BERNARD MIZEKI GRANTS
These grants are available for lay ministries and the training and development of lay ministry. The grants bear the name of Bernard Mikeki
(c.1861-1896). He was born Mamiyeli Mitseki Gwambe in Portuguese East Africa (Mozambique) and around the age of 12 he moved to Cape Town. He was educated by the monks of the Society of St John the Evangelist at their night school. He excelled as a student, particularly as a linguist. He mastered English, French, high Dutch and eight African languages – later in his life his work as a translator of sacred texts was pioneering and invaluable. He was baptised in 1886 and took the name Bernard. He then went to work at St Columba’s Hostel in Cape Town – a shelter run by SSJE to house African men particularly to protect them against alcoholism. From here Bernard was sponsored to attend Zonnebloem College to train to become a catechist. In 1891 he accompanied Bishop George Knight-Bruce to the new missionary diocese of Mashonaland in Southern Rhodesia – here Bernard Mizeki became the catechist to the Shona people. He set up his mission station at Nhowe where he lived for the remaining 5 years of his life. He learnt the local language, built a chapel where he led the daily Offices and taught and prayed with the people. His preaching was his example of life. He sought to understand the existing monotheistic beliefs and spiritual sensibilities of the Shona people while confidently proclaiming Christ. A persecution of Christians arose in 1896 – African missionaries were targeted for being agents of the colonial government. Bernard was warned to leave but he stated he was the servant of Christ alone. The persecution became more organised but still Bernard remained at his station. On the night of 18 June 1896 he was taken from his hut and killed, probably at the instruction of a local witch doctor. This date is now kept in the kalendars of several Anglican provinces as the feast day of the Bernard Mizeki, the proto-martyr of southern Africa and the place of his ministry and death is a great centre of pilgrimage. Soon after Bernard’s martyrdom the first Shona people, inspired by his example, were baptised.
Almighty and everlasting God, who kindled the flame of your love in the heart of your holy martyr Bernard Mizeki: Grant to us, your humble servants, a like faith and power of love, that we who rejoice in his triumph may profit by his example; through Jesus Christ our Lord, who lives and reigns with you and the Holy Spirit, one God, for ever and ever. Amen.
THE FELLOWSHIP OF ST JOHN
While living in community the monks of The Society of St John the Evangelist (SSJE) were an Order of missionary priests and brothers. In 1920 they formed a circle of associates called the Fellowship of St John (FSJ) who live with a rule of life, support the monks’ and engage in various forms of Christian ministry.
The prayer of the Church, spiritual counsel, pastoral care and teaching are all at the heart of our incarnational and sacramental mission. The monks set up monasteries called Mission Houses across the UK and in Africa, India, the Americas and Japan– they also established parishes, schools, hostels and in South Africa even founded a whole new diocese. The Fellowship Ministries support the continuing need for incarnational mission – as our charity objects put it, for the building of the Kingdom of Christ.
THE FR BENSON SCHOLARSHIP
The scholarship is awarded at St Stephen’s House, University of Oxford and is named after Fr Richard Meux Benson SSJE (1824-1915), founder and first Superior General of The Society of St John the Evangelist. The Fr Benson Scholar is nominated annually by the Principal of St Stephen’s House and will be a seminarian of the college who is preparing for ordained ministry in the Church of England. The value of the scholarship covers university fees and enables higher academic study. St Stephen’s House was founded in 1876 and is an Anglican seminary of the catholic tradition. Over the years many priests who had been formed in the college later became monks of SSJE.
THE ST GEORGE’S TRUST
The Trust gives grants to Anglican clergy, seminarians and students. The awards are currently worth up to £350. Each year the Trustees set a budget for the total amount that can be awarded and distribution is made until the limit is reached. We therefore encourage application early in the calendar year.
Clergy The grants for stipendiary clergy are for those taking sabbaticals. For self-supporting clergy (for whom official sabbaticals are rarely given) grants are available for recognised study. The grant will customarily contribute towards travel and accommodation costs involved in study. A brief letter of confirmation from a cleric’s bishop, archdeacon or continuing education office is required to support the application.
THE HOLY CHILDHOOD
The charity makes grants for Christian ministry/education in schools or churches with children aged 4-11. The Society of St John the Evangelist helped found and guide other Religious communities – among them The Sisterhood of the Holy Childhood. The Sisterhood was established in 1895 in a convent next to the SSJE Mission House in Cowley. It was a community for female qualified teachers who worked in many local elementary schools.
Applications are considered by the Trustees quarterly at the next available meeting. Please appreciate that the Trust may receive more applications than it is able to respond to with grants.
Mrs Linden Sheffield
Direct Phone: 01494 928348 or 07739012459
Fellowship of Saint John (UK) Trust Association
65/68 Leadenhall Street
London, EC3A 2AD