Thursday, April 20, 2006

Local News

I know that Father Bob has had a whole series of articles published in his local newspaper, because he has copied them here.

My local paper has also published an article about my trip to Lui. It's currently at the News-Tribune website.

I'm very happy to have that publicity, if it will make folks in my region more aware of the issues confronting folks in Africa.

On the other hand, I do need to offer some "notes of exception" to that news article.

First, as most of you know, I was not there for a month; it was only twelve days. Since I provided the reporter with a copy of our itinerary, I’m not sure how she made that error. But there you have it.

Second, I regret that the reporter did not key in on a theme that was very much a focus of my comments: namely, the role that my local parish, other friends, and family provided in supporting me before (with encouragement and funds), during (with prayer), and after (with interest and patience) the trip. What she also failed to note is that the book (Gospels in Glass) I’m handing to Morris in one of the photos was written by two of our parishioners, and it includes two of Grace’s own stained-glass windows. I really liked leaving that memento in Lui – a particularly special gift from Grace to Lui.

Finally, there’s the contrast between my story and that of the other woman in the article. Folks here tell me they perceive a clear distinction between why she and I went on our mission trips and between what she and I took away from those trips. Our diocesan group did not go to southern Sudan to “convert the heathens.” Our two Episcopal dioceses (Missouri and Lui) are in the process of finalizing a “covenant agreement” to specify how we will assist and support one another. I have no doubt that I took away from that trip much more than I contributed.

All that said, the article is not bad. And, with any luck, it might make some folks think more deeply about the situation confronting our friends in Africa.

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