Visit Report 2008


Visit to our link Parish of Bernard Mzeki in Chimoio, Mozambique

[Source: Parish Magazine of St Luke’s & Christ Church Chelsea, September 2008]


Yes, indeed, thank you, thank you, thank you to our hosts in Mozambique from Anusha Leathard (ALMA link officer for the parish), Gareth Wilson (Music Director of Christ Church) and Ramani Leathard who travelled for a week in June to Mozambique to visit the people of the Parish of Chimoio.  Parishioners in Chimoio gave of themselves, their time and energy and prayers to make this week so memorable. It was an exciting and all too short an adventure and we have come back fired with ideas and enthusiasm to move this further and involve more people within the parish…

Purpose of Visit in June 2008

Gareth’s Diary

Gareth Wilson
Gareth with some new friends

Tuesday - Vila Maninga

We were welcomed by Father Paulo and the church choir at Chimoio airport with flowers, gospel songs and transported to the church.

The common language is Portuguese, although it is not the mother tongue of any of the parishioners; a priest must be prepared to celebrate in four or five languages.

We took a trip to Vila Maninga, which is a fantastic place, and its founders, Juanita and Frikkie, are inspiring people. What they have accomplished is extraordinary, and I am proud that our parish has contributed financially, although what we have given seems little in comparison to what Frikkie and Juanita have done.

Wednesday - Chimoio

This morning, we were taken to some land upon which the parish will build a secondary school, and then to the site of the Bernard Mizeke shrine where they plan to build a bigger church with a guest house and conference centre.

The congregations sing accompanied only by percussion but in harmony, which they improvise. The liturgy is unmistakably Anglican, the style of worship distinctively African.

Thursday - Manica

After visiting a beautiful colonial Portuguese church which overlooks the town, we travelled to the congregation of St Philip’s up in the hills. The sense of community here is extraordinary and the size of the crowd following us continued to grow.

A young girl named Cecilia (front and second from the right in the photo) spoke Portuguese so we conversed and I explained where Scotland is. Another boy carried a bundle of Zimbabwean dollars, now worthless. Many here are Zimbabwean refugees.

We climbed further up the hill to another church, the locals singing all the way. The songs are from Hymns Ancient and Modern, but they have replaced the original tunes with their own melodies.

The standard of living may not be luxurious, but these people are happy, and their community and faith are so powerful that, in the most important sense, they are much richer than us.

Friday - Gondola

With Father Paulo, we discussed various projects in the parish. Their vision for the future is immense, giving much hope for the development of the parish and its people and leaving no doubt that the church is doing really good things in Mozambique.

Later, at St Matthew’s, we were welcomed by a singing congregation. They are uninhibited in their worship and there is a desire for guitars, but they do not have any. It would be wonderful to come back with a shipload and teach them how to play.

St Bartholomew III was consecrated by Bishop Dinis only last Saturday. We were their first guests. Many here do not speak Portuguese, so the services are conducted in two languages., and so many attend that some stand outside!

Saturday - Bernard Mizeke Celebration

These celebrations included eucharist and the singing of the choir was amongst the most moving I have ever heard. This was followed by speeches and exchanging of gifts. They take our link very seriously, and this is underpinned by their strong gift for hospitality, which is most humbling.

We have loved meeting these people. They are fantastic and the parish can only grow; I fully expect when we return to see enormous progress, and witnessing their plans come to fruition will be exciting indeed.