Garry Ion, Britain

Garry Ion, Britain

Supporting and connecting with people on the margins, especially men, through practical work in Community Shed groups.

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After 25 years of mission and development work in East Africa and South Sudan, I have come full circle, returning in 2020 to my home county of Cumbria and city of birth, Carlisle, to work in the community with the local church.

Get all Garry’s news and updates:

  • Guatemala: returning to the UK

    Mark and Rosalie Balfour arrive back in the UK on 24 April. Please pray for them as they say goodbye to many friends and colleagues in Guatemala alongside packing, clearing their house and doing all the administrative work that’s needed before they leave. Pray for stamina and resilience as they press on with everything that… Read more

  • UK: transition

    Pray for Festo and Grace Kanungha, mission partners in Cornwall, as they prepare to move from Liskeard to Bodmin. Praise God that they have a house ready to move into and that God has prepared the way for them. Please pray for their family, especially the children, as they go through this transition. Read more

Garry’s story

After training to be a carpenter, I studied construction management and first went out to Uganda and Kiwoko Hospital in 1995, supported by Tearfund. I became a CMS mission partner in 1998 and continued for eight years to help develop the small rural medical centre into a district teaching hospital. In 2001 I moved over the northern Ugandan border to live in Kajo-Keji, southern Sudan, for two years, to support the war-torn diocese prior to South Sudan’s independence. Relocating to the Ugandan capital, Kampala, in 2005, I became a consultant building engineer, working on numerous building projects for the church in East Africa and South Sudan. I have helped to design and build over 100 schools in the region, and was privileged to be awarded an honorary doctorate in 2011 by my former university in Bolton.

In 2020 I moved back home to Cumbria to support my ageing parents in Penrith, and to take on the new challenge of working with the Diocese of Carlisle and their newly-formed charity Restore Cumbria, part of their vision for innovative mission that is bearing fruit. The Archbishop of Canterbury has stated that we are facing a pandemic of isolation and loneliness. My focus is therefore to come alongside people in the community, including refugees, and especially men. I use practical skills and life experience to run “Community Shed” groups. While being creative, recycling, upcycling and making things, we enjoy each other’s fellowship. It is a duty and joy to share about God’s loving presence in this broken world.

Church Mission Society is a people-oriented, pioneering, evangelical mission made up of a network of ordinary people. They have given me support and encouragement to allow me to develop my own Christ-centred mission, first in Africa and now in Cumbria.

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