The purpose of the Companion Diocese Committee is to discern, promote and nurture a diocesan relationship with another diocese within the Anglican Communion. In addition the Committee will assist churches and members of both dioceses expand their understanding of one another and nurture long-lasting friendships at all levels of the Church. We desire to encourage each other to live our Anglican identity in proclaiming the Good News of the Gospel in our local communities and within our cultural contexts. The Commission is composed of members appointed by the Bishop.
In 2016, the Dioceses of Fond du Lac and Masvingo envisioned a companion relationship connecting Episcopalians/ Anglicans, across cultural and geographic boundaries, on a common pilgrimage of faith, hope, and love. In 2021, the dioceses renewed the relationship for 2022-2026.
There are similarities between the Dioceses of Masvingo and Fond du Lac, including seeking to be true to our Anglican understanding of the Christian faith, our common heritage, number of churches, and parishioners.
The companion diocesan relationship, whereby churches and members expand their understanding of one another and nurture long-lasting friendships at all levels of the Church, commits to:
For the Companion Dioceses of Masvingo, in Zimbabwe and of Fond du Lac, Wisconsin, USA.
O God, who created all peoples in your image, we thank you for the wonderful diversity of races and cultures in this world. Enrich our lives by the ever-widening circles of fellowship, thru our companion relationship with the Diocese of Masvingo in Zimbabwe and the Diocese of Fond du Lac in Wisconsin, USA. And show us your presence in those who differ most from us, and allow us to learn from each other with open hearts and minds; through Christ our lord. Amen.
Adapted from prayer of thanksgiving #7 For the Diversity of Cultures and Races, BCP page 840.
Members of the Companion Diocese Task Force of the Diocese of Fond du Lac were asked "Why does the Companion Diocese relationship excite you?" Here are their responses.
The Rev. Dcn. Mike Burg, Grace, Sheboygan
A few points about the what excites me about the Companion Diocese. The first thing I did after being invited to join the committee was to investigate the country. How big, where in Africa was Zimbabwe, and where is the Masvingo Diocese . I learned a lot quickly about Zimbabwe, it was after meeting the delegation from Masvingo, Bishop Godfrey and his wife and Friar Fungayi and actually setting eyes on them got me excited. Also I had the good fortune to spend many hours with Friar Fungayi, he stayed at my house several nights and I drove him around the Diocese to various church meetings (about 800 miles all together). Friar Fungayi and I had many adventures when the time allowed. We went boating on Lake Michigan (Fungayi did not tell me he was afraid of water until we returned.) I took him on a ATV ride thru the woods which he liked. We discussed many things about his daily routine. Fungayi plants a garden for vegetables and I have a garden so it was another talking point, in fact we worked together in my yard putting in plants. The greatest complement was that he said I treated him like a son. Now when we communicate he calls me father and I respond to my son. This excites me!
Ron Alexander, Ascension, Merrill
A chance to deepen relationships with new friends who visited us in the summer of 2019 from the Diocese of Masvingo, especially Friar Fungayi, who I was able to spend the most time with and a possibility to be included in an invitation to visit the Diocese of Masvingo! I met Friar Fungayi at a Timber Rattlers baseball game in Appleton, and it was a challenge to explain the basic rules of baseball to someone at there first game. I never realized the complexities of the game until then. But the Friar was very gracious and enthusiastic, enjoying the snacks we purchased at the concession stand. Conversation was easy on our trip to Wausau where we he would preach the next day. His deep faith and reliance on the grace of God, even under very trying circumstances, was obvious right from the start and became contagious, along with his great smile and laughter! He was very curious about me and my family, but very willing to answer all my questions about himself.
I dream about an opportunity to visit and spend time with him in Zimbabwe to deepen our relationship as fellow travelers on our faith journey. We have had some continuing email, Facebook, and WhatsApp contact, but it is inconsistent because of the unreliable internet in his country.