By Warren Smith & Anne Marie Werner-Smith
Since 2005 Canterbury has been sponsoring an outreach for the Anglican Church in Kenya, in the coastal province of Mombasa. This is an overview of the project.
We have been working under two bishops, Rt. Rev. Lawrence Dena, formerly assistant bishop of Mombasa, now Bishop of Malindi; and Julius Kalu, Bishop of Mombasa. Each of them in the course of the last decade has visited New Mexico and spoken at Canterbury.
Our first project was fundraising to help restore St. Luke’s Hospital, built in a rural area by the Christian Mission Society in the 1930’s. Once a major hospital in East Africa, St. Luke’s had fallen into disrepair and decay when we visited them in 2005. Their generator did not work and they sometimes had to operate by flashlight. Their nursing school wanted to upgrade from a certificate to a diploma school but lacked a vehicle to transport the nurses to other health facilities to do their practicum. We raised funds through Canterbury and other churches to buy a generator and a bus for the nursing school. The bus cost about the equivalent of $62,000. The hospital raised half of this on their own and about $30,000 came from churches in our diocese including St. Michael and All Angels, St. Chad’s, and Epiphany in Socorro. With this help and the use of fund raising at Convention, Deanery support and Canterbury generosity, the St. Luke’s Nursing school and Hospital are fully staffed with modern equipment, have now received certification and are running at full capacity. They have traded in the bus for a larger one. Last year we visited the hospital and were thrilled to see it thriving.
The second project was assistance to Bishop Hannington Institute, a diploma school under the direction of St. Paul’s United Theological University. Warren taught at BHI 2010-2011 and again in 2012. We have offered and continue to offer scholarships at BHI; in 2011 we bought them a copy machine which they still use as a moneymaking device; we have also bought them computers; and we enabled them to get an e-book service for their library so that they will no longer have to literally manufacture their own textbooks. Under the leadership of Dr. Martin Olando as principal BHI has become a financially sound institution and Martin has opened up fundraising sources in the UK, and as he undertakes a new building program and expands his curriculum he no longer relies so heavily on our support.
Thirdly, we began in 2012 the purchase of motorbikes for priests serving in remote areas; the first was for Fr. James, a priest who was serving several parishes in the town of Aruba in the Mombasa diocese. A motorbike can be purchased for about USD $1300. Now that Bishop Dena is now serving in the new northern province of Malindi, which borders on Somalia, we have bought three more motorbikes for his priests. This is an exciting ministry of empowerment for priests who sometimes feel in isolation or abandoned. Bishop Dena is now seeking other sources for this funding including Rev. Paul Lawson, former rector of Canterbury.
Before the end of 2016 we will make one more payment to the church in Kenya which should be enough for the purchase of another bike for Malindi and two more scholarships for BHI. We are phasing out this ministry in view of the stability of the institutions in Kenya and the greater need closer to home. We will continue to sell cloth, jewelry, and Anne Marie’s pottery at the Christmas sale in December and again at Mother’s Day. God has prepared us to move on to new challenges and Canterbury will still have an active African ministry in the Faith Alive Nigerian project of Sally Barlow and Pam Brown.