Good news! Lay Canon Arthur Mauya, Ms Melina Galibona, Mr Joseph Nyamgoncho (Head teacher at Issenye) and his wife Benta have been granted visas by the UK immigration authorities and will be visiting Leeds Diocese from 20th June to 10th July. They will be visiting link churches at weekends and schools during the week.
There will be a Links Celebration Service at Wakefield Cathedral on Sunday 2nd July at 3.30pm. Please come along and please bring others from your church. It promises to be an uplifting occasion celebrating our longstanding friendship with Mara, Tarime and Rorya. Arthur will be speaking at the service giving an update on life in Mara Region. There will be tea and coffee after the service. Donations of cakes would be very welcome.
For enquires about our visitors’ weekend programme please contact Oriel Kelly (email@example.com Tel. 01484 719352). For enquiries about Arthur and Melina’s visits to schools on weekdays please contact Rev Gill Johnson (Gill.Johnson@leeds.anglican.org Tel. 0113 200 0540 Ext: 251 ).
Tarime Diocese is planning to install some more water harvesting systems on its churches. The target is £2000. Can you or your church support this important life-giving project? Please send donations to Finance Dept, Leeds Diocese, 17-19 York Place, Leeds, LS1 2EX and write on the back of your cheque ‘Water for Life Tarime’.
Thank you very much.
Churches across the Diocese have given generously in response to the devastating drought that has badly affected our link Diocese of Mara in Tanzania.
Earlier this month, the Bishop of Mara, the Rt Revd George Okoth, made an urgent appeal for help after touring round many of his diocese’s 75 parishes, to find widespread starvation due to crop failures. Rains have been very poor this season and many congregations have not been able to grow and sell crops which they traditionally do to support their clergy. This means many of the clergy and their families are going hungry - with some sad reports that some families are going their separate ways just to survive. A day of prayer in Mara and here was held on January 14.
Now the Finance Department have reported that this week they will be sending a total of £13,686.05 in the Mara transfer in respect of the maize appeal. They wanted to say a big thank you to everyone who gave so generously .THANK YOU!
Churches across our diocese, particularly those with links to Tanzania, are being urged to support clergy and parishes in the Diocese of Mara, many parts of which are suffering from drought and starvation because of crop failures.
The appeal has come from the Bishop of Mara, the Rt Revd George Okoth, following a series of pastoral visits he has recently made to many of the dioceses’ 75 parishes which includes regions like the Serengeti which have suffered severely from drought. Many congregations have not been able to grow and sell crops and support their clergy. Many of the clergy and their families are going hungry.
Bishop George writes, “I have come to see with my own eyes the abject poverty in the Diocese of Mara. In fact, 95 percent of our congregations rely on subsistence farming.
"Our clergy just like other members of the community are dying of hunger. Please, if you are willing and able to support us with food to eat do step in to help my ministers.”
Parishes - especially those already with Tanzanian links - have been urged to buy a bag of maize to help the crisis.
Tanzania Link Officer, the Revd Stephen Spencer said: “A bag of maize costs £40. Could you also buy one for a church without a link? This would come to £80 in all. It would be wonderful if your PCC could help in this way at very difficult time for our friends in Mara."
The letter from the Bishop of Mara:
I thought that it is wise as we head towards closing the year 2016, that I electronically bring my heart-felt thanks to you for your continued love, support and prayers. Honestly, if it were not for you the Diocese of Mara would have been really in bad shape by now. So thank you so much and may the God almighty continue to water our historical friendship and partnership to grow and bear more fruits for His own glory. Your sacrificial love to us reminds me of what the retired Archbishop Desmond Tutu of South Africa said "a person is a person through other persons".
I've been able to pay Pastoral visits and offer confirmation to more than 260 members - young and old from two Archdeacons - Serengeti and Bunda. I got opportunity to preach about unity, peace and reconciliation.
I have come to see with my own eyes the abject poverty in the Diocese of Mara. In fact, 95 percent of our congregations rely on subsistence farming. It is a farming which depends on rainfall. And due to the Global warming, you can guess what is happening on the ground. All the crops have withered due to the scorching Sun. Please join us in prayers so that we may get reliable rainfall as we look forward to the new planting season next year, 2017.
Having said all these, allow me to bring a request for it is said "the squeaky wheel gets the oil" or as the Bible says "Ask and it will be given to you; seek and you shall find; knock and ..." (Mtt 7:7). Oh, our clergy just like other members of the community are dying of hunger. Please, if you are willing and able to support us with food to eat do step in to help my ministers. I have one hundred and eleven (111) priests of good standing. I project that if each of them could get at least one sack/bag of maize then they will survive few more months before it could start raining. Each sack/bag of maize costs roughly 40.00 UK Pounds. In short, it's 111X40 =4,440 UK Pounds. The Diocese of Mara will try to take care of the cost of transporting this food to the Clergy. I hope my request will meet your kind consideration.
Yours in His service
How can I help?
Parishes can write cheques made payable to ‘Leeds Diocesan Board of Finance’, with, written on the back, 'Mara bag of maize appeal'.
These should be sent to Diocese of Leeds Finance Dept., 17-19 York Place, Leeds, LS1 2EXBACS payments to ‘Leeds DBF’ Account No. 10466302 Sort Code 09-02- 22, with reference 'Mara bag of maize appeal'
You can also donate through your stewardship or CAF account - again, make the donation payable to Leeds DBF with the reference ‘Mara bag of maize appeal’.
During July a group of students visited Tanzania. Amongst them was a textile student from East Ardsley Beth Coggins and she writes:
The major contrast I experienced with textiles between Africa and the UK is involvement. Tanzania is renowned for its bright and bold printed textiles, and the industry creates a variety of job opportunities. For example planting and picking the cotton to be ready to made into fabric, then the heavy machine work which consists of bleaching, dying etc. The men will normally do this as well as the design and colour work. When the fabric is cut and ready to be sold the ladies will correct and sort out the different batches into shops. One can buy this cotton based print fabric for a cheap price, if desired this can later be sold to the tailors. This job role in the UK can be extremely expensive as it’s a bespoke garment which is hand crafted to your figure. In Africa to buy the fabric and have it tailored to you personally is came to roughly £10!
I came to experience how the role of textiles can be life changing especially for young girls as to learn tailoring can be a gate way to a better future from learning a trade to then becoming financially independent. This can have a huge beneficial impact on relieving the pressure for early marriages.
Overall exploring the use of textiles in Tanzania was breath taking from the craftsmanship to the design and the use of vivid lush colours. I greatly valued the experience and will never forget the people I encountered on my stay for their warm welcome and sheer delight in their hospitality.
‘As the link officer of St Martin’s Parish Church, Brighouse I was delighted to be able to spend the afternoon with our link parish in Bugwema. I received a very warm welcome from Rev Rabala and the rest of the congregation. The visit was the perfect opportunity to discuss the similarities and differences between the parishes as well as the difficulties both churches are currently facing. The common difficulty was how to entice younger people to come to services – we sat and shared our current strategies in order to learn from each other. It was great to hear how they use music to appeal to younger people by making their services lively and energetic, whilst they were particularly taken by the idea of after school clubs for the children and also the use of family activities such as Messy Church.
This wasn’t my first visit to Tanzania or Bugwema as I previously visited in 2013. I feel extremely lucky to have had these experiences and also to be able to see the progress that Bugwema have made in the last three years. During my previous visit their their main project was renovating and converting the old church hall into a Sunday School building for the children – I am pleased to announce that due to their hard work and donations from St Martin’s they now have a fully functioning school that holds 48 local children. Parents pay a fee of 1,500 Tanzanian Shillings a month to send their child to school, that’s the equivalent on approximately 50p! This really highlights a very large difference between our cultures.
They have many more projects planned for the future and I ask that you keep them in your prayers so that one day they may buy new instruments for the youth, and also so that one day they may get the well they have been working so hard for for many years. Currently they can walk as far as a 14km round trip for water, however, a well would reduce this to approximately a 1km round trip – showing how the things we take for granted are a luxury and rarity to others.
Thank you for taking the time to read about my experience with Bugwema. Abigail Acheson
The first recipients of a new set of non-academic awards for outstanding service to the church were recognised in a ceremony at Lambeth Palace yesterday.
Archbishop Justin Welby gave out the new awards, which recognise outstanding service in different fields.
Opening the ceremony, the Archbishop explained why he wished to give these awards. "The first reason is that I want people who make outstanding contributions through their engagement with the Church of England and the wider Anglican Communion to know that they are recognised. Of course I know that none of you here today have done what you have done with any thought of public recognition. Nevertheless I hope you will allow the Church to honour you in the way. "The second reason for giving awards is to point the Church at large and the world at large at examples of lives and actions which embody our beliefs and values. St Francis of Assisi is often quoted as saying, “Preach the Gospel always: when necessary, use words.” Your actions and your lives speak volumes.”
Bishop Tony accepted The Cross of St Augustine for Services to the Anglican Communion on behalf of Bishop Hilkiah. The award will be presented later this week to Bishop Hilkiah in Musuma by Battyeford parishioners Bill and Maureen when they begin a 7 week trip to the Diocese of Mara.
Hartshead, Hightown, Roberttown and Scholes raised over £1,000 for children in Mara to help pay for new books after the congregations were moved by the story of a school girl who spent weeks earning money to pay for her studies.
The Revd Stephen Rochell, Assistant Curate in Hartshead, Hightown, Roberttown and Scholes, took the image (left) in 2012 and it inspired this year’s fundraising for the Seeds of Hope project during the harvest seasons for those in the Diocese of Mara. Fr Stephen explains, “I was visiting Mara and Issenye High School along with a group of parishioners and our vicar Revd Canon Maggie McLean”. The group was led Bill and Maureen Jones from Christ the King Church, Battyeford, who had both lived and worked in Tanzania - Bill was the first Headteacher of Issenye and Maureen set up the Isseco Health Centre at the school, providing health care for both the school and wider community. “We had been to Buhemba Rural Agricultural College and they wanted to show us one of their projects that involved villagers pressing oil from seeds.”
In the Diocese of Mara villagers use a press to crush the seeds which produce oil that makes soap. This is then sold to some of the Safari Lodges in the Serengeti.
The girl in the photograph had been collecting seeds for a few weeks and was selling them to be pressed – she would get the equivalent of a few pounds which she would spend on school books. “The girl just walked up whilst we were there,” Fr Stephen continues. “When Arthur (Mauya - one of the members of the group on the trip] asked her about the seeds she had collected, and then explained to us what she was going to do, we were all gobsmacked!”
The Revd Richard Burge, Vicar of Hartshead, Hightown, Roberttown and Scholes, introduced the Seeds of Hope project after seeing the image and hearing the story from Bill and Maureen Jones who were speaking at a Tanzania evening in Heartshead. The aim of the project was to raise money for the link parishes in Tanzania so the children could buy school books.Revd Richard Burge made the project central to this year’s Harvest Festival and school Harvest Festival, simply asking people to donate a little money at the end of each service if they felt able.
Fr Stephen says, “People responded generously and as a result we are able to send a thousand pounds to our brothers and sisters in Tanzania.” He mentions, “Since my first visit I have returned to Tanzania to undertake a two week placement working with the diocesan development team in Musoma and the surrounding area. “I was the first student on the Yorkshire Ministry Course to undertake a placement in Mara but I am pleased that since others have been able to experience placements in Tanzania and that the Yorkshire Ministry Course is developing links with Bunda Bible College in Mara.”
Rorya Diocese has a new project to support orphans in different parishes. Many of the children are orphaned as a result of HIV/Aids. The need is huge and so far we are only able to send 250 pounds a month. If you or members of your church are able to make a small monthly contribution this would be really welcomed. Please get in touch with Jenette Lee at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Our diocesan link with Mara began in 1988. There have been many visits in both directions. Many parishes pray for their link church every Sunday. Schools exchange letters and photos and learn about each other. Clergy training is supported, and agricultural projects are funded. This blog, written by different people, will keep us up to date with life in Tanzania, our relationship with one another, and events happening locally to support our links.