James Langstaff

A Bishop Reflects

A Light in the Darkness – Prison Hope

Unease, anxiety and sadness are woven into the experience of Christmas for every person who is in touch with reality.  Violent death and a sense of the fragility of the social structures which keep chaos at bay are there even in the simple, pared-down narratives of the Bible about how the birth of Jesus happened.  The hope of Christmas is spoken, from day one, into a world that is recognizably our world. Over.. Read More

A Week in Mpwapwa: of many Confirmations

I’m used to my Tanzania visits being rather filled with Confirmation Services.  That’s in part because I tend to visit when it is dry, and that’s the best times for a bishop to travel around.  So I had shared 4 such services with Bishop Given in Kondoa, but Mpwapwa had something different in store for me.  I was about to fly solo. Bishop Jacob of Mpwapwa is at present also the Archbishop of.. Read More

Two Nights in Kongwa: missionary past to missionary present

Two nights at St Philip’s Theological College in Kongwa, en route from Kondoa Diocese to Mpwapwa.  The College was founded over 100 years a go by CMS-linked missionaries – and indeed the guest house where goes back to those days.  The setting is stunning, at the foot of dramatic hills 5 kms outside Kongwa, the District town.   St Philip’s is a resource for the whole Province of Tanzania, so not strictly part.. Read More

A Week in Kondoa: of leadership and gender

Part of our visit to Kondoa Diocese was for their Mothers’ Union conference – at which Bridget was somewhat surprised to find herself guest of honour and speaker.  At the closing service, one of the leading members stood up and thanked Bishop Given for his encouragement and defence of the place of women in the church.  A casual observer might find that a rather strange comment as the leadership (ordained and lay) of.. Read More

A Week in Kondoa: of projects and resources

Could I survive as Bishop of Rochester without a car?  Almost certainly, Yes.  It might take a bit longer to get there, but there’s hardly anywhere in the Diocese I couldn’t reach by train and/or bus, with the occasional taxi thrown in.  For the Bishop of Kondoa, it is a very different picture.  Getting to most areas of the Diocese for a Confirmation Service or an evangelistic programme requires several hours (or more).. Read More

A Week in Kondoa: of food and generosity

Arriving in Kondoa Diocese for the third time begins to feel a bit like coming home.  The connections with the Diocese of Rochester have developed so much over the last few years that there is a growing sense of connection.  This time last year, I was here to express support during a time of serious drought and food shortage.  People in Rochester had responded wonderfully to our request for support and as a.. Read More

A new school, a new hope

On my recent visit to our partner Diocese of Kondoa in Tanzania, I saw the beginnings of a project which Bishop Given, with others, is developing to found a vocational secondary college in a place called Chemba. Kondoa is a newish diocese in a part of Tanzania not reached by the missionaries in previous centuries – it really is virgin territory for the church.  The Diocese has no secondary school – they have very few schools at all… Read More

The Challenge of Difference

On Monday 26th January, in York Minister, Libby Lane was ordained Bishop of Stockport.  Having been so immersed in framing the legislation and accompanying provisions through the General Synod, it was a joy and privilege for me to be there.  Slightly strange, emotionally, at this point to be observing and almost off-stage, but so good to have reached this point and to have been part of a process that has had such an.. Read More