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.

Saturday, 17 August 2013

No to women's ministry

Deaconess Eldah Katoto - a picture taken last year
The Synod, this week, voted a clear no to women's ministry in this Diocese. There had been hopes that the vote would be in favour, but it became apparent that so many of the rural pastors have little understanding of the issues surrounding such a debate, and little experience of women's ministry in any form. The debate sadly was rather aggressive, with some ill-informed people rallying support. It was a difficult day, and my heart goes out to the very small number of women here who have been faithfully serving the church for many years. At the centre of these is Eldah, known so well to those at St Barnabas following her recent visit. She has been a teacher at the Bible College for nearly 12 years, with little recognition of her exceptional gifts as a theologian and communicator, and she now wonders what, if anything, is her future in the church here.  Please pray for her.
My hope is that there will be the opportunity for some strategic thinking about raising the educational and leadership level of women in the church, and I hope that I may be able to play a useful role in this during our remaining time in the Diocese.

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