Church swaps help Gambia train local evangelists
[ACNS, by Gavin Drake] A shortage of trained evangelists, lay readers and deacons in the West African diocese of the Gambia is being tackled by priests seconded from Ghana and Zimbabwe. A priest from Accra and another from Harare will spend three years in the Gambia helping to train and support vocations amongst clergy and laity. The initiative is part of the Anglican mission agency USPG’s Exchanging Places programme.
“The diocese of the Gambia is in dire need of trained evangelists, lay readers and deacons,” the Bishop of the Gambia, James Odico, said. “So we are greatly blessed to receive this support from USPG and the contributing dioceses of Accra and Harare to help bridge the gap of human resources in our parishes, and to train and enhance local human resources.
“With the support of USPG’s Exchanging Places programme, we hope to achieve our aim of effectively build God’s kingdom in the Gambia.”
In addition to sending the two priests, USPG is providing funding to train three ordinands from the Gambia at St Nicholas’ Provincial Seminary in Cape Coast, Ghana.
“Our Exchanging Places programme facilitates the sharing of personnel between our church partners in the southern hemisphere,” USPG’s programme manager, Habib Nader, said. “This benefits both the sending and receiving churches because they are able share gifts and resources and learn from each other, which is a rich blessing for both parties.”
The Exchanging Places programme has seen Anglican personnel go from India to South Africa, Cuba to Uruguay, Kenya to Tanzania, Lesotho to South Africa, and from Egypt to Tunisia and Algeria.