Writtle University College (WUC) welcomed two notable visitors on 16th September. The Rt Revd David Muriithi Ireri, Bishop of Embu in Kenya and The Reverend Janet Nicholls, the Rural Adviser and Agricultural Chaplain, Diocese of Chelmsford spent the day exploring WUC’s campus.
Chelmsford has enjoyed long-standing bonds with Embu in Kenya since 1978, when the then-Bishops of Chelmsford, Mount Kenya East and Trinidad & Tobago struck up a friendship at the Lambeth Conference.
The inter-diocesan links they created continue today and have grown to involve individuals, parishes, the cathedrals, youth groups and educational intuitions. A Kenyan bishop takes part in the Ordination of Deacons in Chelmsford each year.
The one-day visit to WUC introduced the Bishop and Reverend to WUC’s agricultural and horticultural courses. They were welcomed to the campus by WUC’s chaplain, Revd Andrew Merchant, and Dr Anya Perera, Head of School for Sustainable Environments & Design. During a tour of the facilities, the visitors met WUC’s Vice-Chancellor, Professor Tim Middleton, and had the opportunity to sample student life at the Freshers’ Fair.
The day included time within WUC’s floristry department, where life-sized corn dollies were created for Chelmsford Cathedral’s Harvest Festival.
The Revd Janet Nicholls said: “The Diocese of Chelmsford has a valued link with five dioceses in Kenya. Last year, I was privileged to visit them and was inspired by agricultural projects led by the Anglican Development Services in Kenya.
“Since I’m equally enthused by the agricultural and sustainability learning projects at Writtle University College, I was delighted to accept Professor Tim Middleton’s invitation to bring Bishop David from Embu in Kenya to tour the campus.
“Such a meeting had been a long-held dream of mine and I was hugely grateful to Dr Anya Perera, Prof Tim Middleton and the Revd Andrew Merchant for their warm welcome and hospitality. As our conversations flowed in to hopes of shared learning partnerships, I recalled some of the speeches at WUC’s recent graduation ceremony, ‘In life, it’s important to have dreams and follow them!’”