Dispatch Two: Mission Station Geita, Tanzania, and Mission Station, Nyakatto Bible College in Mwanza

Song sung before 1st class in Geita:

Bwana Mungu Nashangaa Kabisa

Bwana Mungu Nashangaa Kabisa
Nikitazama kama vilivyo
Nyota, nguru, vitu vingi vyote
Viumbwavyo kwa uwezo wako

Roho yangu na ikuimbie
Jinsi wewe ulivyo Mkuu
Roho yangu na ikuimbie
Jinsi wewe ulivyo Mkuu

Bishop Kwangu and his wife Mary took Fr Francis and Brother Nathan southwest across the bay and through the valleys for around 100 kilometers to the town of Geita, where Fr Francis was to teach for two weeks at Christ the King Anglican Church in the center of the town.  It has been decided that Geita will become a separate diocese in the future and the teaching fosters that goal.

Geita has many churches and few clergy.   Most of the churches are led by evangelists, commissioned to lead the churches and the Sunday services.  They do much more than just preach the Word;  they lead the congregations; they are the pastors.  Most are not formally trained but do the best they can.  In the past, OFM teaching has been highly successful in such areas.

Bishop Kwangu and his wife and Brother Nathan returned to Mwanza to carry on the teaching of the evangelists back there, leaving Fr Francis in Geita.

Fr. Francis teaching his sutdents in the "outside classroom"

The schedule in Geita:  classes every day, Monday through Friday, 8 AM to 5 PM.  Rest day on Saturday.  Worship at all three services on Sunday, 8 AM, 10 AM and 4 PM, usually preaching or teaching.

Over twenty students were expected, but only thirteen showed up initially.  The second day, three more students arrived and one student was never seen again.  Travel is not easy for the poor people of Tanzania.  They are interesting people.

Students

Who are the students?  All lay people in parish ministry, mostly evangelists, who lead a congregation, and some choir leaders (an important ministry) . Their occupations were interesting:  two miners, three farmers, a fisherman, a tailor, a bicycle taxi driver, a first grade school teacher, two singers, and a business woman.  Ten men and five women.  Ten new students and five who also attended in 2009.  One person attended but did not complete, bible college in Nyakatto where Brother Nathan is teaching, and the rest attained primary grade five or primary grade seven, except for one man who never attended a day of school in his life.  No high school students or graduates.  Very attentive and participative.  They write many notes in their study books.  There are no students who wear glasses.  No one in Nathans class wear glasses either.

We had an exercise to teach each of the commandments.  There was confusion – they used an alternate numbering system than we do.  They all taught.  Their knowledge is colored by prior teachings.  The teacher on the commandment to keep holy the Sabbath taught that you could not do any thing on the Sunday Sabbath that made you sweat.  The class all agreed.  Local churches will be empty this Sunday 🙂

Fr Francis has missed a day of teaching – sick with stomach distress.  Such ailment is a part of life in Africa.  The treatment – treat it right away – take appropriate medicines quickly – so it does not drag on for days.  Medicines include pink bismuth tablets, Immodium D, and ciproflaxin.  He was down for 36 hours.

Electricity is a problem here in Geita.  We have lost power every day, some days, twice, most times for a long time. We have been without power in Geita for more than half the time.  Mwanza also loses power but not as frequently, and for shorter times, and at different times. We suspect rolling blackouts

Oh, by the way, the song printed above which was sung at the first class is the Swahili rendition of “How Great Thou Art” using Swahili words but the same melody that we know.  Try it out.

Going on at the same time as classes in Geita were other classes at Nyakatto Bible School in Mwanza, taught by Brother Nathan Dunlap.  He taught a large group in the big classroom there, his students numbering around twenty-two.  Nathan was assisted by his interpreter, Pastor Danson, a young energetic priest, recent graduate of St John Seminary in Dodoma.  Years before, Pastor Danson had worked with Fr Francis on his first trip to Mwanza.   After some searching around, Nathan was billeted at St Dominic Catholic Conference Center in Mwanza.  The Conference Center is run by Dominican Sisters under the Catholic Diocese of Mwanza.  What a blessing – hot showers, community  cafeteria, real toilets – not so in Geita!

Nathan with his students in Mwanza

Nathan’s students had many questions about the beliefs, teachings and practices of the Church.  Sometimes, they had learned incorrect things about what the Church taught.  Sometimes they understood things differently even when it was correctly taught.  The combination of lecture and seminar style teaching works well in Africa.  There are blackboards in the classroom, but they are made of a type of slate that requires a wire brush to erase the writing on the board.  OFM uses dry erasable white boards, approximately 18” x 24” to help teach the information.

Nathan responded to a question on applying Scripture to daily life and was surprised when they all stood and applauded when he finished.

Thursday was an intense day of teaching for Fr Francis in Geita.  He finished the teaching on the beliefs, teachings and practices but not before having to visit divorce and remarriage, birth control, and inter-communion.  He hesitated to speak with knowledge and authority because the policies of the Anglican Church of Tanzania were not known to him or the students.  Pastor Mathias came in and helped with his knowledge of the teachings of the Anglican Church of Tanzania.  Evangelical Anglican African theology has some different viewpoints.  It is good that Fr Francis did not speak on those subjects.  Yup!

The lack of electric power was a continuing hindrance to the teaching program in both venues.  The high temperatures were also a continuing problem.  But teaching continued unabated.

Saturday is a day of rest.  Sunday is for worship and fellowship.

We are so grateful to all of you who supported this teaching trip to Africa.  The students are also grateful.  Things are going well and we always pray blessings on our benefactors in class.

Asante sana!  (thank you very much)

Fr Francis and Nathan Dunlap

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Dispatch 5, 13 Dec 2009 3rd Sunday of Advent

The ministry of OFM is to provide ministry education in places where such education is hard to get.  The teaching has been completed for now here in Geita.  It was hard work for all concerned.  The class members thought that the whole Anglican Church believed, practiced and taught as they did.  They were wrong.  They discovered the need and desire to learn more in order to serve God and His people in the best way possible, now and in the future.  So they wanted to learn.  It was a huge challenge.

Learning was not easy.  The need to translate all instruction into Swahili slowed the process down.  The interpreter was an 18-year-old recent high school graduate whose Swahili vocabulary did not extend into church matters. So many words were a struggle. The students worked so hard at writing down everything that was said, that I often had to tell them put your pens down and listen.  Students with a seventh grade education were learning college level material.

Some things they caught at the first mention.  They understood that Moses himself did not personally write the first five books of the Bible.  They understood that others wrote in the spirit of Moses and God was all the greater for working through many people rather than one.  They spontaneously applauded God when they realized that.  It was a Holy Spirit moment.

They struggled to comprehend that the ministry of the prophet was to announce God’s Word, not to predict the future as they always had been taught.  But they learned that and accepted that.  Thank you Isaiah, Jeremiah, and Ezekiel.

What was hardest for them to comprehend was not really important, the concept of dating events in Scripture, B.C. and A.D.  Their Swahili Bibles listed such dates in a routine manner.  They asked what it meant.  It took me a half hour to repeatedly explain the meaning and I do not think that most understood completely. Why is it that for B.C., the numbers get smaller as the dates get closer to the birth of Jesus and for A.D., the dates get larger as you get farther away from the birth of Jesus? There was no answer to that question.

They finished proudly.  They looked good for the class picture. Note in the picture below how some proudly displayed their Bibles.  Each student was thrilled to receive a copy of the class picture.  Remember that they lived at the church for three weeks, sleeping on mats on the floor, having to cook their own food, and having to clean the church.

On the last class day, one by one, they proudly came forward and received their Certificates of Ministry Education, from the area Anglican coordinator, Fr Mathias.  Guests and other Anglican pastors came.  Speeches were made.  The students will put their certificates in a frame and display them proudly in the sitting room of their huts.

They went home different than they came.  What they knew before had been significantly supplemented.  They went home with a new determination to do the best for God and his people and had faith that they could now do such things better.  They went home with a desire to continue to learn.  They were all pressuring Father Mathias for more training and more education.  The seeds that had been planted and nurtured were now sprouting.  New knowledge, new attitudes, new confidence.

Geita is a place of contrasts – contemporary and ancient.  I saw large Mercedes cargo trucks for the gold mines and followed by donkey carts for firewood.  There was electric power but it failed almost every day, sometimes for several days at a time. There were crowded roads with buses, trucks, and cars, but mostly there were bicycles – even bicycle taxis.  The battle between progress and traditional ways is happening.  For the pastors, they must learn much more in order to serve God and his people of the next 25 years.

Every Sunday in Africa, I preached at the liturgy in a local church.  So the people in several churches here in Africa heard about the Missionary Society of St John, Bishop Fick, and your support of ministry education in Africa.  I assisted Fr Mathias, the pastor.

Your prayers and donations made a big difference here.  These twenty pastors will change the nature of church in these rural areas.  They will become seed for sowing in God’s kingdom here in Tanzania.  Thank you God.  Thank you people of God.  Your prayers and financial support are bearing great fruit here in East Africa.  The teachers of God’s people are being taught.  Without you, all this does not happen.  We are grateful for those who supported this trip and we are grateful to the monthly donors who keep this ministry alive.  This ministry, the students in Africa, and the rural church in Africa, all rely on you and all thank you. Without such support from you, this ministry dies.

Asante sana!  (Thank you!)

Fr Francis Wardega MSJ

Mission Station Geita, Republic of Tanzania

Dispatch # 5

Dispatch 5 – Last Dispatch for this trip  From Station Dar es Salaam in Tanzania

Summer 2008 Fr Francis Wardega
I am at the airport, awaiting the flight that will begin my journey back to home in Michigan. The work here is finished for this trip. We heard so much, “Please come back. This was so good. Stay longer.”
Dodoma Class Picture

Dodoma Class Picture

The work finished with five days of teaching at Buigiri Bible School. The plan was that I would ride back and forth in Bp Chidawali’s Toyota Hiace minivan. The plan fell apart when the minivan fell apart. I ended up making the journey to/from the school in what is called a “dolla-dolla” a small bus. A small crowded bus with all seats and the aisle full.

My Bus

My Bus

A small crowded bus with all seats and the aisle full that often included people and chickens and ducks! Thank God cows were so big that they required two tickets! Because the law prohibits standing in the aisle, the people doing so would sit on the floor whenever we were stopped at a police checkpoint.

Classes ran much better than the minivan. There were seven full time students, one child, and one frequent drop in student. Their names were Timoth, Rhoda (and her five year old son, Nicodemus), Leticia, Aloyce, Japheth, Sospeter, Enoch, and Eliah.

Final Exam Taking

Final Exam Taking

Who were they? One person described himself as a part time priest and a part time peasant. (In Tanzania, every July 7 is a holiday called Peasants’ Day) Another person was a carpenter. Most lived in simple mud and stick huts with dirt floors, no electricity, and cooked outside over an open fire.

Buigiri School

Buigiri School

Their Anglican faith was the bright light in their life. They learned the basic beliefs and practices and teachings of the historic Anglican Christian Church. They had many misconceptions. They also learned of the ethos of ordained ministry and how that is different from that of an independent minister. Their excitement grew every day. They sensed what was happening – they were learning new things and understanding them. It was making a differencein their thinking. The class on ordained ministry was especially moving to the priests, life changing. They were eager to return to the their parishes and deaneries and pass on what they had learned.

On Sunday Aug 31, I celebrated the liturgy and preached at Christ the King Cathedral in Dodoma, with Bishop Chidawali.

Bishop Chidawali

Bishop Chidawali

Actually, the Holy Spirit celebrated. In very clear ways, the Holy Spirit affirmed the complete love of the Father for the people there, poor, hot, struggling, people of God. It was glorious. Music here was different than in Mwanza – a different rhythm, mainly in minor keys, almost a mournful, wailing tone.

There was much contact with local Anglicans who were vitally interested in the details of the Jerusalem GAFCON gathering and in the details of the Lambreth Conference. We talked long about the future of the Anglican Communion and possible steps that they could take as faithful Anglicans in a diocese where the bishop was not faithful.
I would be remiss if I did not pass on to all of you who have supported this ministry and this mission trip the profound thanks and grateful hearts of the people who have been served here. Everyplace I have been told – pass on to the ones who sent you here how grateful we are to them and how much we appreciate what they have done for us. What we have learned will be immediately used and will have a long lasting affect on our churches and our people. Thank you so much!
Thank you for your support. God and you make this possible. Please keep on supporting this mission. Please sustain this good ministry. It works! Let us go in peace to love and serve the Lord!
Fr Francis Wardega Office of Foreign Missions
Missionary Priest in Africa 18401 Canal Rd
E-mail: jambofrfrancis@yahoo.com USA-248-345-2651

Tanzania 2008 – Dispatch 4

Dispatch 4 From Dodoma Station Tanzania

Liturgy team, St Peter Anglican Church Igogo, Fr Richard & Fr Francis and others

Liturgy team, St Peter Anglican Church Igogo, Fr Richard & Fr Francis and others

Summer 2008 Fr Francis Wardega

This week was a time of transition. The work finished for this year in Mwanza. There was a journey to Dodoma. Then the work for this year began in Dodoma.

For this trip, the teaching work finished in Mwanza, Diocese of Victoria-Nyanza. It has been well received. The eleven clergy students saw their ministry transformed not just by new knowledge, but also by new

Bishop Boniface Kwangu

Bishop Boniface Kwangu

values and attitudes and deeper ways of thinking and evaluating. Renewed priesthood. All from the Scriptures. The men witnessed to that renewed priesthood as we celebrated the closing of class in worship and song. One spoke of how he didn’t know how much he didn’t know. Another spoke of a journey from a ministry of laws and rules to a ministry of love and service. Another spoke of loneliness as a priest alone in a distant village and how he now had brothers to work with. Many mobile phone numbers were exchanged and many pictures taken. Over and over again, “thank you for coming. Come again! Stay longer! We will tell our brothers!” Handshakes were replaced by hugs.

Other service in Mwanza. Assisting in the eight day diocesan spiritual revival – the first one in sixteen years, led by retired Bishop Alpha Mohamed and Lay Canon David Hodge, both former Muslims. New blessings, new healings, and new freedoms of “Roho Mtafitika” – the Holy Spirit. Parish visits to St John in Nyamanoro and to St Peter in Igogo. Both parishes are searching for twin parishes in America – to become friends with. Any St John’s Parish or St Peter’s Parish out there want a friend in Africa?

At the APA Synod in Belleville, a deacon from St Stephen in Louisville gave his own pectoral cross to bless a brother in Tanzania. Rev Captain Nestor Muheta, secretary to Bishop Kwangu, now sports a new pectoral cross and says thank you!

The work of renewal in this diocese continues. SOMA-UK has arrived in this diocese in Mwanza to further clergy knowledge of Anglican ministry. We all met together to share, plan and pray – Bishop Boniface, Bishop Alpha, Canon Hodge, SOMA Team (2 Anglican Priests and wives from England, two Anglican priests and wives from Uganda), and me. (SOMA – Sharing of Ministries Abroad – international Anglican Mission

Bishop Alpha Mohamed & Lay Canon David Hodge, ACT African Evangelistic Assoc

SOMA UK Team & Fr Francis

ministry)

Bus journey to Dodoma – 12 hours in the bus! Five hours on bumpy and dusty roads, the rest on paved roads. Many Africans on the bus wrapped themselves in special cloths they brought – wish I had known that – DUST! Arrive exhausted in Dodoma – met by Bp Chidawali and friends. Taken to hotel – a place of rest – very acceptable. Shower, eight hours sleep and morning devotions gave renewed strength! Met with Fr Elia, principal of Buigiri Bible School to plan course of instruction.

Class has started. Students included uneducated clergy and some others preparing for ordination and leadership and teaching. Seven full time students in the class, including the wife of a pastor who leads a church school and a young single woman who is preparing for a ministry in teaching. Initial classes went well and people were amazed at how much they learned. Their hope – my visit will give new life to the school. The school received with joy the donation from APA Holy Spirit Church in Alabama.

Thank you for your support. God and you make this possible. Please keep on supporting this mission. Please sustain this good ministry. It works!

Fr Francis Wardega Office of Foreign Missions

Missionary Priest in Africa 18401 Canal Rd

www.connectionkenya.wordpress.com Clinton Twp MI 48038

E-mail: jambofrfrancis@yahoo.com USA-248-345-2651

Tanzania 2008 – Dispatch 3

Proud members of Class #1, Nyakato School of Theology

Proud members of Class #1, Nyakato School of Theology

Dispatch 3 From Station Mwanza in Tanzania

Pastor Erasto puzzles about the deeper meaning of Ezekiel chapter 37.  Notice the copious notes that he has taken in his notebook.

Pastor Erasto puzzles about the deeper meaning of Ezekiel chapter 37. Notice the copious notes that he has taken in his notebook.

Summer 2008 Fr Francis Wardega

For many, mission ministry has a sort of exotic glamour to it. Such work includes large crowds, healing services, hospitals built, schools visited, and similar events. Such work is very good and very blessed. This ministry is different. We teach. We teach the teachers. We teach the preachers. We teach the leaders. We teach the ones who had no real prior opportunity to learn. There are many such people in Africa.

The bulk of the work is done daily. The schedule: teach 9 am to 7 pm. Teach ministry subjects to the depth that they are useful to the leaders of the parish. Do this every day, less an occasional rest day. The students quickly adapt to the schedule. They write down more notes than is needed. They listen and ask insightful questions. This is a two-week investment in a life that bears fruit in a parish for the next twenty to thirty years. Not glamorous – just effective.

This week, we finished up the class on Ordained Ministry and moved into Fundamentals of Sacred Scripture. Then we ended with Sacramental Theology. These eleven students are different. They have absorbed so much. They talk about different things. They have a whole new and deeper appreciation of the Bible and their personal Bible. Everyone preached once and was affirmed and critiqued. They want more. “Can you stay for three months?” Sorry. They were very proud to pose for their class picture.

As available, I go to local churches to meet the people there and celebrate the liturgy. Last Sunday, I visited St John in Nyamanoro. I preached in both Sunday liturgies. Each service had a 25 person choir, a different choir for each service. They worship with contemporary African worship music, choreographed. It is Motown gone Jesus! Such music keeps the young people in the Anglican Church instead of being attracted to other, more seeker friendly churches.

The work this trip will soon be finished in this diocese, until next year. Next on the schedule is a ten hour bus journey to Dodoma, the national capital in the center of the country where I will be working with Bishop Daudi Chidawali again. I will be teaching at his Bible College in Buigiri where I taught last year.

One unusual experience. I was invited to dine with Bishop Kwangu and a visiting bishop. As we sat and

Fr Francis preaches at St John Parish in Nyemanoro, Sunday Aug 17

Fr Francis preaches at St John Parish in Nyemanoro, Sunday Aug 17

talked, I realized that somehow, many red fire ants crawling on me. I tried to be a good guest as long as I could but the others noticed my discomfort. I ended up trying to stand still while two Anglican bishops and one bishop’s wife killed so many ants that were feasting on me! That was my lesson in humility that day.

Thank you for your support. God and you make this possible. Please keep on supporting this mission. Please sustain this good ministry. It works!

Fr Francis Wardega Office of Foreign Missions

Missionary Priest in Africa 18401 Canal Rd

www.connectionkenya.wordpress.com Clinton Twp MI 48038

Africa e-mail: jambofrfrancis@yahoo.com

Tanzania 2008 – Dispatch 1

MISSION DISPATCH NUMBER ONE:  Mwanza, Tanzania, Saturday, August 9

The mission trip has started.  I landed yesterday, Friday, in Mwanza, a city on the southern coast of Lake Victoria, after a journey that started very early Wednesday morning in Detroit, and took four airline flights.  It is hot-90 degrees-and humid, normal life in Mwanza.  Rt. Rev. Boniface Kwangu, bishop of the Anglican Diocese of Victoria-Nyanza (DVN) was there to welcome me personally.

Today, I rest and accommodate to the time change – eight hours ahead of the time in Detroit.  Tomorrow, I celebrate and preach at the English service at the downtown cathedral.  Monday, I begin teaching at the theological school.  In Tanzania, there are two official languages; Swahili and English.  There is often a third language – a local tribal language – also.  I teach in English and it is interpreted into Swahili.

Tanzania is normally a peaceful land.  Its first president, Julius Nyerere, called Mwalimu – the teacher – taught the people that they are family, ujamaa in Swahili.  He taught a spirit of cooperation that transcended tribal animosities and history.  It worked!  It has stood the test of time.

Tanzania is a union of Tanganyika, old German East Africa, and the islands of Zanzibar and Pemba (clove capital of the world).  It is approximately evenly split between Christianity and Islam.  The largest Christian group is the Anglican Church.  Rt. Rev. Dr. Valentio Mokiwa, the Anglo-Catholic Bishop of Dar es Salaam, was elected primate of Tanzania in February of this year.

I will spend the next approximately 19 days teaching clergy and lay leaders.  I will teach basics of the faith, introduction to liturgy, introduction to ordained ministry, fundamentals of sacred Scripture, and sacraments to those who are the main teachers of the diocese.  Every student will receive a copy of every lesson plan, building up personal ministry libraries in a land where there are very few libraries at all.

So the work begins.  I thank you all for sending me here.  I will work hard to make the most out of what you and God have given.  I give thanks to God for overcoming all obstacles to get me here.  I give thanks to all of you, the donors of the years, friends, who have been faithful supporters through all the fitful journey of church in recent years.  I give thanks to my bishop, Rt. Rev. Frederick G. Fick.  I am also grateful to Most Rev. Walter Grundorf, Deaconess Tina Jenkins of the Missions Office, and the people of the Anglican Province of America who have supported this trip mightily also.

May the blessing of God Almighty be with all of you.

Fr. Francis Wardega, MSJ

Tanzania: Dispatch Six

Bishop Mpango

New Challenges

The time with Bishop Chidawali has ended. There was a last celebration of the Liturgy at the cathedral of King of Kings. Following this the last distribution of things were made; lesson plans, books, and thank you notes with little girls. There were tearful good-byes, “please come again. Your visit was so good”. It brought hope and expectation that the future would indeed be better.

It was a long bus trip to Dar es Salaam. I arrived during rush hour and 98 degree weather. My stay was in a hotel there on the seventh floor – a hotel without a lift (elevator)! I won’t be staying there again. Now I transfer to the next task of ministry.

The next task is to pay an official church visit to the Diocese of Western Tanganyika, the biggest diocese in the Anglican Church of Tanzania, under the leadership of Bishop Gerard Mpango. The Bishop was in Dar and we met at dinner with his wife, Margaret. It was delightful. He has traveled extensively in the USA and Margaret went to school in Michigan. The purpose of the visit to the diocese is to become familiar with the bishop, the diocese and the the people there and for them to get a flavor of who we are in order to begin a long lasting, mutually supportive relationship.

Later I found myself on the flight to Kigoma on the southwest corner of Tanzania. It was a three hour flight. I arrived on the shore of Lake Tanganyika. Across the lake, in plain sight, is Congo (old Zaire). Further south along the border is Zambia (old Northern Rhodesia). It is a stable country. Their first president, Kenneth Kaunda, was one of the bright stars in a time of rising democratic African leaders that included Nyerere of Tanzania, Kenyatta of Kenya, Obote of Uganda and Nkrumah of Ghana. Further down the river you will find the country of Mali, which bears no relationship, other than a name, to the ancient historic African kingdom of Mali which was located in western Africa, above Nigeria. Then comes Mozambique, most famous now as the coastal country along the Indian Ocean which produces and bottles Coca-Cola for this part of Africa. Read the rest of this entry »

Tanzania: Dispatch Five

xmountain.jpg

Another Week on the Road.

We had returned to Dodoma on Sunday evening and were out again Monday late morning for the next week. In the interim, clothes were washed and semi dried, a few hours sleep was achieved, and a bath was taken. As usual, we do not travel alone. The usual two mechanic/drivers were along. Two other priests came. A fresh new choir of only a half dozen came. The vehicle was not as crowded as on the first trip.

Our first destination was Mpwapwa. I was prepared for about the same as last week. No electricity. Dirt floors in mud huts. Difficult roads. But there were some pleasant surprises this time. There was electricity. The homes had walls of cement block with corrugated steel roofs. However, the roads were still difficult.

Mpwapwa was a regional capital under the German leadership before World War One. Prior to that, it had been a distribution center for the African slave traffic going to the Arab nations of the Middle East. Now, it has primary schools, secondary schools, and even a college.

Three parishes combined there to welcome us. It was delightful. There was a formal Tanzanian dinner with all the favorite dishes. I was a gracious guest, eating and enjoying some of everything. When you dine as a Tanzanian, there is a need to wash before you eat and to wash after you eat. Read the rest of this entry »

Tanzania: Dispatch Three

4clergy.jpg

 

November in Tanzania

 

The organizational details of church have been worked through and decided. The Gospel Catholic Church has joined the Missionary Society of St. John/Anglican Province of America. That is a big step for them. We have new brothers and sisters, 78 parishes, over eighty clergy, a women’s group, three orphanages, and a school of theology.

 

The people here had talked for several weeks at the parish and deanery level. Then the discussions continued at a diocesan gathering in Buigiri. Many questions were asked and much discussion happened. Finally, the Bishop and Fr. Francis left the meeting room for several hours and the people there, which included the majority of the clergy and representatives of most of the parishes talked and prayed and decided. The people of the church decided to accept Bishop Fick’s invitation to join the Missionary Society of St. John/Anglican Province of America. Bishop Chidawali also joined personally.

 

That being done, the focus switched to instruction.

 

On this blog there are statements of our plan of how we like to work and teach in Africa. Those plans are out the window already. It is good that the Holy Spirit remains.

 

No more small classes of eight to ten. Here we started with 104! Attendance never lessened over four days. Students include clergy, wives, parish leaders, children and infants. It was like teaching a village. The women were fully participative – asking questions and seeking to respond.

 

The students spoke two languages, Swahili and a tribal language. Very few of the people spoke or understood English so interpretation was required. The process was slow.

 

Who are these people? These people are Africa. They are multi-generational – at least four generations were present. They are multi-tribal – at least six tribes. The task of Africa is to combine different tribes into the amalgam of one nation – not always easy. Near by Rwanda is a testimony to its failure. Tanzania is a testimony to its success. Their first president, Julius Nyerere set an example that was accepted by the people.

Read the rest of this entry »

Tanzania: Dispatch Two

bishop-chidawali-and-secretary.jpgbishop-chidawali-and-secretary.jpgbishop-chidawali-and-secretary.jpg 

November 16, 2007

Greetings from the southern highlands of Tanzania.  Bishop Daudi Chidawali and his people send greetings and love and prayers to all of you.  He has been hosting Fr. Francis in his home since Nov. 10th.  Tanzania is one of the poorest countries in the world but the people must be among the happiest.  They have so little – sometimes going a week or more without eating meat.  Most do not have electricity.  The land is clean and the roads are well maintained.

tanzania-marriage-blessing.jpgThese days are currently spent at Buigiri Theological School, around thirty kilometers from Dodoma.  The school has three rooms:  a classroom with a dirt floor, a dormitory room with a dirt floor where the students sleep on mats on the ground, and a similar made cooking room.  Rev. Canon Harold Hango is the principle, Enoch Chi Bamdo is a teacher, and Mrs. Rhonda Maboraa is another teacher.  The school provides church education for young men and women who are serious about their commitment to Christ and also serves those men who are called to ordained service.  Their educational offerings are very limited.

The lesson plans of Fr. Francis were received gratefully so they may be used in the future.  There is no electricity – only a few desks and chairs, a blackboard that requires a wire brush to erase, and a volunteer to drive away lizards during class.

The first seminar for Fr. Francis was expected to serve 15-25 people.  104 came for the seminar and lived at the school for the four days of the seminar.  Sixty of the attendees were ordained priests and deacons, many with their wives, and other parish leaders.  Less than 10% had any understanding of English. Read the rest of this entry »