Revd Alison Richardson has written a report on her visit to Cuttack, India:

I am thrilled to report that our District Chairman, Rev  Graham Thompson, and the Synod Secretary, David  Clitheroe joined us for one week.  They travelled over the whole Diocese to gain as much information as possible with a view of establishing more church partnerships, and exchange visits in the future. There is much work to be done on both, but early signs are good.

My dear friend and colleague, Rev Deborah Kirk, a minister in the Taunton Circuit, travelled with me, as she has done on three previous occasions. We spend more time together there, than through the whole year in UK, such is the way of our lives.

Debbie joined Graham and David on the tour of the whole diocese, her project being in the remote area of Denga Ambo in the Gagapatti area of Orissa.  She works with an outreach clinic there, which is attached to a Christian Hospital in Berhampur. The hospital is responsible for equipping an ambulance in the Denga Ambo village, and for managing a small clinic there.

The two projects that I am involved with are CODE, the Christian Organisation for Development and Education of Children, run by Rev Surrendra Mohanty and his wife, Bulbal, and the small church based at the fishing beach of Pentakota.  Mohanty has somehow managed to establish the kindergarten, after the terrible blow of being forced to close the two children’s homes down. He continues to work tirelessly to provide finance for its continuation. He has also established a Retreat Centre, but business is slow to date. This needs to be successful, to support the kindergarten and subsequent school.

The fishermen and women are mostly illiterate and do not even speak the language of Puri. Over the years their ancestors must have migrated up the coast from Andra Pradesh, so they speak Telegu. Life is particularly difficult for them, they rely totally on the fish that they catch, and need to sell it quickly or else they do not eat that day.   There are fishing accidents often, and sometimes people drown due to little or no safety on the boats.  

I was able to spend quality time with the children at the Kindergarten, and also with the members of Pentakota Church. Thanks to donations from Crownhill,  Cornerstone and Millbrook churches, I was able to purchase 150 double blankets and give them personally to those who needed them most.  These dear people would never have afforded these themselves, some days they cannot earn enough for a single meal! You can only imagine the delight on their faces as I handed them the blankets.

We all really enjoyed the worship at Pentakota, there was one single drummer—aged about 8, banging away, the Pastor leading the singing as no hymn books! It was all wonderfully spiritual.

I also spent time with the children at their little school (same building) during the week, and with the children at the new kindergarten which Rev Mohanty as established. It was amazing to see the commitment of both children, and staff, education is highly valued and greatly appreciated.

Later on during the second week I attended an evening worship at a fisherman’s cottage. What a humbling experience. I counted 14 of us squashed into a tiny room which served as bedroom, kitchen and living room. The Holy Spirit was present, powerfully and we were all blessed.

Puri Puri Puri

Puri Puri Puri

Puri Puri Puri

Puri Puri

Puri Puri