What is the Office of Foreign Missions?

Member Organization Forward in Faith

Member Organization Forward in Faith

OFM is an Anglican ministry that provides ministry education for clergy and church leaders at places in Africa where such education is hard to get. OFM usually goes to the more primitive areas since such education is more readily available in the larger cities. OFM serves Anglicans, separated Anglicans, and other churches in Africa. Since the year 2000, OFM and its teacher have worked in Kenya and Tanzania on seven mission trips, all 5-6 weeks each, to provide Anglican ministry education to clergy and church leaders from many tribes and churches. The next mission trip is scheduled for October thru December of 2009 and may include Tanzania, Kenya and Uganda. Discussions are ongoing.

OFM serves under the authority of Rt Rev Frederick G. Fick, head of the Missionary Society of St John (MSJ). MSJ is a member of Forward in Faith – North America, and the Anglican Church in North America. An Anglican church lives out the Faith of the ancient catholic (universal) Church, as preserved in the historic Creeds and maintained in the apostolic constitution of Christ’s Church from the beginning.

OFM is a postcolonial ministry. It does not provide huge sums of money to the African churches. It does not train African churches and leaders to be dependent on American money, leadership, and ideas. Instead, it serves under the leadership of African bishops who invite teachers from OFM to come and serve in their diocese. Its legacy in Africa is seen in a better educated clergy and church leadership.

Mission ministry to Africa has suffered because of the struggles of the Anglican Church. Many missions to Africa were declined by faithful African Anglicans because they were connected to theological positions that the Africans did not support. Making conditions worse, the missions of faithful Anglicans were hampered by lack of funds. Yet, all knew that there was much work to be done.

OFM believes that there is work a plenty for all mission ministries and seeks to carry out the Great Commission of Matthew 28:19-20; “Go, therefore, and make disciples of all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father, and of the Son, and of the holy Spirit, teaching them to observe all that I have commanded you. And behold, I am with you always, until the end of the world. Amen.” OFM encourages all faithful Anglicans to work together and partner together to continue to carry out that Great Commission in Africa.


As an Atheist I Truly Believe Africa Needs God

From The Times  (The Times on line)  December 27, 2008

“Missionaries, not aid money, are the solution to Africa’s biggest problem – the crushing passivity of the people’s mindset”

“Before Christmas I returned, after 45 years, to the country that as a boy I

Malawi and Its Neighbors

Malawi and Its Neighbors

knew as Nyasaland. Today it’s Malawi, and The Times Christmas Appeal includes a small British charity working there. Pump Aid helps rural communities to install a simple pump, letting people keep their village wells sealed and clean. I went to see this work.

It inspired me, renewing my flagging faith in development charities. But travelling in Malawi refreshed another belief, too: one I’ve been trying to banish all my life, but an observation I’ve been unable to avoid since my African childhood. It confounds my ideological beliefs, stubbornly refuses to fit my world view, and has embarrassed my growing belief that there is no God.

Now a confirmed atheist, I’ve become convinced of the enormous contribution that Christian evangelism makes in Africa: sharply distinct from the work of secular NGOs, government projects and international aid efforts. These alone will not do. Education and training alone will not do. In Africa Christianity changes people’s hearts. It brings a spiritual transformation. The rebirth is real. The change is good.

I used to avoid this truth by applauding – as you can – the practical work of mission churches in Africa. It’s a pity, I would say, that salvation is part of the package, but Christians black and white, working in Africa, do heal the sick, do teach people to read and write; and only the severest kind of secularist could see a mission hospital or school and say the world would be better without it. I would allow that if faith was needed to motivate missionaries to help, then, fine: but what counted was the help, not the faith.

But this doesn’t fit the facts. Faith does more than support the missionary; it is also transferred to his flock. This is the effect that matters so immensely, and which I cannot help observing.

First, then, the observation. We had friends who were missionaries, and as a child I stayed often with them; I also stayed, alone with my little brother, in a traditional rural African village. In the city we had working for us Africans who had converted and were strong believers. The Christians were always different. Far from having cowed or confined its converts, their faith appeared to have liberated and relaxed them. There was a liveliness, a curiosity, an engagement with the world – a directness in their dealings with others – that seemed to be missing in traditional African life. They stood tall.

At 24, travelling by land across the continent reinforced this impression. From Algiers to Niger, Nigeria, Cameroon and the Central African Republic, then right through the Congo to Rwanda, Tanzania and Kenya, four student friends and I drove our old Land Rover to Nairobi.

We slept under the stars, so it was important as we reached the more populated and lawless parts of the sub-Sahara that every day we find somewhere safe by nightfall. Often near a mission.

Whenever we entered a territory worked by missionaries, we had to acknowledge that something changed in the faces of the people we passed and spoke to: something in their eyes, the way they approached you direct, man-to-man, without looking down or away. They had not become more deferential towards strangers – in some ways less so – but more open.

This time in Malawi it was the same. I met no missionaries. You do not encounter missionaries in the lobbies of expensive hotels discussing development strategy documents, as you do with the big NGOs. But instead I noticed that a handful of the most impressive African members of the Pump Aid team (largely from Zimbabwe) were, privately, strong Christians. “Privately” because the charity is entirely secular and I never heard any of its team so much as mention religion while working in the villages. But I picked up the Christian references in our conversations. One, I saw, was studying a devotional textbook in the car. One, on Sunday, went off to church at dawn for a two-hour service.

It would suit me to believe that their honesty, diligence and optimism in their work was unconnected with personal faith. Their work was secular, but surely affected by what they were. What they were was, in turn, influenced by a conception of man’s place in the Universe that Christianity had taught.

There’s long been a fashion among Western academic sociologists for placing tribal value systems within a ring fence, beyond critiques founded in our own culture: “theirs” and therefore best for “them”; authentic and of intrinsically equal worth to ours.

I don’t follow this. I observe that tribal belief is no more peaceable than ours; and that it suppresses individuality. People think collectively; first in terms of the community, extended family and tribe. This rural-traditional mindset feeds into the “big man” and gangster politics of the African city: the exaggerated respect for a swaggering leader, and the (literal) inability to understand the whole idea of loyal opposition.

Anxiety – fear of evil spirits, of ancestors, of nature and the wild, of a tribal hierarchy, of quite everyday things – strikes deep into the whole structure of rural African thought. Every man has his place and, call it fear or respect, a great weight grinds down the individual spirit, stunting curiosity. People won’t take the initiative, won’t take things into their own hands or on their own shoulders.

How can I, as someone with a foot in both camps, explain? When the philosophical tourist moves from one world view to another he finds – at the very moment of passing into the new – that he loses the language to describe the landscape to the old. But let me try an example: the answer given by Sir Edmund Hillary to the question: Why climb the mountain? “Because it’s there,” he said.

To the rural African mind, this is an explanation of why one would not climb the mountain. It’s… well, there. Just there. Why interfere? Nothing to be done about it, or with it. Hillary’s further explanation – that nobody else had climbed it – would stand as a second reason for passivity.

Those who want Africa to walk tall amid 21st-century global competition must not kid themselves that providing the material means or even the knowhow that accompanies what we call development will make the change. A whole belief system must first be supplanted.

And I’m afraid it has to be supplanted by another. Removing Christian evangelism from the African equation may leave the continent at the mercy of a malign fusion of Nike, the witch doctor, the mobile phone and the machete.”

Matthew Parris

Developing Arrangements for the Next Trip

The shape of the next mission trip is starting to form.  It looks like the next trip may have two parts, one in northern Tanzania; the other in western Uganda.  However – further developments may adjust such plans.
Rt Rev Boniface Kwangu, Diocesan Bishop

Part One.  The Anglican Bishop of the Diocese of Victoria-Nyanza (DVN), Rt Rev Boniface Kwangu, has asked for a second teaching trip to Mwanza.  Fr Francis will teach advanced courses to the men he taught basic courses to in 2008.  He will also teach basic courses to new clergy students from Bishop Kwangu’s diocese and possibly to clergy from the neighboring Diocese of Lweru, under its bishop, Rt Rev Jackton Lugumira.  Fr Francis will teach clergy from both dioceses at the DVN Bible College on the southern shore of Lake Victoria.  This will be the third trip to Tanzania for Fr Francis.  He visited Tanzania in 2007 and in 2008.
Rt Rev Jackson Nzerebende
Part Two.  Then, Fr Francis will travel across Lake Victoria, thru Kampala Uganda, to the Anglican Diocese of South Rwenzori, in the Mountains of the Moon area.  The diocesan bishop, Rt Rev Jackson Nzerebende Tembo, heard about the teaching ministry of OFM and had a long standing need to present ministry education to clergy in his diocese who had not been able to receive such training.  Bishop Fick of the Missionary Society of St John approved working to establish this new partnership and hopes to send Fr Francis to Uganda if details can be worked out.

Our hope is to go to Africa later this year for an extended time in order to accomplish both goals on the costs of one trip, making the most of donated dollars in economically hard times.  Such a trip is estimated to cost $6500.  If the work were done in two trips, it would cost over $10,000.  Can you help? Will you pray for the success of this teaching trip?  Can you send financial support even in hard times?

Please send donations to Office of Foreign Missions, 18401 Canal Rd, Clinton Township MI 48038.  Please make checks out to OFM and note in the remark column – Africa 2009.  Each donation will be individually receipted.  All dollars donated will be used to fund this next trip.

Office of Foreign Missions.  Missionary Society of St John, Forward in Faith.  Fr Francis Wardega.  Jambofrfrancis@yahoo.com.  USA-248-345-2651

April 2009: In Memoriam

On April 10, 2009, Good Friday evening, Mary Theresa Wardega died.  It was fitting that she passed away on that day.  Mary had attended Good Friday Services at the church where she belonged for 58 years.  That night she had eaten traditional Polish food and cheered on her beloved Cleveland Indians – to another loss.  As she prepared for bed, she died.

Mary Wardega had lived her whole life as a woman of God.  She prayed in the morning – she prayed at night.  She had been an active part of her church for her whole life.  As a young woman, she sang in many choirs.  We heard her sing her favorites – Ave Maria and Panis Angelicus – well into her senior years.  Later, she served as a leader in the many church activities of her five children.  As a senior, she served as a leader in the different seniors’ organizations and led a ministry group for those who were grieving the loss of a spouse.

But for her whole life, she prayed.  She sat on the edge of her bed, folded her hands, closed her eyes, and she prayed.  She said that she had a lot to pray for – a husband and five children.  She never wavered in her prayer, despite difficulties in church and issues in the lives of her children.

What is her legacy?  What does she leave behind.

First and foremost, she bequeathed a faith in God, Father, Son and Holy Spirit.  Next, she left a legacy of hard work and education.  She taught that the two were related, not with her words, but with her actions.  Next, she left a legacy of family and friends.  Her husband Frank, was her lifelong companion in good times and in hard times.  She taught acceptance of family and friends, even when they did things she disagreed with. She successfully maintained both her relationships and her Christian moral values.  Lastly, as a lifelong fan of the Cleveland Indians, she made sure that all knew that she was one of Grady’s Ladies, a fan of Cleveland Indians center fielder Grady Sizemore.

Other details to know.  Mary Wardega was born in Poland in 1920 and became a naturalized American citizen in her early thirties.  She won a scholarship to college but was not allowed to take it because women in her family were “only” going to get married and have children.  Note her legacy of education.  She was one of seven children of Walter and Julia Nagielski.  For many years, she worked as a dental assistant.

Part of her Godly life was to support many good Christian causes.  Many organizations benefitted from her generous heart on a regular basis.  One of those organizations which benefitted from that generosity was the Office of Foreign Missions.  She had been a monthly donor since the beginning.  I will remember her deeply as I return to Africa later this year.

Mary T. Wardega

Mary T. Wardega

As her son, I miss her.  I respect her.  I will remember her always.  I will remember her not as an old woman who sat in her lift chair and watched game shows and baseball games.  I will remember her as a vibrant woman,  who lived life to the fullest as a Christian, and whose legacy as listed above set an example for her children and descendants.  May I do the same.  Fr Francis Wardega, Anglican Priest, Canon Missioner to Africa, Son.

Preparing to Go to Africa

January is the month that we start to prepare for the next mission trip.  How do we prepare?

We prepare first in prayer.
We prepare second in exercise.
We prepare third in study.
Lastly, we share the vision so others may be a part of this glorious work.

Our first prayer was in thanksgiving for the graces of the last trip to

Class in Dodoma

Class in Dodoma

Tanzania in Aug-Sept of 2008.  God blessed that trip with success both in Mwanza and in Dodoma, in Tanzania.   We all are grateful to God.

Our second prayer is for the guidance, direction and plan of the Father for what comes next.  So far, OFM has two invitations.  We think a third invitation is coming.  Please see the other articles for further details on these invitations.

The need is so great that we hope to send two priests to Africa this year.

There are many factors affecting the Anglican Church in Africa.  The poverty and need for education are apparent.  But of growing importance is faithfulness to the Holy Scriptures, and how that is lived out in worship, belief and practice.

This is a worldwide struggle between those who would set aside Gospel values and those who would seek to maintain Scriptural values for living.   To navigate the morass of who believes what, who teaches what, and who has been influenced by money from revisionist churches in the west, requires prayer and discernment.  Much prayer is needed.

Another factor is the switch from colonial practices to a postcolonial relationship.  Colonial practices included western funding of African needs, sometimes with strings attached.  Post-colonial ministry is partnering with African leaders and churches to further Gospel work on that continent, without lessening the contribution of African church leaders who hold ultimate responsibility and decision making authority.  Here again, much prayer is needed.

The second part of preparation is exercise – physical.  Where OFM works in Africa requires a hardy and healthy body.  The temperatures are exceedingly hot in many places.  Distances are great.  Conditions are primitive.  How does a missioner get ready physically?

This missioner walks.

The goal is to walk two miles, five times a week, at a brisk pace.  On a treadmill, that works out to 35 minutes for two miles, carefully observing one’s heart rate.  In an enclosed mall in the winter, that means three laps around the upper level, walking into every side alcove, all at a brisk pace.

As a diabetic, that means doing all possible to lower sugar counts to acceptable levels.  It also means getting a physical exam, getting a dental check-up, and assuring that eyeglass prescription is current and that there is a second set of glasses for the trip.

Shots for Africa Travel

Shots for Africa Travel

And did I mention updating necessary inoculations?  Shots include yellow fever, typhus, typhoid, tetanus, meningitis, hepatitis A & B, polio, and the ever-present malaria protection.  Ouch, yes.  But I take all shots required and recommended.

The third part of preparation is in study.

Who are the people we will serve?  What is their history – both secular and church history?  What are their needs that we can help with? What are their strengths and weaknesses?  Such work is done through research and through communication.

Then lesson plans need to be written or old plans revised.  We do not teach scripture to those who are knowledgeable about Scripture.  We do teach Ethos of Ordained Ministry to those whose perception of ordained ministry is different than the rest of the historical Christian church.

Lastly, we invite you to be a part of this valuable mission work.  Make it yours.

This ministry has been successful for going on nine years.  There is a blessed legacy of its work found in many places in Kenya and in Tanzania.  That legacy grows with every mission-teaching trip.

We invite you to be a part of this work in prayer.  We invite you to add this work to your daily prayer list.  We invite churches to pray on Sunday for God’s direction, God’s empowerment, and God’s blessing on this work.

We invite you to be a part of this work through financial support.  The financial support of this work has historically been through small donations, some on a monthly basis, from individuals, from clergy, from parishes, and from dioceses.

Most of the clergy members of MSJ support this work with a little each month.  Most of the parishes of MSJ support this ministry with a little bit every month.  MSJ sets the example.  It is not one man’s work.  It is all our work.

This work has also been so blessed by financial support from people of other faith expressions, Roman Catholic, Anglican Province of America, Reformed Episcopal Church, Charismatic Episcopal, Baptist, Lutheran, Methodist, etc.  The work while basically Christian, crosses denominational lines – it is truly both Anglican and trans-denominational.

Not all are called to leave home and travel to foreign lands for Gospel work.  Yet the Great Commission is an invitation for all to be a part of the mission work of the Gospel.  The Great Commission is an invitation to you.

Please pray first.  Then help financially.  Join with the men of a homeless shelter in Oscoda, Michigan, who send their support.  Join with a young girl preparing to become a missionary herself, who has supported this ministry on a monthly basis.  Join with ten widows on limited income who each send in $10 a month.  Join with parishes that send in $25 and $50 a month to be a part of this work.

Please send financial support, checks made out to OFM.  Send to OFM, St John the Apostle Church, 18401 Canal Rd, Clinton Township MI 48038.  Each donation will be individually acknowledged.

Asante sana – Swahili for thanks so much.

Mungu akubariki – God bless you.

Fr francis Wardega
Canon Missioner for Africa

Furahaya ya Krismasi – Merry Christmas

Furahaya ya Krismasi is Swahili for “Merry Christmas.”  It tells us something about East Africa’s celebration of this holiday that “Furaha ya Krismasi” was only recently added to the vocabulary of East Africa.

The way that we celebrate Advent and Christmas is not the way that such things are celebrated and practiced in East Africa.  While most East African countries now have lectionaries of readings for every Sunday of the year, the liturgical seasons are not as finely developed as they are in western nations.

For example, most people in East Africa never heard of Epiphany or Advent.  Lent is new to the people I know.  It is only in recent years that some few East Africans began to wash feet on Maundy Thursday.  The early Anglican and Roman missionaries did not teach these things to the African peoples.

So, while we celebrate the liturgical season of Advent on the four Sundays preceding the day of Christmas, most East Africans do not have our understanding of the significance of that season.  They may have readings, which point in that direction, but have not connected that series of Sundays into a season.  I found no Swahili word for our English “Advent.”

East Africa does remember and celebrate the day of Christ’s birth.  But, they are only now realizing that December 25 is not the actual date of Christ’s birth.  There was no December 25 when Jesus was born as a human being.  We do not know the actual date of Christ’s birth.  For East Africans, it is not an easy lesson to learn that December 25 was the date that the early church picked to remember and celebrate the birth of Jesus, the Incarnation, God made man.

East Africans do not celebrate Christmas with the massive giving of gifts, decorated Christmas trees, midnight services, and exterior lighting up of their huts!  What do they do?  They do exchange a few small gifts with a few of their family.  They do gather as family for a meal together.  They may go to church if a special service is offered.  The service probably won’t be at midnight, an unsafe time to walk the rural roads of this land.

In seven trips to East Africa, I have only seen a Christmas tree once – in the Nairobi airport, a small, thin, and scrawny tree – with five lights on it..

East Africans look with amazement on the way that we celebrate this holiday.  They see it as rampant consumerism without knowing the word.  Most of them have no interest, no desire, no capability to celebrate the day as we do.

While I like some of the American ways of celebrating this holiday, it seems to me that the East African way is a purer, simpler way of remembering and celebrating the birth of Jesus.  I am guessing that those of us with European descendents have some knowledge and memory of how our grandparents and great-grandparents celebrated the season and that such celebrations were purer and simpler than what we do now.  I guess that it is very hard for us not to be caught up in the buy-buy-buy consumer oriented society that we live in today, much to the detriment of celebrating the holyday of Christmas.  We are caught up in the American way of celebrating the holiday.  “Black Friday” is a bigger day than is Good Friday.  Sad.

What traditions of Christmas celebration have been passed on to you and what traditions are you going to pass on to your children and grandchildren?

So, depending on your choices, I wish you either “Happy Holidays” or Merry Christmas!”

Leave a Legacy – Send Books to Africa

Needed for Africa

Needed for Africa

There are many ways to help our Anglican brothers and sisters in East Africa. An effective way, an important way, is to contribute to the education of those who would teach the Faith once delivered, to the people, who will lead the church of the next forty years.  Here at OFM, we do that.  We do that with the help of God, some parishes, and many people, all of whom support this ministry.  We ask you to continue those prayers and to continue that financial support.

Now, we ask more.    Currently, the ministry is working with two Bible Colleges that teach the future teachers and leaders:  Nyakato Bible College in the Anglican Diocese of Victoria-Nyanza, and Buigiri Bible College, in the Capital Diocese.  Both these colleges are rich in students and rich in potential.  They are poor in library.

They need books for their libraries so that the students have reading resources to support their programs of studies.  What kinds of books?  Theology – church growth – Scripture study – pastoral ministry – church history – healing and deliverance – sermon preparation – Christian formation – Sunday School for children – personal spirituality.  Can you help?  Do you have older, used works available to send?

How can they be sent?  Please send them directly to Africa.  Addresses are listed below.  The most economical way to send them is through use of a US Mail “M Bag.”  These “M Bags” and appropriate labels are available at some – but not all post offices.  Only books may be sent – no vestments nor altar implements.

When the paperwork is filled out, value each book at fifty cents or a dollar.  The Africans pay less customs duty that way upon receipt.  Include your return address/e-mail address inside so that the Africans may express their appreciation.  If you wish, please label each book with your name or the name of your church.  This promotes unity and grateful hearts between all of us.

This is a good way to leave a legacy, to contribute to the growth of the Kingdom in far away lands.  Any questions – please call me: USA-248-345-2651.  Addresses to send books are listed below.  Note that there are no postal zone numbers in Tanzania.  Thanks so much.

Rev Capt Nestor G. Muheta
Nyakato Bible College
Anglican Diocese of Victoria-Nyanza
P. O. Box 278
Mwanza – Tanzania – East Africa

The Most Rev. Daudi H.Chidawali/Rev Eliah Mballaga
Buigiri Bible College – Gospel Catholic Church
Postal Box 3045
Dodoma – Tanzania – East Africa

New International Seminary Being Formed

Bishop Gerhard Mayer, REC of germany

Bishop Gerhard Meyer, REC of Germany

In late October of 2008, a group of priests and bishops from several lands met to discuss the formation of an International Theological Seminary for External Studies which could serve students on three continents, Europe (Germany and U.K.), Africa (Tanzania) and America.  This meeting was held in conjunction with the General Council of the Reformed Episcopal Church in Victoria, British Columbia, in Canada.

The initial group included the chairman of the group, The Ven. Dr. Douglas B. Mills, Archdeacon, Missionary Diocese of the Central States, Dean, External Studies Program, Bishop Gerhard Meyer of the Reformed Episcopal Church in Germany, Bishop John Fenwick of the Free Church in England, Rev Fr Steven Rutt of Andrewes Hall/Cramner Theological House, and Rev Fr  Francis Wardega, Canon Missioner to Africa for the Missionary Society of St John.

Initial discussions focused on a desire to improve certified education for clergy and catechist/church teachers in places where such education is hard to get.  The goal is to carry out better the part of the Great Commission that directs us:

Matthew 28:18-20.   “Go, therefore, and make disciples of all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy Spirit, teaching them to observe all that I have commanded you. And behold, I am with you always, until the end of the world. Amen.”

The focus of the group is on: “teaching them to observe all that I have commanded you.”

The group would work together to provide an Anglican extension seminary that could provide accreditation, leadership, coordination, curriculum, and assistance to already existing schools in Germany, England and Tanzania, to start.

First steps include examining existing curricula from the component institutions, analyzing needs, and the proposal of a common core curriculum for examination by component institutions.

The basic plan being discussed:

Certified instructors in each land would carry out the course instruction.  The same instructors would also administer examinations and grading.  Student data, course work, and grades would be recorded at the seminary offices in America, where appropriate diplomas would be issued from the parent seminary.

Having the diplomas come from an accredited seminary would offer more universal value to the graduate.  As appropriate, both bachelors and masters degrees would be granted.

There was a sense of excitement at the meeting as we shared reports on the schools we represented and realized the potential for improving how we will do Gospel work in the future because of these efforts.

We pray for the guidance of the Lord and His blessing.

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 2

St. Nicholas Cathedral

St. Nicholas Cathedral

Dispatch 2 From Station Mwanza in Tanzania

Your mission support is beginning to bear fruit again in East Africa on the southern shores of Lake Victoria. People here in Mwanza, a part of the Anglican Diocese of Victoria Nyanza, were excited to start this mission.

Bishop Kwanzu and Fr. Francis at Holy Eucharist

The mission started with liturgy on Sunday Aug 10, at St Nicholas Cathedral, one block away from the lake. The lake breeze made the temperature most comfortable. I preached and assisted the bishop, Rt Rev Boniface Kwangu, at the service. The bishop asked me to distribute the Holy Eucharist to his people. One young woman was confirmed at the service. This liturgy, one of three liturgies every Sunday, was the English service – the other two services are in Swahili.. It was very powerful to hear the Words of Institution, prayed by the bishop in his British accented, East African English. “Thees ees my boudy, brrroken for you.” Different and the same. Holy.

Our ministry is primarily a ministry of teaching. The need here fits precisely what we do. Here, there are

many priests ordained over recent years with little or no ministry or priestly education. Here, education is hard to get. Bishop Boniface brought eleven priests together to receive the teaching that God has called us to give.

Who are these men. All but two are in their fifties. The other two are in their sixties. All are ordained priests and are pastors of parishes in the diocese. Two came from the island of Ukerewe in Lake Victoria. Here in East Africa, they are addressed as “pastor.” Their names sing an African song, grounded in Scripture, colored by British history. Their names: Japheth, Erasto, Stafford, Zephania, Julius, Boniface, Jesse, Solomon, Iohanna, Abednego, and Josiah. Josiah has a bible school diploma and an M.Div from Cambridge in England. Solomon will be beginning studies at a bible school in Uganda. The rest have a 7th grade education at best, some less.

They bring to the class many good qualities. A daily prayer life, ministry experience (some have been ordained for over ten years), a desire to learn, and an ability to work. Good investment for your prayers and for your donated dollars. These men will be here for two weeks. These classes are a major step in their lives, and an answer to their prayer.

This week, they learned the basics of the faith – they learned new things. Things like Jesus is both God and man. Things like Jesus died on the cross to forgive our sins. Things like the liturgy that they do is a 20th century version of what the apostles did.. They are like sponges continually soaking up the waters of new life. They also learned the meaning of what it is to be a priest – a calling from God, not a weekend job. They learned that God calls them to higher standards – the highest possible by grace. Their priesthood is being transformed. Their bishop, who sits in on many of the classes, is excited. More is happening much quicker than he expected.

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

Missionary Priest in Africa


Africa e-mail: jambofrfrancis@yahoo.com

« Older entries Newer entries »