Bishop's from Tanzania visit schools in Debenham

After a series of delays, we were delighted that Bishop Godfrey Mbelwa, Bishop Vithalis Yusuph and his wife Monica arrived in Suffolk.  They have arrived in advance of the Lambeth Conference which will be held on 26 July to 8 August 2022. 

The welcoming team led by Bishop Martin and hosts Chris and Anji Dawkins, the Revd Eric Falla and Marion and Martin Gray are supporting the group as they tour our county and beyond.

Visit to Debenham Schools

The Revd Susan Bates with Bishop Vithalis, Monica and the HeadteacherThe Revd Susan Bates collected Bishop Vithalis and his wife Monica for a beautiful, if hot, day in Debenham. 

The couple first visited Debenham High School who are currently celebrating the end of the school year with an activity week.  The Headteacher, Simon Martin, took the group on a tour of the school and the Bishop and Monica were blown away by the resources available.  The music room even offered the opportunity for the bishop to play the guitar.  The conversation was based around what a church school is and what is taught.  The Bishop explained that a school in Tanzania has 3,000 pupils with eight teachers, no books and probably not even a chair! Mr Martin and the Bishop discussed ways in which DHS can support schools in Biharamulo Diocese with computers and books.

The Bishop and his wife were surprised that the food science room was not for catering for all the children, they were amazed that this was just available to teach the children to cook.

Next stop was the local church, where the Bishop played the organ, expressed an interest in the history of the church and was interested that the church is left open all day.  The couple then shared a ‘parish lunch’ with some of the church community from the Benefice of Debenham & Helmingham.

Bishop Vithalis playing the guitar with MonicaAfter lunch Bishop Vithalis, Monica and Rev Susan visited Debenham Primary School, where the Bishop and Susan led collective worship.

Susan said, “The children were really keen to  join in. We talked about what a Bishop does, what is it like to be a child in Tanzania and what the schools are like for the children there. Our pupils thought the Bishop was wonderful and had lots and lots of questions for him”. 

Bishop Vithalis explained many children in Tanzania are unable to get to school and are taught by their families.  Boys are taught by their fathers to build their own house and to look after animals, while girls are taught by their mothers to cook and care for children.

Susan adds “This raised several questions among the children, and for me this highlighted how important this type of visit really is, and it has been a wonderful opportunity to learn from each other".

Susan, who herself visited Tanzania seven years ago, was reminded of how different life is in Tanzania and how much we here take for granted. The bishop led a prayer asking God to help the children to recognise what they have and to appreciate how blessed they are. 


The Lambeth Conference 2022

Convened by The Archbishop of Canterbury, the Lambeth Conference is a gathering of bishops from across the Anglican Communion for prayer and reflection, fellowship and dialogue on church and world affairs. With the theme of ‘God’s Church for God’s World - walking, listening and witnessing together,’ the conference will explore what it means for the Anglican Communion to be responsive to the needs of a 21st Century world.


For further details

Kagera Link Diocese | Weblink

Page last updated: Thursday 26th January 2023 4:16 PM

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