St Peter / Balsall Common

As part of the Church of England in Birmingham Diocese, we also have strong links with the church in Malawi.

We have an opportunity to provide some practical support to the schools and families of the church in Malawi, through the annual container from Birmingham which this year can once again be sent. Claire, our representative on the Malawi Task force writes: 

 I am pleased to say the Malawi Container is booked for 12 June this year and after a number of postponements we are hopeful that it will be sent this time. This will, of course, depend on the Covid restrictions at the time.

It also means that the collection and packing will need to be done in a different manner. I am asking people to pack their items in either a suitcase, double plastic black bag, or bag or cardboard box (boxes roughly 1 cubic foot) and seal them writing clearly on the outside the contents. Probably, sewing items, stationery, first aid, tools, children’s clothing. This means those helping will not need to touch actual items. As you know, we contribute towards the cost of sending the container at £6 per cubic foot so if possible do not send half full boxes. If this is a problem please contact me. Donations towards the cost of sending items may be Gift Aided.

As not everyone will have enough to fill a large box please put smaller items in a shoe box, again labelled with contents as above. We will then put several shoes boxes in a larger box. As far as possible do not mix items as this makes it difficult for the customs officials. Sewing items including elastic and oddments of material are much in demand as are pens and pencils and sewing machines.

We will receive the items in church on Friday 11 June. I will let you know timing nearer the date. We will need some help on both Friday and early Saturday morning. Please let me know if you are available on either of these days. This will be dependent on Covid restrictions at the time.

I have to book space on the container so would be grateful if you would let me know what size package you will be bringing. The people in Malawi are always very thankful for whatever we send and ask me to convey their thanks and God’s Blessing to you all.

Many thanks,


Canon Claire Laland, Malawi Task Group

if you have any questions or want to make a donation, you can contact Claire on this link.

We are delighted to learn that our friend,  Agnes, has written that she has received her first Covid vaccine and is due for the 2nd in May. That is really good news to know that the vaccine has reached Malawi. She says the situation re Covid is improving slowly. She also asks to pass this message to us:

“This Covid has brought a lot of misery to so many people. But we still put our Trust into the Lord, He is still in Control. We shall overcome one day. Please pass on my Easter greetings to all Brothers and Sisters at St. Peter's Church. May the Lord continue taking care of you all, dear Mum in Christ.”

We are planning for the container to go to Malawi on June 12th. Claire Laland, Malawi Task Group

If you would like to support Agnes and the other workers of the Dioceses of Malawi, please consider making a donation! Envelopes can be found in the church which is open for private prayer on Wednesdays between 10:00am and 11:00am. Cheques should be made payable to St Peter’s PCC and donations can either be left in church or at the Vicarage, St Peter’s House, next to the church.

If you are interested in Malawi, you might enjoy this version of 'The Blessing' sung by the boys of a Malawian orphanage ... 

Here's an update about events in Malawi:

We had two letters last September (18/09/2020) from Agnes! With some excellent pictures of what she has been doing in Malawi with the schools, to help combat COVID-19 there!

Greetings from Malawi!

How are you over there? This is just to say hello. How is the situation like over there now with this Corona Virus pandemic? Are you still in lockdown?

How is everyone at the Church? Have you started attending church services?

Here we are fine, the Corona virus infection is reducing, which is good news to us. We really thank God for His mercies. This Corona Virus pandemic has brought misery among people all over the world. But God is still in Control.

Greetings to the family and all Brothers and Sisters in Christ at St. Peter's.

God bless.


(And a second letter)


Thank you very much for the email ..... But we still know God is in control.

Yes, I remember that beautiful Farm shop restaurant.

Thank you for sharing your website, glad to hear that you do out some news from Malawi.

I just thought of sending you these photos which were taken after I had donate some Face masks to one of the rural Primary schools. This school in a rural remote place, the students in the photos are a Standard 8 pupils who are about to sitnfor their Primary school leaving Exams in two weeks time.

The school lacks a lot of Educational materials, such as exercise books, pencils and pens, paper, even reading books ( like a library), their toilets, very dilapidated, it even reminded me of the Toilet twinning, I remembered those toilets in the Church on that day I visited. See the toilets in one of the photos.

I still want to go back to this School to go and help the girls on how to make re-usable Sanitary pads, as it is a necessity to the girls.

Most of them cannot manage to buy from the shops. I just pray the Lord may give me the strength, as it at a distance from where I leave, needs transport too. But I know the Lord will provide as the Bible teaches us not to be anxious about tomorrow. Matgew 6: 34.

May you please pass on my sincere greetings to the Vicar, and to all Brothers and Sisters at St. Peter's.

God bless.










We also have this recent picture of our friend Agnes, distributing water dispensers and soap to villagers to help with their hygiene - especially important at the moment in order to fight the risk of COVID19- 

Presidential Election

The Presidential election held in 2019 was overturned by the Constitutional court due to fraud or irregularity.The court ordered the election to be rerun this year and Opposition Leader, Lazarus Chakwera, was elected defeating the incumbent Peter Muthanka with 58.7% of the vote. Lazarus Chakwera is a theologian, pastor and former President of the Malawi Assemblies of God.

The previous President accepted the result of the 2020 election and sent congratulations to the newly elected President and Vice-President. This is the first time an opposition leader in Northern sub-Sahara Africa has won a voting return after a previous result has been overturned. So congratulations to the Malawi people that this happened without violence and within the legal framework.

Everyone is very excited and as Baird, one of my friends there said, ‘My cheeks are flowing with tears of joy for electing new presidency for this country. We trust there is going to be deep relief for this country’.

In his speech after being sworn in the President said, ‘With your help we will restore faith in having a government that serves; not a government that rules, a government that inspires, not a government that infuriates, a government that listens, not a government that shouts but a government that fights for you and not against you’ .

I have received many messages of thanks for our prayers during this difficult time.

COVID – 19

However Malawi has still to cope with the Corona Virus. Although the virus has not spread as quickly as was feared it does now seem to be taking a hold. A total of 24 deaths have been recorded and attributed to the virus but 5 deaths were recorded yesterday. A big increase. They think this is probably due to workers returning from South Africa. Hundreds of returnees are expected to arrive in Malawi this week, raising fears that cases will increase even more. A survey shows that 82% of Malawians are more scared of hunger than being infected by the virus. Social distancing is difficult due to most people living day to day and often in very crowded conditions. Advice re procedures and hygiene etc has been sent to the Bishops based on experiences in Birmingham.

The schools have now been closed and the staff are requesting buckets and soap for when they are able to return. We are looking at the best way to help them. Mothers’ Union are busy making masks and PPE equipment. A side effect of the schools being closed in Malawi is that many young girls are being pressurised into getting married as their education has come to a halt. Please remember them in your prayers.

Thanks to you all for your continued support and prayers for our brothers and sisters in Malawi. If you require more information please contact me on

Canon Claire Laland, Malawi Task Group and Mothers’ Union

Prayer points

Give thanks for the election of Lazarus Chakwera and that he will quickly win the trust and confidence of all of the people of Malawi. Ask for wisdom as he appoints his new cabinet.

Pray for children unable to attend school especially those who are now expected to marry.

Pray for those suffering from Covid-19 especially in the rural areas where water is not readily available

Every year we send gifts in the annual container which is sent from Birmingham. Two years ago we also made greetings cards which were given by the children to Revd. Isaac Phiri, who was able to visit our church. He has taken them to share with the people of Upper Shire Diocese in Malawi! 

You can click here to see the Facebook post about this!

At the start of our Lockdown, we received the following letter from Agnes, our friend and correspondent in Malawi: it was sent to Claire Laland to share - 

Dear Mama Claire,

Thank you very much for this informative email. I was just thinking about you now before receiving your email. You are in our prayers, we have prayers every morning at our Church, it is a very difficult and worrying situation, as we hear in radios and televisions. Very sad to hear about thr cancellation of Church services, and for people being in doors most of the time, this is a very difficult and sad situation indeed.

We here some African countries have been affected too, we here African countries like Kenya, Tanzania, South Africa, Zambia. Most of our people do Business in these countries, so it is most likely it will affect Malawi too. But the Malawi Government through the ministry of Health are encouraging and educating people on how to prevent the Corona virus problem, like washing of hands, avoiding crowded places, handshakes.

But in Malawi it is difficult, like the crowded buses, crowded markets, even crowded hospitals. If the developed world are worried, it will be difficult for countries like to contain it as hospitals don't have enough equipment for testing the virus.

My dear mama Claire, as believers, Christians, may we just put our trust in God the creator, God takes care of everyone, the elderly and the young ones, He does not choose. He was there, He is there, and He is still there for us all. Don't despair the Lord is always there for you. He took care of the Israelites in those 40 years in the wilderness, it is the same God who will eradicate this deadly Corona virus.

May we continue praying to God to give Wisdom and Knowledge to the medical personnel to find proper ways if eradicating this deadly Corona virus, and find the proper treatment.

Jesus is always there, and promised us, if we ask anything from Him it shall be given, but we should pray with Faith.

May the Lord continue taking care of you during this trying time of the CORONA VIRUS.


God bless.