The Anglican Church in Tunisia has embarked on an ambitious project to create new facilities for theological training, community outreach and hospitality provision to address the spiritual and social needs of a growing indigenous congregation.
“There is a moment of opportunity in Tunisia at the moment. Tunisian Christians are being recognised and accepted, even consulted by the new government,” revealed the Bishop Bill Musk, Rector of St George’s Anglican Church in Tunisia capital Tunis and Assistant Bishop for North Africa Episcopal Area in the Diocese of Egypt with North Africa & the Horn of Africa.
“New believers are appearing at a fast rate and they need help in maturing and becoming meaningful church. Leaders especially need training and forming within their own context and this needs to be handled very sensitively in a Muslim-majority nation,” said the bishop.
“The main goal of the Legacy Project is to provide theological training for future leaders of the North African Anglican and other church communities,” said Bishop Musk. “This will include on-site training of local leaders and bringing students from other countries in North Africa to study in Tunis.”
St George’s Anglican Church in Tunis is set in a poor yet bustling community of Hafsia in downtown Tunis, famous for its large second-hand markets and has over 300 congregants. It began in 1901 as a church catering for overseas British people and especially members of its armed forces during the two World Wars.
“St George’s also wants to establish facilities for community outreach to empower local people,” said the Bishop. “We want to create better facilities for hospitality such as larger kitchen facility, modern restrooms, storage space, and a worship space for small groups.
“On the grounds of St George’s facilities will be established seminar rooms for theological training, classrooms and workshops for community outreach, accommodation for trainers and trainees and a medium-sized worship space for small groups.”
The fundraising committee made up of church members organised a fundraising event in June this year focused on creatively raising funds to get the project underway.
“God has blessed us immensely to respond to this challenge, and from within our own community we have managed to raise $100,000,” said Bishop musk. “We need others to help us and we estimate total costs of at least $300,000 to put two new builds on the church site that will help provide sustainable facilities for theological ministry formation and for outreach within the local community”
“There was a time when the largest basilica in Africa was found a few miles up the road from the present St George’s Tunis – its ruins can still be seen,” said Bp Musk. “The holy seed of the martyrs from those early Roman times is issuing in new fruit today. The early church in this land did not do very well in becoming indigenous or in accepting different strands of theological and ecclesiastical expression.”
Bishop Mouneer Hanna Anis, presiding Bishop of The Episcopal Church in Jerusalem and the Middle East, officially launched the project in December last year.