On a trip to honour veteran CMS missionary Helen Hoskins and to visit Sydney’s Anglican Aid projects, Archbishop Raffel is travelling through Tanzania.

Soon after the final session of GAFCON IV in nearby Rwanda, the Archbishop was on his way to a series of engagements in the Diocese of Mara. He also visited the dioceses of Tarime and Rorya.

Like his predecessor, Archbishop Glenn Davies, who visited Bunda Girls School and Bunda Bible College in 2019, Archbishop Raffel was given a special tour and the opportunity to honour Helen Hoskins, who has now retired after 40 years’ service.

At her farewell last year in a packed service in St John’s Cathedral, Musoma, the Bishop of Mara, George Okoth, who was a former pupil of the veteran missionary – said the diocese would celebrate Helen’s Day on May 12 every year in her honour, to remember and celebrate “God’s blessing and gift to Mara Diocese”.

(above: The Archbishop at a tree planting ceremony in rural Tanzania)

Canon Hoskins “retired” from CMS in 2017, building a house in Bunda where she expected to remain, and where she continued to serve the diocese and its people. 

However, on her annual visit to Australia in 2020, she was diagnosed with cancer – and while able to have surgery without subsequent chemotherapy, her diagnosis, coupled with the pandemic, meant she was unable to return full-time to Tanzania. She made the difficult decision to retire to Australia, making a gift of her house to the Mara Diocese. 

“I had hoped to have several more years active in Tanzania and to finally move back to Australia for a quiet retirement,” she says. “Instead, I [have moved to Australia now], rather than tottering in on a walking stick! I am discovering that I can actually do ministry in Sydney and enjoy volunteering as part of the ministry team at Mona Vale Anglican Church, and also as chaplain to an aged care facility with my adorable therapy dog Maude.” 

But both Archbishop Raffel and Canon Hoskins were on hand as she handed over her house, now to be called the Bishop’s Lodge of the Diocese of Mara. During his visit the Archbishop attended a dozen functions and unveiled five foundation stones – including dedicating and declaring open a preschool that has had significant funding from the Archbishop of Sydney’s Anglican Aid.

Above: Archbishop Raffel unveils the foundation stone for a new parish building with Bishop of Rorya Musa Yamo.

"Archbishop Kanishka got an opportunity to talk to the priests, youth and Christians of our Diocese," said the Bishop Musa Yamo of Rorya Diocese. "He encouraged them to remain faithful to the word of God at this very time where many people are turning away from true Biblical teachings. He assured them the constant prayers of their fellow Christians of Sydney Diocese. It is an honour and very much appreciated for the Archbishop to visit our Diocese."

“Sydney has a global intent…"

In an interview with Dominic Steele on The Pastor’s Heart podcast, Archbishop Raffel said the mission call of GAFCON IV will continue.

“We will continue to have, as we have had, engagement with the Global South and certainly with GAFCON into the future because it provides the opportunity for us to share with our brothers and sisters in the majority world – to share in the mission of the gospel together,” Archbishop Raffel said. 

“Sydney, thank God, has a global intent. It has a desire to see the gospel promoted, not just in our diocese, not just in our nation, but across the world.  

“When you come to a place like Tanzania they say to us, ‘You are known, as a Diocese, for wanting to see the gospel go around the world’. I'm just so thankful for that. It is something we have inherited, it is something precious and something long-standing and I expect it to continue and develop.”

 See video from the Tanzania trip above and here.

Main Photo: Canon Hoskins at left with Archbishop Raffel and Bishop Okoth unveiling the Bishop’s Lodge - courtesy of The Pastor’s Heart