Visit Report 2008


Our Visitors From Tete

[Source: Ann Flett in the parish magazine of St Mary Stoke Newington, July/August 2008]

Meeting the visitors
Beryl Warren meeting the visitors

As part of the celebrations for 150th anniversary we were able to welcome a very special group of visitors from our twinned parish of the Church of Epifania, in Tete, Mozambique. Three intrepid travellers arrived after a 48-hour journey on 13 June: Padre Francisco, Filomena and Julio.

They had had a punishing schedule of tourism, socialising and some very special occasions of worship. They visited Buckingham Palace, Cambridge, Canterbury and St Albans and were able to experience several of our great churches but also had a visit to St John’s, Brownswood Park to see a very different place of worship. They did shopping (very exciting), museums, lunch at Diocesan House, visited St Mary’s School and the Brownies. Feeling tired?

Every evening they were entertained to a special meal with guests by one of the congregation so they must have met at least 50 or so new people and all this in a foreign language. Fortunately Julio spoke good English and one or two Portuguese and Spanish speakers helped along. We had an interpreter on most of the trips in order that they would get as much as possible from the visits.

The services were all special in different ways. Padre preached on two occasions (we had translations to follow the context), Julio led the group in singing traditional songs from their church and they also sang for us as part of the “150th” concert.

Tete Visitors
Visitors from Tete at the special service

The culmination of the week was the special celebration service on Sunday presided over by the Bishop of London. The chapel of Epifania was consecrated and presents given and received and blessed by the Bishop, including a banner for their church with the names of our two parishes on it.

It was a wonderful visit for all concerned, even a life-changing experience. Many of us, and all who met them, felt privileged to experience their deep spirituality and delightful, warm personalities.

They left for the airport on Sunday afternoon, carrying twice as much luggage and very tired but having had an amazing visit. Thank you to everyone who helped make them feel so welcome.