St Andrew's Church, Paddock Wood and
St Andrew's Church, Bereko
The link between the churches in Paddock Wood and Bereko started in 2006, the same year that a Diocesan Link was established between Rochester and Kondoa Dioceses. Paddock Wood is in Rochester Diocese and Bereko is in Kondoa Diocese.
Our relationship started with a visit to Kondoa Diocese by the vicar at the time, Rev'd Chris Dobson (right), during which Bereko was chosen as one of two of the first parish links.
This was followed by a group of 16 people visiting Bereko in 2007 and we have not looked back since! We visit Bereko usually every two years and we are at home, we are definitely family. Such a privilege.
The friendship tree was planted in 2006 and is growing well.
Below right is a picture of Rev'd Richard Suki and his wife Eva. They have five children, the two youngest girls are still in education. We keep in regular communication and this has improved over the years as our Swahili has improved and Richard's English has improved.
Over the years we have shared many things together, celebrations and sad times too. We pray for each other and pray for individuals' circumstances too as we all get to know each other. It is very humbling to know that people from the other side of the world are praying for you.
When our vicar, Bryan Knapp was made a canon at Rochester Cathedral by Bishop James, Bishop Given from Kondoa also participated in the service.
Rev'd Rachael Knapp and others joined Bishop James for a trip to Tanzania in 2014 and below left is a picture of Rachael with Eva Suki and Faith Msema, a church elder and Primary School teacher in Bereko.
Over the years we have assisted with the costs of building the church and pastor's house in Bereko along with rainwater harvesting and other works.
Bereko Parish includes the neighbouring village of Kikilo which is about a 30 minute drive away into the nearby mountains. We are always made most welcome in Kikilo and Bryan always has a number of adults and children to baptise during a visit. In Kikilo, the Sunday School children make palm crosses which we sell for them in the UK. We have seen both churches change from outdoor worship to having church buildings. Below are some more photos of Kikilo.
If you would like to learn more about life at St Andrew's Paddock Wood, please click here: https://www.standrewspw.org.uk/