International Companion Program
Who sponsors this?
The International Companion Program is sponsored by:
What is the International Companion Program?
The International Companion Program is an opportunity to invite, host, extend hospitality and grow by receiving the gifts of young people from the ELCA’s companion churches. The three-week program includes three distinct components:
- Time with an ELCA congregation or synod; and
- Participation at the ELCA Multicultural Youth Leadership Event and the ELCA Youth Gathering.
What are the goals and purpose of the International Companion Program at the ELCA Multicultural Youth Leadership Event and the ELCA Youth Gathering?
The purpose of the program is to celebrate God’s activity in the world through the ELCA and its global and domestic companions and send out inspired participants to serve the “other” in the manner of Christ.
There are three goals for the program:
- To build the capacity of ELCA young leaders in congregations and synods to proclaim and serve by receiving the gifts of global companions;
- To equip participants to deepen one another’s understanding of accompaniment and of God’s mission in the world; and
- To practice compassion and work for peace and justice.
How does the program work?
Your synod requests the ELCA to invite youth representatives from one or more of your international companions to participate. Your synod commits to covering a portion of the cost of each guest’s participation.
Invitations will be sent by the ELCA to the requested international companions asking them to name participants from their church, in particular those who are involved in peace, justice and reconciliation work.
ELCA Global Mission will coordinate the program, procure visas, organize the logistics, provide orientation and accompany your international guests at the ELCA Youth Gathering.
The ELCA Youth Gathering will incorporate the international guests into the Gathering.
Travel schedule for international guests:
July 2 – arrive in Chicago for the orientation program
July 6-15 – guests will spend time in ELCA congregations and synods
July 16 – (optional) in New Orleans if guests are attending the Multicultural Youth Leadership Event
July 18-22 – all participants will attend the ELCA Youth Gathering
July 22 – guests will return to their homes directly from New Orleans
What is the cost?
The total cost for each international guest to participate in the program is $4,000.
Your synod is asked to contribute $2,000.
ELCA churchwide ministries will contribute $2,000.
What does the cost cover?
The following will be provided for your guest:
— Postal costs
— Application costs
— Visa fee
— Interview tips
— Transportation costs to the consulate
— Passport application costs if necessary
- Visa denial processes
— Support and follow up in case of a visa rejection
- Health care
- International flight costs
- Domestic transportation costs to host synod or congregation
- Transportation costs to travel to the ELCA Youth Gathering
- ELCA Multicultural Youth Leadership Event registration, meals and housing fees
- Registration fee for ELCA Youth Gathering
- Housing fee for the Gathering
- Per diem spending money
- Evaluation and de-briefing processes
- Trouble shooting or crisis management
How many companions can we invite?
For one companion: ELCA Global Mission and the ELCA Youth Gathering will contribute $2,000 of the total cost of $4,000 toward your first guest.
For more than one: If your synod is prepared to pay an additional $4,000 (the total cost of hosting), you may request more than one guest.
Please note that, given the young age of some of the international guests, churches are often more comfortable sending youth in pairs. If your synod shares an international companion with another ELCA synod, you are strongly encouraged to communicate with each other to coordinate invitations and share costs and time so that an international companion might send two youth rather than just one.
If your synod wishes to have your guest spend more time with you than the one week allotted, please contact us to see if it can be arranged.
What is the next step?
Please send the name and email address of the point person from your synod by March 30 to Sunitha Mortha at firstname.lastname@example.org. If you would like more information, please contact Sunitha or your ELCA Global Mission companion synod liaison:
email@example.com for companions in Africa
firstname.lastname@example.org for companions in Latin America
email@example.com for companions in Asia/Pacific
firstname.lastname@example.org for companions in Europe/Middle East