at a meeting.

Feel free to contact any of the present committee  members also:  Mary Ansell, Pastor Ingmar Levin, Julie Malloy, Pastor Dave Hueter, Bonnie Groh, Beth Malloch, Linda Levin, Vee and Ken Groh.