‘And they said, let us rise up and build’

Littlehampton Churches Together
Littlehampton Churches Together

Every now and then, there is a chance to see our Christian faith on a bigger screen.

We get a better picture, and there is more to see than just our own locality. I’m about to visit a school in Mombasa, Kenya and I know, from previous experiences, that I will be amazed by what I see when I get there.

Chris Azzaro of Littlehampton United Church

Chris Azzaro of Littlehampton United Church

Unity School is situated in an area described as informal housing but is actually on the edge of the slums of Northern Mombasa. Most of the children live very locally, many in poverty through the loss of bread-winning parents or the lack of appropriate jobs.

The charity Friends of the Mombasa Children which supports Unity School also has an orphanage on the site. Free midday meals are provided as is medical care when needed.

What I am most looking forward to is seeing a new classroom block. The ‘temporary’ classrooms erected in 2009 are far from ideal teaching areas. A new brick-built block of five classrooms has been constructed thanks to a generous legacy. Now I expect to see an actual building rather than photos of a building site.

Almost two years ago, when the project was still a prayerful dream, my Kenyan friends took me to a church where I was greeted by the words of Nehemiah written large on the church notice board: “And they said, Let us rise up and build. So they strengthened their hands for this good work” (Nehemiah 2: v18).

I’m not the sort of person who goes around looking for prophecies to justify their thoughts, but this could not have been clearer.

Architects’ drawings were produced and work started. Alongside the classrooms would also be a toilet block. Four holes in the ground serving more than 300 pupils and teachers have been replaced with eighteen toilets, urinals and separate facilities for the staff.

It has been said by better people than me that working in Africa means a long haul and many charities founded with good intentions fall by the wayside. I’m pleased to say that after 15 years the Friends of the Mombasa Children, strongly supported by several of our local churches, schools and individuals is going strong.

Our website mombasachildren.org.uk has pictures and plenty more information.

So I conclude as I began, lets look at a bigger screen to see God’s work. We are part of God’s plan for the cosmos. All creation shows his hand at work. Let’s enjoy it.

Chris Azzaro

Littlehampton United Church

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Other news

• All Saints Church, Wick recently hosted three nights of the Roger Jones musical, Jail Break. The choir, soloists and dancers were drawn from a number of local churches and more than 200 people came to enjoy the show. Through story and music, the show retold the Bible’s account of Paul and Silas refusing to run free from jail and, instead, inviting their jailer to know real freedom in Jesus. Over refreshments, a collection was taken to support children and young people going on the Littlehampton Churches Together Summer Camp.

• Littlehampton Quakers are holding a Poppies for Peace coffee morning on Saturday from 10.30am to midday at Friends Meeting House, Church Street.

• Littlehampton United Church will be holding its Church Holiday Café from August 13 to 17, every day from 10.30am to 12.30pm. There will be plenty of opportunity to drink tea or coffee, chat or read the newspapers, play table top games, model trains and Scalextric, or join in the prayer corner and art for all. Children must be accompanied by an adult.

• All are invited to make Poppies for Peace for the town show in September. In addition to red poppies, white and purple poppies will be made to illustrate the collateral damage of war. 90 per cent of casualties in modern warfare are civilians; and an unknown number are animals.

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Also in the news this week, a Littlehampton priest has retired after 28 years of service, hundreds celebrated Littlehampton Harbour festival and Wick Week and a metal detectorist has recovered a groom’s lost wedding ring on Rustington beach.

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