Our mission is to support and promote our sister parish covenant relationship with Christ the King Cathedral Parish in Bungoma, Kenya. Through faith, friendship, and education we serve as the communication link between the sister parishes and act on behalf of the pastoral council. We rejoice in expanding our parish family and taking our Catholic faith journey together.
Sister Parish Covenant
In 2008, Immaculate Conception Parish - Arlington and St. John Vianney Mission - Darrington, signed an agreement with Christ the King Cathedral Parish, Bungoma, Kenya to form a Sister Parish relationship. This covenant was renewed in August 2013, by our Pastor Fr. Tim Sauer and sister parish Pastor, Fr. Christopher Wanyonyi. Signed with the endorsement of both pastoral councils, our covenant binds our parishes under a mutual pledge of encouragement and support to each other in prayers, learning, and generosity as members of the Body of Christ.
Early in 2006, "The Ladybugs" group from the Sisters of St. Joseph of Peace in Belleuve, WA, learned about Lukelesia Saiti, a Kenyan woman whose daughter was a member of the Seattle Carmelite community. Lukelesia lived in Siritanyi, a village and subparish of Christ the King Cathedral Parish, in Bungoma, Kenya. Siritanyhi had no well, so Lukelesia had to walk several miles every day to get water from a less than favorable source for her family.
The Ladybugs raised funds and awareness to dig a safe well in Siritanyi. Our parish joined the efforts to raise the money for "Lukelesia's Well" and as a result two wells were made possible. Fr. Jim Dalton, who retired in 2012, traveled to Kenya to meet Lukelesia. A Sister Parish friendship was then started through Fr. Jim and Fr. Christopher Wanyonyi, Pastor of Christ the King Cathedral.
Our parish embraced the opportunity to live our Catholic faith with our brothers and sisters at Christ the King in Kenya. Our sister parish relationship has grown each year through yearly visits, prayer, friendship, mutual support, and solidarity.
Sponsor A Student
Education has been the main focus of our sister parish joint projects. The Sponsor A Student program began in 2008. Interest in supporting Christ the King Cathedral schools by sponsoring a student grew immediately throughout our parish, with over 60 students being sponsored each year since. Funds donated to Sponsor A Student cover tuition, uniform, supplies, and a daily lunch. For the 2014 school year which starts in January, the cost to sponsor a primary student is $375, and the cost to sponsor a secondary student is $575. A third option is to donate any amount to the general scholarship fund which covers additional students either in full or in partial scholarships. Sponsoring A Student means giving a child the opportunity for an education they would not otherwise receive.
With many families struggling to meet their children's basic needs, making education possible changes lives and promotes quality of life for our sister parish families. Some sponsors that started helping a student in primary school, have continued to sponsor them each year until secondary graduation. Primary students must pass state tests to move up to secondary school, and graduation from secondary school also depends on passing a state test. Our sponsored students have had the highest test scores in the school and many of them in the country! Their words of thanks in their letters often state that they will show how grateful they are by working hard and getting good marks, which is exactly what they have done. Since these students come from the families with the most extreme circumstances, they are sometimes the only child in their family to attend school. So it is all the more impressive that under these conditions they are determined to make the most of this opportunity for education.
Our sister parish "Mamas" of the Catholic Women's Association (CWA) at Christ the King Cathedral started a micro-finance loan program to help start small businesses, and reduce poverty in their parish. They realized the benefit of pooling their limited funds to help more women with small business projects provide for parish families. The microfinance system, requires loan repayments to be paid at a rate that replenishes the general loan fund and allows more people to start new projects. In solidarity with the CWA Mamas to address poverty in their community, our parish stepped in by raising funds to support their projects, some of which were just not possible without the ability to buy expensive equipment, training, and materials. Since we visit Bungoma every other year, we also are able to see first hand which projects have had success and which projects struggled for example, due to extreme rain or drought. This program started in 2008 and has since been supported by our parish each year
Our parish members have supported the CWA through donations towards Holy Family Farm, bee hives, poultry, dairy, tailoring scholarships, and the tailoring school which now has an embroidery machine. Projects the CWA will focus on in 2014 include cows/dairy, water spigots, bee hives, poultry, cereal/grain wholesaling, and used clothing sales.
Special Needs of our Sister Parish
When we learn of our sister parish needs and hardships, we are there for our brothers and sisters at Christ the King Cathedral Parish. Our parish has helpbed to fund several school facilities improvements, to include expansion of school classrooms, the construction of an administration building for the parish school, and a food storage building. The school administration building was built in response to a Kenyan government mandate to provide adequate workspace for teachers and administrators. The school was facing colosure without the building addition.
Other Ministry Activities
- Hosting Fr. Christopher Wanyonyi and John Simiyu during bi-annual visits.
- Coordinating visits to our sister parish in Bungoma Kenya bi-annually.
- Participation in the annual Seattle Archdiocese African Connections Conference.
- Coordinating the Novena of Masses for Mothers by Fr. Christopher.
Sister Parish Ministry Contacts
Chairperson: Carla Brown 2012-present
Secretary: Mary Requa
Sponsor A Student Coordinator: Geri Schub
Solidarity Project Coordinator: Michael Van Winkle
Questions, Contact the parish office at 360-435-8565 or email@example.com