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    I’m wearing this amazing shirt in honour of Grace Manieson-Annancy and her work with children in Akosombo, in Ghana, about which you can read more in earlier entries in this blog.

    The shirt is made of cloth produced in Akosombo and bought by me from Akosombo Market when I visited in February.

    It was on that visit that I first saw Grace’s work among children there, encouraging them to develop their reading skills. With the help of books donated from East London, dozens of children are being given skills that will equip them for life. Last year, a generous donation funded some bookcases on which the reading material is displayed. And this year, we started raising funds to build a permanent home – a library, if you like, that we’re calling ‘Grace’s Place’ – where children will be able to come and read in safety and comfort.

    If you’d like to support ‘Grace’s Place’ I’d be happy to tell you more, and to receive your donations. Email me at a.westham@chelmsford.anglican.org or read the rest of this blog for more info.


    St Cedd’s Church, Barkingside, isn’t the biggest church in the world, but it has a big-hearted congregation! So when they heard about ‘Grace’s Place’, our project for children in Ghana, they put their hands in their pockets and gave generously.

    As a result, their Vicar, Rev Stella Olukanmi, was able to send us a magnificent cheque for £200, taking our total beyond £3,000 already. Thank you, St Cedd’s!

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    The Churchwardens and clergy who attended the recent ‘Visitation’ service in Wanstead responded immediately when told about Grace’s Place. I’ve just received a cheque from Wanstead Parish, who organised the evening, and I’m bowled over that it was nearly £1,000.
    There’s a long way to go yet, but we’re about to send information about Grace’s Place to lots of generous people across East London, and we know that they will respond in lots of imaginative ways.

    We want to build a permanent place where children can come to read and learn in peace and safety. We’re calling it Grace’s Place: Can we make it happen? Yes, together we can!

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    One of the formal duties of an archdeacon is to ‘admit’ churchwardens to their roles. This takes place annually at what is known as a ‘Visitation’, which could be very dull but is often actually rather good.

    This May’s visitation for the Archdeaconry of West Ham was an especially joyous celebration, marking the start of the newly-configured archdeaconry, now covering the three London boroughs of Newham, Redbridge and Waltham Forest. Clergy and Churchwardens alike re-committed themselves to work for the good of their local communities, and to be a ‘transforming presence’.

    For the first time, we announced ‘the Archdeacon of West Ham’s Appeal’, to raise £20,000 for ‘Grace’s Place’, a literacy project in Ghana. You can read all about it elsewhere in this blog here.

    I’m pictured here, looking very formal, with our excellent Diocesan Registrar, Aiden Hargreaves-Smith.