Our link congregation in Zambia is St John’s United Church of Zambia (UCZ) congregation in Mtendere, a township on the eastern side of Lusaka.
The prayer requests which we receive from St John’s each week have recently been about the fourth wave of COVID 19 infections. The number of new cases each day has gone up into the thousands again; some deaths from COVID are reported daily. Nearly all the COVID patients in hospital are people who have not been vaccinated because Zambia does not have enough doses of the vaccine. There is also
a shortage of testing kits, and so there can be no practice of isolating people who are infected.
In church life and in schools, mask wearing is common, but otherwise normal activities have been resumed after the lockdowns of last year.
This is the rainy season in Zambia (November to March); the rains started late in parts of Zambia but are now falling. Until a year ago, Zambia suffered some years of drought, so bad that Victoria Falls dried up. Thank God that rains are falling this year.
In the November/December Newsletter, I mentioned the appointment of the Revd Dr Jonathan Kangwa as Vice Chancellor of the UCZ University, where ministers and deaconesses of the church are trained. Dr Kangwa has recently told us that the UCZ University has set up the Peggy Hiscock Scholarship to support men and women who offer themselves for full time ministry as deaconesses or ordained ministers but are unable to sponsor themselves for training.
Rev Peggy Hiscock, who died last year in Poole, was a Methodist minister who worked in Zambia from 1958 to 1974. She is remembered in Zambia as a pioneer and champion of women’s ministry in church who inspired and trained many women. Peggy was the first woman ordained in the UCZ.
The news from St John’s congregation is that, in spite of the lockdowns and limitations placed on church activities during the pandemic, the congregations continue to grow beyond the 2,000 membership. Continue to pray for our link congregation, as they pray for us.