In Zimbabwe – the Diocese of Matabeleland

The Diocese of Matabeleland is linked with the Kingston Episcopal Area, and their Diocesan Bishop, the Rt Revd Cleophas Lunga – who has been Bishop for just over a decade – sent us this video.

As Bishop Cleophas, noted in his video, providing for their six retired clergy, who are quite elderly and some of whom are not very well, can be challenging. The economic situation has made caring for the retired clergy even harder, and priests who are pensioners do not have very much to live on. At a time such when food is becoming scarcer and more expensive, one of the ways in which the Diocese tries to help them out is be providing them with groceries when they are able.

Matabeleland also has a project which it hopes will help make the Diocese more financially secure, as well as providing evangelistic opportunities: a bookshop and Resource Centre near the Cathedral in Bulawayo. Anglicans in the Diocese purchase a lot of their reading materials and liturgical resources from the Roman Catholic bookshops and so clergy, lay ministers and the laity of the area will all benefit. It will aim to offer products at competitive prices and to make it possible for local people and rural parishes to access resources. Owned by the Diocese, the shop will be overseen by the Diocesan Trustees and in order to reduce running costs it will be managed by a volunteer.

The Diocese expects the start-up costs to be USD20,000 and hopes for average monthly sales of USD4,000. It will thus take about five months to recover the initial investment and to start making profits. The bookshop aims to offer high quality coffee and pastry products at a competitive price to meet the demand of the middle- to higher-income local residents and tourists with whom they will seek to share the gospel.

Bishop Cleophas mentioned his desire to help motivate young clergy as well as provide for the elderly clergy and Matabeleland’s bookshop project hopes to do both – with accessible reading material and evangelism for their young clergy and generating an income which can benefit the retired. As with the other Dioceses in Zimbabwe, the funds raised by the Bishop’s Lent Call will bring Matabeleland closer to self-sustainability.

In Zimbabwe – the Diocese of Manicaland

The Diocese of Manicaland is linked with the Woolwich Episcopal Area, and has a total of 50 full-time Priests and four full-time evangelists, overseen by Rt Revd Erick Ruwona, who was consecrated Bishop in May 2015.

They have seven parishes and six big mission stations which were established during colonial rule, though the rest of the churches are very rural and poor. The Diocese borders Mozambique to the East, and its offices are in the Provincial capital city, Mutare – below is a video sent to us by Bishop Erick from there.

Despite the effects of Cyclone Idai in parts of the Diocese, Manicaland is faced once again with a major drought this year, and a lot of crops have already failed. The Diocese relies on the contributions of its members to pay the clergy and to run the Diocese, but the economic situation has had a knock-on effect on what people can give to support the church. As Bishop Erick says, the Diocese is engaging in agribusiness to enable sustainable development and food security – in part through a piggery project which the Lent Call can help support. This project has already had two people have been trained in Piggery Husbandry (at a cost of cost USD1050) who are now helping to construct the piggery.

The cost of construction and the purchase of ten sows and two boars will cost USD680, and the animals will also need to be fed and the workers paid, so it’s estimated that USD31,860 is needed to ensure that this project becomes fully operational.

Like our other link Dioceses in Zimbabwe, Manicaland don’t want to use money to plug gaps in finances and top up the donations from parishioners; they’re on a journey towards being self-sustaining, and projects like the piggery will help to bring them closer to ensuring their own livelihoods are secure, rather than “continuing to move around with a begging bowl”.

In Zimbabwe – the Diocese of Masvingo

The Diocese of Masvingo is the newest Diocese in Zimbabwe and when it was formed it did not have a partner Diocese.   Rochester Diocese is linked to Harare and the three other Dioceses that were already in existence were linked with the Diocese of Southwark’s three Episcopal Areas.   So in 2009 Southwark Cathedral became the Link for the Diocese of Masvingo.  In this video Bishop Godfrey speaks about the way in which money which has been sent from Southwark Cathedral to Masvingo Diocese has been used.  Some of the money which goes to Masvingo via the Cathedral is from the Bishop’s Lent and other monies are raised by the cathedral congregation.   Together these help to give budget support to the Diocese of Masvingo and support to the projects which have been proposed in previous Lent Calls.

As well as the ongoing needs mentioned by Bishop Godfrey in the video, this year’s Lent Call monies are asked for supporting their proposal for a greenhouse project at Daramombe Mission Farm which, the Diocese hope, will enhance food security. Recurring dry spells and drought have meant food security is a serious issue in Zimbabwe, and especially in Masvingo as it contains areas which experience the least rainfall in the country. The benefits of greenhouse farming – a longer potential growing time, cost-effectiveness and a high yield – mean this would be a great benefit to the Diocese and the people it serves.

Though it mainly affected other parts of the country, Cyclone Idai has caused a lot of damage in the eastern part of Masvingo Diocese, which borders with Manicaland Diocese. Four people died and nearly 3000 were affected by events including collapsed houses, damaged foodstuffs, and bridges and roads being washed away. Money raised by the Bishop of Southwark’s Lent Call will be important in rebuilding both the infrastructure and the livelihood of Zimbabwe and her people.


In Zimbabwe – The Diocese of Central Zimbabwe

The Rt Revd Ignatios Makumbe was consecrated as the 4th Bishop of Central Zimbabwe on 10 June 2018, taking over from Rt Revd Ishmael Mukuwanda. Bishop Ignatios was previously a non-stipendiary priest in the Diocese of Central Zimbabwe, and brings to the role a wealth of experience in both the church and in business.

As well as the hospital at St Patrick’s Mission, which according to Bishop Ignatios will have had the necessary work done to enable access to the site ‘by the end of this year’, the Diocese of Central Zimbabwe is working on three major income generating projects: a dairy project, solar fields and a gold processing plant. In this video, he tells us about these projects, and the motivation behind them.

As we’ve heard from Bishop Ignatios, the Diocese of Central Zimbabwe is moving forward with these income generating projects as a priority, as they seek to not only provide for their clergy during their ministry and their retirement, but to ensure that their parishioners don’t need to keep contributing to clergy funds. The money that the Bishop of Southwark’s Lent Call raises isn’t used as a one-off donation to plug a gap in Diocesan finances, but to provide the means to establish long-lasting and forward-thinking projects that can go on helping the Diocese of Central Zimbabwe for many years to come. In the weeks following Cyclone Idai, although Central Zimbabwe Diocese was not in its path, it is clear that it is important to make sure that there are projects and work which will help the Diocese to be able to cope with whatever the future holds.

In Zimbabwe – Cyclone Idai

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.

In the Diocese – Christian CARE, Merton

During the third week of the Lent Call, we are concentrating on three projects helping people within the Diocese of Southwark itself. These are the Sutton Women’s Centre, Christian CARE Merton and the Salmon Youth Centre.

The second of our local projects is Christian CARE in Merton, in the Kingston Episcopal Area.

Christian CARE is a charity working in the London Borough of Merton. Currently there are 60 volunteers from 18 different churches welcoming and helping anyone whatever their race, colour or religion. In 2018 they supported 175 families whose lives were in crisis.

The seeds of the organisation that was to become Christian CARE were sown during Lent 1967 when Christians from Churches Together in Merton Park, meeting in Lenten study groups, found themselves challenged to put their faith into practice. They started by befriending families in need within the local community. Now Christian CARE is a unique charity serving those living in poverty in the London Borough of Merton and working with families through five inter-related projects:


Christian CARE befrienders have always been there to offer support to families in need and their interventions are as varied as the causes of the crises – debt, immigration problems, eviction, benefit delays, domestic violence, bereavement.

Family Support

Shoppers deliver groceries and fresh food to mothers fortnightly as they believe that no child should go hungry. They also take nappies, baby milk, toiletries and household supplies and often supply Oyster cards for travel to essential medical and legal appointments.

Children’s Activities

Christian CARE volunteers support children who feel different because they do not enjoy the things their peers take for granted. They remember their birthdays with a present, a card and cake and each year they organise a New Year Party and a seaside outing for parents and children

Furniture Project

This project has been running for 25 years and is now the only source of free furniture in Merton.  A team of volunteer drivers use a van to collect donated furniture and other household items and take them to families who cannot afford to replace equipment

Baby, Children’s and Household Project

A chance request from a social worker 7 years ago for winter clothes for 2 boys was the catalyst for this project, and Merton CARE now receives calls to meet the needs of children up to age 11.  They also collect and distribute items for newborn babies, such as cots, buggies, baths and sterilisers

In the following short film, we hear from Gillian Thick, the CARE Coordinator, who talks about their work.

In the Diocese – Salmon Youth Centre

During the third week of the Lent Call, we are concentrating on three projects helping people within the Diocese of Southwark itself. These are the Salmon Youth Centre, the Sutton Women’s Centre and Christian CARE Merton.

The first of our local projects is the Salmon Youth Centre in Bermondsey, which is in the Woolwich Episcopal Area.

The Salmon Youth Centre now has an impressive building, opened in 2010, which can be easily seen from the train as you go in or out of London Bridge. The building brought together all the services offered by the Centre, spread among three separate premises, under one roof. However, the Centre has been working in the area for much, much longer… 113 years to be exact!

The Salmon Centre is named after a local vicar, the Revd ‘Pa’ Salmon, who first noticed that local churches were not engaging with the problems of the inner-city working-class poor in the area. He resolved to do something about it and in 1906, with a group of evangelical Christians from Cambridge University, founded the Cambridge Medical Mission Settlement. The next year, they bought a building on Jamaica Road and opened it as a boys’ mission club and residential settlement. Tuberculosis was a prominent health issue amongst the local population, so the settlement set up a dispensary, as well as taking boys on trips and summer camps to the countryside.

Over the next 112 years, the organisation expanded in the area. It started to admit girls and changed its name to the Cambridge University Mission and then to the Salmon Youth Centre.

Today, the Salmon Youth Centre offers a wide variety of youth work to help achieve their vision of ‘empowering all young people to discover meaning and direction for their lives, develop positive relationships with others and to contribute positively to the communities in which they live, making the transforming love of Jesus relevant to the lives of young people’.

In the following film we meet Miranda Haslem, the Salmon Youth Centre’s Youth Work Manager, who tells us about the work of the Centre today and looks back over its history, and Alex, who has been coming to the Centre since he was 6 years old and is now a Youth Work Traine

Carlile College

The second week of the Lent Call is devoted to Carlile College in Nairobi.

Church Army Africa (CAA) is a community of Anglican evangelists who are working to bring transformation to Africa.  It is part of the worldwide community of Church Army evangelists in Europe, America and Australia, It was established in 1954.

They are engaged in evangelism and discipleship but they also work to try to enable the transformation of society thought their social programmes which work to improve the lives of those in Africa. They try to achieve this through work in healthcare, primary and secondary education, micro finance, work with young people and children and much more.  CAA does exciting and important work which brings together the original focus of the Church Army of evangelism and its work for social change.

You can learn more about the College here:

The Diocese of Southwark has a number of Church Army Officers who are working in this Diocese. Captain Nick Russell is the Parish Evangelist of St Saviour’s Eltham, the Revd Captain Jeremy Garton is Team Vicar of St John, Caterham, the Revd Captain Mick Hough is Vicar of Holy Trinity, Redhill and the Revd Sister Elizabeth Shearcroft is the Vicar of Immanuel & St Andrew, Streatham. Captain Paul Fitzpatrick works in the North Lambeth Team Ministry, Captain Nicholas Lebey in the Thamesmead Team Ministry and Captain Paul Warren at St James & St Anne Bermondsey.

One Church Army Officer who has worked in many different capacities in the Diocese of Southwark over many years is the Revd Terry Drummond who, as you will hear, was ordained as Distinctive Deacon (a permanent deacon) by Bishop Christopher along with two  colleagues in 2016.

In this short video he tells us a little more about the work of Carlile College and what the money that they will receive from the Bishop’s Lent Call will help to fund.