Letters from Lockdown – Number 6

The sixth in our series of Letters from Lockdown, written each week for our e-newsletter, is from Tina Everett, St Mary’s PCC Member. This letter was originally published on Saturday, 11th July 2020.
Lockdown has in some ways seemed rather a selfish existence as we enjoy our large garden and others shop for us. Gardening, Pilates and Zumba have kept me going, and like Anna last week, I have really appreciated the countryside walks. For three months I also managed mindfulness meditation most days though this is lapsing somewhat, but staying in the moment is so important…

What I have missed most is physical contact with my children and grandchildren and my weekly visits to Cheltenham to look after my grandson. I also miss the contact with my refugee families and worry about the impact of lockdown on them. But Lockdown has given more opportunity to contact friends overseas and I am especially aware of the friends we made in Dar, Tanzania. One devout Muslim family always pray for us as we pray for them through their many struggles and prayer brings us closer together.

I am always very conscious that we are part of a world-wide Church and this is a world-wide pandemic, so I want to make the emphasis of this letter on our mission organization, USPG. It is through USPG that John and I first made our links with Tanzania when we visited Muheza hospital in the Tanga region in 2010. ‘USPG is an Anglican mission agency, founded in 1701, supporting churches around the world in their mission to bring fullness of life to the communities they serve. Theologically, practically, and financially, they encourage and enable churches within the Anglican Communion to act as the hands and feet of Christ. Together, through our support they are working to improve health, tackle poverty, put children in school, challenge discrimination, nurture leaders, give a voice to women, and much more’.

Garsington folk will know that St Mary’s are committed to support a USPG project in Tanzania and for the last two years have given over £1000 to support this project. Tanzania is affected by HIV and AIDS although the death rate is thankfully reducing. However, sadly, mother-to-child transmission of the virus during pregnancy, birth and when breastfeeding means that thousands of babies are at risk of becoming HIV positive. The Anglican Church of Tanzania is providing the practical and medical support necessary to prevent the virus being passed on from mothers to their children. You can read more about the USPG-supported work in Tanzania on the USPG web site. Disturbingly I have heard that supplies of retro-viral drugs are running out in low income countries due to demands of coronavirus.

USPG works in over 30 countries world-wide and one of the Mission Partners, Bishop Mauricio Andrade of the Anglican Diocese of Brazil movingly writes:

“Black lives matter. Indigenous lives matter. Our faith does not permit racism, but requires love that builds the inclusion of all people, regardless of their colour, nationality, gender, religion or sexual orientation. When we stand in front of our Cathedral, we reaffirm our commitment against all forms of racism and discrimination, because we are an inclusive Church open to welcoming all people. We ask your prayers and be assure of ours.”

USPG produces a quarterly magazine and prayer diary. The free magazine (formerly Transmission) has taken on a new format and is now called Koinonia. If you would like to receive a regular copy of these please let me know by email at tina_everett@btinternet.com and I will order them and drop them round to you or later, when allowed, leave them in your church. If you wish to find out more about USPG or to make a donation you can click here.

Tina Everett