The weekly roundup of Anglican Communion news plus opinion, reviews, photos, profiles and other things of interest from across the Anglican/Episcopal world.
This edition includes...
THE WEEK'S NEWS:
Church Mission Society (CMS) - Audio interview with pioneering CMS mission partner Susie Hart, founder of Neema Crafts in Tanzania, who this week won a prestigous Women of the Year award. Susie has been nominated in the Window to the World category for her work developing Neema Crafts, which has trained and employs over 40 deaf and disabled workers making crafts from jewellery to the famed elephant dung paper.
The Neema team also runs a cafe which won the Best Restaurant category in the Daily Telegraph's Best of British competition earlier this year. Click here to access the podcast interview.
Anglican Church of Burundi on YouTube - Access is now available to some short EAB videos on You Tube using the following links:
Netsforlife at Giharo
Buhiga celebrations – 15 Aug 2010
Agricultural projects in Makamba
INDIA: Archbishop of Canterbury Dr Rowan Williams' visit to India click here to view
The joys and challenges of starting a new diocese from scratch...
Challenges of Mission in a New Diocese in Africa
By Bishop Mwita Akiri, PhD
The Anglican Diocese of Tarime is the 26th diocese of the Anglican Church of Tanzania in Africa, and the youngest. It is located east of Lake Victoria, and shares a border with Kenya to the north and north east. Part of Tarime is home to the western side of the Serengeti National Park! In this case, visitors to Tarime who have spare time will not return home without enjoying the abundant wildlife in Tanzania and rare world wonders such as the Ngorongoro Crater.
Coming from the post of Provincial (General) Secretary of the National Church in Tanzania and working in a well established national office with large staff to become the first bishop of a largely rural diocese throws up all kind of challenges that require prayers and support from all God's people. We are still recovering from the drama of a very lively and successful inaugural ceremony on July 4, 2010 which was attend by over 2000 people and graced by the President of the United Republic of Tanzania as Guest of Honor. Now I say to members of the clergy and the congregations, ‘the party is over. Now is time start doing the serious work.’
Since July we have been conducting a needs assessment in the parishes and among the clergy to help us determine our diocesan mission priorities for the next three years which is the life span of a Diocesan Synod and the Diocesan Council or the Standing Committee of the Synod. The needs assessment will end when the Synod has debated and endorsed the priorities selected. It may be proper to share some of the preliminary findings that have emerged from submissions coming out the parishes. Some of these include the things that were part of my vision for Tarime. I am glad that God has used his people to confirm them.
Our first priority is mission. We want to do this through coordinated intensive evangelization resulting in church planting and formation of new parishes. There are only 10,000 or so Anglicans spread in 28 parishes in the district of Tarime which has a population of over 200,000, many of whom have not heard the Good News of Jesus Christ. Nearly each parish wants to start a new church in the next three years through open air preaching events, door to door visitations and youth events. One youth evangelistic project and strategy will be to start church youth soccer teams and ask the youth in the villages to form a soccer team too that will play against church teams thereby bringing Christian youths in contact with their peers in a neutral ground where it will be easier to share the Gospel.
A key component of mission in Tarime will be to build up God’s people through discipleship programs involving orthodox Bible teaching which will result in creating strong disciples of Christ. We shall look also into our worship services as well as what we teach when we prepare people for baptism, confirmation, and marriage. The quality of our evangelistic initiatives and discipling programs will depend on the quality of the clergy and catechists we have.
So our second priority is strengthening church ministry through capacity building. Part of this will involve theological training for the clergy and catechists. A team of well-trained clergy and catechists will assist in discipling programs and the management of the expansion of the Diocese, especially the process of church planting or opening of new churches and formation of new parishes, as well as the identification of potential new workers in Lord’s vineyard. Building places of worship and bungalows for the clergy is continuing in the Diocese. In the Diocese of Tarime parishes want the diocese to stand in partnership with them whereby the parish erects the walls, and the diocese assists with roofing material namely timber and corrugated sheets.
We have some fine men and women in the Lord's vineyard in our young diocese. However, out of 25 priests in the diocese, only five have undergone theological training for three years prior to their ordination and hold a certificate in theology. We plan to send at least two to study for a diploma in the next three years. Already the diocese has sent one priest to Mombasa, Kenya to do a diploma course thanks to Church Missionary Society Australia who offered one scholarship as a gift to the diocese on the day of the inauguration. Five priests are diploma holders. We shall enable at least one of them to start doing a degree in theology within the next three years. The remaining 15 priests have only attended a three-week crash program for catechists at a bible school and lack theological training. We need to build their capacity too. We plan to get at least five to a theological college in the next three years.
The third priority is resource mobilization. This can be divided in two parts: short to mid-term goals and long term ones. In the category of short to mid-term goals, we want to work hard to teach our young Christians about the value of regular giving of their time and resources for God’s work. While this continues, we intend to organize local fund-raising events in parishes to raise money for specific small projects. For example we can raise money towards the purchase of music instruments such as key boards, amplifiers, loud speakers, and guitars, as well as power generators etc where possible. The music instruments are used by choir groups in church on Sundays as well as for the evangelization activities by taking the gospel through singing and preaching in the villages where people have not heard the Good News of Christ.
On September 19, 2010, one of the parishes invited me to chair a fundraising event for music instruments. We managed to raise over $1500 on that day, half of what was needed for the instruments. This is very encouraging indeed in a young diocese such as ours, though not many parishes have the same level of enthusiasm and could raise such amount of money for a parish project. We are aware that the money we can raise in parishes will be small compared to the vast needs we have. Therefore, there is no doubt that we shall need help from overseas partners for bigger strategic projects. This include the purchase of motorcycles (which cost about $1500 each) for rural deans so that they can move faster between parishes to support parish priests and catechists.
Our biggest practical need and challenge is to raise initial start-up funds for covering some of the costs typical in a young diocese in Tanzania such as Tarime. We need funds to enable us to employ key diocesan office staff, namely an accountant, accounts assistant, evangelism coordinator, bishop’s assistant, a diocesan administrator and two night security guards – one for the bishop’s residence and the other for the premises that house temporary diocesan offices. We are grateful that we have managed to import a used vehicle for the bishop. But the diocese is in urgent need of funds to cover bishop’s car maintenance expenses and bishop’s travel within and outside. We need money to cover fees and travel expenses for one student of theology and four bible school students who started their training under the mother diocese of Mara and are now in the Diocese of Tarime. Also we need money to buy minimum office equipment such as a photocopier, desktop computer, and a printer.
Equally we need assistance with creation of a diocesan website and web-hosting so that news of mission in Tarime can be accessed by many people around the world for prayer. Finally, we need funds to cover on-going communication expenses after setting up a modest communication system: mobile internet, telephone and fax – thanks to a specific grant for this from Wales, United Kingdom. Any assistance to cover one of more of things I have mentioned would be highly appreciated because among other things, it will give us a huge breathing space that will allow us to pursue the implementation of the diocesan strategic plan which will be finalized at the first diocesan Synod scheduled for October 19-21, 2010.
In the category of long term resource mobilization, our goal is sustainability rather than perpetual financial dependency or negative ‘independency’ that denies our unity and oneness in Christ with our brothers and sisters overseas. We stand by the fact that international mission is ours together despite the geographical boundaries that separate us and the different levels of economic strengths of our countries. Tarime has many young priest and catechists both in terms of their age and time in ministry. Also, so many of our 10,000 or so members are very young in their faith. A good number have been Christians for a few years only. We have our work cut out to teach them how to become faithful stewards of the Lord. In the meantime, it would be difficult to expect such people to grow overnight in their faith and level of giving and offer adequate financial support for the running of the diocese and for supporting key projects such as training of the clergy and catechists. One can understand that many people have given their very best in the last three years for the fulfillment of conditions set by the province for a new diocese and made huge financial sacrifices towards the inaugural ceremony. But if one looks at the regular giving, at the moment, 28 parishes in the Diocese can give just over $15,000 per year, and over half of this was used during the period of preparation of the new diocese. Many parishes can only give no more than $200 a year as their parish quota. Only three can give just over $1,000 per annum.
The message is clear. The Diocese of Tarime cannot wait for too long before its starts small and medium income generating projects for sustaining its mission initiatives, ministry and administration of the diocese. This area needs expert assistance from our overseas partners. So please do not hesitate to contact me if you think you can help us to indentify an individual or individuals with relevant expertise. The least we may require from such an individual is that he or she is a brother or sister in Christ who is a member of a local church that upholds orthodox faith and has love and respect for Africa and its people. We would require such an individual to get the sponsorship and the support of a local Church or a credible and well known Christian organization. If God sends such a person to us he or she would start by identifying small and medium size investment schemes and income generating projects.
We would do a feasibility study in the Lake zone to identify business opportunities, starting with Tarime itself. Tarime is only 18km from the border with Kenya. It is a place where there is a reasonable market for lodges, restaurants and party halls. Income generating projects would also cover agro-processing and agro business. So many crops and vegetables are grown in Tarime – bananas, round and sweet potatoes, tomatoes, onions, carrots, cabbage etc. These could be turned easily into processed goods in a food processing facility to add their market value. The dream is for the diocese to own a food processing facility as part of its investment and income generating projects. This will also create jobs for a good number of unemployed youths who have graduated from universities and colleges and live in Tarime area.
The other potential place for investment opportunities is the city of Mwanza at the foot of Lake Victoria. Mwanza is connected by road to key towns and cities in Tanzania such as Tarime, Arusha, Dar es Salaam, and Dodoma and other towns in western Tanzania. A tarmac road runs from Nairobi through Tarime to Mwanza, and from Dar es Salaam through Dodoma and Mwanza to Tarime. Mwanza has one of key airports with direct flights to and from Dar es Salaam, Nairobi and Entebbe.
Private education in Tarime and Lake Zone is both a social service as well as a business. The market for it is there. Parents are hungry for good education for their kids, especially one that is offered in English and are willing to pay what they are asked to pay, hence the mushrooming of ‘English Medium Schools’ all over Tanzania. A boarding school, possibly a High School for secondary school graduates is something our diocese wants to consider sooner rather than later. This could be a project that generates good income for the diocese.
Where we can’t build whole school structures, we want to engage in the construction of hostels for girls in rural secondary schools located in each ward in the district. These hostels would only not generate income from accommodation fees. They will also have a social significance and benefit in that they could delay the involvement of teenage girls in sexual activities and early pregnancies which have become a problem in parts of Tanzania including Tarime. Hostel accommodation for girls would also save teenage girls from early or forced marriages following unwanted pregnancies. We also intend to start nursery and pre-school classrooms in each parish. Our purpose is to provide rural children with foundational education as well as to introduce them to Christ at a very early age.
Community development programs is our fourth priority area. You could be amazed to read the kind of things that the clergy and congregations have mentioned in their submissions of projects. We shall attempt robust community development programs as part of our effort to demonstrate that our mission holistic. Making our presence felt in society in Tarime will be a key strategy to enable us to be taken seriously in mediatory roles and when we begin to tackle outdated cultural practices.
One of the key community programs will be to engage in peace building initiatives for children in government and private schools so that school age children are made aware of the need to appreciate to live in peace with each other in the community. Clan differences have often been made worse by cattle rustling and land disputes between some of the clans in border areas of Tarime with Kenya. The President of Tanzania and regional government officials look to the religious leaders and churches in particular to play a key role in helping the affected Wakuria communities to live in harmony with one another. Together with our preaching of the Good News of Jesus Christ that connect sinners with God’s love and peace, government officials want us to enhance secular education opportunities for children.
Female Genital Mutilation or the circumcision of girls is rampant in Tarime district. The Church will engage in rigorous but persuasive education initiatives and programs to reduce and eventually stop this outdated practice. HIV and Aids programs shall also be high on our mission agenda alongside other health programs. Border towns and townships in Tanzania tend to have high infection rates. We shall engage in mainly education for prevention programs, and voluntary counseling and testing initiatives.
The Diocese has a well established agricultural center that has played a crucial role in programs aimed at improving food security and poverty alleviation among the rural communities in Tarime regardless of religious or political affiliation. We shall assess how soon we establish a community development office in the Diocese to support the center and develop new community initiatives such as microfinance schemes.
The description above gives an idea of the mission challenges we face in this young diocese, not just for three years but for a long time to come. We are aware that we can only implement few aspects of our mission priorities each year and in three years. We need prayers and practical support. One might ask: ‘why bother with the Church in Africa, or the Diocese of Tarime in particular?’ Part of the answer is to ask oneself, ‘is the Church in Africa important for world Christianity?’ I believe the answer is ‘yes’. Take for example the role that the African Church has been playing in the Anglican Communion over the last few years. We have stood shoulder to shoulder with those who follow orthodox teaching of the Bible and Anglican tradition outside the continent of Africa. This has been a moment when Africa gives back the dividends of many years of the support that it has received from North America.
I appeal to you to invest in the mission of the Church in this youngest Diocese in the Anglican Church of Tanzania. Doing so will also be a part of a larger mission to strengthen the African Church so that it can have a stronger prophetic voice within and outside Africa. I welcome any support your able to offer, be it resources or skills and talents. You can be assured that your support will be met with dedicated leadership that has considerable experience in both national and international life of the Church. It is a leadership that upholds principles of accountability and transparency and mutual respect in partnership. Thank you for being one of those who have chosen to pray for Tarime and its mission.
Dr Mwita Akiri is the Bishop of the Anglican Diocese of Tarime. He is also a Research Professor of African Church History and Missiology at Wycliffe College, University of Toronto, Canada since 2007. He is a member of the Anglican Consultative Council (ACC), and the Advisory Council of the Anglican Health Network. You can contact him at firstname.lastname@example.org
PUBLICATION OF THE WEEK (Each week ACNS features a publication from a Communion Network, group, society, Province, diocese or parish)
Trafficking is a world-wide problem, driven by the same forces that drive the globalisation of markets, with no lack of demand and supply. In varying degrees and circumstances, men, women and children all over the world are victims of what has become a modern day slave trade. Almost every country of the world is affected either as a source, transit, and/or destination country for women, children and men trafficked for the purposes of sexual or labour exploitation.
This newsletter looks at Anglican and other Christian initiatives across the world, such as the Anglican Church of Southern Africa's response to increased trafficking around the Football World Cup, raising awareness in rural communities in India, and the care and support of vulnerable migrant women in Hong Kong.
ANGLICAN CYCLE OF PRAYER (click the link to access the full ACP)
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