Vocation Spotlight: Called to Uganda
Sarah and Simon Cawdell trained (and met) at Ridley, in the early to mid-1990s. For the last twenty-five years they have served in the Bridgnorth Deanery in the Diocese of Hereford.
Nearly two years ago they felt the call to serve with the Church Mission Society, and being in that moment between dependent children and the possibility of grandchildren, they felt free to follow that calling.
In March 2023 they moved to Gulu in Northern Uganda, where Sarah has become Principal of Archbishop Janani Luwum Theological College, whilst Simon works in the Diocese in the fields of Discipleship and Economic Development. The certificate and diploma course at the college are validated by Uganda Christian University in Mukono, Kampala. Students arrive with experience of ministering in a sub parish and study for three years. They have to find their own fees for college and work hard not only academically but also in the fields to grow the food that the college kitchen department uses for the daily meals: maize and beans. It is a radically different life from the comforts of Ridley. Morning Prayer starts at 6.45am and the day ends with night prayer at 9pm. The course material is not so different — Biblical and Systematic Studies, and classes on preaching and pastoral care, alongside a contextual course — African Traditional Religion and Community Development. “Having ministered in rural and market town parishes,” says Simon, ”we are used to seeing the church as the beating heart of a local community, and are delighted to learn from local models of community building and development which are being encouraged here, in particular by Tear Fund.”
Simon has previously trained African clergy in Tanzania and Madagascar in the Rooted in Jesus discipleship course, which was developed with Tanzanian clergy and Alison Morgan (author of The Wild Gospel) to offer culturally appropriate discipleship training in this context. Plans are already in place to offer that training in Uganda, once the course materials are translated into Acholi.
“In the first six weeks,” Sarah reflects, “we have been reminded again of the faithfulness of God, as we have seen his provision for accommodation and work permits, a piece of land to grow our food, friends on the journey and for Simon the privilege of attending GAFCON in Kigali. We are out of our depth every day, but held up by the love and grace of God.”
Further details of Sarah and Simon’s work can be found on the CMS website.