The coronavirus pandemic has meant the cancellation of flights to Uganda, but a team from Christ Church Parish, Lisburn, plans to walk there, metaphorically speaking, instead – a distance of 6,064 miles!
The 20-strong team was due to travel from Lisburn to St Apollo School in Luwero Diocese on June 27. This would have been the fourth team from Christ Church to visit Luwero, where the parish has built a school in conjunction with the charity Fields of Life.
St Apollo School was established in 2007, but had only one small building and held many classes under trees. Christ Church raised £75,000 and, in partnership with Fields of Life, two new blocks of classrooms were built. A team visited in 2012 to work on the classrooms.
Christ Church continued to support the school and raised more than £24,000 for a staff residence which a team helped complete in 2015. A Christ Church team was back at St Apollo in 2017 where, among other things, they did practical work as well as RE lessons, sport’s days, women’s work, and attended a diocesan seminar for 60 leaders.
The Ven Paul Dundas, rector of Christ Church, said this year’s trip was originally planned for February but was moved to June to allow more people to take part. Among nine new team members there are three teenagers.
But all Fields of Life mission visits were cancelled before Easter. Paul said he had recently been in touch with Bishop Eridard of Luwero. “Uganda is also in lockdown. Churches are closed, schools are closed and people cannot move about. They do not have the technology that most of us do, and they are very concerned about finances and people’s well-being,” he said.
Richard Spratt, Fields of Life Chief Executive, had come up with the idea of walking the 6,064 miles from his home to the Fields of Life Office in Uganda to raise awareness and funds in the fight again coronavirus in Uganda.
The Christ Church Fields of Life team, supported by friends and family, is now stepping out to clock up the miles – observing all the rules of isolating, social distancing etc – to help Richard achieve that 6,064 mile goal.
Paul said: “We want to support the needs of St Apollo School during lockdown. There are a lot of children who don’t have access to technology, education or good nutrition. We live in a world of great uncertainty, where education is still so important.”
Christ Church Parish began its part in the 6,064 mile walk on May 1, and those taking part will collate their miles as the weeks go by. “This will keep us focused as a group said Paul. “When we get those 6,064 miles done we will have gotten there.”
You can support the team’s efforts via Just Giving.