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Reflection on the diocesan trip to Morogoro, Tanzania

Published: 21st September 2023

Members of the diocesan rip to Morogoro standing on a mountainChair of the Morogoro Partnership Group, John Green, offers a reflection on the diocesan trip to our partner diocese in Tanzania which took place from 9 - 20 July.

He writes:

Following four years in which no visits were able to take place because of the Covid pandemic, it was a huge joy for ten of us to land on Tanzanian soil once again for a visit which surpassed all our expectations. Our team consisted of Bishop John and his wife HJ, Canon John Green and his wife Margaret, the Revd Katryn Leclezio, the Revd Anne Potter, John Ellis, Ann Carman, Morag Sutcliffe and Clare Harker.

This important Diocesan Partnership began officially with the signing of a Friendship Agreement in 2011 and over the years since there have been many visits both ways renewing our understanding of one another and allowing us to learn from one another. Partnerships such as this enable us to see our own faith community through the lives of those living in a different culture with different priorities and with different approaches to worship and discipleship.  We are, therefore, so privileged to be part of this faith community which spans the globe, uniting us all in the worship of the one God revealed in Jesus Christ .

Bishop John & Bishop Godfrey with their wives in front of other clergyBefore the signing of the Friendship Agreement, the Diocesan partnership originated in a friendship between Bishop Godfrey, the Bishop of Morogoro and Bishop John, the Bishop of Worcester and central to our time in Morogoro was the opportunity for the two Bishops to minister together, particularly in wonderful ordination and confirmation liturgies.

The other vital opportunity provided by our visit was to build on the various parish and school links between our two Dioceses and to build on projects which allow us to share our skills and understanding as we grow closer together in the service of Jesus Christ to the mutual benefit of our two Dioceses.

Bishop John standing outside of a dormitory in Morogoro named after himDuring our time together we visited the following schools, some of which have links to parishes in our Diocese and others have links with other schools within the Diocese,  Chamwino Nursery school, Holy Trinity pre and primary, St. Matthews Nursery School and Bishop Chitemo School in Berega, where Bishop John opened a new dormitory. One of our team, Margaret Green demonstrated a turtle game involving naming colours and matching pairs. The games were then donated to both Holy Trinity School and Chamwino Nursery School.

A group of people stand and look over the fields in MorogoroWe all enjoyed a visit to the Mamboya Eco-Project where Worcester Cathedral has a link and we received a wonderful welcome.  The project is deeply involved with the planting of new trees and the provision of hives to allow for honey which is then sold to help the educational and health needs of children in the area. Clare and Morag, the two members of our team representing the Cathedral will be keeping in contact with this vital project which brings our two Dioceses together in the care of God’s creation and we will be seeking information about how a recent financial gift from Worcester Cathedral has been spent in developing the work of this project.

Students in the sewing academy in MorogoroWe visited the Sewing Academy which has already received a generous financial gift from within our Diocese. It was good to see some students at work, but we were a little anxious to discover that some students were preparing for work in the hospitality world and we were concerned that we had not received any request for a change in usage for the money provided for the specific purpose of aiding sewing tuition. Katryn Leclezio will be exploring this with Josephine Serwenda of the MU in Morogoro as to what may have been happening here, but we are confident that there will be a very good explanation.

Katryn and some of our group visited new parishes which are slowly developing in areas where the main influence has hitherto been Islamic and where there has been no centre for Christians to gather, particularly, Mvuha and Kisaki. This work is being supported by money generously provided by her parish, particularly the congregation at Elmley Castle, and Katryn has a desire to provide a motorbike to help the clergy to visit more easily.

A group of people outside a building in Mrogoro while one man takes a selfieWe also spent a day in Berega visiting the hospital, orphanage and school before moving on to Tunguli the next day where the independent charity, Mission Morogoro, does most of its work. This Charity began because of the partnership between our two dioceses and sees itself as firmly linked to the ministry of the Diocese of Worcester.  Here we visited St Elizabeth’s Church and received a very warm welcome from the congregation.  This church has been mainly restored with money from Mission Morogoro, as well as some help from the Old Hills Benefice.  After this we visited the Tunguli Health Centre and met with Nurdin, the local midwife and other staff.  In the afternoon we all attended the final match of a football tournament designed to bring on board young people to help with improving health and hygiene of the local community which was being organized by an NGO with money provided by Mission Morogoro.

The visitors to Morogoro stand in front of a crossOur final day started with a brief visit to the Bible College in Morogoro and we met with Samuel, the Principal, and other members of staff. We will have follow on discussions to see if we can find ways of helping with the financial burden for those preparing for ordination in the college.

We also visited the Anglican Chaplaincy at Morogoro University.  We were very concerned for Godson, the Chaplain, who is dealing with a huge amount of stress within the undergraduate population, including many students who are feeling suicidal. We are looking at whether we can find a way of being able to provide both training and supervision to enable Godson to feel better supported in this important work.

Ladies in the Morogoro countryside dancing and drummingThere is no doubt that this was an excellent visit which has further cemented the strong and growing links between our two dioceses. Those of us who went experienced a deep sense of joy and welcome. We have so much to learn from one another and we praise God for giving us the opportunity to join with our friends in this beautiful part of Tanzania in the service of the God who greets each one of us in the loving and sacrificial life of Jesus Christ.

Finally can we all express our thanks to Bishop Godfrey, the Revd Peter Mkengi ( Link Officer), our drivers who kept us safe across so many miles of difficult driving conditions and all the Morogoro Diocesan staff who looked after us so well and made our visit so memorable and full of joy.

John Green, Chair - Morogoro Partnership Group

Page last updated: Thursday 21st September 2023 5:25 PM

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