News and Updates

Food crisis in Malawi

2016 has been a significant year for the Malawi-Birmingham Partnership, with the 50th anniversary of the Partnership and visits from four Malawian bishops in May. However, it is also the second year in a row of poor harvests in Malawi. This, coupled with widespread drought across southern Africa, has led to a devastating food crisis.

In April, President Mutharika declared a State of National Disaster, with over 6 million Malawians now at risk of starvation. In response to this crisis, Christian Aid Scotland - who have worked in Malawi for over 20 years - have launched an emergency appeal to help feed the Malawian population in the short term and build resilience in the long term.

Reflecting the scale of the crisis and the depth of support in Birmingham for Malawi, we are asking individuals and churches in Birmingham to consider giving to this appeal and praying for people affected by this crisis. The appeal is supported by the Scottish Government, who have pledged to match all donations up to £70,000 – so everything you give will have double the impact.

Bishop David with MatildaBishop David said: “This year, as we celebrate 50 years of partnership with the people of Malawi, they have suffered the worst drought for a decade. Our additional support has never been more vital when crops have failed and 6.5 million men, women and children are at risk of starvation. Birmingham is a generous city, demonstrated by our commitment to love our neighbours with acts of kindness, but we must also remember those in desperate need in Central Africa. Please act now to remember our Malawian brothers and sisters both in your prayers and in your giving.”

To find out more and donate to the appeal, please go to:

Top image: Christian Aid/Matt Gonzalez-Noda

The Anglican Council in Malawi has also launched a famine appeal. We are very grateful to those parishes which have contributed to the £3000 or so that has been sent. Other parishes wanting to support this appeal are asked please to make donations - transfers or cheques - payable to the Diocese of Birmingham Malawi Fund and to earmark them for Famine Relief.    

Malawi - ‘The Warm Heart of Africa’

A visit from St Peter’s Hall Green to Mzuzu
by Rev Martin Stephenson

We had been warned! So many people who had been to Malawi told us to expect a warm welcome and to fall in love with this beautiful country and its people. They also told us to expect to be changed, and to be encouraged as Christians. They were not wrong. Seven of us from St Peter’s Hall Green, visiting our partner parish of St Mark’s Mzuzu, all found that we were touched even beyond our expectations. We came away saying to our new friends and to one another: ‘We will be back!’ So what impressions can we share with you? 

Click here to read more.

Visit by Bishops marks 50th anniversary of Malawi Partnership

This year marks the 50th anniversary of the Malawi Partnership, which was set up in 1966 shortly after independence. Malawi remains a very poor country with a rapidly rising population and heavy pressure on land and natural resources. There is currently widespread hunger owing to poor harvests in 2015 resulting from flooding succeeded by widespread drought. The harvest in 2016 should relieve the pressure in the north and central regions, but the signs are for another poor harvest in the South. Under such circumstances the Malawian Anglican church is especially grateful for Birmingham’s friendship and support.

To mark the 50th anniversary we have invited the four bishops: Alinafe, Brighton, Fanuel and Francis to the UK. They will be in Birmingham from 7 to 15 May, staying as guests of parishes across the Diocese: Boldmere, Edgbaston, Hall Green, Harborne, Maney, Polesworth, Quinton, Solihull and Warley Woods.

You can meet them all at a celebration service in the Cathedral on Sunday 15 May, 3.30pm. The preacher will be Bishop David, there will be a Q & A session with all the bishops, and light refreshments will follow. The bishops’ schedule in their host parishes includes preaching and addressing meetings, visits to schools, and meals and outings with parishioners. They will take part in two shared Bible studies with Bishop David and Bishop Maurice Sinclair, and have discussions on the future of the partnership; it is hoped to produce a final joint statement. They will meet theological and other teachers; they will attend a Mothers Union Diocesan tea party and a dinner at Bishops Croft. 

Visit to Malawi during February-March 2016

This was Richard Tuckers ninth visit to Malawi and he was accompanied by his wife Laetitia. They were received everywhere with kindness and generosity and visited all four Dioceses. Read Richards report here.

Review of Birmingham Malawi Link

A review of the Partnership between Birmingham and Malawi as it approaches its 50th anniversary was produced by an independent reviewer in April 2014 and presented to the Bishops of Birmingham and Aston and the four bishops in Malawi. The reviewer was Canon Janice Price, World Mission Adviser for the Archbishops’ Council of the Church of England.

To read a summary of the Review click here.

Malawi Flooding Appeal - A report on what your giving has achieved

Katherine, a farmer in the Lower Shire valley, shows crops she has harvested from seed donated by Diocese of Southern Malawi and planted after the flooding. Picture taken in July 2015

In January 2015 Malawi suffered widespread flooding which was at its worst in the southern regions of the country. In response to appeals from the Malawian Church, Birmingham promptly sent £3000 for the relief effort of Diocese of Southern Malawi (DSM) and opened an appeal. A small extra sum has followed.

We have received an encouraging report from DSM thanking all partners for their help and giving an account of the three stages of the relief:

  1. Emergency response: purchase and distribution of maize, maize flour, soap, second-hand clothes, plastic sheets, cups and plates
  2. Intermediate response: The Diocese bought maize and bean seeds which were provided to 800 households for replanting by the banks of Shire River. Plastic sheeting for temporary roofing was also provided
  3. Long term: reconstruction of the damaged infrastructure: church buildings, school blocks, sanitation facilities, rectories and the like, with labour and materials provided by the community where possible.

To see the full report click here.

The Dean of Nkhotakota Cathedral visited Birmingham in November 2014

The Very Rev Baird Mponda, Dean of Nkhotakota Cathedral, Diocese of Lake Malawi, visited the UK from 12th to 25th November and stayed in London, Birmingham and Chester. Read his reflections here.

Dean Baird visited Christ Church Primary School, in Sparkbrook, Birmingham. Head Teacher Debbie Westwood commented: "We were delighted when the Very Rev Baird Mponda, the Dean from Malawi, was able to visit our school in Sparkbrook on 18th November. We were able to hear about the special 50 year relationship between Malawi and Birmingham from Rev Richard Tucker and to ask the Dean lots of questions about his country during collective worship and visits to classes.

"Our theme for collective worship was Friendship so what a fantastic opportunity for our children to make friends across the world! As a result of the visit, our children are now going to write letters, send books and writing materials to a school in Malawi. We are hoping this will be a huge opportunity to make a real difference to children's lives."

Photo: Dean Baird in Christ Church School speaking to Y5 children

Bishop David's visit to Malawi, 8-17 May 2014

Bishop David Urquhart made a week’s tightly packed visit to Malawi in May, accompanied by a party of 7 others from Birmingham.

Bishop David visited the Dioceses of Lake Malawi and Northern Malawi and had talks with all four bishops. He preached at a Communion service which filled the Cathedral at Nkhotakota, which serves Lake Malawi, and again at a Mothers Union service in Mzuzu, Northern Malawi.

The group visited schools - at one of them Bishop David spoke at an open air assembly and danced with a wedding band of ‘dancing grandpas’. The group also visited the diocesan ‘demonstration garden’ (smallholding) where small farmers are taught the principles of permaculture and how to adapt to the effects of climate change.

In the Malawian Church, local initiatives to meet social needs are being helped and encouraged by the Dioceses. A case in point is care of orphans - many children are still being orphaned, especially by AIDS. The group saw an orphanage and places, some in buildings, some under trees, for day care of orphans.

Bishop David was accompanied by a Mothers Union party headed by Jackie Brocklebank, the Diocesan President. They stayed on for a second week and travelled to the seldom-visited far north of Malawi to see MU self-sufficiency projects in action

Please click here to see their report.

A Taste of Malawi

An open meeting was held on Monday 29th September 2014 at St Martins in the Bull Ring. Read more about it here.

Click on the links below to read reports from recent visits...

October 2013 - Bishop Alinafe's Consecration

September 2013 - New Bishop for Southern Malawi

May 2013 - Rev Richard Tucker visits Malawi

January 2013 - Bishop of Northern Malawi gives thanks

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