Mara link update
Shoulder to Shoulder
The Making of the Mara Link, edited by Bill Jones
THE LINK BETWEEN THE DIOCESE OF WAKEFIELD AND THE DIOCESE OF MARA IN TANZANIA CELEBRATES ITS 20th BIRTHDAY IN 2008
One way in which the diocese intends to mark this milestone is with a booklet, ‘Shoulder to Shoulder’ setting out how the Link has developed during that time. All parishes have been invited to write briefly about how the Link has affected them and what has been its biggest impact on their parish.
The booklet will be edited by Bill Jones (author of ‘School for the Serengeti’) a former Link Officer, who spent many years in Mara. It will be published in July next year to coincide with a service at Wakefield Cathedral to mark the Link’s 20th Anniversary.
It will be on sale at the Cathedral Bookshop for £3.50, but if you wish to order your copy in advance at £3.00 each please add your name to the list in the Vestibule at St. Giles’ Church. Payments please to Marjorie Sanderson.
Any profit made after deduction of printing costs, etc., will be paid into the Mara General Fund.
Wakefield and Mara Diocese
In 1986 Bishop David Hope of Wakefield and the then new Bishop of Mara, Gershom Nyaronga, proposed that the two dioceses be twinned, and on July l0th 1988 in Wakefield Cathedral the link covenant was formally signed.
Both Bishops pledged themselves to the covenant in front of Bishop Ghais Abdel Malik of Egypt representing the Anglican Communion, and they said “As the friendship of David and Jonathan in days of old bridged the deep divisions within Israel, so may our friendship build bridges across the divides of distance, of culture and of language”
Fast forwarding to the present, Wakefield Diocese now benefits enormously from this firm planting of ideals and nurturing over the past 18 years. The adopted motto of the link ‘Bega kwa Bega’ translated as ‘Shoulder to Shoulder’ has been practised and continues to do so with the many conversations, visits and joint projects by the people of both Dioceses continuing to enrich the Link.
Now more than 70 parishes, colleges and schools in Mara have a lively link with parishes in the Wakefield Diocese, and 9 other parishes in Wakefield Diocese are Mara supporters.
Founded on mutual prayer, the parish links express their joy of Mara by regular correspondence and supporting projects such as building churches and sponsoring education.
The Diocese of Mara is in the north-west of Tanzania, next to the border with Kenya and the eastern side of Lake Victoria. Tanzania is about four times the size of the UK, but has only about half the population.
It is one of the ten poorest countries on earth, and consists of the mainland of the former Tanganyika and two islands, Zanzibar and Memba. Africa’s highest mountain, Mount Kilimanjaro, is in Tanzania, as is the Serengeti game reserve and the Ngorongoro Crater. The country has a coastline on the Indian Ocean.
In the past it has been colonised by Arabs, Germans and the British, but in 1961 it became independent. About half the population are Christian, a third Muslim and the remainder still hold to traditional African beliefs. Most people work on the land, growing food and keeping animals. There are few roads and these are badly affected by the seasonal rains. Sometimes, as happened in 2006, the rains fail to arrive and then real hardship is experienced. The capital of the Mara region is Musoma, where the recently rebuilt cathedral is situated.
Web links and information
The Anglican Diocese of Tanzania is a useful source of general information, and includes a specific Mara section.
Crosslinks also feature Tanzania on their web site, and includes background general information about the country, and some images.
Martin and Sue Fannon are serving with Crosslinks, and their area of the web site, and downloadable prayer updates, provide lots of information and background detail. Martin is principal of the Diocese of Mara Vocational Training Centre (DMVTC), and Sue teaches English.
There are some excellent photographs on the Wakefield Diocese website, please click here.