One of the more surprising ministries at Reconciliation Anglican Church involves our relationship with a large Diocese in Northern Nigeria, a largely Muslim area. Other people and churches have joined with us not only by going to Africa on various trips, but in support and getting to know our Nigerian friends. We regularly host visitors from Nigeria and this relationship has benefited both us and them in the wonderful friendships that have formed, mutual teaching and insight, and in material blessing in several ongoing projects.
St Martin’s St Alban’s School for Girls–Gedage. (Ikara Diocese)
When this school was founded in 2006, the Rev Doug Sherman was assisting at St Martin’s Church, and the village of Gedage was still part of the Diocese of Wusasa. In the years since it was built, it has grown, adding a new classroom block built by the local diocese, which they named St. James. The churches of District 8 in Pittsburgh and others who become aware of the project, to this day send money for the girls’ school for scholarships which help girls go to this Anglican secondary school. Muslim girls do apply and have been accepted, understanding that this is for Christian education, which is what diocesan schools provide. There were two major concerns for girls in this environment. First, in this area there is little value placed on education for women, as the thinking often prevails that as girls they are “only good for having children. School fees are better spent on a boy.” Bishop Lamido and his wife wanted to change this way of thinking in the diocese. The village chief and the new Bishop of Ikara, Bishop Jonfalon, agree. The second major concern is that Christian girls sent to state schools in this Muslim area are at very real risk of forced conversion, forced marriages, sexual advances--a terrible situation, making the need for separate Christian girls’ schools more pressing. This school has been a tremendous success, and the villagers are very proud of it for good reason. A gift from All Saints Church in Rosedale provided the funds for a borehole, or deep well, which not only provides a source of clean safe water for the school, but helps the village as well.
Mai Mai School - Wusasa Diocese
This coed school faces many of the same issues as described above. The school has been refurbished with a new roof, desks, equipment, and classroom block, which has been named Weiss Hall in honor of Robin Weiss, a longtime member of St James Church. The scholarships for this school help girls from the very poorest families in the diocese.
# 1 Cochran Vocational School - Wusasa Diocese
This vocational school teaches young men driving and basic mechanic skills. The project has been greatly supported by #1 Cochran, and the school has adopted the name in appreciation.
St Luke’s Anglican Hospital– Wusasa
This is a 168 bed hospital with a nursing school. This hospital serves the Christian and Muslim population around it. Ongoing efforts by the medical team from our diocese here in Pittsburgh helped St Luke’s update its managerial systems and facilities and retain the accreditation for the school of nursing. Work with the Rotary Club of Murrysville raised money for a large enough generator to power the hospital compound. Gifts have gone toward a new roof, much needed supplies, lab equipment, a new autoclave, the nursing school library, computers, security, and other improvements of the facility. Most recently (spring, 2018), we have sent a large container of medical/hospital equipment in partnership with Brothers to Brothers Foundation. We hope to raise scholarship money to help nursing students with their tuition fees.
.How can I help?
If any of the projects mentioned above, particularly the scholarships, hospital or the new vocational school have sparked an interest in you and you want to know more, or would like to send a donation, please contact the church, or email us. You may also be interested in going to Nigeria sometime in the future. We would love to hear from you.