calendar October 27, 2011 in Global Vision

Missionaries Blessed To Serve

The MacPhersons listen as Bishop Burkat bestows a blessing on their upcoming service in Tanzania.


Surrounded by family, friends and colleagues in ministry from their home church and across the synod, missionaries Tom and Susan MacPherson received a sending blessing from Bishop Claire Burkat on Oct. 23. 

The MacPhersons leave Nov. 2 for their two-year term as volunteer missionaries at the Irente Children’s Home, a ministry of our companion synod, the North Eastern Diocese of the Evangelical Lutheran Church in Tanzania.  The couple first visited Tanzania in 2008 as part of their congregation’s visit to their companion parish, Kana Lutheran Church, in Tanga.

You did not choose me but I chose you. And I appointed you to go and bear fruit, fruit that will last, so that the Father will give you whatever you ask him in my name. – John 15:16

“I’m sure if someone had told you even 5 years ago that you would be gladly giving away and selling your worldly possessions to serve Christ, by giving yourselves to care for infants and preschoolers and to mentor teenagers learning to be childcare workers at the Irente Children’s Home near Lushoto, Tanzania, you would have laughed — or cried,” the bishop told the MacPhersons at the ceremony during worship at St. John Lutheran Church in the Mayfair section of Philadelphia.

“But Our Lord, who is rich in mercy and imagination and certainly must have a sense of humor, has chosen you for this very special safari,” the bishop said.  “I guess Christ knew it would not work if just one of you felt called!  But like Adam and Eve, Sarah and Abraham, Zachariah and Elisabeth, and Mary and Joseph, you are called as a couple to follow Christ in order to bless the world.”


With Tom and Susan MacPherson (center) after the sending service are the Rev. Lee Miller II and Bishop Burkat (left) and the Rev. Tricia Neale and Seminarian Mason Hahn.

In addition to Bishop Burkat many others surrounded the MacPhersons for the laying on of hands in blessing: their family and friends, St. John’s clergy and council president, members of the congregation who have been involved with Kana Lutheran Parish, synod staff and neighboring clergy,  members of the synod’s Tanzania Companionship Team and SEKUCo Coordinating Committee.  Before the blessing began the bishop gave thanks for the couple’s obedience, courage and contagious joy in serving and for the financial, spiritual and moral support offered by their family and supporters from across the synod.

“We are blessed and encouraged by your faithful witness, and may holy angels watch over you and those you love here in the US, while we are absent one from another,” the bishop said.


Please keep the MacPhersons in your prayers.  Watch SEPANews and for messages from the MacPhersons during their service in Tanzania.   If you would like to receive e-mail updates from them please send an e-mail to ">  and ask to be included on their mailing list.  If you do not have e-mail access call Cynta at 267-323-3742 to request a hard copy.  Since the MacPhersons will not be receiving a salary or stipend they will be grateful for  donations to assist with their service related expenses.  Contributions may be made by sending a check payable to SEPA Synod and sent as follows:

Ms. Joanne Carlson
Southeastern Pennsylvania Synod
Wiedemann Center
7241 Germantown Ave.
Philadelphia, PA   19119

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