In Relationship with Diocese of Toliara
Our Parish Link with Amboasary
St James the Less is linked with the Parish of Amboasary, in the south of the Episcopal Diocese of Toliara, Madagascar. Members of our parish have visited the Diocese, assisting with projects and teaching. In August 2019, the Rev. Lisa Senuta, our rector at the time, wad invited to preach at the ordination of the first woman priest. Each year, a portion of our outreach money goes the Diocese of Toilara.
We supported American missionaries Bishop Todd & Rev. Patsy McGregor from when they went to Madagascar in 1991 until they left in 2020. As part of the St James the Less Capital Campaign in 2007, we raised funds to build the Bishop’s Chapel at the Cathedral Complex in the recently formed Diocese of Toliara. We have sent out seven short-term mission teams since 2014, helping in many ways including: landscaping around the Cathedral, the Diocesan accounting, and forming a Days for Girls Enterprise which makes and distributes washable feminine hygiene products. Rev. Lisa Senuta (former Rector of St James the Less) preached at the ordination of Rev. Nolavy, the first woman priest in Madagascar. In 2019, St James the Less Vestry endorsed the concept of linking our Parish with the Parish of Amboasary and signed the agreement between the parishes in 2021. The Beatles Mass in 2021 raised over $12,700 for the Diocese, and we contribute regularly from our Outreach Fund.
Rev. Antsa, who leads our link parish of Amboasary, is responsible for eleven congregations. Working alongside her in leading churches is her husband, Liva, as well as Deacon Alfredino Tsimatory, Catechist Richard and a large group of student catechists.
Pictured: Rev. Antsa and her husband, Liva. (top)
Rev. Antsa and members of her family. (bottom)
Video: St. James the Less and Amboasary
Meet the people and see the churches in our sister parish of Amboasary in Madagascar, and learn about the relationship that we have shared with them over the years.
Madagascar is an island in the Indian Ocean, off the east coast of Africa. Toliara is a province in the south of Madagascar, which is one of the poorest countries in the world. The Episcopal Diocese of Toliara covers the poorest part of that country. It is larger than Illinois with about 1,000 miles of coastline and 120 miles of “paved” road. The pin on the map marks the location of Amboasary Sud, the community out of which our link parish is based. Amboasary was featured in United Nations reports as the epicenter of serious famine spanning several years.
Education for Toliara
As a way of deepening the two parishes’ relationships, we are sponsoring the education of children in our link Parish, through the Diocesan Toliara Child program, and through a school supplies program. You can give to either program (or both!) through St James the Less.
Toliara Child program
$25 per month per child covers all the costs of school enrollment & tuition fees; school supplies, and uniforms; and a Days for Girls kit for girls of the relevant age. Most of the children in this program attend private schools. If you sponsor a child, you will receive their photo, get news of their progress in school and once or twice a year get a letter from them by email – translated from Malagasy. You will find that they are praying for you as you pray for them.
This may be of particular interest to families in our Parish as your children get to learn about life and schooling in a very different country and setting.
School Supplies Program for Children attending a Public School
Public schools are free, but parents have to buy the necessary school supplies. Before we started this program, many children in the village of Marodokilimasy were not attending school because their parents could not afford such items. For 2022-3, we were able to provide supplies and t-shirts for the entire school in Marodokilimasy! We hope to do the same this year.
A one-time gift of $17 provides the necessary supplies for a child to go to school for the whole 2023-4 academic year or $20 will send a child to school, and help provide the teachers with supplies and textbooks.
This program is ideal for anyone wanting to make a donation to help children with their education without developing a personal relationship with a family in Toliara. Maybe your child would like to make their own donation to enable a child to attend school.
Other Education Initiatives in the Diocese
Meeting the Needs of People
Building a Foundation for the Future
The Diocese is making costly investments in its growth — building and equipping new churches, training seminarians, evangelists and catechists, creating economic development projects — as well as organizing emergency relief during famines or after cyclones. Its operating budget for everything else is amazingly small — just over $80,000 for the whole Diocese. You couldn't achieve so much with that amount in the USA! It is wonderful that such a sum can impact so many lives and spread the Good News.
The Diocese was formed in 2013 and is working hard to make itself financially more sustainable. Local contributions grew by a quarter from 2018 to 2020, but the effects of covid and famine have been a setback. The people are too poor to sustain and grow the Diocese without international help. The McGregor Toliara Endowment Fund is being built up to help create a sustainable future for the Diocese. Donations to it can be made via St James the Less.