Lent is a wonderful season for considering how we can follow Jesus more purposefully. One way we can do this is in our service and support of our neighbours, near and far. Our brother and sister Christians in our link diocese of Kagera are far away from us geographically, but they are close to us in Christ. So the Bishops’ Lent Appeal in 2024 is focussed on:
Faith in Action - Transforming Lives in Kagera
Our aim through the appeal is to support farming initiatives and good practice in agriculture, training of evangelists and clergy at Kagera Christian Theological College (KCTC), and resourcing of pastors in their parishes. We will also continue our support for healthcare in the region through the Diocesan hospital.
The Church and Community Mobilisation Process (CCMP), led by Thomas Shavu, gives people the skills and motivation to become self-sufficient and lift themselves out of poverty. It changes mindsets and gives people hope for the future. CCMP helps people with training and equipment, and by providing seeds for drought resistant crop varieties to manage better in the face of climate change.
Dixon of Nyamiaga says:
“I used to irrigate my crops with basins or pots, a method that was hard and time-consuming. However, since learning about and acquiring a foot pump, my life has changed. The foot pump is a simple and affordable solution that has made irrigation much easier and more efficient. I want to express my gratitude to CCMP for providing the skills and knowledge that enabled me to adopt this technology. Now, I can tend to my crops more effectively, leading to better yields and improved livelihood”.
Veronica, of Kabalekela Village says:
“Gratitude overflows from my heart to CCMP for building me a 1,000 litre rainwater tank. As a widow, the lack of water was a constant challenge. I had to walk 3 kilometres with my daughters to find water, but since this tank was built, I get enough rainwater and have time to rest. Thank you, Church of England, for being a beacon of hope on my journey.”
Jesca says: “Receiving the better seeds from CCMP for tomato and eggplant was a turning point for my family. In the past, our harvests were uncertain, and we struggled to make ends meet. But with these improved seeds, things have changed. The seeds are hardier and more resistant to diseases, ensuring a high yield. We not only had enough for our family but also surplus to sell at the local market.
These better seeds have not only given me better harvests, they have given me a better life. I feel empowered as a woman and provider for my family. I am proud of the knowledge I gained in growing these crops, and I have been able to share my expertise in my community. I am not just planting tomatoes and eggplants, I am creating a better future for my family.”
Clergy training and resourcing
Kagera Christian Theological College (KCTC) runs courses in theology and practical skills. As well as preparing priests for ordination, the college trains lay evangelists, who play a vital role in parish life across the diocese.
Obed, a Diploma student at KCTC says:
“Life here at KCTC is very exciting in different areas, it enriches not only our spiritual life but our physical life also. We learn how to use the bible in different areas of life, preaching, teaching and caring for people. We also learn environmental conservation skills like agriculture, tree planting and animal keeping – I will use these skills when I leave college. I give great thanks to those who have supported me and pray that God will bless them.”
Newly trained evangelists were given more than just their certificates when they graduated from KCTC last November. They were also given avocado seedlings from the CCMP nursery to plant on their smallholdings. Avocado is a good cash crop, so as well as food the plants will provide income for the new graduates to help support their families.
Last year the college planted 4,000 trees on nearby land, and plan to plant at least 6,000 more. Environmental sustainability is their aim as they mitigate the impact of climate change.
With money from the last Lent Appeal, Kagera Diocese was able to buy five motorbikes for priests. Bishop Darlington blessed them at a special ceremony, saying how much transport helps with outreach. After the blessing, a loud Amen was sounded with the horns. (link to video). Revd Jotham Kabirigi says his bike will really help him spend more time ministering to his people rather than spending so much time walking the dusty roads between parishes.
The Diocesan hospital at Murgwanza provides vital healthcare to the area, serving around 365,000 people. The nearest referral hospital is an eight hour drive away, so Murgwanza is working hard to train local specialists.
Our Diocese is sponsoring Dr Elia Ethan, studying for a Master’s in Ophthalmology at Kilimanjaro Christian University Medical College.
Elia sends us regular updates on his progress: “Praise the Lord. The hands have started to coordinate with brain. Nice moments. I did three cataract surgeries today. I thank God, my surgical skills are becoming better day by day. God bless you for sponsoring my studies.”
How to give
Please give generously in 2024 to help Kagera Diocese achieve its vision of ‘Life given in its fullness’. John 10:10. You can donate online below or download the donation form available here.
Lent appeal 2024 poster | PDF
2024 Booklet | PDF
If you'd like printed copies of these, please contact us at email@example.com and we'll get them to you.
Fundraising ideas for your church or group | DOCX
Why not host a Kagera style meal? – try these recipes: Taste of Tanzania | DOCX
Sell our Kagera notecards at your church or group – £3.50 for a pack of five. Order your packs from firstname.lastname@example.org.
Where does the money go?
With money from our last appeal, Kagera Diocese was able to:
- reach over 50 villages, teaching new farming methods, supplying seeds and saplings, and training people to build rainwater tanks
- fund training for Dr Elia Ethan in Ophthmalogy. He has two more years training before he returns to the Diocesan hospital full time
- provide bursaries for theological students at KCTC and develop a new 10 year plan for the college’s future
- buy motorbikes to help priests get around their parishes.
Watch these singalong videos to learn some tunes from Kagera:
Communion Service for Kagera | DOCX
Kagera Service Resources | DOCX
Children's Worksheets | PDF
We can arrange for a guest speaker to present online or come to your church or group to talk about Kagera and the appeal.