I have just received this message from a represntative of the artists in Zimbabwe whose work we sell in the Cathedral Shop. Bishop Christopher was visiting Zimbabwe and found time to visit Artpeace, the organisation which works with the local arists.
SOUTHWARK VISIT ARTPEACE! It’s not every day I receive a phone call from a bishop but two weeks ago, Christopher Chessun, the Bishop of Southwark rang before leaving for Zimbabwe. He was moved by baby Peter whose death was mentioned in Dean Andrew Nunn’s blog and on Twitter. Fr David Harold-Barry said: ’For a few days, baby Peter became quite famous. So last Sunday 23rd Feb. the bishop visited the people whose stories he had heard and whose sculptures find their way to the Cathedral shop 6000 miles away. It was a marvellous visit full of warmth and concern on the part of the bishop and his two friends. Artpeace turned out in full and explained something of their lives and hopes, and also their difficulties in present day Zimbabwe. Artist Peter Kanenji, showed the bishop a photo of baby Peter, who died suddenly two weeks ago. Bishop Christopher went out of his way to console Peter and had his photo taken with him (left). The bishop and his companions, Fr Mark and Canon Wendy, toured the “workshop” amongst the clearings in the trees, admiring their artistry and the different coloured stones that had been sought out in remote places. He ended his visit with a little impromptu talk about the Anglican Church in Zimbabwe’s five dioceses all of which he had visited during the week and then led a beautiful prayer for all present especially for the sculptors and their families. We were honoured and grateful for his visit and that of his travelling companions.’ It will be interesting to see how this relationship develops.