Thursday, 19 August 2010
Church of North India(CNI)-Durgapur Diocese
We received a wonderful welcome to the Diocese of Durgapur from Bishop Probal Dutta.
Here are some of the highlights of our visit to an area that has been transformed by vibrant leadership and people working together to transform lives and bring about change.
The Banyan Tree in Sarenga under which the first clinic was run by Methodist Missionaries. The hospital building began to be constructed in 1916 through which many people were treated by Doctors and Nurses from the Methodist Missionary Society. A Nursing Training School was established and continues to train local women.
Visiting Sarenga Hospital in the District of Bankura was wonderful. As an ex Intensive Care Nurse I was fascinated to see the equipment and hear of the work being done by the dedicated team of people who work here especially given the political unrest in the area.
Dr Shubhro and his wife Elizabeth Mullick are two Doctors based at Sarenga hospital whose commitment and dedication is incredible.
Dr Shubhro is financially supported by the Methodist Scheme of 'Nationals in Mission Appointments -NMA.'
Tribal Festival at Durgapur
An amazing morning watching (and eventually joining in) with a celebration of Tribal Culture, a vibrant, energetic and joyful event.
A Special Service of Thanksgiving for the Partnership of the British Methodist Church in Durgapur.
Bishop Probal Dutta very kindly organised a special service of thanksgiving to celebrate the partnership of the Durgapur Diocese with the British Methodist Church, which is highly regarded both for the present and past relationships particularly the contribution of Methodist missionaries who gave such outstanding commitment and began much of the work that continues in the Diocese to this day.
I was invited to preach at a Thanksgiving service celebrating the partnership of CNI with the British Methodist Church which was a wonderful experience. The Rev Subrata Sarkar interpreted the sermon into Bengali. Over 1,100 people attended the service which included several choirs and lunch for all afterwards.
Distributing Holy Communion is always a privilege and this felt like a very special moment in being part of God's world-wide family. I have always found the communion liturgy deeply subversive in it's proclaimation that all are welcome in a world where many are excluded and that all will be fed in a world where many starve. The liturgy boldly offers the hope and vision of a world where God's Kingdom, God's rule is known and experienced.
Inter-Project Presentation evening (by children from the slum areas)
The Diocese of Durgapur are doing some outstanding work amongst the children from the slums and poorest families in the area many of whom cannot afford to provide food for their children.
The children from several Projects came together to present a show for us. It was
absolutely brilliant all we wanted to do was cry, it was just so wonderful to see them look so happy as they performed.
A copy of the programme presented by the children of the Projects of the Diocescan Women's Fellowship which include the :-
Durgapur Child Study and Development Centre - catering for 80 children offering a supplementary diet (milk and eggs), regular medical check-ups, special classes including sewing to enable the girls particularly to have an independent income in the future.
Inter Faith Community Study Centre in Bankura - which provides tuition, arts, crafts, singing and dancing lessons. The older girls are trained in martial arts to provide them with the ability to defend themselves. The centre has a vision to equip the children to be religiously tolerant able and skilled young people.
Community Centre, Purulia - Caters for children of former Leprosy patients and Rickshaw pullers who still live in the shadow of disgrace and discrimination.
Prochesta Asanol - developed to help the children of the slum areas of Asanol, particularly children who drop out of school.
St Peter's School-Durgapur
St Peter's School where John and I had the pleasure of participating in the investiture of over twenty prefects and the head boy and head girl. We had great fun discussing the differences between our countries and the challenges of being good leaders.
St Michael's School-Durgapur
After visiting St Michael's School we were taken for a lovely meal out by the Principal (on my right) Mrs Madhumita Singh. St Michael's caters for 3,000 children from Nursery up to Secondary.
Here are some of the 25 gorgeous children of the Durgapur Hostel. We spent many a happy evening in their company as we were staying in the same building. All of these children come from very poor families living in the local slums. One of the girls had been rescued from being trafficked. Many of the children would not be at school if it were not for this Project. They were delightful company, so obviously happy and secure in the centre where they are looked after with love and kindness. We laughed so much together, we sang, danced, played games, told stories and they taught us some songs including 'Father Abraham' and 'Jesus love is very wonderful', we taught them 'If your happy and you know it' which they sang with enthusiasm and laughter.
Bodo Tribe dancers from East Himalyas
Durgapur Thanksgiving Service
The children we stayed with in Durgapur
The children from the Durgapur Hostel's very moving dance
Durgapur: St Michael's School Assembly