Construction of Chapels, Mzumbe & SUA
“Who dares despise the day of small things…?” That must have been a question within the visitors’ minds when CCT’s team visited the construction of Chapels at Mzumbe and Sokoine Universities.
These stories are so humbling. Hearing that a chapel is built from student’s donations or seeing people worshiping in an unfinished building. That kind of scenarios are both overwhelming and empowering. They are situations to leave no one without any concern. What would you do if you visit such a place?
It is very empowering to see a generation of young Christian Africans take action without thinking of Mzungu’s money! The action itself is not for a few million dollars, but a lot more. It is even more empowering to see that these students commit themselves to a labour whose fruit they may never taste; because most of them will not be there when those chapels are finished. This visionary spirit of seeing tomorrow so clearly without yourself being in the picture, and yet committing oneself to see the tomorrow comes, is overwhelming.
Well, that is what happens out there in the CCT Chaplaincies, particularly Mzumbe and Sokoine University.
However, it is overwhelming to see that the CCT family particularly member churches have not really joined hands in wonderful efforts like these. May be we could have done more. The big fact here is that someday a member of someone’s family is going to need that chapel. Could you imagine how someone close to you could benefit from those chapels?
CCT as an umbrella for its member churches has been running Chaplaincies in four Universities so far for the purpose of offering pastoral services to students and university community. The oldest chaplaincy is that of University of Dar es salaam, while the youngest is that of The University of Dodoma. Mzumbe and Sokoine University of Agriculture (SUA) fall in between.
One of the hardest steps in establishing a chaplaincy is having a Chapel, a building dedicated for chaplaincy services. Hardness of this step is easy to see: construction costs. CCT has not been an exception when it came to that part, since it has always been challenging to collect resources needed for accomplishing that purpose.
Notwithstanding CCT has successfully built a chapel at University of Dar es salaam in partnership with Tanzania Episcopal Council (TEC). The chapel is run and maintained in the same partnership with each party having its slot in time and space for all services needed, particularly masses and offices. Actually it is in the management of time slots mid-week as well as Sundays where you will see the busy Academic atmosphere: people rushing in and out – till late evening in a well ordered manner.
Another milestone in this context was completion of the Sokoine University Chapel (Main Campus). This is the Cinderella of churches, a hidden beauty at foothills of Uluguru Mountains. This chapel was built by CCT from internal sources. The unique part of this chapel is its serene evergreen gardens and a towering background of dark green mountains.
In the course of time the need for building chapels at Mzumbe University and SUA’s Solomon Mahlangu Campus became pressing. This is due to restrictions on using academic areas for Sunday services and other religious activities as well as sheer will of doing things in propriety and freedom.
At SUA, where construction of the second chapel is also underway, the scenario is slightly different. Although most university staff congregates at main campus’ chapel their contribution in construction of the other chapel is vivid. In essence staffs which are Christians worship at the main campus chapel continue to play a major role in the building process.
For that reason Bishops of CCT have already started to send forth messages to their dioceses on giving for construction of Chapel. Let it be confirmed to you these contributions are going to transform lives of students not only those who believe in Christ but even those who do not believe.
So far one Professor Ndelelio Urio of Sokoine University has taken initiatives to coordinates Alumnae who went through the chaplaincy so that they support continuing efforts. So far it has been very fruitful as these people contribute and are kept up to date on what is happening.CCT’s Policy Finance and Program Committee members together with management team of CCT contributed as well when they visited Mzumbe and Sokoine University. The General Secretary offered his €200 (~ TZS 400,000) watch, and everyone around supported him in the course of contributing an amount worth the watch – to redeem it.
Although we hardness of these projects may make us feel lost in a maze. Two things are certain: One, the buildings will be completed; and two, our labour is not in vain. Therefore there is no losing hope; there is no slowing down, till we finish the race.