In the final two weeks of Lent our attention turns to our link Dioceses in Zimbabwe, and the ways in which the funds that the Bishop of Southwark’s Lent Call raises can support the pastoral needs, farming and other income generation and capacity building projects and building work of the Dioceses of Central Zimbabwe, Matabeleland, Manicaland and Masvingo.
As we consider projects for the Bishop of Southwark lent Call each year we are aware of the careful forward planning that is involved in the projects that we support and in the work of the Diocese in Zimbabwe. The monies from the Lent Call goes to help the Diocese to make their plans a reality and it is always great to see the progress that is made even though there are many difficulties. Unfortunately, there are some things that neither we, nor they, can plan for – and Cyclone Idai was one such event. The cyclone hit land on March 14, and the estimated cost of the damage is currently over $1billion USD. In Zimbabwe alone there have been 261 recorded deaths, and that number rises to over 800 when you count those in neighbouring Mozambique and Malawi, with over 3 million people affected in total.
A lot of the damage has been caused by the flooding following the cyclone, and so this is where a lot of the relief work is focused. We were sent a video by Revd Benjamin Mandivei, the Priest at St Barnabas, Chipinge, which is in southeastern Zimbabwe in the Diocese of Manicaland, and close to the border with Mozambique – you’ll see from the video the effect that the floods have had on life there.
This year’s Lent Call theme is taken from John, chapter 10: ‘I came that they may have life, and have it abundantly’. We ask that, through your prayers and your donations, you’ll help our brothers and sisters in our link Dioceses to rebuild their lives following the devastating effects of Cyclone Idai.