Easter Sunday

Bishop Christopher has a message for everyone who has contributed to the 2016 Bishop’s Lent Call.


Week Five – Zimbabwe: Caring for the Whole Person – Part Two

When the Bishop of Masvingo Godfrey Tawonezvi and his wife Albertina visited Southwark Diocese, they told us about some of the issues facing their Diocese and what they’d like to achieve. Lots of people face unemployment issues, and many areas struggle with access to water. Bishop Godfrey spoke about some of the ways in which the Diocese of Masvingo could help.

To find out more about the Bishop of Southwark’s Lent Call and the projects that it’s supporting, visit bit.ly/lentcall16

Week Five – Zimbabwe: Caring for the Whole Person – Part One

Bishop Ishmael Mukuwanda, of Central Zimbabwe, has sent us some information about the four main areas that their Diocese will focus on during 2016. They are:

  1. Rehabilitation and Construction of Schools: Eight Communities have requested the Diocese to take over their schools; both primary and secondary schools. These schools are in very bad state of repair and a lot of work needs to be done and lots of resources will need to be raised. Efforts will be made to mobilize the communities for development as they must play their part. This approach (mobilization) worked well at one such school at St. Hugh’s Primary School, Mazinyo. Three communities requested the Diocese to help them construct two secondary and one primary schools. This will cost a lot of money and other resources.
  2. Construction of Phase Two of the hospital project: This will be done in 2016. Work is already in progress using the available resources. This Phase is expected to reach the wall plate and gable level by the end of 2016 for roofing to commence.
  3. Furniture for Phase One of the Hospital: A well-wisher in Australia has offered enough beds and other furniture (second hand) for the whole hospital but the Diocese needs to raise $15,000 for shipment. Efforts are being made to raise this money.
  4. Current Drought: The 2015/16 growing season has been bad due to very patchy rains and extremely high temperatures. The harvest will be very poor in many areas of Zimbabwe. Many areas of our Diocese have not been spared. Our Relief and Development Service Desk will need to work extra hard to raise money to feed people.

Bishop of Matabeleland, Rt Revd Cleophas Lunga, spoke to us about some of the problems that his Diocese has faced as a result of the recent droughts across Zimbabwe:

For more information about the Bishop of Southwark’s Lent Call and the projects it supports, visit bit.ly/LentCall16

Week Four – Zimbabwe Working for A Bright Future: Part Two

Bishop Erick Ruwona is the newest Bishop in Zimbabwe, consecrated Bishop of Manicaland in May 2015. He visited the Diocese of Southwark for a week in January accompanied by Archdeacon Luke Chigwanda and Samuel & Portia Magada.

Visitors with +Christopher

During the trip the group were able to see and visit a number of different things in the Diocese.  The programme included a ‘Meet Bishop Erick event’ at St George’s, Southwark when about a hundred clergy and lay people from the Woolwich Area met with the Bishop and his colleagues; a visit to Southwark Cathedral; healthcare visits including Lewisham Hospital; visits to schools and a Clergy Study Day in Peckham. Bishop Christopher hosted a dinner for the Zimbabwean guests with others who are part of the Manicaland Link Group here in the Diocese or have another sort of link with Manicaland.

Bishop Erick spoke of his hopes for the Link and the situation in Zimbabwe: that Manicaland and Woolwich can have a strong partnership which goes beyond a link at Diocesan level and helps us to link our lives, our parishes and our institutions.

He spoke of the current difficulties in both the Diocese and the country. He noted that the plan had been for twelve people to make this Link trip in order that the experience of the Link could be spread more widely but sadly eight had been unable to get visas to enter Britain. This makes it harder for the Link to grow. Bishop Erick explained that one of the main challenges for the Diocese of Manicaland is that more than 50% of their priests have been ordained in the past 3 years. This is very exciting at one level but it does meant that they are falling behind in terms of pastoral experience. He said that he found it hard to see how they were going to be able to have senior priests and that somehow they need to find a new model for ministry.

We interviewed Bishop Erick and he elaborated on some of the joys and challenges of his ministry as Bishop of Manicaland.

Find out more about the projects that the Bishop of Southwark’s Lent Call 2016 supports at bit.ly/LentCall16

Week Four – Zimbabwe working for a bright future: Part one

The Bishop of Southwark’s Lent Call helps to support a wide variety of projects in Zimbabwe that go towards helping ensure that there is a brighter future for the country.

The Arthur Shearly Cripps Festival takes place each year at the Shrine to Shearly Cripps in the Diocese of Masvingo. There are always thousands of people there and they arrive by coach and minibus, car and bicycle, or on foot to celebrate the man that the people of Zimbabwe came to love. In 2015 Bishop Christopher was invited to be the guest preacher at the service. One of the projects that we have managed to support from Southwark is a new water pump and tank to supply clean, fresh water for the needs of the people who have made their way to the Shrine for the Festival. The Diocese of Masvingo is now also able to use this site as a place of retreat for the Bishop and clergy and they hope to be able to do even more there.

Another project where it is possible to see enormous growth is the sewing project at St Gabriel’s Centre, in the Diocese of Matabeleland. There are now more workers learning about their trade and helping to build resources for the future. On our previous visit in 2014 the project had begun to make some school uniforms for some of the church schools of the Diocese as well as cassocks and servers’ albs. That business is going apace and they are beginning to get to a place where they make school uniforms for most of the local church schools and much of the clergy wear. The gifts that we give as part of our Lenten discipline help projects like this to happen and to develop.


Helping to ensure that there is on-going education and training for all in Zimbabwe is one of the ways in which the Dioceses are seeking to ensure that people are cared for and enabled to flourish. Our giving helps them to do this.

Week Three – The Holy Land: Healing for All – Part Two

As you may know in the last week the Bishop of Southwark and the Dean of Southwark have led a Diocesan Pilgrimage of eighty five people from many different parishes across the Diocese to the Holy Land.  In just seven full days they visited nearly thirty different holy sites.   In the midst of this they were privileged to visit two of the projects which are being supported by the Diocese of Southwark this year.   One group of Pilgrims went to the Episcopal Technological and Vocational Training Centre in Ramallah and the other went to St Luke’s Hospital in Nablus.   Both groups were inspired by what they saw and heard and we hope that you will have been inspired by the projects sheets and videos to want to support the projects in the Lent Call too.

One place that we have been unable to visit is the Al-Wafa Rehabilitation Hospital in the Gaza Strip.  Partly it is not easily possible to get into Gaza and it certainly would be very hard for a large group of people from England to get in there.   The other reason is quite simply that the hospital is no longer in existence to be visited although, through the remarkable perseverance of the staff, its work continues.

We have permission to use this video about the hospital made by Medical Aid for Palestinians.

The projects which the Bishop’s Lent Call for 2016 are supporting in the  Holy Land are all supported by the Anglican Diocese of Jerusalem.  The support that the Diocese gives to these an many other projects is an example of what Dean Hosam Naoum  describes as the witness of the living stones in Jerusalem and beyond.   In saying this he is speaking of the social care and education work which the church enables to happen and which is often staffed by Christians.   It is a practical way of showing Christ’s love in the world and is, as Dean Hosam says, a very powerful witness to the Good news.

Whilst the Pilgrims were in the Holy Land Dean Hosam came for dinner one night and stayed on to speak to us about the work of the church in the Holy Land.

The Pilgrims who visited the projects in the Holy Land wanted to give money there and then to help with the need.  They were persuaded, however, to come home and give the money to the projects via the Bishop’s Lent Call so that, if they are UK tax payers, they could give an extra 25% to the projects at no extra cost to them.   We hope that you will want to give generously too.

Details of how to give can be found at bit.ly/lentcall16

To read more about the projects in the Holy Land and the Diocesan Pilgrimage why not look at southwarkholylandpilgrimage2016.wordpress.comsouthwarkholylandpilgrimage2016.wordpress.com

Week Three – The Holy Land: Healing for All – Part One

Medical care, is of vital importance to the people of the Holy Land and it is vital that good care is available to all those who live there.  So hospitals, like this one in Ramallah, are especially important.   Not only does it does it provide good maternity and general care for the people who live in Ramallah but it also offers an extraordinary neurological service.

We talked to Dr Walid Kerry, the director of the hospital, about the work they do, their challenges and their needs.

Quite a lot of the hospital looks as if it has been there a long time and could do with some attention.   But, that is not true everywhere and there is a wonderful new entrance hall and set of consulting rooms for some parts of their work.

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But, although there are some new parts in the hospital there is still a need for new equipment or parts to repair existing machines.  Much of what the hospital can afford to do is as a result of gifts from around the world as people seek to keep the hospital functioning as well as it can because the provision of health care is so very important.

The maternity unit too is very important because the hospital here can look after babies who are born prematurely as well as providing more regular care for mothers and babies.  The hospital has had some difficulties with funding but it does a brilliant job with the little it has as it seeks to care for people right across the community in Ramallah and surrounding areas.