It was in 1990 that the Parochial Church Council (PCC), under the chairmanship of the Vicar, Canon Robert Willis, set up a new subcommittee, the Faith in Action Committee (FIAC), with the brief of ‘coordinating and encouraging our links with and support for work outside the Parish’. At the same time the PCC decided to tithe its voluntary income and work through FIAC in its support for overseas, national and local projects and causes.
Our aim is to work in partnership with our friends both at home and overseas. Personal links have been and continue to be very important. Regular correspondence and other information have opened our eyes both to a range of needs in our own country and different cultures and traditions abroad. We have appreciated the visits and talks from a number of our partners as well as the opportunities for us to visit them. All this has helped to make our prayers more informed and meaningful. We also thank our partners for their prayers for us.
Each year we run our own Lent Project (see details below) and organise the sale of the Harvest Produce in aid of the Salisbury/Sudan Medical Link.
For more details about the work of FIAC see the Annual Report
Our Regular Overseas Links
The Parish of Sherborne is involved in the partnership between the Diocese of Salisbury and the Episcopal Church of the Sudan, which was first set up in the 1970s. It is a two-way partnership of mutual support and encouragement with prayer at the very heart of the link. In spite of the political and humanitarian troubles in South Sudan and the official diocesan links being suspended, we have been able to continue our support in prayer and finance for the two main Sherborne-Sudan projects which are:
Salisbury-Sudan Medical Link
The Medical Link supports the work of the Church in Sudan mainly though the distribution of primary health kits, the training of medical workers and the funding of health awareness projects. Each year we give the proceeds from the sale of our harvest produce to this work.
Bishop Allison Theological College (BATC)
For many years Bishop Allison Theological College was located in Arua, Uganda. Unfortunately some years ago BATC had to close because of lack of finance and students.
In February 2015 it re-opened in Yei, Sudan with about twenty students. It is very important for the Church of Sudan and South Sudan to have trained clergy (and potential leaders for the future), so BATC has an important role to play. Sadly the college in Yei had to close again a couple of years later because of the serious unrest which had broken out again in South Sudan but the good news is that the students got together again in one of the refugee camps in Arua to which they had fled and they were able to complete their course. About twenty were ordained and are now ministering in the area. A further twenty students have now started their training. As a parish we have supported the work of BATC since it was originally a Bible School and then when it became a Theological College, so we have a long connection with it.
Helen Kisakye, our Mission Partner
Helen Burningham is our Church Mission Society (CMS) Mission Partner who is now working in Kampala, Uganda. She is seconded to CRANE (Children at Risk Action Network) and works primarily with the Girls Education Programme (GEC). The GEC Program consists of 20 Creative Learning Centres (CLC) in and around Kampala that provide education and life skills for vulnerable girls currently not in school. Helen visits the girls at the centres and interviews them on their experiences of the CLCs and also those that successfully return back to mainstream after the CLC term. She also teaches dance workshops at the centres with the objective of bringing value to the girls as they are encouraged to develop in confidence and creativity. Helen spent a weekend in the Parish in February 2015 and sends a monthly newsletter.
While St Saviour’s Church, Riga dates back to 1857, it was closed for fifty years during the Soviet occupation from 1940 – 1990. After Latvia’s renewed independence, an English-speaking congregation was established in 1991. They felt that their mission was to serve the local community, so in 1996 the Seniors’ Club was founded. The Sherborne-St Saviour’s Church link also dates from 1996. In 2001 they started a Soup Kitchen for the destitute of Riga. We pray regularly for each other, share information about activities in our churches and have periodic exchanges. The last parish visit to Riga was in May 2014 when we received a very warm welcome and had the privilege of seeing the Seniors’ Club and the Soup Kitchen in action as well as sharing with the regular congregation in their Sunday morning Eucharist. St Saviour’s is an international, ecumenical English-speaking Church in the Anglican Diocese of Europe. The Chaplain is the Right Reverend Jana Juruma-Grinberga. Our financial support is for the work of St Saviour’s Church, the Seniors’ Club and the Soup Kitchen.