My Dear Friends,

Africa Bound

As many of you will know, Chester diocese for some time has had a link with the Melanesian Brotherhood in the Solomon Islands. Bishop Peter has been a great supporter of this link which will continue, but is also keen that our diocese develop additional links with others around the world. The Christian communion has always been a global one and leaning from and supporting Christians in different cultures around the world can only be of benefit to us in our own walk with God.

 With the support of ‘Partners in World Mission’ and as a result of the work of Revd Dr Pat Nickson, a fellow curate, Chester diocese is forging a link with the Anglican Diocese of Aru and Boga in the African country of the Democratic Republic of Congo. Although in its early stages Dr Nickson envisages this link will include ‘exchanges of people between the dioceses for the purpose of Christian education and training, fellowship and friendship and a mutual understanding of the pressures and joys of ministry and Christian living in our different cultures.’

 Dr Nickson previously lived in the DR Congo and founded a Christian medical centre in Aru which helps many in the local area providing essential medical care, particularly to mothers and children who would not otherwise be able to receive it. Although DR Congo has been in the news lately with some negative press over fighting on the Rwanda border Dr Nickson suggests that this is not representative of the country as a whole. On a recent trip she says there is a distinct feeling that things are gradually changing for the better in a country recovering from war and unrest.

 Part of the link between the dioceses is the exchange of people on visits to build understanding and experience Christianity in differing cultures. Provided I can raise the not inconsiderable costs involved, I shall be part of a group of 10 people visiting the diocese of Aru and Boga between 12th and 27th November this year. This is the second year such a visit has been arranged and I hope that we will build on the positive contacts made in the previous year and both learn from and offer teaching and help where needed to support our fellow brothers and sisters in DR Congo.

 There will be opportunity for individuals and Churches to be involved in this work, with we hope exchanges both to and from the DR Congo in the future. In the meantime I am today faced with my first task, a rather frightening email of a whole A4 page of vaccinations I need to sort out between now and 12th November. I never was very good at needles! If you would like to know more about this link I would be delighted to chat with you.

Yours in Christ,

Ralph

  

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