The Southern Ohio Synod has four companion synods. Each companion synod has a task force made up of representatives from congregations who have a covenant with a companion synod. If your congregation would be interested in finding out how to partner with one of our companion synods, please contact the companion synod chairperson.

Brazil Companion Synod

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The companionship with Sinodo Espirito Santo a Belem was solidified when at the Southern Ohio Synod in 2006, then Synod Pastor (Bishop) Helmar Roelke visited along with Pr. Valdeci Foester. Spending the better part of a week in Southern Ohio began a personal relationship that has endured since. Special thanks goes to Pr. Foester who was our primary translator, especially after the initial visit which allowed us to develop the relationship between our synods. Three different times, including most recently in August 2014, representatives from Southern Ohio have visited Brazil with each visit solidifying our relationship. The visit in 2014 also included a trip to Brazil’s national church offices and one of the seminaries where the Institute for Sustainability is located and at which our delegation was able to participate in an open forum in preparation for an LWF meeting that occurred immediately after our visit. In 2013, a delegation of eight members from Brazil visited Southern Ohio, including the newest Synod Pastor, Joaninho Borchardt (re-elected in September 2014 to a new four year term) who spoke to the Assembly. Their visit included many sites of ministry and mission throughout Southern Ohio.

Currently, three congregations have been partnered with parishes in Brazil: St. Jacob, Anna; St. Paul, Botkins; and First English, Columbus; and Clinton Heights, Columbus is in the process of gaining a partner. Our relationship with Brazil is built on the foundation of accompaniment which means we “walk with each other” as we seek to do God’s work in our part of the world. We have learned much from our partners in Brazil and they have learned from us. We look forward to continuing to grow our companionship for many years to come.

Anyone interested in being part of this relationship should contact Pr. Michael Althauser, chair of the Brazil Task Force, at or PO Box 434, Anna, Ohio 45302.

German North Church Companion Synod

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This partnership has been in place for 20 years and continues to grow. In 2009, seven representatives from the German state of Mecklenburg, visited the synod with the goal of learning how we do stewardship and volunteer recruitment in our congregations.

There are currently 10 partnership congregations in the Southern Ohio Synod.

The German North Church Task Force Chair is Pr. Bill Rauch, he can be reached at or 740-345-5910.

Kazakhstan Companion Synod

The 52 Lutheran congregations in Kazakhstan are spread through a country the size of Europe, ranging from urban ministries to rural homes where members meet, ministered to by visiting pastors. Historically, Lutheranism was introduced to this arid country by Germans who came to Russia in the 18th century, bringing not only their farming skills, but their western faith. As the German-speaking communities became assimilated into the larger Russian and Kazakh culture, the language of worship also changed to Russian, reflecting the lingua franca.Kazakhstan currently has 12 pastors and a bishop, along with lay ministers around the country. Laws preventing religious instruction of children without permission from both parents have shaped the development of youth ministries, though many young people still do attend. According to Yuri Novgorodov, the bishop, the most important thing we can do is to write letters and assure the congregations of Kazakhstan that they do not stand alone, that the body of Christ remembers them and accompanies them in prayer and thanksgiving for their faith.

Chairperson of the Kazakhstan Task Force is Elizabeth Sammons (

Tanzania Companion Synod

The Lutheran Church has been an important presence in Tanzania since the late 1800’s with the arrival of German colonists. The Southern Ohio Synod partners with the East of Lake Victoria Diocese, with 19 covenants in place today.To be part of this companionship, please contact Mrs. Judy Root at or 740-653-4347.