Long ago – 1984 to be precise – and far away in Tanzania, a new
Diocese

began and a new bishop Gershom Nyaronga was appointed to care for it.

Here in West Yorkshire at the same time a new Bishop, David Hope, was

appointed to care for a much older Diocese – Wakefield – one of his
first

decisions was to start a link with a diocese in a developing country.

Bishop Gershom and Bishop David became firm friends and the

Wakefield/Mara link whose motto is ‘Bega kwa bega – shoulder to shoulder -

has flourished, becoming one of the strongest
links in the whole of the UK.

Support for Mara Diocese began with many churches collecting ‘Pennies
for

Mara’, a scheme which continues in many churches today. As time went
on

people began to visit Mara and to witness first-hand the amazing work
that

the church was doing amongst its people and gradually Parishes here
began

to link with Parishes in Mara, each supporting the other with prayer,

friendship and financial help. Churches were built, education
initiatives both

in schools and in the area of health were supported. The Upper Home
Valley

Team began a link with ‘Kagwa’ a local village in 2004. Several people
from

the Holme Valley Churches have visited Kagwa and have been challenged and
excited by the work that has taken place.

Recently Mara Diocese changed in a similar way to the changes here in
West Yorkshire and the Dales. During this time of change Christians here
continued to support the Church in the Mara Region with funding for ‘Water for
Life’ – a project that covered the three new diocesan areas created in
Tanzania. Now that things are more settled, the Holme Valley Churches are
renewing links

with Kagwa village, which now sits in the new Diocesan area of Rorya.

Visitors to Kagwa will bring back more information regarding what kind
of support is currently needed.

Therefore, at the Team Anniversary Service in January a

raffle was launched which aims to raise funds to support our

Christian brothers and sisters in Kagwa. This will
be followed by a

coffee morning at Hepworth Village Hall in November.

The Christian people in Tanzania work tirelessly to respond to the

real daily needs of their communities, regardless of religious or

tribal affiliation. This approach calls to mind words attributed to

St Francis of Assisi: ‘’Preach
the gospel always – use words if

necessary’’.

 

‘What
is it that makes men treat those they love or claim to have loved with total
lack of love?’ What a question GBB asked
in the article in January’s Broadcast! Is there an answer? Can anything be done? Do bewildered parents
need help with their ultra demanding children?
Do we, as adults, need to ensure we are consistent, committed role
models? What are we doing to combat peer-group
pressure with its negative, chilling dictate?

‘Be
different and you will be victimised’. Is it that our graven images have been
metamorphosed from blank stone faces to talking, flickering, bleeping
machines? Is our fascination with
‘selfies’ a clue to the answer? ‘Look at me..
and here I am again!’

Is
it that the favourite shuttlecock of political power – the education system –
is now merely a conveyor belt for universities, industry and a world of
uncertainty? Is there still spontaneous
joy, diversity, creativity? Is it that
politicians and the media manipulate our insecurity with their propaganda? Is it that we are so addicted to noise that
we are frightened of the company of our own minds? Is it the despair created by the hypocrisy
which condones rather than condemns bullying, cheating and lying provided they
lead to success? Is it because the public face of Christianity has been driven
underground, and moral and ethical discussion is scorned? Or is it the inevitable historical result of
a deeply unbalanced, unfair and divided society? It is true that you-tube campaigns raise vast
amounts for good causes, but why are they necessary?

Back to GBB’s question. What can we do? Can we discuss and answer the questions
raised in the article? Can we support
the many volunteers dedicated to improving our community?

What
initiatives can we as individuals undertake to answer the challenges of the
question? We may need to stand alone.

Am
I prepared to do that? Or should I leave it and blame someone
else? (It is their fault, isn’t it?!)
Tony Eustance

 

How easy it is to be generous
and feel satisfied that we have ‘done our bit’ when we make some small donation
in church. It can be seen; it can be
counted; we can be thanked. We can go
home and eat a hearty lunch.

GBB asked last month ‘Why should it be necessary in these
affluent times for those who live among us to rely on food banks?’

Food and sustenance come in many different forms –
spiritual food, love, concern, companionship, support etc. Physical starvation is the result of the lack
of spiritual guidance and strength where generosity of spirit is, if not dead,
certainly dwindling. This is not the
political matter which GBB suggests: it is a personal matter, our personal
matter!

Giving a few tins of food takes much less effort than
spending time with someone who needs us for much more than a few minutes. When someone arrives in church alone do we
ask about them about their needs? And if
we do, do we respond generously? Perhaps
that person needs ‘food’. Perhaps they
are starving! At the Peace do we look
into the face of the stranger amongst us or just say ‘Peace be with you’ and
move on quickly?

There is so much need in our own community, not extreme
cases of famine, but a need for our generosity of time, of love, of generosity
of spirit. We can give these quietly and
unnoticed.

GBB asks what makes people treat others with a lack of
love. One has to receive love in order
to give it. We are so busy we have lost
the capacity to see the need in others.
I’m not sure a political directive can change that. The Church has an important part to play
here. Many well loved people attend
regularly and faithfully, supporting almost everything – but where is the
hungry stranger? Has he or she been invited?
The saddest thing is that we do not recognise the need in others. The seemingly confident person may be the
loneliest one in the room, wearing the biggest smile.

You may remember the song we used to sing: ‘Jesus bids us
shine… you in your small corner and I in mine’ and more recently ‘Let it begin
with me’….. How I wish we could have
a Love Bank as well as a Food Bank, an Advent Love Day as well as an Advent Gift Day when no one goes
home spiritually starving. Wouldn’t it
be great? In John 21.15-16 we read that
Jesus says ‘Feed my lambs’ ‘Feed my
sheep’. Let us be generous with our love and time and send no one home hungry
on Sunday.

Rita
Bailey

 

I have read with interest Geoff and Rita’s thoughts on
generosity in the magazine, both make some valuable and interesting points and
I just want to comment on a couple

I agree with Geoff that the existence of Food Banks is a
political issue; how can a nation such as ours, with its roots in Christian
values placing a great emphasis on care for the most vulnerable and needy in
society, find itself unable to meet the needs of such people? Surely policies
which have led to this state of affairs need challenging? I also agree with
Rita saying that it is a personal issue. The Christian faith has always
understood the heart of the human problem to be the problem of the human heart.
Change in policy has to begin with a change of heart – something which Christ
promises to gradually bring about in us when we follow him.

Although we must never be complacent, I am constantly aware of
the depth of love and support which exists at St. David’s. There is so much
which goes on quietly which quite rightly, very few are aware of; so many
individuals and families who have been supported and continue to be helped
through tragedies and difficult circumstances. More obvious examples are the
work of the Pastoral Care Team, the free lunches, Monkey Business Toddlers and
the Memusi Foundation.

So, thank you Geoff for raising this important topic and
thank you Rita for reminding us all of our own responsibility to show the love
of God in ways which sometimes call for sacrifice on our part. May we always
keep the love of neighbour at the forefront of our life as a church, may we
never grow complacent and may we seek to make a difference not only by
challenging injustice and responding to need, but by each of us searching
ourselves and asking how we as individuals could do things differently so that
no one is ever left in need of any kind.

 

In the Church Hall

entry free

Wednesday
17th February

10am till 12
noon Coffee Morning

12 noon till
2pm Lunches

All at reasonable prices

Table Top Sale –
Stalls include Cakes, Bazaar,

Books, Toys, 50p
Stall, £1 Stall.

Toddlers Play Corner and Children’s Activities.

We look forward to
your company –

you’re sure of a warm
welcome.