Bishop Joseph Mgomi
Bishop Joseph Mgomi succeeded Bishop Donald Mtetemela as Bishop of Ruaha Diocese on 5th September 2010 when Bishop Donald retired. St John’s has supported the work of Donald Mtetemela and his wife Gladys for over 30 years so this was a real milestone in our relationship with the people and work of Ruaha Diocese. The ministry of the Diocese has always been holistic and addresses people’s physical and spiritual needs. A team from St John’s was able to visit Iringa in October 2010 and meet with Bishop Joseph and his wife Lillian at the start of his ministry and visit a number of projects.
Looking back, when the Ruaha Diocese came into being in 1990 there were just 13 parishes, 12 pastors and about 5,000 Christians. Now there are over 40 parishes and 6 sub-parishes, 130 congregations with evangelists serving around 15,000 Christians. In addition, the Diocese has established and funds three nursery schools, one school for the deaf, one secondary school, two Bible schools, two dispensaries and one centre for the disabled.
St John’s has consistently supported the work of the church in Tanzania and will make a gift from the annual income tithe at the end of 2011 of £6,000 for the general work of the Diocese. We have also sent 2 Overlocker Machines, a Braille machine, carpentry tools and lots of buttons for Neema Crafts. In the light of the very poor harvest this year St John’s members have also given over £2,000 to help buy maize. We have increased our involvement with Tanzania through Bible Society’s ‘Touch a Nation’ scheme more details of which are to be found on our Bible Society webpage.
St John’s encourages its members to take part in short-term mission visits. In 2008, three ladies joined a Bible Society visit to the Kagera region of northwest Tanzania and later that year, a group of 11 St John’s members went to Ruaha Diocese and saw for themselves the wide variety of ministries that the Diocese is engaged in. A further visit took place in October/November 2010 and combined visits to projects in Ruaha Diocese and some of Bible Society’s work around Dodoma. Many opportunities for further partnership in the gospel have emerged from this and planning is in progress to help run a conference/and workshops for trainee Pastors and Evangelists in Iringa.
Some key facts about Tanzania:
• It’s 4 times the size of the UK with a population of 36 million
• It’s among the world’s poorest nations with an average salary of $50 per month
• One third of the population lives below the UN’s $1 per day poverty line.
• Over half lack access to safe water
• One in seven children die before they are 5
• Life expectancy, which used to be among the highest in Africa is falling (due to AIDS mainly) but its still only about 50 years of age.