Riding for Rwanda
SEVEN BIKERS, including two clerics, raised £24,000 in seven days and 1500
miles, as they visited 16 cathedrals and ten churches between Blackburn,
Cambridge and Winchester (pictured).
It was organised by Canon Geoffrey Daintree from Eastbourne; and the money
is going to the founding of the first Anglican theological college in Kigali,
in Rwanda, which will eventually become an Anglican university. Canon Daintree
tells me he visits Rwanda twice a year, teaching theology in Cyangugu, and
there is a real need for a college to train clergy.
They have raised enough money now, with a £15,000 grant from the Jerusalem
Trust, to open Phase 1 of the college next January, with 20-40 students. The
roof is on, he says, and the building will provide some accommodation and
classrooms. The curriculum is more or less written, and is currently being
validated. They also have three staff members, two sponsored by the Church
Missionary Society, and the third is an American woman Ph.D. who has been
teaching in Uganda.
‘The day’s on us’
THE IDEA came from Police Inspector Bob Pell: a Big Brew in the churches of
Salford, Manchester diocese, offering cups of Fair Trade tea
and coffee, and giving space in the churches where the police could hold
surgeries to tackle the fear of crime. Fifty-five churches of all
denominations, including both the Anglican and Roman Catholic Cathedrals, are
joining in, opening as cafés under the Make Poverty History banner.
They will serve free tea, coffee, biscuits and cakes (all Fair Trade), and
some churches will run fun-day events as well.
“It’s all free and on us,” says Alan Saunders who has been co-ordinating the
event. “It’s a gift from the Church.” But on the serious side it also offers
local people a chance to talk to the police. “The police have been working
extremely hard, and crime has dropped, despite some incidents just recently.
But the level of fear remains; and the police want to reassure people, and tell
them of some of their successes in reducing local crime.”
Meanwhile, the Big Brew was advertised by a milk float outside Manchester
Cathedral serving Fair Trade tea, coffee and biscuits, with two giant tea pots
(pictured), a gathering of dignitaries, and a huge Make Poverty History banner
on the Cathedral.
OWNED BY a Methodist minister, the Revd Maurice Perry, but dedicated by the
Bishop of Lincoln, the Rt Revd John Saxbee, Pilgrims Way III
is the flagship of Churches Together in Lincolnshire.
It has just been on a three-week mission round the waterways of
Lincolnshire, starting at Boston Lock, working its way up through Gainsborough
to the Humber Estuary, then down the coast to Grimsby and the Wash, and back to
David Sizer was in charge for first few days. He is both a Methodist
preacher and an Anglican Reader, so he sums up the ecumenical togetherness in
one person. The vessel can sleep seven, and will accommodate small groups of
about a dozen who come aboard for discussion, worship and pastoral care.
The itinerary was carefully planned: visiting churches; entertaining Bishop
Saxbee to lunch so he could meet the support team; calling on local yacht clubs
and marinas; making the vessel available for trips and visits; and general
chaplaincy work among the boating people. It is all part of the wider ministry
to those live and work on the waterways around Lincolnshire and the Wash. The
chaplaincy is funded by several church groups, including Churches Together in
Christmas is coming…
But not for a while yet. This early warning is to alert established and
aspiring composers to a carol competition just launched by the BBC and St
Martin-in-the-Fields, London. The clergy at St Martin’s have
written the words for five verses, and competitors must to compose a piece of
choral music that can be sung by amateur or professional choirs, or be used by
the congregation in a parish church. The first verse goes like this:
Telling God’s story of love come
Child in a manger stirs wisdom
Shepherds and kings join with
poets and prophets
Past, present, future will
The prize is £1000, and the winning carol will be broadcast during the
Christmas-morning service from St Martin’s. More details at
THE BISHOP of Truro, the Rt Revd Bill Ind, has just
ordained ten deacons in Truro Cathedral, and his Suffragan Bishop of St
Germans, the Rt Revd Roy Screech, is ordaining seven priests in their parish
This is the largest number of ordinations in the diocese for more than 40
years, and Bishop Ind calls it very encouraging news. “Not only have 500 lay
people been trained and licensed as worship leaders or pastoral assistants in
the past three years, but we are also seeing a marked upward trend in those
offering, and being accepted, for training as priests.”
After the ordination service, the Bishop led the ten deacons out on to High
Cross in front of the cathedral carrying a Make Poverty History banner to
pledge their support for the poorest nations. The Bishop said it was right that
their first act after ordination should be to show that faith should engage
with the real world, and not be lived out from the safety of a church building.
Up the garden path
THEY DID it just like the Ground Force team on television.
After 30 parishioners of Woodplumpton village in Blackburn
diocese had transformed the vicarage garden while the Revd Damian Feeney was
away on a conference, they hid out of sight while his daughter led him
blindfolded up the garden path. When the blindfold came off he was overwhelmed,
he told me.
It is a large garden and, back in January, he had mentioned in conversation
with Lorraine Dean that he had always dreamed of an outdoor place to sit and
She remembered, and, waiting for their chance, the large group of
parishioners aged from 7 to 70 set to work in sweltering weather. At the end of
the garden, overlooked by a field of cows, they created a hard-standing seating
area (pictured), with a pergola and space for an outdoor altar. They cleared
and replanted flowerbeds, and planted new trees. It was just what Mr Feeney
He tells me that for an altar he would like a pile of stones as in the Old
Testament, with the clematis-clad pergola as a baldacchino over it; but he will
have to talk to the Bishop about it. Meanwhile, he says, it is a lovely place
to sit and say the Offices and to hold Quiet Days (in spite of the curious cows
looking over the hedge).