Thursday, August 21, 2008

Fr Francis In Tanzania


From Station Mwanza in Tanzania                                                 

Fr Francis Wardega


For many, mission ministry has a sort of exotic glamour to it.  Such work includes large crowds, healing services, hospitals built, schools visited, and similar events.  Such work is very good and very blessed.  This ministry is different.  We teach.  We teach the teachers.  We teach the preachers.  We teach the leaders.  We teach the ones who had no real prior opportunity to learn.  There are many such people in Africa. 


The bulk of the work is done daily.  The schedule: teach 9 am to 7 pm.  Teach ministry subjects to the depth that they are useful to the leaders of the parish. Do this every day, less an occasional rest day.  The students quickly adapt to the schedule. They write down more notes than is needed.  They listen and ask insightful questions.  This is a two-week investment in a life that bears fruit in a parish for the next twenty to thirty years.  Not glamorous – just effective.


This week, we finished up the class on Ordained Ministry and moved into Fundamentals of Sacred Scripture.  Then we ended with Sacramental Theology.  These eleven students are different.  They have absorbed so much.  They talk about different things.  They have a whole new and deeper appreciation of the Bible and their personal Bible.  Everyone preached once and was affirmed and critiqued.  They want more.  “Can you stay for three months?”  Sorry.  They were very proud to pose for their class picture.


As available, I go to local churches to meet the people there and celebrate the liturgy.  Last Sunday, I visited St John in Nyamanoro.  I preached in both Sunday liturgies.  Each service had a 25 person choir, a different choir for each service.  They worship with contemporary African worship music, choreographed.  It is Motown gone Jesus!  Such music keeps the young people in the Anglican Church instead of being attracted to other, more seeker friendly churches.


The work this trip will soon be finished in this diocese, until next year.  Next on the schedule is a ten hour bus journey toDodoma, the national capital in the center of the country where I will be working with Bishop Daudi Chidawali again.  I will be teaching at his Bible College in Buigiri where I taught last year.


One unusual experience.  I was invited to dine with Bishop Kwangu and a visiting bishop.  As we sat and talked, I realized that somehow, many red fire ants crawling on me.  I tried to be a good guest as long as I could but the others noticed my discomfort.  I ended up trying to stand still while two Anglican bishops and one bishop’s wife killed so many ants that were feasting on me!  That was my lesson in humility that day.


Thank you for your support.  God and you make this possible.  Please keep on supporting this mission.  Please sustain this good ministry.  It works!


Fr Francis Wardega                                                       

Office of Foreign Missions

Missionary Priest in Africa  

Monday, August 18, 2008

Update On Progress At Hope Anglican, Oscoda

Through the generousity of faithful people, the work progresses on Hope Anglican Church, Oscoda, Michigan.  A new roof has been installed over both buildings, Sanctuary and parish hall.  A new furnace has been installed, and the parking lot storm drain system has been completely rebuilt.

While much remains to be done, it was exciting to check on the progress.   Pictured is Fr Tom Anderson in front of a new banner drawing attention to the community of faithful Christians who gather for worship, fellowship and service to the community.

Sunday, August 17, 2008

Report From Tanzania

Fr. Francis Wardega, in Tanzania this month, files this report:

Dispatch 2 From Station Mwanza in Tanzania

August 2008

Fr Francis Wardega


Your mission support is beginning to bear fruit again in East Africa on the southern shores of Lake Victoria.  People here in Mwanza, a part of the Anglican Diocese of Victoria Nyanza, were excited to start this mission.  The mission started with liturgy on Sunday Aug 10, at St Nicholas Cathedral, one block away from the lake.  The lake breeze made the temperature most comfortable.  I preached and assisted the bishop, the Rt Rev Boniface Kwangu, at the service.  The bishop asked me to distribute the Holy Eucharist to his people. One young woman was confirmed at the service.  This liturgy, one of three liturgies every Sunday, was the English service – the other two services are in Swahili..  It was very powerful to hear the Words of Institution, prayed by the bishop in his British accented, East African English.  “Thees ees my boudy, brrroken for you.”  Different and the same. Holy.


Our ministry is primarily a ministry of teaching.  The need here fits precisely what we do.  Here, there are many priests ordained over recent years with little or no ministry or priestly education.  Here, education is hard to get.  Bishop Boniface brought eleven priests together to receive the teaching that God has called us to give. 


Who are these men.  All but two are in their fifties.  The other two are in their sixties. All are ordained priests and are pastors of parishes in the diocese.  Two came from the island of Ukerewe in Lake Victoria.  Here in East Africa, they are addressed as “pastor.”  Their names sing an African song, grounded in Scripture, colored by British history.  Their names:  Japheth, Erasto,Stafford, Zephania, Julius, Boniface, Jesse, Solomon, Iohanna, Abednego, and Josiah.  Josiah has a bible school diploma and an M.Div from Cambridge in England.  Solomon will be beginning studies at a bible school in Uganda.  The rest have a 7thgrade education at best, some less.


They bring to the class many good qualities.  daily prayer life, ministry experience (some have been ordained for over ten years), a desire to learn, and an ability to work.  Good investment for your prayers and for your donated dollars.  These men will be here for two weeks.  These classes are a major step in their lives, and an answer to their prayer.


This week, they learned the basics of the faith – they learned new things.  Things like Jesus is both God and man.  Things like Jesus died on the cross to forgive our sins.  Things like the liturgy that they do is a 20th century version of what the apostles did..  They are like sponges continually soaking up the waters of new life.  They also learned the meaning of what it is to be a priest – a calling from God, not a weekend job.  They learned that God calls them to higher standards – the highest possible by grace.  Their priesthood is being transformed. Their bishop, who sits in on many of the classes, is excited.  More is happening much quicker than he expected.


Thank you for your support.  God and you make this possible.  Please keep on supporting this mission.  Please sustain this good ministry.  It works!


Fr Francis Wardega  MSJ

Contact Information

11195 S. Grayling Rd.
Roscommon, MI 48653

Telephone: 586-264-6044
msjanglican "at"