Right Reverend Tim Dakin, Bishop of Winchester has just returned from a trip to Kenya to see first hand how Christians are working together for the future of the continent.
Speaking on his return to the UK, Bishop Tim said: “The 21st century belongs to Africa. 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.
While in Kenya, the British Bishop met new Primate of the Anglican Church in Kenya, Archbishop Jackson Ole Sapit who explained how important education, especially further and higher education, is for the future development of African nations.
The Archbishop also said how in Kenya itself, where about 40% of the population is under 15, young people need more universities, including those founded by the Church and based on Christian values, in order to prepare future generations for leadership and nation-building.
“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.”
– Right Reverend Tim Dakin, Bishop of Winchester
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.
Africans from across the East of the continent are trained at The Centre for Urban Mission 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”, Bishop Tim added.
The Bishop’s visit comes soon after the Archbishop of Canterbury made his own visit to Kenya during which he also met with Archbishop Jackson Ole Sapit.