Wednesday, February 05, 2014
2/5/2014, #31, 1st Quarter 2014
Give the king your judgments, O God, and your righteousness to the king's son. (Psalm 72:1)
Holy Spirit, write your judgments on the hearts of our rulers so that they may know your righteousness.
He will judge your people with righteousness, and your poor with justice. (Psalm 72:2)
Father, let those who rule over us do so with righteousness and bring you poor forward with justice.
The mountains will bring peace to the people, and the little hills, by righteousness. (Psalm 72:3)
Father, let the richness of this land be a blessing to all. Let the hillsides be clothed with flocks and the valleys with grain.
He will bring justice to the poor of the people; he will save the children of the needy, and will break in pieces the oppressor. (Psalm 72:4)
Jesus, bring your justice to the poor and break the cycle of poverty in this land. Stop the oppression of your people by the wealthy -- break in pieces the oppressor. Thank you.
They shall fear you as long as the sun and moon endure, throughout all generations. (Psalm 72:5)
Jesus, bring this generation to a righteous fear of your judgment and righteousness.
He shall come down like rain upon the grass before mowing, like showers that water the earth. (Psalm 72:6)
Jesus, refresh us with your Holy Spirit. Revive us and renew our civic institutions and your church. Thank you.
In his days the righteous shall flourish, and abundance of peace, until the moon is no more. (Psalm 72:7)
Father, let your righteousness flourish among your people and bring us to your peace.
He shall have dominion also from sea to sea [A Mari Usque Ad Mare, the Canadian motto], and from the River to the ends of the earth. (Psalm 72:8 )
Lord Jesus, have dominion from sea to sea over the United States, Canada, and Mexico.
A word received: Keep your eyes on me.
Wednesday: 72 * 119:73-96; Gen. 22:1-18: Heb. 11:23-31: John 6:52-59
Thursday: , 71 * 74; Gen. 23:1-20: Heb. 11:32-12:2: John 6:60-71
Notes from the Front Line
Daily: For our Bishop and for increase in disciples and Lay Leaders
FEBRUARY 5 The Rev’d Arthur Peters, The Rev’d Brenda Nickles
***** Read the attachment: "We do not grieve…"
***** Donations for Maridi Relief
The response to the Bishop's appeal for funds to help the Diocese of Maridi's refugee relief efforts has been outstanding. Thanks to all who have contributed to this effort. The Bishop has asked that donations for this appeal be received by tomorrow, February 5th. If you would like to donate to this effort, you can still do so by using our secure website and charging your donation to your credit card by clicking http://www.albanyepiscopaldiocese.org/donationMaridi.php
***** Concert for South Sudan
Rev. Marty Wendell, Rector of St. Paul's Church, Watervliet and noted singer/songwriter will be headlining the Albany Episcopal Diocese's benefit concert for South Sudan to be held Sunday, February 23, at 4 p.m. at Christ the King Spiritual Life Center. The deacon husband/wife folk/pop music duo Alan Hart, Deacon at St. Ann's of Amsterdam, and MaryCarol Hart, Deacon at St. Andrew's, Scotia will open the program, followed Rev. Tyler Slade, Director of Youth Ministry for the Diocese, who will sing praise music, new and old. A freewill offering will be taken with all proceeds going to the Diocesan appeal for the thousands of displaced people in South Sudan who have been impacted by the war there. If you cannot attend but would like to contribute to the concert, you may mail a check to the Diocesan Business Office, 580 Burton Road, Greenwich, NY, 12834. Please make the check payable to the Episcopal Diocese of Albany and write "Concert for South Sudan" in the memo line. You may also contribute by credit card using our secure website by clicking http://www.albanyepiscopaldiocese.org/donationSSudanConcert.php
***** Healing Service Guest Speaker: Rev. Michael Neufeld
The guest preacher at the Service of Healing at Christ the King Spiritual Life Center on Tuesday, February 11th will be the Rev. Michael Neufeld, Rector of St. Andrew's Church in Scotia. Before becoming a priest, Fr. Neufeld had been the Director of a church-run group home and a minister to the homeless at one of the largest soup kitchens in the United States. Fr. Neufeld knows the the depths of our Savior Jesus Christ's saving love and has found true life in His cross and resurrection. The Healing service begins at 10 a.m. Opportunity for individual prayer ministry occurs at the end of the service. Lunch is available for purchase in the dining room of the Welcome Center afterwards.
***** PRAYER TABLE REPORT ST. ANN'S OF AMSTERDAM (Monday, Feb. 3, 2014; 10-10:45 a.m. in front of our church on Division Street. Nicest weather day for the table in a long while with 24 degree temp at start and bright sunshine, no wind. Did not anoint anyone with Holy Oil today but gave out some wooden crosses made by Dennis Adams of North Carolina plus the free non-perishable food and winter clothing we offer. Lionel Gibbs and Deacon Alan Hart presiding at His table today.)
t--received wooden cross.
f,c -- NANCY -- This woman is a regular who always fills up a big sack with food and some clothes. (We set no limit on what our visitors take.) She used to be very distrusting of us but now comes every week and has started to ask questions about what we believe. "I'm a Roman Catholic," she said today. "And I know you are Protestant. But you still believe in Jesus, don't you?" Yes, we sure do! We prayed for her and her sister to be safe and well.
f,c -- SHELAYNE -- She helped herself (after prayer for her safety and protection) to food and clothing and while doing so she revealed that about a month ago she came hesitantly to the table wanting prayer for a health issue, and that since that day we prayed the health issue has cleared up. "God is so good!" she said. We agree!
f,c -- ROBERT -- This young man, a first-time visitor to the table, seemed surprised we wanted to pray for him and offer free items. He let us pray for his well-being and for God to watch over him.
YOUNG MAN (No name) -- Politely declined prayer but smiled and nodded at us.
f,c -- "JOTTY" (nickname) -- This older woman came to the table during the autumn months and showed us she was wearing the wooden cross we had given her that day. She didn't want prayer for herself but asked us to pray " ... for all those unfortunate people who don't have as much as I have."
c,f,t -- MALAYNA -- A young woman, she asked for prayer for the good health and safety of her family.
Bishop Grant & Doctor Wendy ~ Sharing the Love of Jesus in the Horn of Africa ~
We do not grieve...
...as those without hope 1 Thess 4:13-14
Tukal: A Gambellan home
As we all sat in the tukal, -sisters, brothers-in-law, father, mother, grandchildren, friends and relatives, the sunlight streamed in the door, glancing off the feathers of inquisitive baby chicks, and falling softly on the faces of those who had gathered to share their grief. War had a face. It was the suffering face of our friends and colleagues in Gambella as family after family heard of this son killed, that brother gone missing, that dear friend no longer alive. I was struck that there was no denial of grief as parents and relatives shared their hope in Jesus. Death had taken the one they loved from them, and Jesus had taken their loved one from death. Both hope and grief had equal place. And we were privileged to share in this with them. I'll let Grant share more with you about Gambella and the nearness of war.
Next door to us, South Sudan is at war. The trouble started, it seems, as a dispute between two groups of soldiers in Juba - one group backing the President, the other backing his ousted Vice-President. Within days the whole country was involved in a conflict which has killed thousands, and displaced hundreds of thousands. Despite the newly signed peace treaty, many, in the colloquial English of this region, are still "running away." When I was a kid to "run away" was a sign of cowardice; here it simply means survival - you run or you die.
The conflict, part political, part ethnic is, for us, very personal. We have many South Sudanese friends, and many here in the Gambella region of Ethiopia with roots (and family) in South Sudan. Almost every day we hear from our priests, staff members and parishioners that they have had a family member killed in South Sudan. Many, many tell me that they have not heard from family members - some reported to have fled, one reported to have been imprisoned. Soon after the fighting started it became clear that it was unsafe in Gambella for one of our priests. Michael was serving a Nuer congregation, although he is himself is a Dinka. We have had to send him and his brother-in-law (who is part of his extended family) to Addis Ababa for their safety, at least for now.
The Gambella region is surrounded on three sides (south, west and north) by South Sudan and Sudan. Some of the towns where we have churches near the border have been overrun with large numbers of people fleeing the fighting in South Sudan. The UNHCR and the World Food Program are working hard to meet people's needs, but there is always a delay, so people turn to the churches to help. For example, in Matar, where I went a couple of weeks ago with a truckload of food and other essentials, there were about 4,000 refugees waiting for their new camp to be built just outside another town called Nininyang. It is now ready and they are being moved there, but more refugees are arriving daily. I am told the camp will have 17,000 people soon.
This past week I visited another new refugee camp, this one near the town of Dimma. The landscape was bleak - not much soil, just rocks and barren trees, devoid of any foliage in the heat and dust of dry season. I met on Saturday afternoon (under a tree, not that that helped cool anyone off...) with leaders of the new Anglican Church in the camp. They are receiving adequate food and shelter from the UN and the WFP. They have tukals (huts) to sleep in, but no place for a community shelter for worship, or other meetings (such as a place to teach their children - it will be some time before a school is set up). They also need clothes. They had to leave their homes in Sudan in a hurry and many literally had to flee with the clothes on their back. I had about $150 with me and spent it all in the Dimma market buying what clothes I could. More will be sent this week with Wilson, our priest from Dimma. Hopefully we can also get the church some shelter.
They asked me for bibles in various languages, to license their lay readers, and to baptize about 70 people. Their last request: they wanted me to name their church. Because Jesus, Mary and Joseph also had to "run away", and were themselves refugees in Egypt, the new refugee church took the name, 'Holy Family'. Interestingly, the people in Holy Family Anglican Church put their own twist on the name: they saw themselves as a holy family, a family transcending ethnicity, drawn together to worship the one God and Father because of what the Lord Jesus and his Holy Spirit have done for them.
On Monday morning I led worship at the camp. I was told that there were about 600 members but 800 turned up. We started at 7.30 am, so that we could worship in the coolest part of the day. We kept it really short (2 and a half hours) since we had a lot of baptisms. We also had the Eucharist which many had not had in a while. Amazingly, I caught a glimpse of the kingdom at this service -- although a large part of the fighting in South Sudan is ethnically-based violence, this church had made a decision. They would worship together in spite of ethnic and language differences - so we sang and prayed in Anuak, Nuer, Dinka and Murle (my ten minute sermon had to be translated into three of those languages which made it at least 45 minutes...). I was so grateful to be able to experience this inter-ethnic worship - kind of an 'in your face' to the devil, I think.
Arriving back in Gambella town I received news of more refugees arriving at already established camps in Sherkole and Pinyudu, and even more people being kept at the border in the Tiergol / Akobo region and in Lare. We have also housed a few refugees here in the Gambella Anglican Centre, as they transitioned to new areas.
I am very proud of our churches and our staff. We have worked hard in the last year and a half to see our ethnic diversity here as a strength of our church: Dinka, Nuer, Anuak, Opo, Mabaan, Jum-Jum (and now Murle) are in one church and pray and work together. In this new, rather tense, situation, our church members have supported and protected one another. "Ethnicity," culture and language are not unimportant, but they are secondary to membership in Christ's body.
Some reports in the press characterize the South Sudan conflict as "tribal." Two things are important here I think. First, the conflict is much more about political power than ethnicity, although obviously ethnicity comes into it and a conflict like this gives opportunity for old (even ancient) scores to be settled. In the present conflict, Dinkas have been fighting against Dinkas and Nuer against Nuer, as well as Nuer against Dinka (with a lot of other groups caught in the middle). Second, I believe we need to be sensitive to the derogatory overtones that words such as "tribalism" can convey. Our Canadian history of dispute between French and English, is one of many examples of ethnic tension in the West (think of the legacy of two World Wars, the Holocaust, Stalin-era Communism, Yugoslavia). Why are are our Western conflicts not called "tribal"? Is it because we think of ourselves as "civilized" and of others (Africans, for example) as "primitive"? Gandhi was once asked what he thought of "Western civilization"; he said he thought it would be a good idea.
I want to close this newsletter with a note of thanks. So many people have written to assure us of prayer. Mission agencies and churches have offered financial help. We are very grateful and we are doing what we can to use what is given wisely. Please pray for those who are still fighting, for those who are grieving losses, and for those who are 'running away'.
Rt Rev Dr Grant LeMarquand and Dr Wendy LeMarquand are missionaries of SAMS (Society of Anglican Missionaries and Senders)
Bishop Grant is area bishop for the Horn of Africa (Ethiopia, Somalia, Eretrea, Djibouti); under the Most Rev Dr Mouneer Anis,
Bishop of Egypt with North Africa and the Horn of Africa
Clothed with Inner beauty
~ Please Pray with us ~
For those caught in the crossfire in South Sudan
For those who have lost their homes
For those who have lost loved ones
For our churches as they minister to new refugees
For wisdom in the use of funds given to help refugees
For the Mothers' Union teaching event Feb 5th &6th: "Nutrition: part 2"
For Wendy and her family, especially her father, Michael, now in the final stages of cancer, and for her time with family in Canada
For Johann & Louise Vanderbijl as they seek to raise funds to join us in our work in Gambella
If you would like to share in our work, see the following charitable donation links:
In Canada: Devxchange
In the UK:
Egypt Diocesan Association
Friends of the Anglican Church in Ethiopia,
In the US: SAMS-USA http://samsusa.org
Copyright © 2014 Bishop Grant and Doctor Wendy, All rights reserved.
Our mailing address is:
Bishop Grant and Doctor Wendy
PO Box 399
Ambridge, PA 15003