the power of relationship

the power of relationship

The Spirit is moving within and beyond Zion, bringing new life and inviting change and deepening relationships. It’s amazing to witness. And an even greater blessing not just to passively see, but to actively participate in. Holy energy is flowing!

Consider the following stories to be invitations to prayer and participation, conversation and celebration.

“kukusanya time” or “k-time”

During the season of Easter, Zion’s listening team completed almost 100 one-to-one conversations. That’s 100 new and strengthened relationships, valuable in themselves, apart from any other fruit they produce. Also, the listening sparked a few immediate tangible changes.

  1. rearranging the lounge to foster conversation and upping our Sunday coffee game
  2. adding an adult bible study component to vacation bible school
  3. inspiring Zion leaders to rethink Sunday mornings

There’s new energy Sunday mornings after worship. Even a non-coffee drinker like myself can plainly see the iced coffee is a hit! And conversation in small groups is so much easier. The buzz has been wonderful to behold. A team of mostly young people plan other changes. So stay tuned!

While confirmation students and I were binding books, Julie Klecker was leading a group of adults in bible study during Vacation Bible School. I heard two things about. One, it was fun. Two, the table in the library was too small! What a great problem to have. And I love that we gathered Zion people of all ages around the same Bible stories.

Finally, “K-time.” Based on feedback from the listening campaign, the Faith Formation committee decided to stop doing Sunday school and adult forum. (Wednesday evening Alleluia and other adult learning times will continue!) But this is no story of loss and decline. Instead it’s one of resurrection. Quite literally, reenergized, liberated, and full of creativity are ways I’d describe that Faith Formation meeting. For example, Linda Baustian coined the term “K-time,” a new name for the hour after worship. Linda borrowed from the Swahili word kukusanya, which means gather. K-time will bring Zion’s generations together instead of segregating us and get us active, having fun, serving, and celebrating together.

In September, K-time will include God’s Work, Our Hands Sunday, when we’ll assemble backpacks; a Sunday for making worship activity bags (young people will make their own and adults will make bags for visitors); and celebrating all of Zion’s September birthdays. In October, during K-time, we’ll celebrate new confirmands on Reformation Sunday and hear about my and Joe Obleton’s visit to Kirangare Lutheran Church in Tanzania.

So grab your iced coffee and kukusanya with your sisters and brothers in Christ!


On Monday, September 12, Joe and I board a plane for Kilamanjaro International Airport in Tanzania. We’ll land back in the states on Sunday, September 25. In between, our time will be full with visiting and renewing Zion’s relationship with Kirangare Lutheran Church.

Maybe you remember this past Christmas Eve worship, when I shared greetings from Kirangare’s Pastor Simon Fue. Pastor Fue and I stayed in touch over email and WhatsApp, and early this year, Kirangare officially invited Zion to visit. It was an invitation we couldn’t refuse!

Our itinerary includes visits with the Bishop of the Pare Diocese of the Evangelical Lutheran Church in Tanzania; preaching points in Idaru, Helugogo View, Marindi, and Mpare; Makasa Lutheran Church; the Mwanga Primary School for the Deaf, and a safari in Ngorongoro National Park. And heart of the trip will be visiting Kirangare Lutheran Church, where I will have the honor of preaching on September 18.

Thanks be to God.

Pastor Clark Olson-Smith