Simon Hunter, a parishioner of All Saints’, Craigyhill and St Patrick’s, Cairncastle, hiked to the summit of Mount Kilimanjaro, Africa’s highest mountain, earlier this month, raising funds for Cancer Focus Northern Ireland.
What an achievement – Kilimanjaro is the highest single free-standing mountain in the world, at 5,895 metres (19,341 ft) above sea level and about 4,900 metres (16,100 ft) above its plateau base.
On his JustGiving page, Simon writes: “This is a once in a lifetime adventure – one I have always wanted to take part in.”
Simon summitted on July 6, and spoke about his experiences in church on Sunday July 30. He will also share his story in the autumn issue of our diocesan magazine Connor Connections.
Before leaving for Tanzania, Simon was commissioned at a special service in church on the Sunday before he left, and this included prayers and blessings in Swahili.
The children from the parish Sunday School had learned some Swahili phrases of blessing and spoke these over Simon, giving him coloured in bon voyage and good wishes cards they had made. The congregation received a copy of his daily itinerary so they could follow his progress and support him in prayer literally every step of the way.
At the services on July 30, Simon’s wife Joy read Mark 9:2-10, recalling the disciples’ life-changing experience up a mountain, and Simon chose various hymns which related to his experience on the expedition – Immortal Invisible, Shout to the Lord, All the Earth let us Sing, Be still for the presence of the Lord, Go tell it on the mountain and We are marching in the light of God.
Simon had given the priest-in-charge, the Rev Arlene Moore, prayer points for the church and people of Tanzania, so the congregation prayed for the Anglican Church there and especially the Bishop and Diocese of Kilimanjaro, and the communities of Arusha and Moshi (from where most treks depart). Also the mountain porters, camp support team, safari guides and medical attendants; those who were fellow trekkers, and for Action Challenge (the organisation which facilitates such charity treks), Cancer Focus NI and all families who have someone who has received and are living with a cancer diagnosis.
During refreshments after the service, parishioners enjoyed special coconut tray bakes designed to look like mountains, made by a parishioner Ivan Morrow.
You can still sponsor Simon via JustGiving.