Bishop's Lent appeal launched today

Communities throughout Suffolk have been urged to raise funds during Lent for farmers in Tanzania struggling with the impact of the climate crisis.

A Lent appeal has been launched by the diocese of St Edmundsbury and Ipswich following visits by the bishops to Kagera in Tanzania, Africa, where the diocese has had a link for nearly 30 years. Bishop Mike is returning from the region this month, and last year Bishop Martin visited Kagera.

Bishop Martin says his presidency of the Suffolk Show this year further connects the diocese to farmers abroad suffering from the impact of the climate crisis, and particularly the unpredictability of the seasons.   

"The challenge of changing climate, which we are experiencing in this country is biting hard in impoverished rural areas like Kagera.  The church there pays a key role in helping people adapt their farming methods to feed their families and communities. We can help by giving them funds to buy equipment and support agricultural projects as well as support the clergy and their villages with bikes and health care. Therefore the bishops are focusing our Lent appeal on raising funds for the agriculture, health and church sectors in Kagera," said Bishop Martin. 

He added, "This partnership is two way – we learn a huge amount from our friends in Kagera about how to live as Christians in the midst of the world’s challenges."

The appeal comes as churches in Suffolk help in so many ways in the county, from top up shops and food banks for those struggling with the cost of living crisis to fundraising for local charities and activities to supporting others in their local communities.

Bishop Mike said his trip, accompanied by curates, inspired the diocese to strengthen ties –  "I realised just how the global economic downturn compounding the climate crisis is affecting farmers, pastors and doctors in terms of costs and basic material needs. Lent is a time traditionally when we turn outwards in generosity towards others and even small amounts in UK terms go a long way to alleviate suffering in this area of the world."

The Diocese is urging churches, benefices, deaneries and other groups to decorate places of worship in African style, cook African food and have talks about Kagera. Sunday Schools and youth groups are asked to set themselves fundraising challenges for specific items, such as buying parts for a rainwater harvesting tank.

Previous appeals for Kagera helped to teach new farming methods, supplied seeds and tree saplings and trained villagers to build rainwater tanks with local materials. Motorbikes were bought for priests to cut travel time too.  For more information on the appeal and to donate please visit this webpage here.


Page last updated: Wednesday 14th February 2024 11:23 AM
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