Monday, November 30, 2009

Standing Committee

We just finished a big meeting in Rumbek. It was the Standing Committee of the Episcopal Church of Sudan, which stands in place of the Synod which only meets every 3 years. It was all hands on deck with the provincial staff, so my typing skills were put to use as a minute taker. I minited the house of laity and some of the general sessions.

Some of the more noteworthy decisions were the affirmation that women may become deacons, priests, or bishops, and an affirmation to continue dialog with all members of the Anglican Communion.

During the reading of the resolutions, when it got to the one about women bishops, a great cheer went up from the Mother’s Union, and the bishop’s wives.

For those of you who have ever put on a conference or convention you know the sheer volume of logistical matters involved. This meeting was impressive. The logistics of getting all the bishops and delegates from all over Sudan to one place was amazing. Many of the delegates had never been to Rumbek before.

For me this meeting was the convergence of two worlds. We were in a air conditioned conference facility that could have been in an office park in some commercial district in California. We were following set legislative practices that reminded me both of diocesan conventions I’ve been to and of my time working at the State Capitol. But then in the evening we all left the conference room and went back to our tukls (grass roofed huts), pit latrines, bucket showers, and plastic chairs under the moon. The other difference is that in this meeting, besides the normal matters of church governance, they were discussing matters of life and death, hunger, development, and peace.

See the appeal by the Standing Committee regarding the situation in Sudan: click here.

Thursday, November 5, 2009

Register to Vote!

Today, my boss, the Archbishop of ECS, Daniel Deng Bul, and the Catholic Archbishop Paulino, went to register to vote. This month is the registration of voters for the election next year. It has been more than 20 years since there has been an election in south Sudan, so there is great anticipation. The two Archbishops and their staff saw this as an opportunity to encourage people to get out and register. So they lined up, and got their registration cards, in front of many cameras. It will be all over the news here tonight, and in the paper tomorrow, and hopefully be a big help in both encouraging people to register, and educating them on how to do it.

As I watched the convoy of my coworkers driving off to register, I was filled with joy and pride for them, and hope for the future of this country. I remember how excited I was when I registered to vote for the first time, but this was something much more. The smiles were big when they returned. “Did you register?”… “Yes!”

Photos: the car I drive, proudly displaying it’s new sticker
and Archbishop Daniel proudly displaying his voter id card.

Tuesday, November 3, 2009


I had the honor of attending the enthronement of the first bishop of Terakeka, the Rt. Rev. Micah Dawidi this past weekend.

It was a wonderful celebration! The service and speeches lasted just over six hours. The people of Terakeka, a community about an hour’s drive north of Juba, were very excited. Their diocese was created this year, split from the diocese of Juba, and they were very happy to enthrone their long-time beloved assistant bishop, as their diocesan bishop.

Terakeka was greatly affected in October by the displacement of people from fighting in the region. Twenty villages in the area were burned, and 50 people killed, according to official reports. We saw many IDPs staying at schools and various public areas in the town of Terakeka. We walked down to the Nile, and the pastor showed us the boats, and told us that if it weren’t for those boats, that ferried fleeing IDPs across the river during the conflict, many more would have been killed.

As we walked through the town, I saw a moringa tree. I am always looking for moringa trees, which grow wild here, or are planted as ornamental trees. Most people don’t know about their life-saving properties. I always see it as an encouragement when I find the moringa tree growing. I plucked some leaves, and told one of the villagers who was walking with us, that you could eat them, and that they were good for you. He told me “no, we don’t eat them”. So to prove my point, my friend Trevor and I ate a hand full of leaves then and there!

It was wonderful to see the joy that the people had that day of celebration. Despite all the struggle and conflict in the area, they came together to rejoice, to dance, and to sing.

I ask your thanksgivings and your prayers for the new Diocese of Terakeka!

Monday, November 2, 2009

Sun Brownies!


Here is my solar oven. You can make your own if you have a black pot, a clear plastic bag (heat-resistant is best). And a shiny surface. You can look up lots of designs on the internet. I learned about solar cooking in Tanzania. (thanks Peggy and Nancy for teaching me, and giving me the kit!)

Here is my first attempt, brownies, made on Halloween! I checked the temperature at the height of cooking, and it was 190F. It took about an hour and a half to cook.

We don’t have an oven (or a refrigerator), so this is the first time I’ve gotten to make brownies all year, very exciting! A whole new world of cooking opportunities is open to me (provided the sun is shining!)

Looking at the sun got me thinking about how the same sun is looking down on all my friends and family in the US. And so I checked the sunrise time in California, and there is about an hour after sunrise in California, which is just before sunset here, so for that hour, we are both looking up at the same sun at the same time… in fact it's happening at this very moment! The world isn’t so big after all…. well maybe it is!