As you might imagine, APF receive a lot of speculative emails from wannabe partners from all over Africa (and elsewhere, as it happens). These correspondents often request school fees or iron roofing sheets for a church roof and once a 4×4 vehicle. We try to reply to the majority of these, usually explaining that we don’t have capacity for new partnerships and signposting them to eVitabu.

Occasionally an email catches my attention. One such came from Muringi Solomon during my recent stay in Uganda. He explained that he was the son of Rev Canon Apuuli Kinobe, a former regional worker for APF responsible for Uganda, Kenya and Tanzania. Who knew? It was certainly news to me! In our email exchange, Solomon outlined Canon Kinobe’s work for APF: coordinating trips for our founder Derek Blundell, visiting dioceses to identify the most worthy requests for training partnerships and delivering much of that training too. Solomon also sent photos that confirmed any lingering doubt I may have had about his story. He explained that his mother had often asked if APF still existed. His Google search showed that it did, hence his introductory message.

One of the benefits of visiting Africa and staying for several weeks is that it provides time to follow up on unexpected opportunities. So, while in Uganda, I was able to meet Solomon, his mother, Grace, and sister, Brenda, at their shop in Kampala. It was great to hear their reminiscences of sharing in ministry with Derek and Jill Blundell. We looked through an entire album of photographs of African ministry tours, regional events and sightseeing visits in the UK with APF.

Solomon continues to run a clerical tailoring business which APF helped to establish decades ago. I believe APF shipped ten sewing machines and paid for Grace and others to learn tailoring skills to help support Canon Kinobe’s ministry. Solomon claims the business is now the leading outfitters of vestments in the whole of Uganda.

eived a call from Bishop Data from Morobi Diocese in South Sudan enquiring about purchasing new vestments. We know Bishop Data and have supported priests in the diocese in recent years with grants for bikes and Bibles!

After bidding Solomon, Grace and Brenda farewell, I reflected that there is nothing new under the sun and that the vision APF has to empower African Training Partners, identify coordinators and even appoint an African Director is not without precedent. It also made me reflect and give thanks for Canon Kinobe’s life and legacy, and the seed that APF was able to plant many years ago which continues to provide for his family and clothe African clergy not just with beautifully handcrafted vestments but, we pray, even power from on high!

Canon Kinobe died in 2012 and his obituary was published in New Vision, one of Uganda’s leading newspapers. It makes good reading, so in memory of a former colleague, someone that a handful of supporters may remember or might have even met, you can find it in full here.