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 Biggleswade Deanery

Diocese of St Albans

A partly rural deanery, with a tradition of joint worship and an active synod.

Diocese of St Albans

St Andrew’s Biggleswade

Room in Africa


(The 2014 Deanery Project)

Firstly, we would like to say a big thank you to everyone, from all over the Deanery, who has supported us in anyway in our fundraising efforts for our chance to go and work in Africa for two weeks this summer.

But this opportunity is much more than simply fundraising, this is about St Andrew’s and the whole Deanery being able to go out into South African communities to show love and companionship, and we are very privileged to be able to do this on your behalf. A couple of weeks ago, we had a meeting in the village of Broadwell near Rugby with the UK co-ordinator for “Hands at Work”. This proved to be very useful and helped us to understand in greater detail how our time will be spent in Africa.

We have now booked our flights and fly out to Johannesburg on Saturday 25th July; the flight takes 11 hours and we will arrive on early on Sunday morning. We will then collect our minibus and start off on the 4 hour drive to ‘White River’ which is in Mpumalanga, between Johannesburg and the Mozambique boarder.

Our accommodation for the fortnight is a centre owned by ‘Hands at Work’ in which there is a central common area with a large kitchen, sitting area and dining area. Sleeping blocks with several beds in each room are adjacent to the main building.

Each day from the centre, we will travel out into different African communities and meet families caring for orphaned children. We will be accompanied on these visits by two care workers. Rose, from Hands, was keen to tell us that our role is just to be there and to listen to peoples stories, maybe to pray with them and sometimes to play with the children. We have to realise that we are not there to fix the problems practically, but rather to share God’s love and to spend time with these people. Rose explained that we are following the example of Jesus who visited people and shared a meal with them.

So this is what we will do; at lunch times, in the villages, they cook a lunch of ‘Pap’, ground up maze, which can be then flavoured with fish, chicken or vegetables. We will share this with the people sat on the floor and eat with our fingers. It’s all very exciting! But Rose did also warn us that what we see, will break our hearts, she said that we should allow our hearts to be broken, so that we can better understand what is going on out there. We will get the middle weekend off, so there will be chance to explore the area ourselves.

The whole experience, we know will change us, and we will become ambassadors coming back to Britain and sharing our experience with the rest of you. Please please pray for our trip, we want the whole church and deanery, in effect, to come with us and be with us. When we get nearer to our departure date we will start a “Blog” which we will update each evening and you will be able to share our experience day by day.

On the Friday 24th July, which is the day before we leave we will be having a “commissioning” service, a sending out service at 7.30 in the evening and we hope that everyone will be able to come along and share in our sending out.

In the meantime, the fundraising continues with Jessica doing a sponsored Skydive on March 31st. We know that many of you have already supported us, but if you can find a few pounds for her sponsorship that would be great. https://mydonate.bt.com/charities/standrewschurchbiggleswade

The Room