St Mary’s Church has had a link with the DBS since the early 1980s through the late Dorothy Cotman, a resident of Hadlow, who was the sister of Fr Kenneth Sharp, one of the leaders of the DBS for many years. Fr Kenneth visited his sister regularly over many years and kept us up to date with their work in Delhi. Fr Kenneth died during a visit to Hadlow in the Summer of 1992 and his funeral took place at St Mary’s Hadlow in July 1992, attended by many people who were connected to the DBS.
The history of the DBS goes back to 1877 when a small group of Anglican priests went to Delhi from Cambridge UK to establish a religious community called the Brotherhood of the Ascended Christ. After many setbacks they gradually built up the community and formed the Delhi Brotherhood Society as a charitable organisation to provide basic education and care for children from the poorest families in the Old Delhi region. Funding for their work was obtained from within India and from external funding bodies and Churches around the world. A comprehensive history of the Cambridge/Delhi Brotherhood called “Whether we be many or few” has been written by C. M. Millington. Alan Knowles has a copy if anyone is interested to read it.
St Mary’s initial involvement was to sponsor the education of two children in the DBS schools. Over the years this number has gradually risen to ten children and we aim to send at least £1,000 each year to support their education and wellbeing, thanks to the generosity of a group of regular donors, and occasional fund raising activities. The DBS send annual reports of the children’s educational progress and items of arts and crafts prepared by the children. Most years somebody from the DBS visits St Mary’s to give updates on the latest developments. Our main contact over recent years has been Fr Monodeep Daniel. A few people from St Mary’s have visited the DBS to see the work first hand. They are always impressed by how much good work is done amongst the poorest children and families with quite small resources. People are always welcome to visit the DBS either to see the schools and the projects, or possibly to stay for a longer period to assist with some of the work.
Many of the children find work or self employment when they finally leave the DBS schools. One of the gratifying aspects for us is that two of the current younger members of the DBS staff started out as orphan boys on the streets of Old Delhi and were taken in by the DBS and sponsored by St Mary’s.
Please look on the DBS website for more information: http://delhibrotherhood.blogspot.com/