East and West Africa Links
The Diocese of Chichester has enjoyed a Companion Link with the Anglican Churches in West Africa since 1965 and Kenya since 1967. Over the years people from Sussex have discovered the rich diversity of people, cultures, languages, customs and spiritual traditions, sometimes very different from our own, that is 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 God’s activity and transformative love in new and deeper ways from our brothers and sisters in that great continent. In short their perceptions of Africa and themselves and God have been transformed.
What is the linking about?
In essence linking is about COMPANIONSHIP. The term itself, from the Latin “com (with) - panis (bread)” speaks of table fellowship. It reminds us that the faith that binds us centres on the act of breaking bread together as members of God’s family.
It is in the coming together that we get to know one another, learn from each other and encourage and support one another in times of struggle and celebration, in our growth in mission and ministry and in deepening our worship of God.
- Meeting each other;
- Praying for each other;
- Learning from each other;
- Challenging each other; and,
- Each living into communion with the other
For more information contact The Revd Christine Keyte
Who are we linked with?
The West African Dioceses
The six West African dioceses each cover large areas which, in some cases, include more than one nation. The Interdiocesan West Africa Links (IDWAL) has been the principal Chichester based point of contact and engagement with these dioceses. IDWAL is now an integral part of the Diocesan Overseas Council. Some West African parishes have links with parishes in Chichester and a growing number of our schools are linked to schools in the region. The Dioceses of Portsmouth and Guildford are also a part of IDWAL and are linked with different dioceses in West Africa.
- The Diocese of the Gambia covers the three nations of The Gambia, Senegal and the Cape Verde Islands. The Cathedral is in Banjul (The Gambia).
- The Diocese of Guinea covers the countries of Guinea Conakry and Guinea Bissau. The Cathedral is in Conakry.
- The Diocese of Freetown covers the northern and western half of Sierra Leone. The Cathedral is in Freetown.
- The Diocese of Bo covers the southern and eastern half of Sierra Leone. The Cathedral is in Bo.
- The Diocese of Liberia covers the country of Liberia. The Cathedral is in Monrovia.
- The Diocese of Cameroon covers the country of Cameroon. The Cathedral is in Douala.
The Kenyan Dioceses
The three Kenyan dioceses each cover large areas and straddle the Rift Valley. The Friends of Nakuru, Nyahururu and Kericho (FNNK) have been the principal Chichester based point of contact and engagement with these dioceses. The Friends are now an integral part of the Diocesan Overseas Council. It is our hope to develop parish to parish and school to school links with our Kenyan Companion dioceses.
- 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
For more information contact the The Revd Christine Keyte