Monday, September 28, 2009

next mission team forming

Debra Smith (Mission Trip Coordinator) convened the first meeting of the next mission team to the Diocese of Lui (in the Episcopal Church of Sudan) on Wednesday, September 23. Marc Vanacht hosted the missioners. The team went over logistics, schedules, and the opportunities that we expect to pursue with our Lui friends in the next trip. The trip is scheduled for November 22 through December 4.

Our diocesan publication, iSeek, announced the names of the missioners:

  • Mr. Sam Christy of Holy Cross, Poplar Bluff
  • Ms. Deb Goldfeder of Advent, Crestwood
  • the Rev. Dan Handschy of Advent, Crestwood
  • the Rev. Anne Kelsey of Trinity, St. Louis
  • the Rev. Susan Naylor of Emmanuel, Webster Groves
  • Debbie Smith of St. Timothy’s, Creve Coeur, and Mission Team Leader
  • Mrs. Evelyn Smith of Christ Church Cathedral
  • Bishop George Wayne Smith
  • Mr. Marc Vanacht of St. Timothy’s, Creve Coeur
All were present at the September 23 meeting and appeared quite happy:

left to right: Marc Vanacht, Anne Kelsey, Dan Handschy (rear), Evelyn Smith (front), Deb Goldfeder, Susan Naylor, Sam Christy, and Bishop Wayne Smith. Not pictured: Debbie Smith, photographer

Although Debbie Smith sought to hide behind the camera at last week's meeting, we do have this photograph of her and Bishop Smith:

As noted in iSeek, the Dioceses of Missouri, Lui, and Blackmore Vale Deanery (Diocese of Salisbury, in the Church of England) have established a tri-link partnership.

The Missourians will be joined by two people from the Blackmore Vale Deanery in England's Salisbury Diocese: Warren Ingham-Barrow (St. Gregory's Parish Church in Marnhull Dorest) and (at left, below) Anne Powell of Shillingstone.

Tuesday, September 22, 2009

Life & Theft in Lui

About 5:00 a.m. yesterday, we received a message from Bishop Bullen of Lui. He reported that a thief broke into the diocesan office and stole:

three digital cameras
the Thuraya (satellite) phone
one portable radio
He alerted us promptly to cancel the Thuraya phone service.

Of course, Debbie Smith and our staff at the diocese went into high gear and alerted our provider to cancel the Thuriya phone. That satellite phone costs about $4 per minute, so it was critical to cancel that number promptly.

Now we will consider what kind of phone to provide to Lui so that we can maintain good communications.

At the same time, our committee began talking about how we might prevent such thefts in the future. But we quickly realized we cannot prevent theft. Some of us are concerned about this development, as it may suggest a change in Lui.

When we first visited Lui, there was no risk of theft. The people of Lui took care of us. But things are changing in southern Sudan, and other forces are moving into Lui.

Our companions in Lui have taken all possible precautions. Debbie Smith, our mission coordinator, reports: “They had big padlocks on the gate, the door, and the windows to the office/compound, so I am concerned about what damage must have been done to the building unless someone managed to saw the padlocks or get in while the staff had left the place unlocked for a moment. They are so conscientious about locking up that I can't imagine how this happened.”

In the coming days, we will work to move beyond this theft. It is disheartening to know that this theft has occurred, and we will work with our Lui friends to assess their security.