The Diocese of Bangor has a history of partnership with the Anglican Church in Uganda, and the Diocese of Lango.
The Lango Diocese is centred on the town of Lira in central northern Uganda, not far from Lake Kyoga.
For over 20 years people in the Diocese of Bangor have run and supported a charity called LOST, the Lango Orphans Scholarship Trust, where people gave money to enable orphaned children in Lango to be educated. Due to the effects of civil war and disease, orphans were, and are still, many in number.
In 2003 the Diocese of Bangor and the Diocese of Lango formally agreed to twin, and since then people from Bangor have visited Lango and people from Lango have visited Bangor.
In 2008, the previous Bishop of Bangor, the late Anthony Crockett, lead a team which visited churches and parishes in Lango. In 2012 the present Bishop of Lango, John Charles lead a delegation from his Diocese to visit Bangor, where they visited parishes and schools to talk about their life and country. (Bishop John Charles is named after a former Bishop of Bangor, who had been a missionary in Africa, and who is buried on Church Island, Menai Bridge)
The present Bishop of Bangor, the Right Reverend Andy John, will be leading the next team to visit to Lango Diocese from 2-19 July 2014. The visit is being co-ordinated by Charles Owens from Brynsiencyn. Charles has been to Uganda 14 times and has many contacts in the country. He has been responsible for the building of 7 schools in the Lango Diocese, through his ‘Good Hope Schools’ programme.
The team will consist of 11 people from the Diocese – lay people and clergy. Each member of the team will be covering their own travel and accommodation costs. For the first time, the team will include 2 headteachers from Church Primary Schools in the Diocese of Bangor. This reflects a desire to extend the linking of parishes and churches to involve the Church Schools in the Diocese.
After arriving in Uganda through Kampala and the 5 hour drive up to Lira, the visit will be centred on this town. The group will be staying in a hotel there. There will be 2 groups in the team – a parish group and a schools group. Each group will have the use of a 4-wheel drive vehicle and driver, and will be accompanied on their visits. Such visits are warmly welcomed by the local people. Some of the locations which we will be visiting are remote, where there are no tarmac roads.
Each of the headteachers will visit the school with which they are twinned, and others as well. The school system is very different in Uganda, where it is not uncommon to have 100+ pupils in each class!