THE CHURCH AND SOCIAL SERVICE

One hundred years ago this year the Universities Mission to Central Africa established itself at Masasi. At Masasi this year there will be pageants and celebrations of the centenary. The schools and hospitals set up by the church have been taken over by government but there are still some specially demanding social services which the church is encouraged to provide. Canon Lamburn – one of the few missionaries still active in the church – writes of the leprosarium at Kindwitwi. The patients there have been encouraged to join in the national campaign to grow food and he reports that ‘the patients are looking forward to a very good rice harvest … When one thinks that such a short time ago we had to fling our weight about with no little vigour to get the patients to do anything for themselves, it is very cheering to hear them talk enthusiastically about the harvest they are getting in.’ The leprosarium is supported both by donors abroad and by local congregations in Tanzania. Canon Lamburn writes that the congregation of St Alban’s in Dar es Salaam had contributed over 150 pounds. ‘They stipulated that the money should be used for starting some sort of self-help project … We decided that it will be best to use the money to start a rabbit farm (rabbit farming is being pressed very strongly as a good way of increasing the protein in the Tanzanian diet) and also a fishing project … You may be interested to know that our best canoe man and fisherman is a patient who has no hands at all.’

The church in Tanzania has long ceased to be dominated by expatriate clergy. And yet, as Canon Lamburn writes, there is still need of volunteers who are prepared to accept the direction of the Tanzanian leaders of the church and who are equipped to help with the kind of service which at the moment is its task.

I should add that it was suggested to me that this Bulletin would be a good place in which to record the centenary and it seemed to me that this record of the work at Kindwitwi would stand here more appropriately than more formal notice of history and its celebration.

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