James Langstaff

A Bishop Reflects

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

The Oil of Gladness

Sermon preached at Rochester Cathedral 24th March 2016 – Maundy Thursday Chrism Eucharist Isaiah 61.1-9; James 5.13-16; Luke 4.16-21   Some of you will have stood in the departure hall of the Zaventem airport in Brussels; some of you may have travelled through the Maelbeek metro station; all of us will have shared on Tuesday morning the shock and outrage at what happened in those places.  The thought that I or somebody close.. Read More

The Love of God made Visible

Ordination Charge – Ordination of Deacons and Priests 23rd September 2015 Isaiah 58.6-9 Adamnan of Iona (also known as Eunan) is probably not top of your list of famous Christians from the British Isles. Today is the day on which he is remembered within the life of the church as he died on 23rd September in the year 704. He had been born around 624 near Raphoe, County Donegal, was educated by the.. 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

“Looking for cure and regeneration” – the place of prisons

A shorter text of this blog can be found where it was originally posted on the Church of England tumblr blog. ………………. ‘Rehabilitation’, ‘Redemption’, ‘Rescue’, ‘Reformation’, ‘Love’, ‘Curative and Regenerating Virtues’.  Words from some theological treatise or even a sermon, perhaps?  No – words drawn from a couple of recent speeches – at Legatum Institute and Prisoners Learning Alliance –  by Michael Gove, the new Secretary of State for Justice. Following on from his April.. Read More

Called to Hear

l-0018

Sermon preached at Rochester Cathedral, at the Licensing of Lay Ministers 16th May 2015 Numbers 11.16-17 & 24-29; 1 Cor 2.1-10; Mark 7.32-37   The man was deaf and, linked to that, his speech was impaired.  As any of us who have known those profoundly deaf from birth will be aware, there is this connection between clarity of hearing and speech.  We learn to speak mainly by imitation, and if we cannot hear.. Read More