Saint Swithins Church - Parish of Walcot


“For God so loved the world that he gave his one and only Son, that whoever believes in him shall not perish but have eternal life.”

John 3:16

“God so loved the world...”  What should our response to that love be?  What else can it be but to share this most amazing news?  Our missionary God calls each one of us to join in his mission – to our families, friends, colleagues and neighbours. 

We also share this good news not only in word but through building meaningful relationships with others both near and far who are serving Christ in different ways, places and cultures.  We also share it through caring for the needs of those around us, a real expression of God’s love poured out.  Currently, 10 percent of St Swithin’s income goes to supporting its mission partners.  The range of organisations with which we are linked, and the different ways in which they work, demonstrates the extent to which Mission is no longer about ‘us’ bringing something to ‘them’.   So much is about partnership: working with other organisations; developing initiatives with local peoples and churches; and nurturing links between churches in different corners of the globe both practically and prayerfully.  And in this way, in a host of ways, we enjoy a richness that comes from sharing together that which God has given us.

Our connection with Walcot is probably best described as by adoption. I [Robert] grew up in Switzerland and felt called into mission work in my teens. Finally, after training with Wycliffe I went to work in Cameroon. My first wife, Sylvia, was sent out by Walcot when she went to Cameroon, which is where we met and married.

After 20 years of linguistic and translation work in Cameroon I lost Sylvia to cancer in 1994. Three years later Ria’s and my paths crossed, clearly arranged by the Lord. She had grown up in Holland and was working with International Nepal Fellowship as lab technician in Nepal. We got married in 1997 and we continued to serve in Cameroon.

We have always received a warm welcome from Walcot and very much appreciated the strong support for work overseas that Walcot shows to many missionaries around the globe. We are excited that Walcot has started to partner with Wycliffe UK in the Banen people’s translation project in Cameroon.

Walcot’s faithful support of us over more than 3 decades stands out. They started supporting one single lady from their church, continued supporting her family and now they are faithfully supporting two ‘strangers’ (Robert, Swiss, Ria, Dutch)! That never ceases to amaze and encourage us. We love the cards we receive several times a year. It reminds us that we are prayed for regularly. The prayer support cannot be measured, but one time when we had reached a low point in the Bakossi translation project, we shared our burden for prayers. After Walcot and many others prayed, the Lord turned the situation around and the project was able to make a new start.

Robert & Ria Hedinger