Sunday morning service at this warm welcoming very Anglican church within the fort in busy vellore. Many CMC hospital staff and families worship here and it’s a church which does much giving and social action in the poorest communities Valsa later explained to me. Many CSI churches don’t do too well on outward community mission/social action even when wealthy enough to do so and with such extreme poverty on their doorstep. St John’s very transparent with where it’s money goes, and receives many donations and large church membership as a result.
It was world Sunday school day (hadn’t heard of that!) and the large team of children acted out the full story of the Passover including final scenes explaining the Eucharist. Brilliant! And the youngest were incredibly gorgeous with their singing/acts whilst 6th former age gave the most theology I’ve heard in church for a long time. Would have liked to have ended with Communion after such a great build up (and 2hrs), but was great. As a visitor I had to stand up in middle of service and introduce myself – might put people off visiting at home! but was good to hear other people and could then instantly strike up conversation afterwards.
This evening said goodbye to the two Americans visiting via Global Ministries. Then went up to the remote woodlands near Karigiri hospital in an auto rickshaw to have supper with Valsa, a wonderful Clinical Psychologist at the hospital and friend of Phil. Delicious Indian supper made specially milder for me and Valsa had even made a bread and butter pudding style dish in case I couldn’t eat Indian. Such a kind generous person who does such important work in leprosy patient care on a shoestring too. Had very interesting conversations about india’s poor ( the corrupt govt seems a block on so much potential help), the church and diocese, leprosy and the real crisis in funding and resources for treatment and care at Karigiri and elsewhere, and goats (great easy livelihood but the poorest can’t protect against snakes, disease and traffic so lose many) and of course people. She is having such a tough time since suddenly losing her husband recently to Malaria whilst working in Ebola areas in Sierra Leone and her relation living with her is ill and no care or help available at all via any govt health care. People have to cope with such heavy painful loads, and still want to give out more to others. A wonderful person. Hope and pray a research assistant comes forward (need to put word out in the clinical psychology networks in uk) and carer too.
Think I’m allergic to these malaria tablets. Feet getting more swollen by the day and throat feels constricted and head aches. Better try to talk to somebody soon I guess. Choice seems to be to stop breathing or get malaria and I’m not keen on either.
(photo of one of the grandmothers at MBKGP doing the washing)