Diocese of ChichesterDiocese of Chichester

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Companion Links - Overseas

Our links with West Africa

What comes into your mind when you think of AFRICA? For many the continent is associated with poverty, disease and political instability. But this is not the whole story...

Since 1965 the diocese of Chichester has been linked with dioceses in West Africa. Over the years people from Sussex have discovered a different side to Africa. They have experienced African hospitality and generosity. They have participated in joyful acts of worship in churches that are growing faster than we can imagine. They have learnt about rich cultures and traditions very different from our own. In short their perceptions of Africa have been transformed.

What is the link about?

Quite simply, COMPANIONSHIP. This term speaks of people who eat together. It reminds us that we stand side by side each other as equals. Our link is a growing means by which Christian people in West Africa and Christian people in the diocese of Chichester can get to know each other, learn from each other and encourage each other in worship, witness and mission.

Who are we linked with?

The diocese of Chichester is formally linked with the dioceses of Freetown (Sierra Leone), Bo (Sierra Leone), Guinea, and Gambia and the missionary diocese of Cameroon. These five dioceses are a part of the Anglican Church of the Province of West Africa.

The English end of the link is run by the Chichester Inter Diocesan West Africa Link (IDWAL). The Dioceses of Portsmouth and Guildford are also a part of IDWAL and are linked with different dioceses in West Africa.

What happens?

Visits to West Africa: There are regular visits to our link dioceses: Bishop of Horsham, Mark Sowerby went in March 2011. Whether you are adventurous or more cautious the opportunity to experience African Christianity first hand is guaranteed to change your outlook on life.

Visits from West Africa: We have welcomed the bishops from our link dioceses and numerous clergy and lay people. A number of West African young people have spent time in our diocese and more visits are planned.

Parish to Parish links: why not be linked to a Church in West Africa? The regular exchange of news and views from Christians in a different culture can enrich both parishes.

Although the link is primarily about people from time to time we have specific requests from our companion dioceses. In the last 5 years alone, Churches and individuals in Chichester Diocese have

  • Funded the ordination training of 4 priests in Cameroon
  • Raised money to help the Church in Guinea minister to refugees
  • Helped fund a building extension at All Saints’ School in Conakry, Guinea.
  • Sent a container of equipment (including over 20 computers) to schools in Sierra Leone
  • Set up an office in Sierra Leone to organise the linking of schools in the UK with Schools in Sierra Leone

How to get involved?

If you would like to find out more about our companion dioceses, support the work or even visit West Africa please contact the World Mission Officer ian.hutchinson-cervantes@chichester.anglican.org