It was wonderful to welcome the Bishop of Angola, Bishop Andre, to our Saturday evening gathering celebrating our link with the parish of St Simon and St Jude, Namacunde. As part of our welcome the children sang a short hymn of praise, even managing to do so in Kwanyama. A huge thank you to Hilary, Nick, Susan, Heather and Harriet for arranging everything, for cooking such delicious food and decorating the church with banners purchased from the town of Okahanya, just a couple hours drive North from Windhoek.
Over the years we have achieved so much. Following our first visit to Namacunde in 2009 we helped the parish purchase enough land to be able to build a church. We have supported Fr Elias in his ministry, specifically by helping him to repair his rather old 4×4. In partnership with the Dioceses of New Hampshire in the US we have supported the training of local volunteers to help spot malnutrition in young children and to be able to take appropriate action, this programme operates alongside the local malaria programme, begun in Namibia, so we have also been supporting this vital area of work. Finally we have provided enough funds for the parish to build its longed for church. It was such a joy to be able to visit the parish again, to celebrate with them in this new church building. As for the future who knows. I know the parish would like to build some classrooms in the bush to support the education of children who live in isolated rural communities without access to schooling.
However, as amazing as this all is, the real reason for our link with Namacunde is the developing fellowship of two pilgrim Christian communities learning what it means to be disciples of Christ in very different parts of the world, with very different outlooks on life. The soon to be Saint John Henry Newman’s personal motto chosen when he became a cardinal is appropriate here. “Heart speaks unto heart” I pray that our link may continue to foster such love and community that we may all grow in the Love of God made visible in Jesus our redeemer.