How to grow disciples was the theme when a group of evangelists from our link diocese of Tanzania spent three weeks renewing friendships and talking about church growth as part of the national Hope 2014 initiative.
They have spent most of May visiting their own link parishes and others across the Huddersfield and Wakefield Episcopal areas. They have held discussions on primary evangelism in the Serengeti, talked to people on the streets and visited schools to talk about their faith and lives back home in Mara and Tarime.
The visitors, led by our link officer, Lay Canon Arthur Mauya included Canon Gaspar Kassander, the Director of Evangelism for Mara and the Revd Daudi Ores, a young priest involved in translating the scriptures. Mara Diocese grew so fast in the last few years it has now become three dioceses.
Some of their thoughts to encourage growth in a church were:
More time for teaching as opposed to preaching in our services.
At the moment clergy and Readers will preach short sermons but many do not give time to teaching, especially teaching in a way that allows questions and answers and that makes disciples of Christians.
In sermons everyone is silent, but in teaching questions are raised in people's minds, which then lead them on. Start with small groups.
According to Canon Gasper the Director of Evangelism in Mara Diocese we also need the building of an evangelistic mindset so that parishioners then have a spirit of boldness and go and tell others the good news of Christ.
They group have had a very full programme of visits and talks which will culminate on Sunday 25 May with a Celebration Eucharist in Halifax Minster at 4pm.
Bishop Tony will preside on Sunday and Gaspar and Arthur will be the main speakers at the service. Everyone is invited to bring a group from their parishes, and their choirs to join the Minster choir.
Pictured here are Bishop Tony Robinson, with, from left to right, Canon Gaspar Kassanda, Pamela Kissouri, Rev Daudi Ores, Lineth Sayo, Lay Canon Arthur Mauya, Jackson Nguti and Elizabeth Kitally.