Below is a report written by Baraka, a medical student who is supported by donations from Minchinhampton church, whom the Minchinhampton group met when they were in Masasi in May.
It was a great experience in May/ June this year, to visit these 2 places in Tanzania, some 900 miles apart, but both linked by friendships with Minchinhampton.
Masasi Diocese in SE Tanzania. Here we walked in some of the footsteps of John Cornwall who served in Masasi for 23 yrs before coming to Minchinhampton as rector with Benita his wife. (1959 to 1972) They met when she joined the mission as a teacher, working there for 5 years. We were reminded of the missionary tradition stretching back to 1876, soon after the abolition of slavery, which brought not only the Christian faith but the first schools; hospi-tals and medical care to Tanzania. Subsequent bishops and their staff have continued providing both spiritual and social ministries to this vast diocese. Whilst the gov-ernment now runs the majority of schools and hospitals there are still many needs.
A group of 7 travelled in May to Masasi, the remote town in south-east Tanzania (East Africa): Revd Steve and Linda Jarvis; Simon and Cheryl Ritter; Jo Smith; my brother, Mark Cornwall and me.
The reasons for the visit were varied: for starters, this was a holiday, returning to a very special location and rekindling friendships first established 13 years ago; it was also an opportunity to find out how charitable giving from Minchinhampton and the ’Friends of Masasi’ is being spent and how specific projects are progressing; for Jo, it was the start of a longer visit to the country as she travelled on in the third week to Vumilia, Nailsworth’s twin town in the north west of the country; for Mark and me, it was almost like a pilgrimage to the parishes where our father, John Cornwall (Minchinhampton Rector 1959-72), lived and worked from 1932-55 and to where our mother Benita taught. This was Mark’s first visit to Masasi and, indeed, to Africa.
We are again visiting Masasi town this year as part of our church’s (Holy Trinity, Minchinhampton) continuing link with the diocese of Masasi. Bishop James who has visited Minchinhampton, has invited us to come and spend time with him in his churches, and with his people.
There are seven of us travelling in May to Masasi, which is in the very south of Tanzania, near the border with Mozambique. It is a dry, poor area not on, or near tourist areas. Part of our time will be spent reviewing projects for the Friends of Masasi and Newala, a charity that was originally set up by teachers, nurses, doctors, priests who worked there before Tanzania gained independence from the UK in 1961. Their aim is to continue to provide support and assistance for education and health.
Visit of Bishop James and Veronica Almasi from the Diocese of Masasi
We were blessed with a four day visit to Minchinhampton by +James and Veronica as part of their stay in the UK from 10th April until 1st May.
During their time with us +James preached at Box and Holy Trinity at Sunday services on 26th April, followed by a Bring and Share lunch in the Porch Room with over 40 people present.
Appeal Progress Report.
The Chapel at Rondo Seminary and school in the Diocese of Tanzania was built by Trevor Huddleston during his time as Bishop.
The chapel has some beautiful stained glass friezes designed and made by Jonathan Kingdon. Sadly the chapel maintenance is beyond the means of the local people and for some time there has been a need to repair damage by termites, white ants and the weather. The window frames were hanging, and many tiles were missing from the roof allowing the ingress of water. Several of the stained glass windows have pieces missing and need repairing, before this damage deteriorates further.
In 2009 the Parish of Minchinhampton to celebrate the anniversary of their 50 years of association with the Diocese of Masasi launched an appeal to raise funds to cover the costs of these repairs and also to install solar lighting within the chapel. The chapel is currently poorly lit by a few battery powered bulbs which are totally inadequate for the size of the building and restrict the use of the building.
The chapel and Seminary are dedicated to St Cyprian as it was founded on his day, September 25th, in 1965 and so this year will be the 50th anniversary. The stained glass windows are dated 1966 and so were added a little later.
Some of the repairs which were essential and to some extent emergency work have been undertaken and the pictures below show the changes so far.
The appeal is still open and with tremendous support from the Charity, The Friends of Masasi and Newala, just over £10500 has been raised so far. The total costs will be in the order of £30000 and the Friends are launching their own appeal to help with finding all the funds needed. You can still make donations to The Reverend Steve Jarvis, 8 Ollney Road, Minchinhampton, Stroud GL6 9BX Telephone: 01453 884545 if you wish to support the ongoing repairs.
The church has charitable status by an act of Parliament and so donations can be gift aided. If you are a UK tax payer and wish to gift aid your donation please download a gift aid form, complete it in favour of Minchinhampton P.C.C. and send with your cheque which should be made payable to Minchinhampton PCC-Masasi. Thank you for your support.
To view photographs of the stained glass please click here
Following on from Bishop Patrick's retirement last year, I am delighted to confirm that in July, the people of Masasi elected James Almasi to be their next Bishop. Bishop James was duly installed in September at a very well attended service. All of us who know James are delighted with his appointment as he is a long-time friend of the link here in Minchinhampton. He has often been our interpreter when we have visited Masasi especially helping with the HIV/AIDS conferences for the Mothers UnionThere is a proposed visit by Bishop James and his wife Veronica after Easter in 2015, subject to obtaining the appropriate visas. We hope that there will be an opportunity to provide Bishop James and Veronica with hospitality here in Minchinhampton. The last time he visited was many years ago with Christopher Wagstaff, former Archdeacon of Gloucester, when he attended evensong.
Dear friends, benefactors, brothers and sisters in Christ.
May the light of Christ, born in Bethlehem shine upon you now and always.
I am writing my last Christmas Newsletter as the Diocesan Bishop of Masasi; firstly to thank you for your endless help and the support you have given to the Diocese of Masasi, and secondary to thank you personally for the gifts and support you have given to me and my family.
In September this year the Minchinhampton HIV project members set out on their 5th trip to Masasi. The aim of the trip this year was to continue to build and develop upon the ongoing knowledge base in relation to HIV and AIDS, to include harm reduction and health promotion whilst continuing to challenge stigma and providing simple methods of how to care for the sick. The team has built up a repertoire of factual material and practical skills which support the training we provide.
A group, mainly from Minchinhampton, visited Masasi in September to hold a HIV/AIDS conference for 36 young men of the Masasi diocese. The conference was very successful and was greatly appreciated by the young men. At the end of the conference they gave us the following letter: