Monday, 9 June 2008

Shadow of the cross over Zimbabwe

Despair at the prevalence of AIDS, drought, hyper-inflation and political intimidation in Zimbabwe presses on us more than most other things. On Monday, St Michael’s, Little Coates sent out a few hundred pounds more to an African priest in a rural parish; it is some twenty years or so since he came on a placement here and the prayers and donations have not ceased since. It is much more efficient both financially and strategically to channel such giving via one of the major aid or mission agencies but somehow the personal link trumps this knowledge each time.

I’d been a little surprised at how quickly the fund for him replenishes itself until I discovered one member of the congregation was being paid for a few voluntary hours she does each week and was channelling the money into the fund. The point of trying to keep a church like St Michael’s viable may actually be to nurture this sort of discipleship, or perhaps to be nurtured by it. I also suspect that it is this sort of relating which is what the Anglican Communion is about far more than it is about mutual understandings of sexuality.

So here is the latest image of the Passion which I've taken (this one is in St George's, Bradley); it is hard to believe that the regime will actually change, that rural areas which do not support the regime will not be left to starve, and that regime change could turn things round very quickly anyway.

And here are the three most recent e-mails we have received from him simply as first hand confirmation of what is in our news.

Thank you very much for the money you sent to help me with God's work here. In the fields the crops have wilted as the whole of February we haven’t received any rains and the people are facing another drought. The rains had initially started well in December and January and people had high hopes of escaping from hunger, but now all their hopes have been dashed. I am in town to buy a few things but the cost of goods are so high and the cost of travelling is expensive. With the money you sent we will help the needy and orphans with food. (February)

I hope this message finds you in good health and everyone else. We hope you had a lovely Easter ours was fine and today one of our members is being ordained as a Priest, which is why I am in town to witness this great occasion this afternoon at the Cathedral. The situation on the ground continues to be bad as we are now approaching elections and we pray and hope that our suffering will come to an end and we ask for your help and prayers in these challenging times. (April)

I was supposed to come to town two weeks back but I fell ill and unable to come. My whole body aches - the doctor said I am suffering from a bone disease so I am living through medication and, as you know, our situation everything is expensive. In the country side life is tough and the political atmosphere is not good as Mugabe's people are beating up people so that they will vote for him in these coming elections. Worse people are starving - as there is no food the life is not good. But people are saying enough is enough. They are determined to vote him out because if they donʼ't starvation will continue. Pass my warm greetings to everyone who contributes help for us. (June)

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