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.

The Leprosy Mission

This year we are supporting the Leprosy Missions work in Sri Lanka, an island just off the coast of India in the Indian Ocean.

Here are some statistics about Sri Lanka which are quoted on the Leprosy Mission website, taken from the United Nations.

  • Population: 20.9 million
  • Percentage of the population living below the international poverty line of US$1.25 a day: 7%
  • Life expectancy (UK is 80 years): 75 years
  • Percentage of the population with access to safe drinking water (UK is 100%): 90%
  • Percentage of children aged from 12-months to four years that die each year (UK is 0.5%): 2%
  • Percentage of adults that are literate: 91%

Sri Lanka has one of the highest rates of leprosy in the world with 1877 new case diagnosed in 2017.

In 2017, according to the Leprosy Mission, 351 children received special education at Disability Resource Centres in Myanmar, 30 people with disabilities participated in a national awareness event and 727 patients were given physiotherapy.

It is probably hard for any of us here in the United Kingdom to imagine what it is like to contract leprosy or for someone in our family to have the disease.   But it is still one of those diseases which affects the lives of so many people in Sri Lanka and in other parts of the world, and it is important that we do not lose awareness of it and that we pray for those countries and peoples affected by it.  Pray too for the doctors and nurses who work with those who have leprosy to try to ensure that they have as a full a life as possible.

One of the ways in which medical staff are able to reach people affected by leprosy, especially if the patient is too poor to travel, is through The Leprosy Mission’s mobile clinics – seen in the video below at work in India.

You can find out more about the work of The Leprosy Mission on their website, or by visiting the Bishop’s Lent Call pages on the Diocesan Website at, where you can also read more about the other projects, both in Southwark Diocese and overseas, that we’re supporting through the 2019 Lent Call.

Ash Wednesday 2019 – the Lenten journey begins

As we move into Lent it is helpful to reflect upon our own lives and the lives of those around us in our own communities and more widely in our country and across the world.  Take time to reflect and pray about all that is happening and pray for God’s healing and peaceful hand to rest upon us all.

Here in the weeks of lent we will offer more information about the projects which are being supported through the Bishop of Southwark’s Lent Call.  Take time to look at the materials which have been sent to your parish or find them on the Diocesan website at

Please pray for those who will benefit from the Lent Call as part of your Lenten discipline and think about how you journey through Lent can help us to reflect upon all that God has given to us and what we can do in response.

Sign up to this blog at and receive notification of when the next blog appears.  We begin with a greeting from Bishop Christopher.

Lent Call – How you make the difference

One of the most enjoyable parts of the Bishop’s Lent Call is getting to see the various ways in groups and individuals raise money to give to the causes which we’ve chosen to support. Our schools and churches hold events across the Diocese and, with the help of social media, share them with us. If you’ve got photos of what you did to help support the Bishop of Southwark’s Lent Call, tag us in them on Facebook and Twitter.

For some of our schools, the fundraising efforts culminate in the Lent Call Service held at Southwark Cathedral, where they bring their generous gifts to be received, and perform in the cathedral as part of the worship.

We won’t be closing the books yet, so there’s still time for you to donate. If you’ve not held an event, and want to do so, have a look at where you’ll find ideas for fundraisers and information on how to give.

As Lent draws to a close and we prepare to reflect on Jesus’ death and resurrection, please continue to hold in your prayers those people and projects for whom the Lent Call, and the money it raises, can make a real difference.

Viable projects in the Diocese of Masvingo

Much of the focus of the Bishop of Southwark’s Lent call this year has been on the importance of education, and Rt Revd Godfrey Tawonezvi, who has been the Bishop of Masvingo since the Diocese’s creation in 2002, talks in this video about the Diocesan Trustees decision to establish extra primary boarding and a new secondary boarding school.

A profile on Bishop Godfrey, in which he describes his ministry, is available on the Diocese of Masvingo’s website.

The Diocese of Masvingo has been linked with Southwark Cathedral since 2009 – read more about their partnership on the Cathedral’s website.

Helping parishes to start new income generating projects


The Diocese of Matabeleland is in the south of Zimbabwe, borzimbabwemapdering Zambia, Botswana and South Africa. Its main city is Bulawayo and the Diocese contains within it the major attractions of Victoria Falls and Hwange National Park.

Today, we hear from Bishop Cleophas Lunga, the Bishop of Matabeleland who talks about some of the issues facing his Diocese.

One of their major concerns is bringing together urban and rural parishes, so that they are each able to understand the other’s situation and specific problems.

Bishop Cleophas also talks about a project the Diocese is hoping to embark on which will help equip parishes to start their own new and vibrant income-generating projects.

Week five – Zimbabwe: “Proclaiming the year of the Lord’s favour”

As we enter the final week of the Bishop’s Lent Call we are continuing to think about our Link Dioceses in Zimbabwe. The second of these is the Diocese of Masvingo.

zimbabwemapMasvingo is in the south east of Zimbabwe and is the newest of the five Anglican dioceses in Zimbabwe, having been established in 2001. It is linked with Southwark Cathedral rather than with one of the Episcopal Areas in the Diocese.

As with our other Link Dioceses, education is a vitally important part of the Church’s mission. The future stability of Zimbabwe will be greatly helped by generations of young people coming through the country’s schools equipped with the best possible education that they can get and the church has a major role in providing this.

The Diocese of Masvingo looks after nine Primary and five Secondary Schools and, as in other parts of the Zimbabwe, the infrastructure is in desperate need of attention. Everything from textbooks and stationery to furniture and staff accommodation is in short supply and the Diocese is helping wherever and however it can.


One of the biggest schools in Masvingo is Daramombe High School at the Daramombe Mission in Chivhu. This has close to 850 pupils and has recently been able to increase the number of pupils it can take and educate, after the boarding facilities were expanded through the construction of two hostels, one for girls and the other one for boys and a classroom block consisting of two classrooms.

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During a visit to Daramombe last year, Bishop Christopher and others from Southwark Diocese were able to see the new buildings and were greeted by the choir who sang for them:

Other support has enabled the Diocese of Masvingo to buy batteries for the solar panels in Chidzikwe where there are several projects going on and to repair motorbikes for the clergy to use. Parishes can cover vast areas and a motorbike can make it possible for a member of clergy to get around their parish in much less time. Your support of the Bishop’s Lent Call makes it possible for our Link Dioceses to take on both the big construction projects and the smaller, more local and personal, projects – all of which help towards ensuring that the Church in Zimbabwe can continue to play its part in what we hope will be a brighter future for the country.