The Rev. Dirk and Sarah Stadtlander are ELCA missionaries in Linguere, Senegal, serving in parish ministry. To support the Stadtlanders, or another of the ELCA’s 230 missionaries, go to www.elca.org/missionarysponsorship.
In February our family attended the Lutheran Church of Senegal Annual Harvest Festival in the town of Fatick. Hundreds of members from all 13 parishes of the Lutheran Church of Senegal made their way to the Sunday morning service at a new women’s empowerment center built by the church.
Two exuberant choirs provided music for the event. In addition to a regular Sunday morning service, a special offering procession followed Holy Communion. Each parish danced its way down the center aisle to its respective pastor, carrying its annual monetary offering, as well as bags of flour or peanuts. They were followed by the pastors, lay workers and the women’s movement, Femmes Pour Christ (Women For Christ).
This year, the Linguere parish sent four of its women to the festival. (A delegation of women from Femmes Pour Christ visited Linguere in November to encourage and help the women here start their own chapter of the movement.) This trip allowed Linguere’s women to reconnect with the delegation and make their presence known in the greater church. It also gave the recently baptized Fatimata the chance to experience the larger church body and meet other Senegalese Christians outside of Linguere’s small parish.
We pray for the continued strengthening of the relationship of Linguere’s parish within the Lutheran Church of Senegal.