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The Zambia Link

The link between All Saints' and St Andrew's and St Bernard Mizeki Church is part of the link between Bath and Wells Diocese and Northern Diocese, Zambia.
St Bernard Mizeki is in the Butondo district of Mufulira, a town in the Copperbelt region of Zambia. It is a simple building in a large plot of land within sight and down-wind of the mines and copper-smelter. Members of the congregation live mainly in the nearby 'compounds' in single-storey houses with small gardens.  Some still work at the mines but many are unemployed.  Visits to Mufilira by members of All Saints and also the visit of Father Joseph and his wife Barbrah, to Castle Cary a few years ago, strengthened the link and helped us to appreciate and reflect on our own and each others cultures and way of life. 
 
St Bernard Mizeki Church, MufuliraChildren in MufuliraSt Bernard Mizeki Church, Mufulira
                                                                    

  The link between Castle Cary and Mufulira continues– especially between the churches and the schools. Students from Ansford Secondary School (now Ansford Academy) are able to make exchange visits with students from Mufulira High School. Castle Cary Primary School and Winter Muleya Basic School are linked and there has been a teacher exchange. Churches Together in Castle Cary and Ansford have also raised money to refurbish the Home Economics room there. There are regular visits to Mufulira through the Intro Zambia Project.  
We recently heard (summer 2012) that pollution from the mines and smelting plant has become a very serious problem with many of the congregation suffering respiratory illnesses.
 At a recent meeting with Laura Tilling who has this year made a visit to Mufilira with Intro Zambia, we learnt that the plan to build a 'Converter' that will hopefully remove the toxic emissions is to be brought forward from 2015 to the end of 2013
 

Following her visit  in February 2013, 
Suzi McKenzie writes:-
I went with an IntroZambia group with four of us visiting different links of the Cary/Mufulira Community Partnership Trust. Pre 1993 The Diocese of Bath and Wells already had a strong link with Zambia. That year a lady in the Zambian Anglican Church visited Castle Cary with her husband Charles who was the Head Teacher of Mufulira High School. Charles met Mrs Bardgett (Head Teacher of Ansford School) and the exchange link was started. Since then Primary schools, Colleges, Churches and Rotary Clubs have formed links.
 So it was with great excitement that I landed at Kaunda Airport in Lusaka and immediately experienced the heat and smell of Africa. The 7 hour drive north to Mufulira passed through the green and fertile land of central Zambia. We passed towns and villages and roadside sellers of vegetables and fruit so it was a colorful drive. Arriving at the house in Mufulira we were immediately entertaining friends of our group, and this was the start of meeting and being welcomed by wonderfully friendly Zambians.
It was my great delight and privelidge to worship in St Bernard Mizeki Church Mufulira (All Saints and St Andrews link) on Sunday morning and to experience and enjoy theEucharist Zambian style! I met the new Priest Fr Williams Chasanga who is also priest at St Cyprians Church Mufulira.
Mufulira is in the Copperbelt region of Zambia and is greatly affected by the environmental issues of the copper mining. We were very fortunate to have an arranged visit to Mopani mine on a guided tour. This visit was both interesting and enlightening. I had already seen the devastation in Kankoyo township from the sulphur emissions from the mines. The area is now dusty and barren. No vegetables will grow. There are serious health problems for the inhabitants. The mine Chairman assured us that they are undergoing projects to eliminate the problems but there are still many unanswered questions about the mine. Future rehabilitation of the area will be major. However Mopani have recently sponsored some corporate social responsibility projects.
I have so many images in my mind since my return. There is still awful poverty, lack of resources, everything associated with a developing country. But I saw a richness in family and community life that was heartwarming. I think that my perceptions of life and living are forever changed.


Please pray for Father Williams Chasanga  and his parishioners at St Bernard Mizeki.
      Father Williams at the site for the new church   


In August 2015 Suzi received a letter from Father Williams. This is an extract:-

''St. Benard Mizeck is doing well and the congregationis steadly growing.


We have constracted  a caretaker house with two bedrooms and we have

 bought roofing materials ie ironsheets enough to cover the whole house.We only have to raise fund 

 to purchase roofing timber. The care takers house has good advantages to secure our place from vanderlism. 

After then we shall start theother project which is constracting theablution block as the the congregation does not have

sanitation required by the ministry of local government and health.The project is at foundation  level.

 After all this we shall continue with the big project building the new church building which is at window level''.


Update;  Suzi has since heard that the church has found a plot in Mufulira to build a Priest's house; they will have to buy it in order to secure it legally.

More update about the copper mine and smelter; it seems that although an acid converter that reduces sulphur dioxide emissions was installed in 2014, there are serious long term health problems for the people and the soil is seriously damaged.

Now in September 2015 there is very bad news in that copper production in the Mopani mine is likely to be hugely reduced such that as many as 2,000 jobs may be at risk.  This is due to China's slump with falls in global commodities such as copper, together with the massive debts of the parent company Glencore.

Now in November 2015 we hear that some 4,000 people have been made redundant by Mopani.

 Please continue to pray for the the people of Mufulira, and for Father Williams and his team.

  see also  www.mufulirapartnershiptrust.org.uk