Larbert West Parish Church
ZOLOZOLO TWINNING - Please scroll down for the latest news
Larbert West’s Kirk Session had been exploring the possibility of establishing a partnership with an overseas congregation for a few years. When Rev Gavin Boswell and Beatrice Grant visited Malawi as part of Cycle Malawi 2009 they met with congregations in Lilongwe and Mzuzu. The decision was eventually made by Session to speak to the Kirk Session of Zolozolo CCAP Congregation, just outside the town of Mzuzu in Northern Malawi, about the possibility of entering into a twinning arrangement, and this was enthusiastically taken up.
Agreement was reached on the wording of the Twinning Agreement and so Larbert West is now formally joined with Zolozolo Congregation as partners in the Agreement which was signed at Morning Worship on Communion Sunday, 18th September 2011 in both Churches. The pictures show our Minister and Session Clerk signing the Agreement.
During our discussions we have been delighted to have with us in Larbert West on two occasions, Mrs Jarret Mhango, who is a member of the Zolozolo Congregation and professionally is Dean of the Faculty of Environmental Studies at Mzuzu University. Jarret has been a great help to us in trying to understand the people and culture of Malawi. Both congregations are agreed that this twinning is about our Christian life and witness, sharing joys and sorrows, providing each other with prayer support, and forming associations among the groups and organisations within the two congregations. There may be opportunities for fund raising or for personal or group visits, but these are secondary to sharing our faith with our brothers and sisters in another part of the world, experiencing different challenges in our different cultures and society.
Zolozolo congregation is very different from Larbert West. Ministers are appointed by the Synod rather than called by congregations. When the first visit was made and at the time of the signing of the Twinning Agreement, the minister was Rev Agnes Nyirenda who was later moved to a new Charge in Lilongwe. She was followed by Rev Joseph Chimembe, from Phiri. At that time, Zolozolo West preaching station (there were 3 such preaching stations or "Vestries") was given full parish status and according to the Synod our twinning is now with Zolozolo East, another of the preaching stations and what was the "main" church centre. Rev Joseph Chimembe was moved to a new Charge at Rumphi at the end of 2014. Rev Romins Mwenebanda is now minister at Zolozolo West and Rev Elliam Longwe was inducted to Zolozolo East on 22nd March 2015. At the time of these latest changes the congregation numbered between 1500 and 2000, with about 1000 children in the Sunday School. The pictures below show internal and external views of the Zolozolo East building.
2016: A work of Christian Charity
Session Clerk, Milton Chirwa, tells us that work on the new Manse is progressing and a photo below left shows how that is getting on.
However, when the Minister was conducting a pastoral visitation he was shocked with the condition of the house a widow was living in - photo below middle. He then shared this issue with the Kirk Session where it was resolved that they needed to provide a shelter for this widow. The resulting work on the new house for the widow is shown in the last photo below right.
The following pictures show Rev Agnes Nyirenda, her husband Rev Timothy Nyirenda and daughter Joy (left) and Rev Joseph Chimembe, his wife Dyna and latest daughter Sandra (right). We do not yet have photos of Rev Romins Mwenebanda or Rev Elliam Longwe.