In 2011, after much prayer and discussion, the Diocese of Worcester signed a Friendship Agreement with the Diocese of Morogoro in central Tanzania.
The link between our two Dioceses has led to an ever-deepening bond between us as we are pledged to learn from one another, pray for one another and to share our common faith in Jesus Christ. Since 2011 there have been many visits between our Dioceses.
In the early period it was a particular joy to witness the growth of links between many schools in Worcester and Morogoro, which has been to the benefit of pupils and teachers who have shared their different worlds and approaches to life.
There is already a vibrant relationship between the parish of Kempsey in our Diocese and the parish of Chamwino in the Morogoro Diocese and other links are becoming stronger, including Pershore Abbey with Kihonda, Cradley Heath with Gairo and between our two Cathedrals.
Our partnership link has also led to many developments in the area of better health care within Morogoro Diocese, especially at Berega Hospital and to the creation of a small but strong independent charity – called Mission Morogoro – which is dedicated to improving the lives of those who live in Tunguli and its surrounding hamlets. One particular project, supported by the diocese and Mission Morogoro working together, was initiated by the former Archdeacon of Worcester, Roger Morris. He conceived the idea of buying, renovating and sending a tractor to Tunguli.
On returning home the then Archdeacon of Worcester, Roger Morris went to auction to purchase an old “clapped out” Massey Ferguson tractor and then enlisted the help of Moreton Morrell Agricultural college in Warwickshire for the refurbishing of it. It was agreed that the students at the college would undertake the rebuilding of the tractor as part of their course work. This generous act removed the need for the diocese to pay expensive renovation costs.
Over the past 18-24 months students at the college have transformed a virtual wreck into a glistening, good as new tractor, ready for use. Tim Hutchinson, who has been responsible for supervising the project, together with one of the students involved, will be travelling to Tunguli village to present the tractor to the villagers and to help and advise them on its maintenance. We hope that this will lead to the establishment of a permanent link between Tunguli village and the college at Morton Morrell.
The project hit a very real problem when Roger moved on to become Bishop of Colchester in the summer of last year leaving the project without a leader. The Diocese of Worcester has been deeply grateful for the willingness of a small independent charity called Mission Mororgoro and to Tony Mortimer, who Chairs the Trustees, to step into the gap and supervise the complex task of continuing the project through the final stages to completion. This has involved a minefield of technicalities and red tape. During this time members of Mission Morogoro and its supporters have undertaken the purchase and restoration of a trailer and the purchase of a disc plough. In addition Mission Morogoro has raised a considerable sum of money to cover the high transportation costs to Tanzania.
On Monday March 23rd. the tractor will be blessed by the Bishop of Worcester in a special thanksgiving event which will take place at Moreton Morrell College at 12.00 noon, when all those involved in the project will be present.
Canon John Green, the chair of The Worcester Diocese Morogoro Task Group comments: “ We are thrilled that this tractor project has been catalyst for bringing so many people together and for the deepening links between our two Dioceses.”
Tony Mortimer, the chair of Mission Morogoro comments: “We are very excited to be partners in this project. It has great potential to improve health and reduce poverty for the people of Tunguli. We will work hard to make this happen”
Within our own diocese, we have been challenged by our friends in the Link to be more focused in growing faith in others, so that they will live it with such joy that the Church will grow both numerically and in spiritual depth so as to be better equipped to serve Christ in the world. We have been pleased to welcome two clergy from Morogoro to our last two diocesan clergy conferences.
During the last two years we have welcomed Peter Mkengi as the new Link Officer for the Diocese of Morogoro and we wish him well in his important role of helping to bring our two Dioceses closer together. If you would like to create a new parish link please contact John Green and he will be pleased to provide you with more details, and help you set one up in conversation with Peter and our partners in Morogoro.
About the Diocese of Morogoro
Christian Mission in the Anglican tradition began in the Morogoro area through the dedicated work of the Church Missionary Society at the end of the nineteenth century. Over the next few decades, the hard work of sowing the seeds of a living faith in Christ led slowly to the creation of an Anglican Province of Tanzania from eight dioceses in 1970. One of these eight dioceses, formed only five years earlier in 1965, was the Diocese of Morogoro. There are now 27 dioceses which form the Anglican Church in Tanzania, and that number is expected to increase through growth in the church.
The Diocese of Morogoro covers an area of 80,339 square kilometres and encompasses some of the most beautiful scenic areas within the country, including the Ukaguru and the Uluguru mountain ranges. Most of the inhabitants of the Diocese live in rural areas which are often remote with a smaller number living in small towns and in the ‘hub’ city of Morogoro, where the Bishop, Cathedral and staff team are based. The Diocesan Bishop is the Rt Revd Godfrey Sehaba, who was elected and ordained Bishop in 2008.
Morogoro city has a population of around 250,000 making it the sixth largest city in Tanzania. The diocese as a whole has a population of around 1,000,000. Christians in mainland Tanzania form around 30% of the population, with around 35% identifying with Islam, and 35% following African Traditional Religions. The diocese lives with a strong sense of mission to all living within its boundaries.
The main institutions within the Morogoro Diocese are the Bible College in Morogoro, the Hospital with a School of Nursing in Berega, together with an Orphanage and Bible School (also in Berega). The School of Nursing has recently hosted its first graduation ceremony. Berega Hospital also run a Medical Mission in the village of Tunguli.
The main areas for growth and development within the Diocese are education and training at all levels, community development, better health provision for all (especially in maternal health) and church planting, and the growth of new Christians able to own and articulate their faith.
On the 30th November 2015 the Diocese of Morogoro celebrated its Golden Jubilee. Bishop John and the Dean, Peter Atkinson, were able to be with them for their celebrations and bring greetings from this rather older sister diocese. and we hope to be able to share with them in their joy at what has been achieved and in their hopes for the future, as both they and we continue to serve the Risen Christ in a faith which transforms our lives and enriches our discipleship.