5th Dec, 2016

Out to Africa to join special celebrations

Aaron Wise 10th Jan, 2016 Updated: 20th Oct, 2016

THE BISHOP of Worcester Dr John Inge and Dean of Worcester Rev Peter Atkinson recently returned from a trip to Tanzania to help and support those in need.

As part of a 50th anniversary celebration in Tanzania’s Diocese of Morogoro, with which the Diocese of Worcester is linked, Bishop John and Peter Atkinson, the Dean of Worcester, spent a week in the African nation.

The link between the Dioceses of Worcester and Morogoro was set up back in 2011, as a way to learn from one another and grow together in a shared faith in God.

Bishop John first visited the region in 2012, but it was the Dean’s first trip to West Africa, and the duo both took part in a the Golden Jubilee celebrations with a special six hour service conducted in Swahili.

“It was a delight to take part in the Golden Jubilee celebrations of the Diocese of Morogoro,” said Bishop John.

“Going there is always an inspiring experience for me. The wonderful welcome we receive from our Christian sisters and brother who have so little is very affecting, as is their infectious faith and joy.

“The glorious service of thanksgiving, which took six hours, was the longest service I have ever attended but it was not a moment too long,” he added.

The trip was particularly special for Bishop John as he unveiled a plaque on a new hospital building in the village of Berega, constructed with money raised in memory of his wife, Denise.

“Dedicating the building in memory of Denise at Morogoro Hospital was equally moving. Wonderful work is done there among the poorest of the poor with very rudimentary facilities. They are presently tackling an outbreak of cholera,” he added.

They were based in the ‘hub’ town of Morogoro within the 80,339 square kilometres of the diocese, which covers two mountain ranges and mainly rural and remote areas.

Speaking in Worcester Cathedral on his return, Mr Atkinson said: “We travelled in a land in which people have very little, but their Christianity is vibrant, whole-hearted and joyful.

“The plaque at the hospital which Bishop John unveiled gave Denise’s name and the dates of her life, and her motto, ‘Alleluia is our song’.

“In that place of suffering and hardship and death, the words were utterly appropriate, for they sum up the faith and the prayer of every Tanzanian Christian I met.

“It evidently meant a great deal to have us present at their anniversary service, and I came home believing the link between our two dioceses is the kind of friendship without frontiers our world so desperately needs.”