About – Working Together – Continued...

Following in their footsteps a number of Lancaster Diocesan clergy worked in the townships and rural trust countryside of southern Zambia, serving the string of townships along the Lusaka to Livingston highway: Mazabuka, Monze, Pemba, Choma, Kalomo, Zimba as well as more rural areas such as Chivuna, Maamba, Chikankata, Namwala and areas beyond. Work was not easy and living conditions were, to say the least, basic. These clergy served anything from one to fifteen years founding parishes, building churches, enabling the work of schools and health clinics dotted throughout remote areas which took many hours of travel over rough tracks in a four wheeled vehicle.  But the rewards were great in the spread of the gospel and ties of friendship with the people.

Among the clergy who served were Frs Tim Sullivan, Gerry Muir, Bert Taylor, Michael Brown, Norman Johnson, John Baron, Tony Gaskell, Paul Swarbrick, John Walsh, Jerome Ainsworth, and Deacon Peter Williams; in later years these were accompanied by increasing numbers of the laity from the Diocese.

Their work was assisted in no small measure by UK Charities such as Water Aid, the Little Way Association who always contributed to the roofing of new churches, Aid to the Church in Need, Survive Miva who provided transport and Cafod who supported many various development projects in agriculture, education, adult literacy especially with the local women.  Special mention should go to Harry Whiteside who spent a number of years in establishing a clean water supply for the Chivuna settlement with its hundreds of live-in pupils of two schools, the sisters of the two convents, the priests and the scores of teachers, nurses and local people of the settlement.

Now, however, the world is very different to what it was immediately after the Second World War. Just as in the secular world we face the rise of the Eastern economies, so in the Church we find priests from Africa and India serving in our Diocese. When Fr Paul Swarbrick returned to resume work in the Lancaster Diocese in 2007, having worked for fifteen years in the Chivuna settlement and its nineteen outstations, he was the last of the Lancaster priests to serve Monze in this way.

Conscious that this particular pattern of working together had come to a close and that a new way of cooperation would have to be sought, an invitation was sent to all interested parties of the Lancaster Diocese to meet with Bishop Michael at Garstang near Preston on the 9th July 2010. The meeting concluded with this written statement:

We of the Lancaster Diocese, recognising each other as Sister Churches, seek to strengthen our relationship with the Diocese of Monze. We realise we have done much for Monze over several decades through the service of clergy, religious and lay volunteers, through the raising of financial assistance, through visits and through constant prayer. We believe that our Diocese has benefited from this relationship. Christ has brought us together. In company with Him we still have much to gain. (Therefore we wish) to make more widely known throughout the Lancaster Diocese the historic relationship we share with the Diocese of Monze, to help sustain those current links which form the relationship now and to explore ways of developing this relationship into the future, for the greater glory of God and the building up of the Body of Christ as befits both our sister Churches.
— + Bishop Michael Campbell, Lancaster Diocese

This statement of intent was given practical expression in the further decision to create a web site open to the people and clergy of Lancaster and Monze not only as a way of honouring the memories of the ties of work and friendship between the peoples of the two dioceses, but also as a way of continuing these ties by encouraging the people of both regions to search for new and imaginative ways of prayer and mutual support.