Saturday, March 18, 2006

Water of Life

Rain in Africa is always seasonal. Indeed, for the tropics the seasons reflect the pattern of rainfall. In some places there is one rainy season a year, in others two. Between those seasons there is no or little rain so farmers have to plan their planting cycle with real care and as often as not these days, a touch of luck.

England has recently experienced one of its driest winters on record and hose-pipe bans are already set for some parts of the country. And while there is more that water companies could do to address leakage and supply, it remains the case that increasingly for as a nation, water is a scarce resource.  Since I arrived in the country last year England has been experiencing a prolonged ‘dry season.’ Perhaps I am just not used to it, but it hasn’t felt like the English weather I remember, though I grant that my memory is conditioned by school-boy recollections of dank and overcast journeys to and from school. The reality is that England never was that wet and Mancunian.

Although there have been shortages before, for the first time we’re getting used to the idea that water is precious. In the south-east of England, there is already a greater strain on water than in the Sudan. Extracting drinking water from the sea has not been ruled out, as happens already in Saudi Arabia, though such technology depends upon warmth and the Sun, neither of which have been in evidence much recently.

It’s predicted that the wars of this century will be over water. Meanwhile parts of East Africa are experiencing the effects of acute and prolonged drought. There have always been sporadic shortages in and around Nairobi where we lived. Northern Kenya has always been much drier and poorer. As the land becomes ever more desert-like so the stress on its people becomes more extreme. In those waste places last year, our students at Limuru celebrated baptism with local tribal people. And for those people, the gift of water really did mean life. It wasn’t a commodity to be bought but a precious resource bringing life itself.

Easter is the celebration of new life in the water of baptism – dying and rising with Christ. Maybe as we turn on the tap we can join, not just in thanks, but in recognising the need of our sisters and brothers for that most basic element of life – water.


Fr Andrew

Friday, March 17, 2006

Events and Services on Good Friday

There is a full programme of activities on Good Friday for adults and for children and young people.


The day begins with the Ecumenical Procession of Witness which starts from St Thomas’s at 10.45 a.m. Bishop David will be with us and speaking in the town centre.


St Augustine’s, Holly Hall is hosting a children’s workshop for Good Friday from 12.00 a.m. to 2 p.m. with hot cross buns. If any parents are interested in learning more about this please speak with Fr Andrew.


Meditations at the Foot of the Cross –  a quiet reflective service will be held at St James’s from 1.30 p.m. to 3.00 p.m. Do feel free to drop in during that time even if you are not able to stay for the whole service.


The climax of the day is the evening Commemoration of the Passion. This is hosted by St James’s for the entire Dudley Group Ministry and starts at 7.30 p.m. Bishop David will be preaching and presiding