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Partnership helps raise the roof
The Lutheran congregation at Mpwapwa, Tanzania, had a problem – a “good” problem, but a problem nonetheless. The congregation was growing so quickly that the community could no longer fit into its building.

Members designed and constructed a new building using locally-made mud brick. The structure was precisely what the expanding parish needed with one exception – there was no roof.

Roofing materials would need to be purchased rather than made on site, an endeavor that was cost-prohibitive for the people of Mpwapwa.

Fortunately, the congregation had two partners that were willing and able to step in.

The Mpwapwa church is part of the Dodoma Diocese of the Evangelical Lutheran Church in Tanzania – a diocese that is partnered with the Northwestern Ohio Synod of the Evangelical Lutheran Church in America. And the Mpwapwa congregation itself is a partner with Grace Evangelical Lutheran Church of Elmore. The people at Mpwapwa pledged to raise half of the money needed for the roof; Grace and the Northwestern Ohio Synod agreed to provide the other half.

All the needed funding is now in place, and the building that currently sits open will soon be covered, providing much-needed space for Mpwapwa’s worship. Several members of the parish are currently in the area, visiting their local partners and attending the annual assembly of the Northwestern Ohio Synod. The successful partnership will be acknowledged as part of the assembly’s gathering on Saturday, May 18. The Rev. Stanley Tabulu, pastor at Mpwapwa, will visit Grace/Elmore Sunday, May 26, to express his thanks and to share in the celebration of this project.

Grace and Mpwapwa have been partners for nearly 10 years, with several members of the local congregation having visited Tanzania. Grace hosted the Rev. Amon Kinyunyu, formerly pastor at Mpwapwa and now Bishop of the Dodoma Diocese, for several days in 2011.

“It's been the privilege of our congregation to help our sister parish in Tanzania as they’ve sought funding to roof a new church building,” said Grace Pastor David Nevergall.

Grace is located at 19225 W. Witty Road, at State Route 51, just north of Elmore.

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