In early June, MANNA trustee and ALMA link officer, John Tasker made a whistle stop tour of various places in the Diocese of Angola.
First stop was the Extraordinary Synod called in order to begin the transition from a Missionary Diocese to a full Diocese, presided over by the Dean of the Province, Bishop Stephen Diseko, here in the middle of the photo. The eagle eyed of you will also recognise Bishop Carlos from Lebombo. No prizes for spotting John! It was great to hear that this process is going through and next year we hope the new Diocese will be inaugurated.
Second, John was part of a key round table discussion with other partners of the Diocese of Angola; JC Flowers and Episcopal Relief & Development and various key senior leaders in the Diocese to review the journey of the diocese and dream about its future. They discussed various facets of the Diocese; Theological education, Community Development, Leadership, Financial Sustainability, Policies and Infrastructure and made key plans for the future.
Thirdly, John was involved in future thinking about how MANNA can best support theological education in the Diocese of Angola, ranging from supporting current theological students, finding funding for refreshing clergy and lay leaders and laying ground work for higher level degree training. This will be linked to Dr Rev Marcus Throup’s visit last year doing short theological conferences and his desire to take that further.
Finally, John visited the Nora Sturges Health Clinic in Lobito. This small rural clinic in the community of Esperanca, like all clinics and hospitals in rural Angola is struggling. Severe shortages of medication, lack of funds, infrastructure & electricity means that running a rural clinic is a huge challenge. This clinic is solely reliant on MANNA funds.
Over this past year, new management in the form of Silva Jose from the Community Development department in the Diocese in Luanda (second left below) and Rev Antonio Domingos (far right) have begun the long journey to turn this clinic around. MANNA is already providing monthly funds to begin to refurbish and continue to run this clinic but is keen to put it on a more sufficient footing. We are looking for US$44,000 (c.£34,000) to refurbish it and equip it. In such a poor and remote rural area, we know that this would make a huge difference to the lives of many in Lobito.
MANNA remains grateful for volunteers such as John Tasker and many other trustees who give of their time and resources so sacrificially. A successful whistle stop tour!