Hi, my name is Simon Jennings and I’m the Minister of Eden Church in Penarth. I’m married to Karen and we have 4 children Sam (20), Dan (18), Eli (17), Zoe (15). My contact with Uganda started while I was training for the ministry in 2009 when I visited Mbale. My short time there profoundly affected me and so when Helen & Steve Lock returned to South Wales and I learnt about GMI it was obvious to me that I would become involved in some way. Last July I had the privilege of being part of the team that visited Bethel School and helped out in the local Church run by Pastor James and Pastor Phoebe. It’s very true that every time that you visit Africa you leave a little bit of yourself behind, that was very true of myself and also for Karen, Zoe & Eli who were also part of the team. Apart from the teaching/training and leadership aspects of my current role I also bring with me years of experience in program, project and change management from my previous jobs in the Utilities industry. As a trustee of GMI my hope is to help build the network of relationships in the UK and potentially other parts of the world to put resources into the hands of the organisation. My hope is that these resources will help build and develop the work of GMI and ultimately the development of the work in Gulu. I look forward to helping and supporting the development of GMI into the future and I very much look forward to returning to Gulu into the future.
Bethel primary did very well in last year’s primary leaving exams. We had 59 candidates and 21 got 1st grade, the remaining 38 all passed in 2nd grade. We were the best school amongst schools out of Gulu municipal and 5th best put with all schools including the schools in the town centre. Gulu district (excluding the municipality) got 75 first grade and Bethel contributed 21/75.
This performance has been well recognised by different people/offices. The district education officer sent appreciation message to Bethel. The local government chairman recognised Bethel during a talk show in a widely heard radio. He also called Pastor James to pledge support to the school. In fact the main road to Bethel has been repaired by the district!
At the high school, construction of new block continues. Already, health, education and environment inspectors have all inspected the high school and given their reports. In total we have 237 students (113 boys, 124 girls)
Schools aside, James was elected Bishop for the Acholi region for the born again churches at the end of last year. He may be ordained in July/August this year.
Thanks very much for supporting the work here. Do convey our appreciation to all our partners in the UK.