Photo Story Competition 2010

Congratulations to Haywards Heath, Haxby and Wiggington, and Glenburn Methodist churches, winners in our competition to celebrate world-wide partnership through the Methodist connexion.

Alastair and Jenny Porter, Megan Durnford and Andrew Sutcliffe represented the team from Haywards Heath, winners of the first prize for ‘page’ format. Alastair describes the ongoing partnership with Colomo in Zambia below.

A Continuing Partnership…..

Many members of MWM will be familiar, through the website or presentations to the World Mission Forum or the Swanwick Conference, with the story of the Partnership between a middle-of-the-road church in Sussex (Haywards Heath Methodist Church) and a semi-rural church in the Southern Province of Zambia – St. Paul’s congregation of the United Church of Zambia. It is not a Partnership which is likely to change the world, but it is perhaps its very ordinariness that may encourage others to say – ‘well, if that is all there is to it, we can do that too’.

The building bricks of the Partnership were sound advice from Michael King of the World Church Office, sensible use of the Prayer Manual, and on-the-ground advice from Mission Partner David Nixon in Zambia. After a few preliminary contacts, a group of four from Haywards Heath travelled to Zambia to live with the Kalomo people, eating with them, travelling with them, worshipping with them and listening to the story of their personal lives and the life of their church. The visiting group reported back, and it is fair to say that there was interest, but not yet enthusiasm. It was clear that the visitors had been moved in a way that those who had only words and pictures to go by, did not yet fully share. Obviously, the whole Haywards Heath congregation could not travel to Kalomo, but some Kalomo friends could certainly be brought to Sussex. And so it was. The advent of the lovely, lively, friendly folk, with their joyous and openly expressed faith, revolutionised perceptions. Now the Partnership could go ahead with mutual understanding and on an equal footing.

Plans were refined for the establishment of pen-friends, for exchanges of news between our Brownies and Guides and St. Paul’s Girls and Boys Brigades. Regular reports and stories were exchanged by email. In both churches multicoloured candles now stand on the Communion tables in silver candle holders made by a skilled member of the Haywards Heath church and are lit each Sunday in mutual remembrance of distant friends. When ministers moved on from each church, photographs and information about their successors winged their electronic way across space. Since St. Paul’s badly needed to build a manse, fund raising was embarked upon by both churches, on the understanding that contributions from Haywards Heath would be welcome but that ownership of the manse project remained in Kalomo. A visit from a Kalomo pen-friend to her daughter in the UK resulted in the whole Zambian family joining us for a Faith Supper and entertainment, attended by almost 100 people. With regular news of Zambia in the church newsletter, our interest in that country stretches beyond Kalomo itself.


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