“The 21st century belongs to Africa!” said the Bishop of Winchester following his return from a trip to Kenya where he was visiting Christians working together for the future of the continent. “The future of the African church is being determined by Africans supporting Africans, building up their nations for the common good.”
The Diocese of Winchester, which represents the Church of England in most of Hampshire and East Dorset, maintains close ties with Christian communities across Eastern Africa. Kenya forms the gateway for this region so it is strategic for regional planning and cooperation, and a place where new thinking and training is emerging.
During the visit, Bishop Tim met Archbishop Jackson Ole Sapit, the new head of the Anglican Church in Kenya. He heard from the Archbishop about how important education is for the future development of African nations and, in particular, how important further and higher education are. East African countries like Kenya, where about 40% of the population is under 15, need more universities, including those founded by the Church and based on Christian values, in order to prepare the coming generations for leadership and nation-building.
Speaking after the trip, the Right Reverend Tim Dakin, Bishop of Winchester, said:
“What I’ve seen in Kenya during this week has again encouraged me about Africa’s future, but also about God’s mission throughout the world – and the strength of the worldwide church. As Europeans, our place is now alongside Africans who are working with Africans. The experience of being alongside can provide us with new insights about our own context, and prepare us to be more open to others from around the world, working alongside us as we learn again what it means to share our faith with confidence and clarity.”
“I feel a close personal bond to the region, having spent a significant part of my life there, and this trip has further reinforced the Diocese’s commitment to cooperate with our friends across the region working with those who are in some of the most challenging contexts in Congo, Rwanda, Burundi and SW Uganda. I am particularly excited about the potential development of further and higher education institutions. The first thing the gospel offers is hope; Africa is full of hopeful Christians looking for education and training.”
The Bishop of Winchester and his team also visited the Church Army Centre for Urban Mission in Kibera, an informal settlement in the centre of Nairobi that’s home to over 600,000 people. The Centre for Urban Mission trains Africans from across Eastern Africa in the challenges of mission in informal settlements like Kibera which are found in many major cities within the region. The team also explored whether the Diocese of Winchester could offer its own ministry students an immersion experience in the African context to encourage them to look again at their own contexts in England, seeing them in a new way. “Learning how others elsewhere in the world are working together to support each other is now crucial for our own development”, added Bishop Tim.