Bishop Michael's visit to Zambia

22nd April 2024

Bishop Michael has been receiving a wonderful welcome as he travels round in Zambia on his two week visit to the country. On Sunday he was in Ndola where he took part in the English language service at Ndola Cathedral. He was then simultaneously translated into Bemba as the preacher at worship at St Patrick’s Church in Chifubu, Ndola – a feast of lively music and prayer. Outside afterwards Bishop Michael spend time chatting to many of those who had attended the service. 

His day was rounded off by a visit to the newly constructed St Paul’s school in the grounds of St Paul’s Church, Ndola Nort parish where classrooms have been constructed through support from ‘Hands of Compassion’ – a charity based near Wells, which has close links to Bath and Wells. Funds to pay for desks for the children came from St George’s Church in Wilton. Admissions to the school began in 2023 and the school is already doing well. 


For the second leg of his Zambia journey, Bishop Michael spent two days visiting rural churches and communities in Zambia’s Central Diocese, covering lots of miles, along bumpy dirt roads. He said of the visit, "I’ve experienced amazing welcomes and generous hospitality - almost all accompanied by the extraordinary singing of Zambian choirs.

"I’ve visited churches, schools, health centres and community projects. It’s been a privilege to encounter the remarkable mission work of the diocese here - from programmes that help children’s health, nutrition and development to microsavings and credit programmes that are empowering women and families to change their lives for good. Many of the churches I’ve visited speak with great warmth of their encounters with people from parishes in Bath and Wells over the years."


Bishop Michael spoke with members of the early childhood development programme run by Central Diocese, Zambia

In Luapula Diocese, northern Zambia, Bishop Michael met with members of the Mother's Union (MU) and the Guild of St Veronica. The focus of the MU is strengthening families and parenting. The focus of St Veronica is service to the community, though there is often an overlap between the two. Bishop Michael said "We shared in a fascinating discussion that covered parenting in today's world, the situation of the MU in England and what's been happening around the prayers of love and faith. 

"It was great to be able to share with those present the work that's happening in Bath and Wells around the 'Growing Faith' programme that's supporting links between families, churches and schools."

Bishop Michae met with members of the Boys’ and Girls Brigades, The Girls’ Friendly Society and local youth choirs from churches in the town of Mansa in Luapula Diocese. 

On Sunday he worshipped at Luapula’s cathedral in the community of Chipili. 100 years old this year, the cathedral is one of the oldest and largest churches in Zambia. The generosity of the congregation abounded, and he was presented with gifts of a goat, a chicken and a large bag of ground nuts. The Bishop, the Dean and other clergy sent their greetings to everyone in Bath and Wells at the end of the service.

Empowering local communities in some of the materially poorest places in the world is central to the work of dioceses here in Zambia. This week Bishop Michael took part in a training session for community coordinators of local micro savings and credit schemes that are happening across the diocese. Groups of up to 30 people are enabled to save small amounts of money each week. Loans can be taken from the funds built up for a low rate of interest and are quickly paid back. This enables all kinds of activities to be generated - from buying livestock to paying school fees to roofing homes with tin sheets to replace thatch. At the end of year, everyone gets back the money they’ve put in plus a share in the interest that the group has accrued. There are lots of other benefits too. Groups share expertise and understanding and can be used as a forum to share all kinds of information such as malaria prevention or children’s nutrition.  Members speak of the huge dofference that the groups are making.


Bishop Michael will spend two weeks in Zambia, ending in Lusaka before heading back to Bath and Wells. 

More photos of his visit can be seen on the Bath and Wells Facebook page.

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