Wednesday, April 07, 2004
Orthodoxy is spreading rapidly in the Diocese of Bukoba in Tanzania. The
Diocese's mission efforts are focused on increasing the number of
communities and faithful, deepening the Orthodox Faith among the newly
illumined and expressing the Faith in good works.
Their efforts are bearing great fruit! In 2003, twenty new communities sprouted up, over 3,000 people were baptized and more than 1,000 people had their marriages blessed. This mission Diocese now has 140 Orthodox communities and 20 priests who are all supported by OCMC’s Support A Mission Priest (SAMP) program.
Significant progress has also been made in locally training needed clergy and catechists for the Diocese. In 2003, the first 10 students of the Kasikizi Catechetical School graduated. Four were ordained as deacons and the other six were commissioned as catechists. In the 2003/2004 year, there are 17 more students being trained as future Church leaders.
While the growth of the Diocese is a great blessing, the vastness of the territory presents certain challenges for the Church. The condition of the roads makes travel difficult with old vehicles. His Grace Jeronymos, Bishop of Bukoba, Tanzania, has an old car which can not manage the great distances needed to visit all the faithful. They have plans to purchase a new vehicle for the Bishop and 100 bicycles for priests and catechists as soon as funds become available.
Throughout the Diocese, Bible studies take place regularly and, to this end, nearly 600 Bibles were distributed last year. As of last December, nine church buildings and a secondary school were being constructed and plans to build a hospital on recently acquired land had begun. Plans to build more medical clinics, two monasteries and an orphanage for fifty children are also in the works.
This summer, the Mission Center is planning on sending two Mission Teams to Tanzania. The first Team will visit four villages within the Diocese of Bukoba to offer evangelism, teaching, and medical care. A priest is critical for the success of this Team and health care professionals are encouraged to apply. The second Team will host a youth camp at the Kazikizi Catechetical School. The Mission Center is also seeking people willing be long-term missionaries in Tanzania.
For more information about the Mission Center, Mission Teams, long-term Missionary opportunities and Tanzania please go to www.ocmc.org.