Helen and Alastair - some background

Helen and Alastair - some background : We have always hoped to return to Africa once more before we're too old (perhaps we already are!). Alastair first went to Africa in 1974 as a junior doctor, working for the Church of Scotland in a small hospital in Transkei, South Africa. I met Alastair there in 1982, were married in 1984 and continued in Transkei until 1988. From there we went to Kenya, as employees of the Church of Scotland, where Alastair ran Chogoria Hospital. We left in 1995, with Alec, Peter and Becky to establish the children's schooling and our work in Britain. Here Alastair found himself as consultant in Breast cancer surgery, and Helen initially trained and worked as a GP before "evolving" to full time ordained ministry. Alec is now married to Ruth, and they have baby Zach; Pete is in his final year of medicine in Edinburgh, and Becky half way through nurse training in Oxford.

The Diocese of Western Tanganyika is a partner of Gloucester diocese. The plan is for Helen to join the teaching staff of the Bible College, teaching those preparing for ministry. Alastair will teach English to the students at the college, as well as doing some surgery at the church-run hospitals, and helping with project management in the Diocese.
We will keep you updated on our plans over the next few months and will greatly value your prayer support. Our current prayer requests - and thanks to God of course - will be posted on the side bar.

Thursday, 10 May 2012

Clergy Conference

Katoto, and all the clerrgy, dancing in the Cathedral
This week is the Diocesan clergy conference here in Kasulu. All the clergy from around the diocese have gathered and are staying in various guest houses and in the college dormitories. All the meetings are in the Cathedral. It's very well organised, with a programme of talks and teaching during the day, and everyone seems to be enjoying themselves. It's the first time since Bishop Sadock was appointed 18 months ago that he has been able to gather all the clergy - he's a great guy: very encouraging to everyone and very funny.
From time to time the whole conference breaks into rather wonderful singing and dancing - as in this photo. Women are not ordained here - but in this photo is Katoto; she is a deaconess and teaches in the Bible College. I am one of only 3 women at the whole conference. I have had the challenge of leading two sessions : one on the role of women in ministry, and the other on mission. I found both very challenging with the need for sensitivity in understanding a different culture and church tradition.
I'm trying to cope on my own listening to Swahili talks and sermons - coping better each day but easily get lost! Haven't tried to preach or speak in Swahili yet. We both spend a few hours each day learning vocab, reading etc and trying to improve.
Not much time for domestic improvements this week - guest bedrooms next project!

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