Guyana, South America
In 1996, Fellowship entered into a partnership with the Evangelical Lutheran Church in Guyana (ELCG). Our mission and purpose: to create conditions for work and joint activities with and through the Evangelical Lutheran Church in Guyana, both clergy and lay, to support, enable and enhance their mission and service to congregations, members, friends and neighbors in their respective communities.
Since 1966 we have completed over 50 different trips with over 250 different individuals from throughout the United States. Some 45% of the participants have been from our congregation, the remainder being from other congregations and denominations. Over the years our teams have included medical, dental, construction, music education, youth, sewing instruction, computer installation, computer skills training, clothing bank, literacy training and mental health consultation/education. Special projects have included the Clergy Car Project, Reformation Parish River Video Evangelism, Education Support for Clergy Children, Reformation Boat Project (St. Paul Lutheran Church, Renwick, Iowa), Clergy Family Medication Support, Financial Support for Graduate Clergy Education and re-introduction of the Guyana Music Festival serving the community at large.
We have had a rich and rewarding history of 2 specific Partnership programs:
Construction Teams. Chuck Worrell has provided leadership for our construction teams. Since the beginning of our relationship with the church in Guyana, construction teams have spent many days helping local pastors and lay leaders with construction projects and helping to improve church related facilities.
Medical Teams. Jane Purser, M.D. leader of our medical teams, along with many other physicians and medical professionals have made several trips to Guyana to offer medical assistance to local people as well as help Guyanese medical professionals improve their medical skills.
Our sisters and brothers in Christ of the ELCG are now in position that at the present time they no longer “need” this support. So, we will “stand by” as the Executive Council of the ELCG reviews their needs in case, out of our experience walking together, we are again asked to assist.
WORLD MISSION WEEK: World Mission Sunday is held annually in September at Fellowship Lutheran Church. Special guests related to our Partners in Mission programs will be attending to update us on the progress of the Partnership activities in Guyana. Check the church calendar for more details.
In 1999 Vicki Smith, Director of Music Ministries here at Fellowship Lutheran Church, traveled to Guyana to explore the possibilities of facilitating music as a part of our Partnership. With the strong tradition of the importance of music since the 1500s starting with Martin Luther, it was natural to also emphasize music along with other Partnership activities. Out of that exploration we have had 12 music teachers in Guyana (mostly from St. Olaf College, Northfield, MN, and also from Wartburg College, Waverly, IA).
MUSIC EDUCATION PROGRAM
In 2011 we were very pleased to have May 2010 St. Olaf graduates Eric Sayre and Michael Murchison in Guyana for 5 months, a “first” for the program in that other teachers could spend generally 8-10 weeks. Eric and Michael were in Guyana from January to June 2011! With early planning and hard work, they had also shipped used, donated instruments that provided instrumental opportunities for many youth in Guyana. Through this “instrument library”, the instruments were even loaned out for use. This pioneering program took place in both the Berbice/New Amsterdam as well as the Georgetown/East Coast Demerara areas.
GUYANA LUTHERAN MUSIC ACADEMY (GLMA): The GLMA is now our major Partnership activity! Out of the experience Eric Sayre and Michael Murchison had in 2011, the new GLMA has been developed. Eric Sayre is the Executive Director of the GLMA and has continued planning the establishment of the Guyana Lutheran Music Academy in collaboration with the Executive Council of the Evangelical Lutheran Church in Guyana. The “launch date” is scheduled for September 2014. Please check the GLMA website (www.glma.gy) for updated information AND for Eric’s contact information, especially regarding open staff positions for the GLMA.
MUSIC ARTS FESTIVAL
The Guyana Music Teachers Association is actively at work as planning continues for the next event in 2015. The Music Teachers Association and the Fellowship Lutheran Church Partnership with the Evangelical Lutheran Church in Guyana re-established a wonderful and time-honored tradition of Music Festivals when the 2009 Music Arts Festival was successfully completed! Programs continued in 2011 and 2013. This will be held every-other year in odd number years.
For more information about Guyana Partners in Mission Program, please contact Erv Janssen, M.D. (firstname.lastname@example.org) or 918-254-4610. Or call Fellowship Lutheran Church: 918-492-3698.