Monday, June 14, 2010

June 8 News from AFRECS

I am deeply grateful that AFRECS has begun issuing regular news reports. However, as far as I can tell, they are not maintaining these reports on any website or blog. So I am reprinting their news report here.

Their news report is in blue. I'll occasionally add my remarks in black.

This the AFRECS news-blast for June 8.

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ECS and Agricultural Development: Robin Denney, the Episcopal Church missionary working with the Episcopal Church of Sudan on agriculture, reports that the new ECS tractor has arrived in Juba! The ECS demonstration garden, which she uses with ag students at Bishop Gwynne College, is in the hands of volunteers while the college's students are on break. And the start date of the three-month agricultural training course in Yei that Robin has planned has been postponed until August due to logistical issues. The later date may be better for the 13 farmers slated to participate as they need to get their crops in the ground at home. Robin's work is challenged by the mechanical breakdowns and wire-transfer glitches that characterize so much of life in Sudan, but she continues to visit and consult on the many diocesan agricultural projects and to partner with other organizations on behalf of ECS. For full details, email Robin for her monthly report at and see the ECS Agriculture Assessment and visioning document on the ECS website under the Archbishop's page: For Robin's blog:

I am not in the inner circle, so I'm not sure what's going on with this tractor. But I can give you my perspective.

When Sudan's Archbishop Daniel came to Missouri, he begged us to provide a tractor for our friends in the Diocese of Lui. We didn't do it. We probably will not, because of the feedback we got from the women of Lui.

Consider: We give the men of Lui a tractor to plow their fields. Whom do you suppose will then have to plant, weed, water, tend, and eventually harvest those fields? In the culture of Lui, it's the women of Lui who would be responsible for all that work after the guys use their tractors to plow ever-larger fields with their tractors.

As one woman said: If you want to kill all the women, just give the men a tractor.

So the Diocese of Missouri has intentionally declined to raise funds for a tractor, despite the fact that Archbishop Daniel Deng Bul requested one. .

I assume that Robin Denney, our missioner in Sudan, has found other ways to work with the farmers and farming families so that they will not grind the women into dust. She's working with an agricultural college, so I trust she is finding a way to use the tractor productively, in a way that will work in the communities of Sudan. I hope we can learn something from her work.

Hunger: The European Commission has pledged ?46 million to the UN's World Food Programme (WFP) for relief in Darfur and Southern Sudan: Robin Denney reports widespread food shortages, which have led to seed shortages in the new planting season, and inconsistent arrival of the needed rain.

Thank God for this gift from the European Commission!!

Mind you, my friends, the harvest in Sudan is wholly dependent on rains that come at the right time and in the right amounts. When the rains don't cooperate, our friends in Lui can easily be thrown into drought.

The Use of Sudanese Crop Lands: Sudan is leasing vast plots of its agricultural land to foreign investors, especially Middle Eastern countries. For some background on this growing issue in sub-Saharan Africa: and in Sudan:

I have no idea about how/whether this has any effect on our friends in Lui.

Rumbek Peace Conference: The Episcopal Church of Sudan (ECS) held a peace conference in Rumbek June 1-3, 2010 between the people of Western Equatoria and Greater Bahr al Ghazal, who have recently experienced considerable conflict centered around the grazing of cattle vs. the protection of crop lands. Trinity parish, Wall Street, New York, sponsored the conference. Documents detailing the discussions have been sent to ECS bishops and others.

I know nothing about this conference, but I know that our Lui friends are in the state of Western Equatoria. If I hear anything, I will let you know.

Manute Bol: According to the Facebook group "Manute Bol, get well soon!" as of Monday, June 6th, "Manute is still in the hospital in Virginia, and the focus of his treatment is to treat an infection. Please continue to pray for his speedy and full recovery."

Vice-President Biden: "Biden's Africa trip is all about Sudan":
Pray for the farmers of Sudan, pray for the hungry; pray that the rains come and the crops prosper. Pray for healing for Manute. Pray for Robin and her ministry in Sudan. Pray for wisdom and commitment on the part of the US government and others as Sudan continues to live under the Comprehensive Peace Agreement in this critical period before the referendum.
Pray for peace in Sudan.

Teach: There is a new map of the South Sudan dioceses of the Episcopal Church of Sudan:

Partner: Have you joined the American Friends of the Episcopal Church of Sudan? It's a great time to do that, as the organization welcomes its second president, the Rt. Rev. David Jones, Suffragan Bishop of Virginia, and thanks its first and founding president, now president emeritus, the Rev. Dr. Richard Jones:

Urge: The Sudan Council of Churches has issued a statement called Choose Life: A Vision for a Peaceful Sudan which sets forth requirements for implementing the January referenda successfully and transitioning to a peaceful future for what is likely to become two Sudans: It's an excellent reference for talking with policy makers about Sudan's future.

Give: To help the Episcopal Church of Sudan with its many ministries and projects:

I would add that Missourians can support the Diocese of Lui by donating here.

Coming Soon: Highlights of the 5th AFRECS conference, held last weekend in Alexandria, Virginia.

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If you wish to subscribe to the weekly Sudan update from AFRECS, send an e-mail to with "SUBSCRIBE" in the subject line.

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