Other Activities

Tim teaching in Tanzania (Kondoa Clergy Conference)

This September our Rector Revd Tim Edwards is planning to travel to Tanzania to extend theological training to local clergy.

During a three day residential conference in the Anglican Diocese of Kondoa, Tim will help c.180 local clergy – many of whom travelled for hours by bus on unsurfaced roads to attend last year’s inaugural conference – go deeper in their understanding of what Christians believe, the difference that makes and how to communicate that to others. All of this will be simultaneously translated into Swahili by his host’s (Bishop Given’s) wife. 

The Diocese of Kondoa is one of the Diocese of Rochester’s four overseas companion Dioceses. It was established in 2001 as a centre for bringing the good news of Jesus Christ to a region of Tanzania that was previously only 5% Christian and had only a handful of congregations.

It now has 34 parishes, 8 deacons, 50 pastors and 97 licensed lay ministers.

There remains, however, a great need for theological training: the pastors appointed to serve having only a basic level of education but hungry to learn. Education is not easy to come by in this poor region. Many of the clergy rely on subsistence farming to support themselves.

Revd Andrew McClellan from the Parish of St John the Evangelist, Bromley, taught at last year’s conference. It was incredibly well received locally but it was only made possible thanks to generous funding from individuals and churches across the Diocese of Rochester. This covered the cost of getting the Kondoa pastors and catechists, food and accommodation, as well as Andrew's travel costs. 

Accordingly, we’re now hoping to raise £5k (updated 24/7/2019) to cover Tim’s travel costs (c. £1k), plus the conference travel, accommodation and food for the Tanzanian clergy (c. £4k). If you can help financially, donations can be made via:

  •  Bank transfer: Rochester DBF      Sort Code: 20-54-29         Account No: 90760099
  •  Cheque: Made payable to Rochester Diocesan Board of Finance (marked 'Kondoa Clergy Conference Sept 2019')

Please do complete and send a Companion Diocese Donation Form to the Diocese (address/email address within the form, together with the opportunity to Gift Aid) so that donations are not confused with other Companion Diocese projects.

Update: Alternatively, if you prefer to give online, donations can be made via: https://www.give.net/cdsg. Please reference Kondoa Clergy Conference so that donations can be allocated to the correct fund.

Should more funds be raised than needed (and we are not in that position yet!), excess funds will either be donated to provide food for pastors in this year of grought, or to support Kondoa Theological College where there is also little money for food, and students are sleeping on mattresses on the floor. Both are great needs.

Update 10th Aug: 

Some readers have asked about whether JustGiving is an option - unfortunately the monthly subscription fee required to register either PCC as a charity (which would enable Gift Aid to be reclaimed) means that this is not a viable option at this point. 

So far, just over £2k (42% of the total) has been raised, which is very encouraging. The trip is now just under a month away, so if you have been meaning to donate, please do! Your support is greatly appreciated, and will have a significant impact on the mission of the Diocese of Kondoa.  

Whether or not you can support the project financially, please do be praying for safe travel, and logistics, and that it would be a time of spiritual growth and encouragement for everyone involved.

If you would like to find out more, please contact Debbie Edwards at: rev.tim.office@gmail.com. 

 

Men's Fellowship (St Margaret's)

Most people will be familiar with the Women’s Institute, a national body with local branches in Halstead and Badgers Mount. Fewer may be aware of the male equivalent operating in various places around the country. Many of these Men’s Fellowships are attached to particular church denominations, but others, including St Margaret’s, are not linked to any national organisation.

Put simply, the Fellowship offers the opportunity to hear interesting speakers on fascinating topics and to meet socially. Our current pattern involves alternate monthly activities. To take the current year 2018-19, there are talks in September, November, January, March and May, with lunches in local pubs in the alternative months and a summer supper to include partners in July.

Talks are usually held in the North Room at St Margaret’s at 8 p.m. on the second Tuesday.  If you’d like to come along- no age limits- or also if you’ve got a topic you’d like to speak about, please contact Martin Couchman on 01959 532253.