Panshak returned to Jos at the end of July and from September 1st is taking up the post of chaplain at St John’s College, a 1000-student Anglican secondary school in Jos. Here is his report on his year with us for the Sheffield Church Burgesses Trust, which provided generous financial support:
“Praise be to God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ who has blessed us in the heavenly realms with every spiritual blessing in Christ” (Ephesians 1v3).
I arrived at Heathrow Airport, London, on the 17th of August, 2013 and I was collected by Julian Mann, the vicar of the parish where I was to serve. We then drove from London to Oughtibridge and arrived in the village at about 2pm. I didn’t start working immediately so I was given a couple weeks’ break until I was licensed by the Bishop.
I was licensed by the Bishop of Sheffield, the Rt Revd Dr Steven Croft, on the 22nd of September 2013 and commenced work proper thereafter.
I had a wonderful time with Julian, Lisa and the boys. The whole family were very kind to me in every way. They took care of me as though I was originally a member of the family. They sacrificed one of their rooms in the vicarage for me to stay in for the year. The PCC provided me with a laptop computer and a printer to work with.
The church family was very wonderful to me. The warmth of the reception is worthy of note. Though I was the only black man in the church family, I never felt out of the picture.
One of the most important aspects of my time in the UK was the Bible training Julian arranged for me to do in Christ Church Fulwood. I found the training very helpful. It has helped me to approach and teach the Bible faithfully and in humility without compromise.
Coming from a diocese (Jos) where the Bishop is committed to upholding the teaching of the Bible passed down to us by the Apostles, I found it difficult at the initial stage to cope with dichotomy within the diocese and the Church of England as a whole. The experience has helped strengthen my faith in Christ and motivated me to contend for the faith I have received; Julian has helped a great deal in making sure I experience the both sides.
Finally, I would like to thank my Bishop for sending me to go and serve and learn in Sheffield. I am glad I went and I take every lesson learnt seriously. I also want to thank the PCC and members of the Church of the Ascension, Oughtibridge, for their support and prayers. I also thank the Church Burgesses for their financial support, funding my stay and learning. May the Lord bless and reward you all in Jesus’ name.
Revd Panshak Panbish, Jos, August 30th AD 2014.