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Links Across the World


A view of the Church in Gonsenheim

Since 1987 our churches have enjoyed a lively partnership with the Evangelical Church in Gonsenheim, a suburb of Mainz in Germany , one of Watford 's twin towns. Their church is an "island church" in the middle of the main street with trams passing either side. Over the years many friendships have developed between the people of our congregations. We have enjoyed a family holiday on ‘neutral territory' in Holland . Our young people have visited Taizé together. We have shared many exchange visits, and representatives have attended each others' Centenary Celebrations in 2003 in Gonsenheim and in 2005 in Watford .

In 2006 a 'prayer pen pals' scheme was started. This helps people who may not be able to visit each others parishes to enjoy a personal link, to share information and to remember to be remembered regularly in prayer.

The parishioners have just completed a major building project, replacing their old parish kindergarten and reordering the Gemeindehaus (Church Hall). A party from our churches visited Gonsenheim in April 2009 to share in a long weekend of celebrations and worship and to witness the opening of the new facilities. To read all about it click here

Kwa Mkono

Children at the Polio Hostel
Children at the Polio Hostel

In 1980 we joined the network of support for the Children's Polio Hostel in Kwa Mkono in Tanzania. Life for any disabled child is difficult, but it is especially difficult in rural Africa where a handicapped child is often considered a burden because he or she cannot help with the work of the family. The Polio Hostel can accommodate 50 severely handicapped children, offering them shelter, education and training and, above all, hope.

Some of our church members have been able to visit the Hostel - in 2005, 2007, 2009 and 2010 - and they have enjoyed meeting the children, young people and staff and getting to know them. Visiting the neighbouring hospital, where many of them had received corrective surgery, been fitted with callipers, given crutches and taught to walk, has given a deeper insight into the holistic nature of the work being done.

The younger children attend the local school and are encouraged, if they have the ability, to go on to secondary education. The hostel has joinery and tailoring workshops and our parishioners have provided tools, a lathe and sewing machines which are being put to very good use by those young people not at school who are learning practical skills.

New projects include the creation of a chicken farm and a retail outlet for their furniture, clothing and eggs. The aim is to make the Hostel self-supporting and to extend its facilities to a wider range of children and young people suffering physical handicap, no matter how it may have been caused.

We raise money for the hostel in all kinds of ways. Recently our church members, together with supporters from other parishes and communities, have established a charitable trust, The Kwa Mkono Disabled Children's Trust, to ensure continuing support for the Hostel. For more information click here.


Peace Austin
Texas USA

Picture of the Peace Lutheran Church , Austin Texas
Picture of the Peace Lutheran Church , Austin Texas

Since the end of 2005 an informal link has been made with the Peace Lutheran Church in Austin, Texas. One of their members, Laura Lincoln, is a parish consultant who has been helping us develop our work here in Watford. She suggested that our two congregations might benefit by supporting each other in prayer and that we might gain new ideas and understandings from one another about being Christians today.

Some members of Christ Church and St Mark's have become 'prayer pen pals' with members of the congregation at Peace Lutheran. They are enjoying finding out more about each other.

In October 2006 our Vicar and his wife visited Austin and were very warmly received at Peace Lutheran.

Pastor Bill Sappenfield presented Dick with a liturgical stole. Whenever it is worn during worship at Christ Church and St Mark's it serves as a reminder that our three congregations are united in prayer.

Dick and Janet watched the ground-breaking ceremony for their new education block. It was opened amidst great rejoicing in 2007.

Since then, Dick and Janet have met Pastor Bill and Laura Lincoln when attending Anglican-Lutheran Society Conferences in Dublin, September 2007, and in Turku, Finland in 2009. They plan to meet again in Salisbury, UK, later this year.


Christ Church
Nazareth, Israel

On their visit to the Holy Land in February 2008 members of our congregations worshipped at Christ Church Nazareth.

In the evening their priest, Fr Zahi Nasser, and fourteen of members of his congregation met us for dinner and a social evening. Since then we have seen the gradual development of another informal link.

In 2009 and 2010 we visited again and enjoyed lunch together at Nazareth Village as well as worshipping at Christ Church.

Fr Zahi moved to join the staff of St George's Cathedral in Jerusalem in 2010 and later that year we were glad to be able to meet him there before moving on to Nazareth and meeting their new parish priest, Fr Emad Dueibes.

Peter and Jane Nott, mission partners with the Church Mission Society, have joined the congregation there so our parish has made a formal link with them through CMS.

We plan to visit Nazareth again in 2011. Meanwhile, we hope it may be possible for some of the congregation there to visit us here in Watford.



In March 2009 Valentin and Daniela Kozhuharov visited our parish. They are Bulgarians, members of the Bulgarian Orthodox Church, who were then mission partners working with the Church Mission Society in Moscow.

We all enjoyed their visit and have promised to maintain a prayer link with them. They are both specialists in Religious Education, but the task to which they have been called is to help build relationships between the Orthodox Churches and the Churches of the West. They hope that as Christians from the Eastern and Western traditions get to know one another, understanding and trust will lead to reconciliation, and to the recognition that we are all brothers and sisters in Christ.

Now their work in Moscow has come to an end, so they are back in Bulgaria where they are preparing to launch a Christian Orthodox Anglican Network (COAN), continuing the work begun in Russia. They hope to encourage people from all over the world to come and meet their local Orthodox churches.

They say that, whilst differences will always remain, when Christians from different traditions meet together that experience will reveal the Holy Spirit working in us all. We shall quickly recognise the common Christian values which we share and which we must bring to society as a whole. Unless we do that what will the future of Christianity be? Churches will be empty and other faiths will occupy the ground (our homes, our towns and our villages) and secularism will embrace the hearts of young people.

For more details about our links across the world please contact:

The Parish Office: Parish Administrator: Mrs Lynne Mallows

St Mark's Church, Leggatts Way, Watford , Herts WD24 5NQ
Tel: 01923 681972

Click here to Email us

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Christ Church Images
The Parish Office, St Mark's Church, Leggatts Way , Watford , Herts.
WD24 5NQ. Phone: 01923 681972
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