Every synod in the ELCA has a companion synod. These companion synod relationships help us learn more about our brothers and sisters in Christ throughout the world. Here in the Southwestern Minnesota Synod, our companion synod is the Evangelical Lutheran Church of Southern Africa-South Eastern Diocese. The South Eastern Diocese covers the whole of KwaZulu-Natal, stretching down to Eastern Cape Province through to Umthatha and its neighborhoods; parts of Free State Province such as Harrismith/Bethlehem and Qwaqwa as well as Volskrust area in Mpumalanga Province form part of this Diocese. Our synod and the South Eastern Diocese have been in a companion synod relationship since 1990. Out of this journey came the pairing of an individual conference in Minnesota with a companion circuit of South Africa.
Many synods in the ELCA also have "partner synods," fellow ELCA synods across the country with whom we have a partnership. Like the global companion synods, these partner synod relationships help us appreciate the diversity and the breadth of God's work in the world by bringing us into relationship with other Lutheran Christians. Our sister synod in Southwest Minnesota is the Virginia Synod.