Portsmouth And Bamenda
Twinned with Bamenda
Bamenda is the capital of North West Province in Cameroon, West Africa. In 1970 the Bamenda Diocese had been created with Paul Verdzekov appointed as the first bishop. In 1974, Bishop Derek Worlock of Portsmouth and Bishop Paul Verdzekov of Bamenda initiated our diocesan twinning as a practical demonstration of the Pope’s Vatican II document “Gaudium et Spes” (‘Hope & Joy’).
To support this twinning relationship, the Diocese of Portsmouth comprises a team that supports, enables, directs and develops the relationship and ecclesial exchange between the Diocese of Portsmouth and the Archdiocese of Bamenda. This includes promoting prayer for one another, practical and financial support for projects, the organisation of exchange visits, the promotion of the link in our schools and parishes, and the sharing of news and information.
Priests and lay people of Portsmouth are appointed by the bishop to the Portsmouth Bamenda Committee which serves the link on behalf of the Diocese.
Currently, there are six fine priests from Bamenda serving in the parishes across our diocese and over the past 40 years more than £1,000,000 has been raised by Portsmouth parishioners for projects that have been successfully implemented in the areas of Faith, Health, Education and Social Welfare, locally by Ad Hoc committees in the Archdiocese of Bamenda.
Click here to view the recent letter from Bishop Philip Egan of Portsmouth to Archbishop Andrew Nkea of Bamenda.
Socio Political Situation
These are very challenging times, particularly for the people of our sister diocese in Bamenda with the deteriorating socio political situation in Cameroon. The situation in the Cameroon has complex origins in the relationship between the French and English speaking provinces and in the recent imposition of controls by the political authorities. The situation has led to much violence and atrocities.
The International Crisis Group has stated that “both sides have committed abuses against the population, including burning villages, closing down schools and killing civilians. Violence has claimed around 3,000 lives, displaced half a million people and compelled another 40,000 to flee to Nigeria. It has deprived 700,000 children of schooling in their home areas and left one in three people in the Anglophone regions in need of humanitarian aid”. The Catholic Church has been forthright in condemning the violence on all sides and advocating for peaceful dialogue. We have heard many shocking stories from our friends in Bamenda and Bishop Philip asks for your prayers for peace, reconciliation and a just outcome.
Love in Action:
We work collaboratively with committees at both ends fostering and overseeing the relationship.
We promote school and parish twinning, encourage ‘Friends of Bamenda’ groups, raise awareness, coordinate visits when possible and approve and administer project applications.
In the current political crisis Archbishop Cornelius set up an ‘Ad Hoc Committee’ (a collaboration by the departments of Health, Social Welfare and Justice & Peace) to respond to people of all faiths in urgent need.
Projects fall into four categories: