Little Saint Mary’s Church, Cambridge

LSM Global

Who is my neighbour? — read our Global & Social Responsibility newsletter.

We currently support the following overseas missions and charities through our Social Responsibility Group:

Each year, the PCC allocates 5% of the parish's ordinary income to be distributed to our overseas links in accordance with a recommendation by the Group. In addition we donate the proceeds of an Overseas Box and special collections made from time to time during the year.

Whilst financial support is important, it is only part of the story. Each member of the Group is responsible for maintaining personal contact with one of our overseas links. News and information is provided through a notice board in the church, through reports to the PCC and through the parish newsletter. Personal visits by supporters are particularly appreciated, and these visits have proved an enriching experience for a number of people from Little St Mary's. There is also a pressing need for work on the ground, if only of a mundane administrative or clerical nature, and we are keen to encourage school or university leavers, or people who have recently retired, to consider a period working with one of our overseas partners.

We are sometimes fortunate to be able to entertain visitors from one of our overseas links at LSM who can talk to us. Recently we have enjoyed visits from Papua New Guinea, Calcutta and St Cyprian's. In addition LSM and all our overseas links support one another in prayer.

Our Social Responsibility Group is chaired by Mary Ward (01223 369846) who will be very pleased to give any further information on our various activities.

The Cathedral Relief Service in Calcutta (Kolkata)

++ Justin in Kolkata

CRS was founded in 1971, in the aftermath of the Bangladesh War of Independence, to deal with the resulting flood of refugees across the border. CRS evolved from a relief organisation into a development agency, and today works in the city's teeming slums, as well as in a number of the poverty-stricken outlying villages, providing primary education and health care, and running women's self-help groups, in particular teaching skills that will enable the women to earn a living. The emphasis is on self-help, to enable the people to establish viable communities. We support CRS through the Friends of CRS in Britain.

The Archbishop of Canterbury visited Kolkata in September 2019, when he and his wife were met by Rig David, the Director of the Cathedral Relief Service, and were able to see the work of the women who are trained in sewing and embroidery by CRS, and who work for the social enterprise Nari Dana ("Women's Wings") making products for sale. Our photo shows them talking to Rig; more photos can be found on the CRS Facebook page — the UK Friends of CRS also have their own page — and their website.

Thomas Mathews writes about his recent visit in our March 2020 Newsletter beginning on page 15.

See also the Friends' latest Newsletter.

COVID-19 Crisis Urgent Appeal

See the latest news on how CRS is responding to the Covid crisis.

The lockdown in India has had a devastating effect on those living in poverty in Kolkata's slums and the surrounding rural districts. Most people live from hand to mouth, earning meagre incomes from menial jobs or small businesses such as tea stands. With these sources of income removed, whole families who were already living below the poverty line and in dire need have been left with no livelihood and no means to fend for themselves. In these circumstances women and children in the communities are especially at risk.

CRS is working with the Diocese on plans to distribute basic aid to those most in need in the twelve city slum areas and 36 diocesan pastorates (parishes) where CRS is engaged. The intention is to bring relief to 1,600 families (about 8,000 individuals) by distributing basic medical supplies and staple foods such as rice, lentils, sugar, milk and oil. CRS will use their own vehicles to distribute in the slum area, and distribution in the pastorates will be undertaken from the churches by the clergy and pastorate communities Whilst it will not be possible to implement the aid programme until the government lockdown ends, CRS and the Diocese urgently need to raise funds now to be in a position to move when they can. The budget for the programme is approximately £11,500.

If you can support this appeal, please send your donation to the Friends of CRS:

CAF Bank Ltd – Sort Code: 40-52-40
Account no: 0009 6998 – Friends of Calcutta Cathedral Relief Service
Reference: Covid 19 Appeal

Our LSM contact for CRS is Clive Brown (01223 467616).

The Papua New Guinea Church Partnership

The fascinating country of Papua New Guinea occupies the eastern half of New Guinea, the world's second-largest island after Greenland, being bordered to the west by Indonesia and to the east by the Solomon Islands. The PNG portion alone of this enormous landmass covers nearly twice the area of the entire United Kingdom, and its people are among the world's poorest. English and Tok Pisin are the main official languages, but over 800 different dialects, many of them mutually unintelligible, are spoken in the various isolated communities. The landscape comprises high mountain ranges and tropical forests, with very few roads. Internal transport, such as it is, mainly involves light aircraft using grass landing strips in forest clearings, simple open boats plying the few navigable rivers, or arduous foot trails. In the more accessible areas a few cash crops (such as coffee) are grown, but most of the population rely on subsistence farming, particularly in the remoter settlements which are difficult and hazardous to reach.

Map of PNG dioceses

The country is divided into five dioceses as shown on the map above. To a large extent health care and education are provided by the Christian churches, the Anglican and Roman churches working very closely together, and there is always a pressing need for people who are medically trained or able to work as administrators. We support the work of the churches in PNG through the London-based Papua New Guinea Church Partnership.

PNGCP member David Robin in Aipo Rongo Diocese

Our photograph shows PNGCP member David Robin on his recent visit to Aipo Rongo Diocese. You can read all their newsletters here.

You can also read the Newsletters from the Anglican Church in PNG. There is also a report here from the Department on Health on how the country is coping with the Covid-19 crisis.

Please pray for a wise discernment as a new Primate is chosen for the Province in succession to Archbishop Allan Migi.

Please also pray for the Gulf area of the country ravaged by major flooding.

With communities still grappling with the hardships of the two-month state of emergency due to Covid-19, more than 60,000 Gulf people have lost their homes and gardens to flooding, making living a nightmare. Governor Chris Haiveta said that this is one of the biggest floods the province has experienced since the 1990s, affecting nine local level governments: Moripi, Toaripi, Taure Lakekamu, Malalaua Urban, Kaipi Melaripi, Kerema Urban, Ihu East, Ihu West and Baimuru. The PNG national government is committing PGK 300K (£69K) for immediate relief to those affected by the flooding, to provide shelter, food and clean water during the initial period of the disaster response. The most challenging part of disaster relief will begin when the water recedes, as there will be an abundance of mosquitoes, flies and waterborne diseases. The flooding has also left the people more vulnerable to Covid-19. “We need all the help we can get at this time,” the Governor said.  LSM made a donation in April to the church in PNG via PNGCP to assist with Covid-19 relief. The funds will be made available to the Anglican Health Services in the four dioceses of Aipo Rongo, New Guinea Islands, Popondota and Dogura,  and to Anglicare in Port Moresby.  Bishop Peter Ramsden, chairman of PNGCP, has written to thank the congregation for this generous donation.

Further information on our PNG link is available from Richard Chevis (01799 599816).

The Makeni Ecumenical Centre in Zambia

Makeni Centre School

MEC lies about six miles outside Lusaka, and offers opportunities to destitute people from township slums to train in agriculture so that they can settle on land of their own in rural areas. Some 6,000 acres of land, supporting five villages, have provided support for hundreds of families. The Centre provides primary, secondary and adult education courses in a variety of vocational subjects, and medical clinics. There is also an AIDS education programme and the St Nicholas orphanage, which is currently supported by a number of sponsors at Little St Mary's.

The mission at Makeni was founded by Fr Pierre Dil who died in 2006, but the work is continued by his widow Wenda and other members of his family, as well as local workers. It hosts a very informative website .

St Cyprian's, Sharpeville, South Africa

LSM Sunday School in Sharpeville ZA

St Cyprian's is a parish in the Diocese of Christ the King, which covers an area to the south of Johannesburg, including some southern suburbs of the city itself. The African township of Sharpeville grew up near the city of Vereeniging in the Transvaal (now Gauteng province) and gained international notoriety after the massacre of 21st March 1960, when police opened fire on an unarmed crowd who were protesting against the infamous Pass Laws, killing 69 people.

In 2007 Fr David Dinkebogile, then Rector of St Cyprian's, visited Cambridge on sabbatical and was attached to LSM. He told us about St Cyprian's, the problems its people face, and his own life and background. Thus a link between the two parishes was forged. Money was raised towards the construction of a Sunday School and Parish Centre which was opened in January 2011, and named the Little St Mary's Building. Fr David moved to another parish in 2015, having established a very strong lay ministry in the parish. His successor as Rector of Sharpeville is the Venerable David Mahlonoko. Mary Ward visited St Cyprian's in February 2020 and has written the following detailed article which was originally published (with photographs) in our Newsletter .

From Horror to Hope : Sharpeville 1960 and 2020

Sharpeville: the name resonated across the world.

Nelson Mandela read the poem Die kind (wat doodgeskiet is deur soldate by Nyanga) at his first inaugural State of the Nation Address to Parliament of South Africa in May 1994:

The child is not dead not at Langa nor at Nyanga
not at Orlando not at Sharpeville
nor at the police station at Philippi
where he lies with a bullet through his brain.

The child is the dark shadow or the soldiers
on guard with rifles Saracens and batons
the child is present at all assemblies and law-givings
the child peers through the windows of houses and into the hearts of mothers
this child who just wanted to play in the sun at Nyanga is everywhere
the child grown to a man treks through all Africa.

The child grown into a giant journeys through the whole world
without a pass — Ingrid Jonker (1933- 65), translated from Afrikaans

Mandela said that "in the midst of despair, Jonker celebrated hope", and "confronted by death, she asserted the beauty of life". Ingrid Jonker had been moved to write the poem after seeing the image of a dead child at the police station at Philippi near Langa, a township in Cape Town, where protests against the pass laws also took place in March 1960.

Sharpeville, 21st March 1960
The community of Sharpeville and Langa townships had planned a peaceful demonstration as part of a national campaign against the "tyranny of the pass system, imposed on all black men and women during the apartheid era." The pass laws, known in Afrikaans as dompas ("stupid/dumb pass"), restricted the movement of people of colour in certain white areas, and were a powerful means of control by the apartheid regime. The plan for the peaceful protest was for everyone to leave their passes at home and to gather, young and old alike, unarmed, outside the police station, thus making themselves publicly available for arrest.

Robert Sobukwe, the leader of the Pan African Conference announced in Biblical language:

"African people have entrusted their whole future to us. And we have sworn that we are leading them not to death, but to life abundant. My instructions therefore, are that our people must be taught now and continuously that in this campaign we are going to observe absolute non-violence."

It was said that "the situation was tense as many of the police were facing crowd situation for the first time. A scuffle at the wire surrounding the police station broke out and a policeman started to pull his trigger. Shots were fired for 10 to 30 seconds. The crowd fled" (Sharpeville Memorial Site)
69 people were killed, the youngest a child of twelve, and 180 injured. 70% of bullets had entered from the back, and the bullets "were of high velocity."

Clive Brown, from our congregation, living in Johannesburg at the time, remembers the shock waves. It was a seminal moment in South Africa’s history, leading to worldwide condemnation of the brutality in form of anti-apartheid protests and violent struggle and, eventually, the release of Mandela from prison in 1990 with the resulting collapse of white minority rule and the establishment of a new democratic South Africa.

Little St Mary’s links with Sharpeville
In the early 2000s Fr David Dinkebogile came on a sabbatical to Westcott House from St Cyprian's Sharpeville. He was invited to preach at LSM and established close links with our congregation. He was keen to establish a Sunday School for the children in Sharpeville. The vision became a reality, and the building was dedicated by Bishop Peter Lee who was the Bishop of the Diocese of Christ the King, Johannesburg, on Sunday 23rd January 2011.

The painting of the Little St Mary's building was hung in our new Parish Centre, which was dedicated on 6th June in the same year. LSM has continued to pray for St Cyprian's and to support the church financially. The current incumbent is the Venerable David Oklahoman, who is one of the archdeacons of the diocese. St Cyprian’'s is the largest church building in the diocese, which has no cathedral.

Visit to Sharpeville Memorial Site and St Cyprian's Church, February 2020
In February this year, I flew to Johannesburg from Cape Town where I was met by Fr David. My visit to Sharpeville has been long overdue, as I have been visiting Cape Town regularly to see family for the past ten years. As we drove out of Jo'burg towards Sharpeville, a distance of 52 miles, Fr David gave me some background. At this time the threat of Covid-19 appeared to be distant news.

He described the demographic of his congregation as largely retired and elderly. They are often raising their own grandchildren as parents may have died from AIDS. During the last two years he has taken 108 funerals, usually on a Saturday. He has buried all ages, and several deaths were alcohol and drug-related.

The plans for the church include extending the kitchen (the faculty has been granted) and setting up and running an after-school club which would provide guidance and help with homework and which would perform a valuable function in keeping young people off the streets. Financially, the church is suffering in that there are comparatively few members of the congregation who are able to contribute regularly to church funds.

As we came into Sharpeville, we drove down a long street which Fr David said was a street which never slept. He called it Las Vegas and went on to comment on the African custom of "after-tears" where the traditional wake is augmented by noisy drinking and dancing. Community leaders are keen to set up projects here and provide employment.

Sharpeville itself is one of the oldest of six townships in the Vaal Triangle. Named after John Sharpe, a Glaswegian, it was created in 1958 by forcibly removing 10,000 Africans from nearby Topville. The church itself was built in September 1955. The township is divided by the main street, and in the distance rise the cooling towers of the steel works reflected in the dam, on the eastern borders of Sharpeville.

We visited Sharpeville Old Police Station first, which is protected as a Provincial Heritage Site, since 1996. The buildings are low lying, of rose-pink brick, and the police station is now a community arts and crafts hub.

Fr David then took me to the Memorial Stone "marking the site of the indiscriminate killing of men, women and children by the police on March 21st 1960." He pointed out that 21st March is now Human Rights Day, commemorated annually to remind South Africans about the sacrifices that accompanied the struggle for democracy. That day in March is no longer defined in South Africa as the day of the massacre. In 1996 Mandela signed the final draft of the constitution in Sharpeville, chosen as a symbolic location .

Although it was officially closed as it was getting late on a Saturday afternoon, Fr David spoke to the custodian of the Memorial Site and we were admitted to the actual site of the massacre. A simple plaque states "In memory of those gave their lives for a just and free South Africa, President Nelson Mandela, 10th December 1996." 69 simple white obelisks are scattered across the grass, forming long shadows in the evening sun. A symbolic runnel runs down the middle, and it was said that the blood poured down towards the dam, and was washed completely away by a torrential storm, minutes after the shootings started. The names and age of each victim sheltered on a slate at the top of each obelisk, one of the youngest being David Makhoba, 14.

We went on to visit the 69 graves, at the cemetery, lying just outside Sharpeville. The graves lie in a never-ending line, pebbled as if a railway track, each grave shaped as a scroll. The victims are named, the date 21 3 1960, and the Sesotho words Robala ka khota, "Sleep peacefully". James Buti Bessie, a child, died aged twelve.

St Cyprian's Sharpeville, Sunday 16th February 2020
Mass at St Cyprian's began at 8am, and when we arrived at the building at 7.30 the church was almost full. The many uniformed organisations were assembling, the ministers of communion in white robes, servers in red cassocks, cottas and lace headdresses, Mothers' Union in royal blue polo shirts with the MU crest and blue hats and the Men's Guild in smart suits. There are 115 registered Sunday School pupils and the average attendance is around 80. The children went out to the Little St Mary's building during the service.

This Sunday was the third Sunday of the month, and therefore the focus of the ministry and teaching was on the Campaign against Gender Based Violence. Many of the women were wearing black. The front rows of the church were filled with uniformed officers, including the Commander of the Police Station, who spoke to the congregation. A social worker and a Protection Officer also spoke. Justice must be done, and truly to love one's neighbour the police were exhorted to report corruption in any form within the police force.

We learned that victims of domestic abuse are both men and women and that the violence may be fuelled by alcohol and drugs. Men are often afraid to speak out for fear of humiliation. Women too are reluctant to take out a protection order as they fear that if the husband, or partner leaves, they lose income, food, children and home. The tragedy was personal to the congregation as a member of the church had recently been murdered by her boyfriend. Again and again the Christian message of love was emphasised: love thy neighbour; show courage in reporting corruption; be valiant for truth. During the course of the service, the uniformed policewomen and men were blessed and sprinkled with holy water by Fr David.

The service itself lasted three hours, conducted in Sesotho. I sat next to Stephana, a minister of communion, who was very helpful in explaining the service. The music was magnificent, moving and joyful, with not a hymn book or copy in sight, and a brilliant choir opposite me in the stalls. Fr David had said "We like to sing" and certainly God was praised in His Sanctuary. The congregation praised "with the timbrel and dance".

During the Peace a formal handshake was always followed by a hugely affectionate hug and I felt truly welcomed by the community. It was good to be able to read out the greeting from Fr Robert towards the end of the service, and to thank everyone for their kindness.

In order to focus our minds on financial giving, the figures for last week's offering were read out, organisation by organisation, guild by guild ,in order to inspire even greater financial generosity.

After the service it was a privilege to meet several members of the congregation, including Mr Nkha Boloang, who had been present on 21st March 1960. His brother and his friend (next-door neighbour) were shot at the scene and his friend died. I also met a former churchwarden and retired nurse, Mrs Aletta Nhlapo.Several people were excited about the thought of possibly visiting Little St Mary's next year, 2021. I was presented with an enormous maroon commemoration umbrella, which has travelled with me back to Cambridge, and with a tiny keyring Bible by Stephana, which I will cherish.

Every Sunday Fr David, after Mass, divides the Lay Ministers into teams. They visit the sick and housebound to pray and to administer communion. I went with Fr David to two houses, the first to pray with an elderly member of the congregation and then to the home of a member of the congregation who had taken his own life in November, owing to work pressures. Fr David said that the family were struggling financially and his wife was out working, so we prayed with the children at home.

I was very grateful to Fr David and his wife Nonhlanhla who looked after me so beautifully, and who drove me to the airport. Thank you for everything you shared and your kindness and generosity.

Coronavirus, April 2020
And can we anticipate a new politics of life that figures as the universal experience of the vulnerability of the human body? — R Adams

In the Church Times of 17th April 2020 it was reported that "There were nearly 90,000 reports of violence against women in the first week of a lockdown." Fr David has remained in contact with LSM since the beginning of the lockdown in South Africa. He reported that they were "graced by the Bishop's presence as part of the 60th commemoration of the Sharpeville massacre, and before he could start to preach, the police arrived to enforce the rule of not having more than 100 people in Church."

Since then, Fr David has reported that in fact the last service in church was the Commemoration. All services have since been suspended. He is unable to minister to his 43 sick and aged people in person, but phones them and prays with them. He has also said that the families who receive monthly food parcels are suffering, and he writes "Our child-headed families are going through difficulties, especially at this time of lockdown, where a 17-year-old must take care of two siblings and keep them safe. Some of them don’t even have phones, so I ‘sneak around’ with my permit to go and visit them."

It is clear that financially, they are suffering greatly. Fr David concludes in his report:

‘We continue to pray for God's divine intervention for the world at this time and we hope and trust that things will go back to the norm soon. We are committed to continuing to witness for the risen Lord and Saviour and to make His love known to all God's people under our care. Be assured of our love and prayers for all God's people at LSM at this time."

God bless Africa;
Guard her children;
Guide her leaders
And give her peace,
For Jesus Christ’s sake, Amen — Bishop Trevor Huddleston

For any more information on our South African links please contact either Mary (01223 369846) or
Clive Brown (01223 467616).