Posts

Oxford and Kimberley & Kuruman

A summit between the linked dioceses of Oxford and Kimberley & Kuruman in South Africa has ended with both dioceses committing to expand their work together.

During the 5 day conference, held in Kimberley, around 50 representatives from churches  in England and South Africa met to share worship, reflect on Scripture and discuss how the two dioceses could work more closely in mission ”journeying together within the Body of Christ” This involved discussion both about key mission issues and  about how best to take the link forward and strengthen it in the future. Currently there are 9 official links,  some of which have been running for over two decades. They all work in slightly different ways but have a common theme of working as equal partners and journeying together in faith.

The four mission themes were discipleship, care for creation, advocacy on inequality, and the role of young people in the church. For the first three, speakers from both South Africa and the UK offered presentations; the session on young people’s role involved about 60 young people, who shared their hopes and concerns. Conversations about the future followed, which resulted in ideas about how churches in each diocese can take the work forward in their own context and support the work of their link partners. Representatives in the care for creation discussions, for example, identified environmental objectives they’d like to achieve by the end of the year with delegates from K&K proposing to create guidelines on key topics like energy use, include sessions on the environment at major diocesan events, and identify areas where they could advocate, such as pushing for a ban on plastic bags. The Oxford group plans to present material from the summit to their parishes, identify champions for key issues, explore ways of influencing wider church policy on the environment, and lobby MPs and local councils. Delegates from both dioceses will be joining an online group to keep each other updated on their progress.

Delegates talked about the depth of friendship at the summit and many commented that the length of the time together, coupled with the variety of discussions, worship, and activities, offered  a great opportunity to pick up where they’d left off with their link partners, as well as to build relationships with people they hadn’t previously known. One described it as being “spiritually one in God”.

Canon Carol Starkey, chair of the Kimberley and Kuruman link committee, said:

“I think delegates got a better understanding of not only the link or other links but also personal interaction.”

In his closing speech to the summit, Bishop Steven said:

“The link has my full support and I will bless it and be the bishop for the link. It needs cherishing, nurturing and taking forward and I will commit to doing that. We are the yeast for this link – we can do a power of good as we release the power of what we learn together.”

Bishop Ossie, who oversees the Diocese of Kimberley and Kuruman said:

“For a glorious few days we were on really, really, really holy ground as we looked back a little, but mainly cast our view forward as we contemplated possibilities for our future partnership. We received new energy for our care of creation, a new awareness of our calling to fight injustice and inequality, to seek fresh ways in our proclamation and nurturing the next generation. We pray for a continued sense of the transforming power of God as we descend to the plain – to the coalface. Together we can do so much more as we encourage one another.”

Bishop of Oxford joins link summit in South Africa

THE Bishop of Oxford has joined over 50 people from the Diocese of Oxford and our link diocese of Kimberley and Kuruman for a four-day summit.  It’s being held in Kimberley, South Africa, and brings together representatives of linked parishes, young people, and people with leadership roles within the link and within the two dioceses, including both diocesan bishops.

Participants will engage together in prayer and Bible study. They’ll visit different parishes for Sunday worship and explore the history of Kimberley so as to better understand the context of the Kimberley and Kuruman diocese today. And they’ll discuss a series of questions relating to mission: Why and how do we cherish God’s creation? What are the things in our church life that engage – or don’t engage – young people? How do we discuss and respond to inequalities that distort right relationships in our families, church and society?

Our prayer is that is that the time together will deepen both diocese’s understanding and love of God and each other, help us to grow as disciples of Christ, and make our partnership both deeper and wider.

Summit in South Africa

Small groups of people from the Diocese of Oxford have been arriving in South Africa ahead of a Summit between the linked dioceses.

South Africa summit to explore discipleship

From left, Fr Tefo Motaung, Fr Elias Tsabeng, Revd Heather Steenkamp and Maranda St John Nicolle in Kimberley and Kuruman. Photo: Catharine Morris

WHAT does it mean to be a disciple of Christ? And how do people in very different contexts walk together as partners in the gospel?

These are the questions that over fifty people from our diocese and our link diocese of Kimberley and Kuruman will be discussing together at a summit in Kimberley, South Africa, from 14-18 September. The summit brings together representatives of linked parishes, young people, and people with leadership roles within the link and within the two dioceses, including both diocesan bishops.

Participants will engage together in prayer and Bible study. They’ll visit different parishes for Sunday worship and explore the history of Kimberley so as to better understand the context of the Kimberley and Kuruman Diocese today. And they’ll discuss a series of questions relating to mission: Why and how do we cherish God’s creation? What are the things in our church life that engage – or don’t engage – young people? How do we discuss and respond to inequalities that distort right relationships in our families, church and society?

Our prayer is that the time together will deepen both diocese’s understanding and love of God and each other, help us to grow as disciples of Christ, and make our partnership both deeper and wider.

Seeing God at work in Kimberley and Kuruman

by Catharine Morris

catharine

I love unexpected opportunities – well, mostly – as long as they are good opportunities. For me, one of these has been getting involved with the link between the Diocese of Oxford and the Diocese of Kimberley and Kuruman in South Africa.
It was humbling to see some of the challenges they face: one of the moments I will never forget is the spontaneous singing that erupted in the church kitchen when it started to rain extremely heavily one afternoon. One of the ladies said: “When I get home my house will have leaked, but I am so happy that we have had rain.”

And yet  I was worried about how wet we would get going back to the car. It was delightful to see the joy of many children when I shared with them something as simple as a bottle of bubbles. It was moving to sit by the bed of an elderly lady, severely crippled and in pain with arthritis, and to anoint her and pray with her.

At the invitation of Bishop Ossie, I shall return in October to share some of my experience as a Parish Development Adviser. I’ll be working with parish representatives on Mission Action Planning, with clergy in times of transition, and helping the Diocese to think about how they might incorporate some of this kind of work going forward.

I’m looking forward to seeing God at work in Kimberley and Kuruman, just as he is here, and to the learning and encouragement which I trust will come from this next visit, both for me and for those that I go to minister alongside.

Catharine Morris is the PDA for Berkshire.

Saying no to xenophobic attacks in K&K

Schoolchildren at St Cyprian’s Cathedral school (pictured) held a march as part of the Kimberley and Kuruman churches’ response to recent xenophobic attacks in South Africa. Kimberley and Kuruman Diocese is linked to the Oxford Diocese and The cathedral and the church of St James, Galeshewe, which is linked to Marlow, also held two services, at which the bishop, the dean, and Father Thomas Mhuriro, a Zimbabwean priest serving in the diocese, preached. SONY DSC

The liturgies at the Cathedral and St James placed the questions surrounding xenophobia in a theological context. The readings were Jonah 4: 1 -11, Acts 10: 9 – 35, and John 17: 11-23, each focusing on a different aspect of God’s love for people considered as “outsiders.” Prayers drawn from different parts of Africa were a reminder that those from different countries are children of the same Lord. The Bishop’s sermon emphasised Peter’s discovery that “God shows no partiality,” challenged people to examine their own deep-seated assumptions about other groups, and called them to allow God to do transforming work in their hearts as he did with Jonah and Peter.

Diocesan World Development Adviser, Maranda St John Nicolle, who was visiting and attended the services, said: “It was inspiring to see the church take a leadership role in fighting hostility to people from different backgrounds and emphasising our obligation welcome the stranger.”

Connecting with Kimberley and Kuruman

The Revd Carol Starkey came to England from South Africa to see the parishes that are linking with our partner Diocese of Kimberley and Kuruman. The Door finds out more.  

by Jo Duckles

THE link between St Mary’s, Hitcham in Buckinghamshire and St Mary Magdalene in Ritchie in K&K, is based on the two communities getting to know each other and developing relationships.

From Left, churchwarden, Jill Atkins, Breyon Knowles, Carol Starkey, the Revd Derreck Lee-Philpot and churchwarden Janet Knowles, showing off a stole made for Moulsford by people from Huhudi.  Photo  Jo Duckles

From Left, churchwarden, Jill Atkins, Breyon Knowles, Carol Starkey, the Revd Derreck Lee-Philpot and churchwarden Janet Knowles, showing off a stole made for Moulsford by people from Huhudi. Photo Jo Duckles

Geoff Day, who took over leadership of the Link Group in Hitcham last year, said the basis of a successful link is getting to know not only the other parish’s geographical, community and social setting, but particularly the members of each other’s congregation.

He added: “A link is not just about visits and the provision of financial support – the foundation of any link is the exchange of prayers, information and consultation.”

“…the foundation of any link is the exchange of prayers, information and consultation.”

Ritchie is a township of some 20,000 people situated 25 miles from Kimberley, in the North Cape Province. The link with Hitcham was created in 1995 following an initiative by the then Vicar, the Revd Tom Hewson.

Geoff said: “Thanks to the hard work of the members of our group steadfastly led initially by the Revd Rosie Hewson and followed by Sandra Boothroyd and Sonia Hart, our link has been successful in surviving the distance between the two parishes and the subsequent difficulties in communication.”

The main focus of the link has been friendship and prayer support, with the Mothers’ Union, Sunday School and Men’s group being continually in their prayers. Projects have included the purchase and renovation of a Rectory in Ritchie, a soup kitchen, an HIV/AIDS Clinic, a school for disabled children and a five-day children’s club with worship, teaching, sport, drama and craft.

The Northern Cape and North-West Province economies are relatively poor and morale can be low as can the number of stipendiary clergy. Ritchie has suffered from lack of clergy over this period but last year Father Verwant was installed as Vicar of St Mary Magdalene.

Last September the Church in Ritchie was vandalized, and everything except furniture was either damaged or stolen including crosses, candle holders, Communion Chalice and paten and clergy vestments. Geoff says: “From our funds we sent a donation to assist them with the replacement of altar and communion furnishings at St Mary Magdalene and our PCC have agreed to send them sets of spare vestments which we have not used for many years.”

St John the Baptist, Moulsford and Huhudi

During her visit Carol visited Moulsford, in Oxfordshire, where she was given a tour of St John the Baptist Church, which has been newly re-ordered, before hearing about the successful link between the two communities and how the congregation are supporting five families in Huhudi in K&K with blankets, food and clothing.

The Revd Andrew Petit, from Moulsford, and the Revd Boikanyo Tong, from Huhudi, have a statement on the Living Faith WorldWide website: “We, the above, rejoicing in our unity as brothers and sisters in the Lord, wish to encourage each other in the work of sharing the good news of Jesus Christ and building the kingdom of God in our communities. We wish to grow together in understanding and love and to learn from each other about our calling, our vision and the challenges that face us. We will seek to achieve this by: regular communication and, where possible, personal visits, the giving and receiving of practical and spiritual support, the assurance of our love and prayers. We will monitor actions taken within this agreement annually and review it every four years.”

Janet and Breyon Knowles first went out to Huhudi in 2007, after Janet retired from her job at Oxford’s John Radcliffe Hospital. They met the locals who took them to the church and a tour of the community.

Janet said: “We have put aside 10 per cent of all our income for outreach. Five per cent is spent locally and five per cent goes to Huhudi.”

The Newbury Deanery and Batlharos

The Hermitage Team has had links with Batlharos since 2007. Chair of the Link Committee, Wendy Willoughby-Paul, said 16 people went out to tour K&K and were taken with Batlharos. Since then small groups have been out to K&K four times, staying in the village. “It is a very large and spread out area, not like our idea of a village,” says Wendy. “We have stayed with them, gone with the priests visiting the sick

and were there in 2012 for their centenary celebrations.”

In 2011 a group of Batlharos residents were treated to a trip to the Newbury Deanery, which included a visit to London, a trip down a canal and Christ Church Cathedral, Oxford – their favourite place.

The parish to parish link is with St Michael and All Angels in the Northern Cape and the Newbury Deanery. Carol had visited Hermitage on her second day in the UK. “She joined in worship and said a few words which was lovely.”

It is important to note that the link is a two-way project. Wendy explained that while they help people in Batlharos by giving materially, the Batlharos community helps the Newbury Deanery as their way of worshipping rubs off on those who visit.

“It just brings tears to your eyes to see the joy on their faces.”

“We raise money here and have bought them a sewing machine that allows them to make things to sell. They have made bags, quilt covers, pillow cases and little trinket things that help them become self sufficient. We have also given money towards a fence for the church garden and air conditioning for the church, which has made such a difference for them. They have started growing vegetables and without the fence the goats get in and eat the produce.”

Wendy described the joy of giving small presents to the Batlharos children. “We visited one or two schools and gave out balloons. It is wonderful to see how pleased they are when you hand them out. We also take little bouncy balls, which they love. They are things they wouldn’t usually get. It just brings tears to your eyes to see the joy on their faces.”

Carol’s visit to parish links in the Oxford Diocese may have marked her first time in the UK, but its only the latest expression of her commitment to seeing the Church look outwards. She told Maranda St John Nicolle her story. 

Carol Starkey in Mmabtho

Carol Starkey in Mmabatho

Carol was born in Kimberley. Her father worked for the municipality, and her mother cared for Carol and her siblings. In the apartheid-era laws meant that the family had to relocate to the city centre. Carol’s family continued to worship at the cathedral, a place which has been a key part of her faith journey. “I was baptised there, I was confirmed there, and I got married in the cathedral. So when I went back as a priest, I said to Dean Brian, ‘I’m only just coming home. The cathedral church to me is where my foundation was actually laid.”

Two priests had a particular influence: Father Pullen, who prepared her for confirmation and Bishop Crowther, whose outspoken criticism of apartheid led to his deportation. “We went to the airport when Bishop Crowther was deported and the police visibility was so huge there,” says Carol. An administrator by training – she worked for twenty years at a school and then for Farm Africa – she also became a Sunday School teacher, assisted in preparations for confirmation, and helped with baptism. Eventually, she became a lay minister, involved in visiting parishioners.

One woman who was HIV positive, inspired Carol to look in a new direction: “She was really open about speaking about her status … and I just loved working with this type of person, and I thought that this is what I want to do as part of my ministry in the church as well.” St Francis had – and still has – a groundbreaking programme called Hope for the Living, supporting people living with and affected by HIV and AIDS. Carol became involved with the caregivers and the spiritual side of the programme.

When a long-term sense of vocation led, after much prayer and waiting, to ordination, Carol’s gifts of administration and love of outreach found new scope. Starting as an assistant priest in the cathedral, she was given a role helping to engage more with the diocese and the wider world, something which at times could be a challenge. “That’s not just a cathedral issue,” she adds: “in some parishes it’s the same thing, we just look inward and that is a major thing that we need to change. Once we’re outward looking, we will see the needs of not only of our immediate congregation but the community around the church, and we will be able to minister to them, so that they can actually see the loving Lord.”

“We can help each other grow spiritually, I think, by just connecting..”

Carol’s cathedral ministry involved being a school chaplain, a chaplain to Kimberley’s main hospital, which is just down the road from the cathedral precincts, and diocesan coordinator for HIV and AIDS. She saw her work as taking the church to people who weren’t sure that they belonged: “ I think sometimes people think they are so alone in the world, and they need to know that they can come through the door of the church and we are there for them.”

Elected to the Link Committee shortly after ordination and elected as Chair in 2012, Carol sees her link work as another way of helping people widen their horizons and share God’s love : “The basic thing with the Link is actually to learn that we are not just in our own diocese, we’re in a wider Anglican Communion, where we have brothers and sisters all over the world.” It’s vitally important, she feels to learn from different cultures, to share our challenges, to pray and learn from each other. “We can help each other grow spiritually, I think, by just connecting,” she says.

Oxford parishes have given financial help to their links, and Carol expresses her and the congregations’ gratitude for that. “It’s amazing,” she says,” to see the passion people feel about helping their partners.” But at the same time, she’s adamant that the Link isn’t just about money. It’s a partnership, not an aid relationship.

“We want to say, ‘We’ll have a link: will you pray for these challenges that we encounter here on this side.’ And see how it develops, so pray for each other and just know that our brothers and sisters are there; we can talk to them.” She found it helpful to visit the Oxford Diocese to understand the challenges that face us and so that she can pray, and encourage others, to pray for us.

What was it that struck her the most about her visit? “The hospitality of everybody, their passion, and how they feel about their own immediate parishes really touched me. You can feel these are really people of faith, and they are involved with their own community. And it’s so good because that is why they can become involved further away. That’s outward looking. The fellowship all round was great and the love of Christ was felt all round. Thanks too from Bishop Oswald to the Link Committee and all link parishes.”

For more on K&K to Oxford links visit http://pwm.oxford.anglican.org/oxford-kimberley-kuruman-link/
or http://tinyurl.com/q88znjc

Maranda St John Nicolle is the Diocesan World Development Advisor.

 

HIV and AIDS – the reality

,
Comment by the Revd Canon Sue Booys
I’ve just returned from a visit to Africa where I was privileged to visit a project in our link Diocese of Kimberley and Kuruman as well as spending time in Kenya with a group of young people, mostly from Dorchester Team parishes, who were visiting and working in day centres for impoverished and orphaned children in the rural towns of Mumias and Musanda by the NASIO Trust whose UK base is in Abingdon.

Sue leads Kenyan school children in 'heads, shoulders, knees and toes.'

Sue leads Kenyan school children in ‘heads, shoulders, knees and toes.’

Both projects were based in communities where the numbers of people who are HIV positive is very high and with World AIDS Day falling at the beginning of December it’s good to have the opportunity to share some stories. In Kimberley and Kuruman Diocese I visited the parish of Boegoeberg with Shirley Hoy, a member of the Dorchester Team Council, as the first step in establishing a parish to parish link and to help develop a project that feeds about 200 pre-school children.
Boegoeberg is a community in the Archdeaconry of the Khalari. It was created around the 1960’s when people classified as ‘Coloured’ under Apartheid Law were forcibly moved from a variety of places to a village called Brandboom (which literally translated means ‘Burning Bush’). Deprivation is high, with unemployment at 70 to 80 per cent, and HIV infection rates of 40 to 50 per cent. The project is run primarily by women who were inspired by an Anglican Women’s Federation conference to do something for their own community. Every Tuesday a meal is provided (which the children can take home) along with community based worship (songs, dances and prayer).  One of the leaders of the project, Sarah, has been nominated for the Shoprite Women of the Year award for her contribution.
That is the formal description – the stark reality of seeing so many children queue for a meagre plateful of food (especially when, as visitors and guests, your fine meal is spread on a table in front of them all) is shocking. As is the protectiveness over their precious lidded containers, the significant number of under-fives who bring the babies that they are looking after, and the fact that these obviously hungry children are saving a tiny portion of food to eat – or even share – later.
We observe World AIDS Day but I noticed that in Africa people always speak of being HIV positive. It’s a more accurate a description and doesn’t pass judgement on the person.  Two people I met on my travels have very different stories. A four year old Kenyan boy who is HIV positive. His mother was “inherited” (when her husband died she was passed on to his brother) a convention which should allow a family to care for a widow but often results in  ill treatment. His mother has died from AIDS related illness and he is HIV positive. When we collected him from school to visit him at home he was asleep on the floor.    He lives with an uncle and aunt who care for his three older siblings (who are not HIV positive) and their own four children. He is receiving treatment but his teacher says his prospects are not good.
“…so many children queue for a meagre plateful of food…”
 A seven year old AIDS orphan – she is cared for by and carer for her grandmother who is 90 and blind – whilst we were in Kenya she was admitted to hospital, paid for by the charity, and her house cleaned and renovated by our group of NASIO volunteers.
So much is being done in terms of treatment, perception and care for our sisters and brothers who are HIV positive but it remains a drop in the ocean and anything we do to make a difference in ensuring a healthy diet, proper treatment and the right language is a MUST!
For more on how to make a difference on World Aids Day see http://www.worldaidsday.org/
Pictured above Sue leads school children in ‘Heads, shoulders, knees and toes’ in Kenya. Below is the Boegoeberg food project.