Diocese of Botswana
Dumela! Greetings! The Diocese of North Carolina and the Anglican Diocese of Botswana entering into a companion link agreement at North Carolina’s diocesan convention early in 2008. The dioceses renewed the agreement in November 2014.
During these years, North Carolina and Botswana have had youth exchanges, a “hammer and nails” project at the Selebi Phikwe parish, support in the development of and teaching at the new St. Augustine Theological School, engagement with HIV/AIDS initiatives in Botswana, involvement with the Holy Cross hospice, shared ministry between the Episcopal Church Women in North Carolina and the Anglican Women’s Fellowship and Mothers Union in Botswana, and care for the St. Peter’s Day Care Centre in Mogoditshane.
The Bishop of Botswana is the Rt. Rev. Metlhayotlhe “Metlha” (MET-la) Rawlings Ogotseng Beleme, consecrated in July 2013. He succeeds the Rt. Rev. Trevor Musonda Mwamba, who served as bishop when our companion link began. Bishop Metlha is the fifth Bishop of Botswana, and the first Motswana bishop born in Botswana.
The Diocese of North Carolina’s Botswana Companion Link Committee is pleased to announce plans for another pilgrimage to deepen our relationships with our siblings in Botswana. The pilgrimage is from September 22-October 3, 2022, and is limited to 10-12 pilgrims .The leaders are the Rev. Miriam Saxon and the Rev. Warren Pittman.
Previous pilgrims have found this time in a wonderfully hospitable country with our friends in the Anglican Diocese of Botswana to be spiritually refreshing and enlightening, worshipping, sharing meals, and learning about local culture, congregations and ministries.
Not a traditional mission trip, the journey is a pilgrimage: a time for experience, guided and personal reflection, and holy conversation.
Pilgrims will spend several days in and around the capital, Gaborone, including time with students at St. Augustine’s School of Theology, and will then travel to visit congregations in Serowe and Francistown. Along the way, opportunities to enjoy some of the country’s rich history, culture and wildlife are also planned. The pilgrimage will return to Gaborone for a concluding weekend of worship and celebrations of the Anglican Diocese of Botswana’s 50th anniversary, including the ordination of the diocese’s newest priests. Bishop Rodman and others from North Carolina plan to attend the weekend as well.
The cost of the trip is anticipated to be $4,250 per person. The cost includes round-trip airfare from North Carolina through Johannesburg (with an overnight stop-over) to Gaborone, all ground transportation, lodging and meals. Limited scholarship funds are available from the Botswana Companion Link Committee; there are also other diocesan grant options for which pilgrims may apply. The pilgrimage leaders will be happy to work with anyone who needs financial guidance for funding options.
In the past, some pilgrims have elected to stay on for a time, having arranged on their own supplemental trips in Southern Africa at their own expense. Plans for such travel will likely affect plans and the pilgrimage leaders will need to be informed of them.
The application for the pilgrimage must be mailed to Miriam Saxon no later than April 30, along with a check for $250 to secure a space for this trip. (The deposit is fully refundable prior to June 1.)An additional payment of $2,250 will be due on June 1, with a final payment of $1,750 due by August 15.
HOW TO GET INVOLVED
Here are the subject areas from our companion link agreement:
- Support our life and ministries together through prayer.
- Expand congregational connections.
- Create opportunities for mutual ministry to and with our children and our youth, especially through orphan and vulnerable children care projects and efforts to address health and education concerns affecting the youth.
- Encourage the formation of clergy and the development of lay leadership and ministry.
- Support the ministries by women offered together in Botswana and North Carolina.
- Support ministries to and for persons with HIV/AIDS and to their families.
- Support hospice initiatives.
- Seek mutual discernment as we find ourselves called to other opportunities for shared ministry.
THE ST. AUGUSTINE THEOLOGICAL SCHOOL
Botswana has suffered from a severe shortage of priests over the years, but the first class at the new St. Augustine Theological School were ordained to the diaconate in December 2014 and to the priesthood in 2015, adding significantly to clerical numbers overall and doubling the number of Batswana clergy to 30 (included those who are retired).
There are no vocational deacons. Nor are there any women priests, although the Diocese of Botswana has wanted to ordain women for some years. The Church of the Province of Central Africa has not permitted them to do so; the most recent effort lost by a close vote by orders in late 2014. The Diocese of Botswana, however, has proceeded to train women for ordination at the St. Augustine Theological School, hoping that they might be able to be ordained in the future.
For more about our partnership with the Diocese of Botswana, contact the committee chair, the Rev. Miriam Saxon.