Small groups of people from the Diocese of Oxford have been arriving in South Africa ahead of a Summit between the linked dioceses. They have been spending time with their link churches. Breyan and Janet Knowles from St John the Baptist in Moulsford travelled to Huhudi last week to share services and time with friends at St Philip’s, their link, as well as visiting local schools and hospitals. They also visited a church in Dithakwaneng which is part of St Philip’s.

St John’s and St Philip’s say their partnership is about spiritual growth and growing together as two parishes. They have shared materials and ideas over the past year. Breyan and Janet also met members of the youth ministry team at St Philip’s and heard how they’d spent a busy year doing outreach and campaigning work. The youth group (which takes members aged from 18 to 35) had provided a soup kitchen for young children in the parish and had organised a march in the town to raise awareness of issues such as child abuse and violence against women. One of the youth members of the church will be at the summit in Kimberley along with youth workers from both dioceses.

Diocesan youth advisor, Ian McDonald who will be at the summit said:

“Young people are a key part of church wherever church is, not to involve them is to miss out part of the body: their questions help and challenge us. One of the things I am excited about is that we don’t have a set list of common themes that we are going to explore, we will see what emerges in conversation and discussion. The issues and the opportunities we have in common will be a fruitful piece of learning, the things that are very different will also lead to some opportunities to see things with fresh eyes.”