A service reflecting on a special day and journey for the parish of Christ Church, Lisburn, and the school community at St Apollo, Kisizi, Uganda, was held in Christ Church on Sunday February 27.
The service recognised the 10 years since two new blocks were opened at St Apollo School in 2012. It reflected a sense of thanksgiving and celebration for the partnership and all that has ensued through three team visits, prayer, sponsorship of children and buildings.
The rector, the Ven Paul Dundas, Archdeacon of Dalriada, welcomed all and led the service. The worship was led by Richard McCrossan from St Paul’s Parish. Gillian Maganda from CMS Ireland was present and read from Ephesians 3: 14-21. Gillian also pre-recorded a message about the links with Luwero Diocese, including the training of clergy and supporting the Esther project.
Some members from the three teams shared their own memories and reflections in pre-recorded interviews. These included Liam McCartney, Jan Knowles, Lisa Caddy, Audrey Knowles, Janice Thompson, Roberta Thompson and Beverley Ringland.
Archdeacon Dundas interviewed Richard Thompson and Johnston Boyle about the building and carpentry work over the three trips, which included working on the building of the roof trusses, making shelves and desks. Beth Harris and John Pickering shared some of their memories about the I AM Girl project and education.
The rector shared some of his memories and reflected on the passage from Ephesians 3 which speaks of the God who can do immeasurably more, and what has been achieved through this partnership in the Gospel and in terms of education.
The school motto is ‘Never Lose Hope,’ and Archdeacon Dundas reflected on this and shared stories from the developing partnership.
Since the building of the two school blocks, there was the addition of a cookhouse provided by Lisburn rotary, staff accommodation and a new shower unit.
The archdeacon is putting together a book telling the story of St Apollo, and this should be available later in March from the parish office priced £3.
Helen D’Arcy from Fields of Life read from Philippians 1: 1-6 and shared about the partnership and continued support to the school, pupils and staff, especially after a pandemic.
The parish will support a poultry project this year, as well as continuing to sponsor pupils at the school. Helen highlighted four aspects that are significant for the school – “I am fed, educated, loved and safe.”
She introduced a short video which was produced by the fields of Life team in Uganda and reflected an input of celebration from four of the pupils. At present there are 276 pupils and 12 teachers in St Apollo School.
Audrey Knowles led the prayers of thanksgiving for this journey and for all that lies ahead for the school. After the service, there were refreshments in the hall and a special cake was cut by the Rev John Pickering who was a co-leader on the first team in 2012.
The service can be watched at this link.