A team from Christ Church Parish, Lisburn, will travel to Uganda to work at St Apollo School, Luwero, on Monday February 13.
This will be the fourth parish team to visit the school since 2012, with the last team travelling to Luwero in 2017 and a trip cancelled in 2020 because of Covid-19.
The team is made up of the rector, the Ven Paul Dundas, Archdeacon of Dalriada, and 13 parishioners.
Paul said: “ We have appreciated the prayers of parishioners and friends in all the planning with Fields of Life, preparations for each person in terms of vaccinations and especially those who will be travelling for the first time.”
There was much planning of resources for the children’s bible club which will which will focus on Miriam and Mary; the I Am Girl programme; the practical work to be done at the school, namely painting the classrooms; the women’s meeting and the sports days.
“The team’s prayer is that God is glorified through all that is done and that the team will have safe travels and good health,” Paul added.
Travelling with Paul are Janice and Richard Thompson, Stephen and Karen McKenna, Beth Harris, Roberta Thompson, Audrey Knowles, Jane Hawthorne, Beverley Ringland, Ashleigh Long, Anna Dundas and Raymond Geddis.
A commissioning service will be held in Christ Church this Sunday, February 12, at 11.30am, followed by a soup lunch in the parish hall. Taking part will be representatives from Fields of Life and CMS Ireland, and they will reflect on the partnerships nurtured over the 14 years, rejoicing in this journey of faith for the parish and individuals. The Rev Chris Pollock from Saintfield will preach at the commissioning service.
Paul said: “The team acknowledges the amazing generosity of parishioners and friends over 14 years to this school family in St Apollo. The recent bauble scheme brought in £740 for the school.”
On Sunday January 8, team member Beth Harris outlined the items the team planned to purchase in Northern Ireland and those they will buy in Uganda.
The team will bring each child a gift and the church accepted items towards these gifts and donations to buy resources for the children’s bible club as well as 100 I am Girl kits, stationery and a wash bag for each child containing soap, a cloth, toothpaste and toothbrush.
Paul said they anticipated finding many changes at the school, particularly in terms of the children attending since the parish last visited.
“Many of the staff are still teaching, however, including Madame Esther the principal,” he said. “The motto of the school, which located is in the former ‘killing fields of Uganda,’ is ‘Never Lose Hope.’ It is a community that radiates hope because of its Christian faith and the opportunity for children to receive an education.”
During the visit, Paul will be leading a seminar for the clergy of Luwero Diocese on Friday February 17 from 10am to 2pm, looking at Ephesians Chapter 4, and a meal will also be provided for the clergy.
The team will leave Lisburn at 1am on Monday to catch the 6am flight from Dublin to Uganda via Amsterdam. They will arrive late that night in Kampala and travel to the diocesan guest house in Luwero on Tuesday.
They will visit the school next Wednesday and will run a programme there on Thursday and Friday.
On Saturday February 18, the team will have some down time with possible visit to Bethel Royal School and Kiwoko Hospital. They will worship on Sunday at the church at the school when Paul will preach.
After another three full days at the school, a celebration day will run on Thursday February 23.
The team will have the opportunity to see a well being drilled with Fields of Life before getting the flight back to Dublin late on Saturday night February 25.
Updates from Uganda will be shared on the Christ Church Parish Facebook page.