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’.
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.