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Hardcore ministry

February 12, 2013

Just spoke to a former student of mine who left in December. He came to visit and I asked him some questions about his new parish:

  • At the age of 25 I think he is, he is minister of a parish with 16 churches. That means him and 15 lay-readers working underneath him. He is responsible for all of them.
  • The main church (‘mother church’) has 200 people in it. An average weekly collection is approximately £4. About 40% of that goes to the diocese and archdeaconery. The rest is for his wages, and any church projects to run. His congregation is poor. He is poor.
  • The main church, the most well-constructed one of the lot, has no roof. The congregation crowd to one side in the shade and move as the sun moves.
  • His house has an ant-hill that has built up inside it. His bed after just a few weeks is getting devoured by the ants. And he has a snake problem.
  • His outside ‘long-drop’ toilet is a few planks of wood over a deep pit. It’s so old and so unstable he has tied a rope to a nearby tree and holds onto that whilst doing his business in case the floor gives way and he plummets in. People regularly die in Uganda that way.
  • The house has no electricity, and it’s a 1.5km walk to collect water.
  • Many of the Christians in the church are involved in spirit-worship and traditional African religion.
  • Each church can be kilometres apart, but he has no means of transport apart form his own two feet. And it can get hot, very hot there.

When I think of him, and his situation is by no means unique, I am embarrassed by some of the things I teach and suggest in my lectures. How much of my stuff is relevant to a situation like that? I’ve made it a matter of priority to go visit in the next few weeks for a weekend and try and reconnect a bit with church life outside of wealthy Kampala and prevent any of my lectures sliding into irrelevancy.

I’ll let you know how I get on.

And pray that it’s a strong rope, will you?


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  1. John Williams permalink

    Chris, Thank you for your ministry in Uganda. We are gladly praying for you and your family and for the team from Oak Hill coming to minister alongside you. Duncan Bell is our son-in-law! Asking God also to give you a strong rope and a strong grip! John Williams

  2. Fiona permalink

    Much prayer here for you and your students and graduates. Is it OK for me to link to this on Facebook?

  3. Chris, Chris, loving your blogg. Shared this at the church prayer meeting when you first posted it. BUT you really can’t just leave us hanging like this for ever. 😉 We presume since you’ve posted again, our prayers were answered and the rope held?…

    • I was due to go last week but had to cancel sadly. Rearranged for weekend of 27th April…will do a new blog post after that…hopefully with some pics!

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