Link with the Church Mission Society and Nairobi’s Informal Settlements
St. Mary’s has been supporting the Church Mission Society (CMS) for nearly 20 years. This was originally supporting mission partners, Colin & Anita Smith for their 14 years of mission work in Nairobi. Colin was working in Nairobi’s slums and Anita predominantly at All Saints Cathedral and with the ex-pat community.
Colin and Anita returned to continue their ministries in England in 2013, with Colin now Director of Mission Training at CMS headquarters in Oxford and Anita is vicar of a small church in Banbury. We continue to support Colin indirectly through our continued giving to CMS.
During the 14 years Colin & Anita were in Nairobi, St. Mary’s built up a close relationship with those Colin was working with in the informal settlements, particularly a small parish in the largest slum, Kibera, called St. Jerome. Whilst there, Colin set up and directed Centre for Urban Mission (CUM), which set up training and support for urban ministry, working to set up some formal training for pastors in the slums and also introducing the idea of holistic ministry, trying to improve the lives of those living in the slums, by economic empowerment, supporting HIV sufferers, setting up apprenticeship schemes for teenagers, and homework clubs, where children could have access each evening to school books and electric lighting and teaching support; education is highly valued and seen as the way to escape slum life, so the homework clubs have been a huge success.
Over the past few years Revd Captain Barrack Oluoch from CUM and Church Army Africa and Nancy Njagi, director CUM, have visited and preached at St. Mary’s. The Mackay family has been lucky enough to visit Nairobi three times and to see first-hand the tremendous work that CUM is carrying out, and also to be aware of the huge need that CUM is only scratching the surface of.
Since Colin & Anita left Nairobi, we at St. Mary’s have continued to support this absolutely vital ministry at CUM and we are the main financial supporter of CUM’s Samaritan Strategy. We are able to ensure that every single penny raised goes directly to CUM, through an English charity AMADET.
At St. Mary’s we run a monthly home-made stall, on the first Sunday of every month, (except for January and August) and for the last two years we have raised £1,500; this goes solely towards the homework clubs and the training of apprentices. Additionally, a monthly second-hand book stall raises more money to buy books for the homework clubs. We also run fund raisers from time to time, such as a harvest dinner, or a singsong. Do come along to the hall on the first Sunday morning of the month to see. We will be very glad to receive any home-made contributions, such as cakes, jams, marmalade, greetings cards, garden produce, knitted and embroidered crafts and don’t forget your wallets!
Need further information? Do ask Sarah Mackay or email her on firstname.lastname@example.org
Update July 2018 from Sarah Mackay:
I have today received the annual report from Nancy Njagi, regarding the Homework Clubs and Apprenticeship Schemes that we sponsor through donations from individuals, and from the Home-made Stall and Second-hand Book Stall.
There are ten Schools of Hope, (Homework Clubs) run mainly in churches, or on the grounds of a school. They consistently see improvements in the academic performance of their students in national exams and are serving several hundred students. The students are also encouraged to play sport and do drama and are taught life skills and Christian values. There are talks on drug and substance abuse, sexuality, self-defence, hygiene, career choice and awareness of sexually transmitted infections. At some of the Schools of Hope the girls are given sanitary products, which enhances their ability to attain academically. Encouragingly, 2017 saw the opening of a tenth School of Hope
Money raised by St. Mary’s also funded 8 apprentices in hair dressing, electrical and mechanical engineering.
The major challenge is the problem of supervisors; this is generally a voluntary position, rather than paid and is fitted around that supervisor’s six day working week – not easy! Where the supervisors are well supported and enthusiastic, the results for the students are outstanding. CUM (Centre for Urban Mission) is working to get the local churches of each School of Hope to take ownership and responsibility for the homework club in their parish.
There’s 18 pages of annual report, should you want more detail!
July’s home-made stall made a brilliant £151:60, so together with £20 that I received during the month, I have today sent £171.60 to AMADET to be transferred to CUM , Nairobi later this month
Very best wishes to you all and thank you so much for your ongoing and unwavering support.