Pastoral Centre Accommodation
The Pastoral Centre provides a base for retreats, Maryvale training and the Pastoral Formation Team. Bamenda Funds have committed a £90,000 contribution over 3yrs towards the building of an additional accommodation block which will enable more people to stay there whilst visiting, studying or attending diocesan events.
The centre is income generating and will therefore be able to sustain itself in due course.
The centre was opened and blessed by Archbishop Cornelius in 2012 and provided a very comfortable stay for 25 delegates from Portsmouth for the 40th anniversary celebrations in Feb 2014
We have been contributing £2000 each year towards the direct purchase of ‘Echoes packs’ – the educational material used on the ‘Maryvale courses’ in Bamenda to train the catechists.
The Committee has also agreed to sponsor 1 priest from Bamenda studying at Maryvale UK for 3 years.
Pastoral Formation Team
(Fr Anthony Banksi, Sr Colette and Ephraim)
Portsmouth Bamenda Funds have been supporting the work of the Pastoral Formation Team through contributions towards the payment of salaries for 5yrs to 2012 and towards the purchase of a vehicle to enable them to get out to the parishes for their work.
Waterlooville Parish, Portsmouth has recently raised money to provide motorbikes enabling Catechists to reach remote areas.
St Peter & St Paul Church Ndop (Father Cosmas Ndang - PP)
The span of this huge church roof was considered unsafe and needed to be rebuilt. Unfortunately the old Zinc was also considered unsuitable. £9,000 has already been contributed from Bamenda Funds. With the financial help from the Portsmouth Bamenda Committee and the enthusiastic support of the local community, who supplied some materials and labour the church is now nearing completion.
Ntenefor Church (Cathedral Parish)
Despite 15 years in the making, this church has struggled to progress. Historically, the 1st roof collapsed, the 2nd was not strong enough and then the pillars required reinforcement. The community then faced the dilemma of a rapidly growing local population for which the church would be too small. They found it helpful to have us there to facilitate a discussion between them. The parishioners were becoming understandably demoralised by their efforts not coming to fruition.
They decided to break down a large part of the construction in order to build a larger church for the future. Ground works have been proceeding and they are now making good progress.
Monies from the Portsmouth Cathedral Lenten appeal (2011) were forwarded. £4000 has been acknowledged by the community and progress is now being made.
Akossia Church (Bambui
Previously this church had been prioritised by Parish Priest as the alternative parish church was not being worked on. Now both churches are in progress (see below). Akossia has received £2000 of Bamenda Funds. They report that they spent the money on flooring. Local contributions have made the benches and they require further funds to put in windows and doors.
St Sebastian’s Parish Batibo
The large Church begun by Portsmouth priest Michael O’Kelly is in use; work is continuing gradually - stained glass windows are soon to arrive from Nigeria.
Plans are in hand to complete the sanctuary area and quality benches are being added regularly (as donations come in). Unfortunately, the roof rafters, before erection, were not treated against infestation – this is now becoming urgent.
The Family Life Team
|There are new personnel in the Family Life Office: Augustine and Regina Banksi (brother of Fr Anthony) have replaced the previously longstanding couple William & Grace Forba. The team’s work includes conducting Couple Counselling; natural family planning and HIV education; family life apostulate; and marriage preparation programmes. They suggest they face challenges of ‘modernism’.
The team receive some financial support from Aid to the Church in Need for training and previous applications have been submitted for establishing family commissions and communication equipment. The current staff report their main problem as that of transport for getting around to parishes.
Catholic Women’s Association
In 2014 as part of the 40th anniversary celebrations, celebrating the link between our 2 dioceses, we met representatives of the CWA who told us how they are continuing their work, prison visiting and their ecumenical project on street cleaning.
They are now aiming to develop a hostel for female students in Bamenda. Having acquired a plot of land, legal documents and plans, they suggest it will generate some jobs and they want it to be profit making to raise funds for CWA to enable more women to get involved in their work.
They have links with one of the Portsmouth Diocesan groups for Catholic women (CWL) and are currently seeking assistance to replace their old car to enable them to travel around the Archdiocese. Repesentatives of the CWA also formed part of the Bamendan Delegation which came to Portsmouth in June 2014.
The Bamenda Town Schools’ Mobile Catechetical Unit is led by one of the Sisters of St. Anne, based in Bayelle who continues to coordinate a large team of volunteers (catechists, 3rd order Dominicans, etc.) who reach out to thousands of youths in the many non Catholic secondary colleges in the Bamenda urban area. This is crucial and impressive work.
Bamenda Archdiocese recently celebrated 100 years of Christianity. The parish at Njinikom are planning to build a shrine in honour of six pioneer Christians who were buried there.
St Therese Parish Esu
This parish has existed for 14 years and has 10 outstations but the construction of the Church building in Esu has been halted for years due to lack of funds.
It is described as an area of primary evangelisation – with many people holding onto traditional beliefs. War in the area 6-7 years ago left many children as orphans. Electricity came to the area recently. A Social Welfare Commission group has been set up in the parish. The local community are contributing well and have the support of some “elites” (previous members of the community living abroad). A parish twinning has been suggested by the Archbishop with a parish in Detroit USA.
St Mark’s Parish Baba 1 Main mission station
(Fr Francis Muelemanns – currently away sick) – Fr Norbert (Mill Hill Fr) in residence.
Visited in 2012 but no current application or project being supported.
Cathedral Parish – Mankon
The Catechist’s House Complex’ is a parish project aiming to provide apartments for the catechist, visiting priests, other pastoral agents and for rental to generate income. It is being financed by the parishioners, loans from Archbishop’s house and some assistance from “Mission Sunday Collection Rome”. Additional fund raising days are being arranged.