Sudan Bishop's visit to the Diocese of Bethlehem

Visit to the Diocese of Bethlehem by Bishop Anthony Poggo of the Diocese of Kajo Keji

[From Bishop Paul Marshall, posted last Monday afternoon, March 8, on Bakery] I hope you saw the press coverage of the bishop's Reading and Wilkes-Barre visits. (Background story here.) He was able to visit New Bethany and the Trinity soup kitchen, as well as two clergy Bible studies. The week also gave him opportunity to hear directly from our General Convention deputation and attend the regular meeting of the diocesan staff. Wednesday night was a special evening with the World Mission Committee. Friday night offered time with young people, and on Saturday morning Sophie and Lucy Kitch-Peck gave him the insider's tour of Bethlehem on foot. He also had personal contact with a number of our clergy and lay people as the week progressed. [Here's a story with photos of his visit to Trinity Easton.]

All in all, he has a much deeper picture of our life than his very brief previous visit to our convention afforded. After a very pleasant trip to Sayre and back over the weekend, we concluded last night with dinner at the Barebo's. Today was packing, lunch, and a drive to Newark. Bishop Anthony and I have come to know each other very much better after our week in the car together (Andrew, I miss you). The last few days gave us opportunity to discuss core issues of mission and the tasks of episcopate. Ever a busy man, Bishop Anthony will return not to Kajo-Keji, but to Juba, the capitol of the south, where he will preach at a bishops' retreat and then on to a mission meeting on his way to Nairobi. It was a great pleasure to have him with us, and I am grateful for all who cooperated in making the trip a success.

The April edition of Diocesan Life will provide rich photo coverage. Download a pdf file of pages 4-5 of that issue below.

Download 100404-5.pdf

Bishop Anthony of Kajo Keji to visit Diocese of Bethlehem

Southern Sudanese bishop to visit Diocese of Bethlehem
[Bishop Anthony Poggo and Bethlehem Bishop Paul V. Marshall will be available for a conversation with the media on Saturday, March 6, at 11:00 a.m. at Diocesan House, 333 Wyandotte Street, Bethlehem. Please email Canon Bill Lewellis, [email protected], by March 3 if you intend to be there.]
Bishop Anthony Poggo of the Diocese of Kajo Keji in Southern Sudan, on the Ugandan border, will be the guest of Bishop Paul Marshall and the Episcopal Diocese of Bethlehem from March 1 to 8.

Bishop Poggo's public events:
Tuesday, March 2: 6:30-8:00 p.m. –– St. Stephen's Pro-Cathedral, Wilkes-Barre
Thursday, March 4: 6:30-8:00 p.m. –– Christ Episcopal Church, Reading
Friday, March 5: 7:00-9:00 p.m. –– Meeting especially (but not entirely) with youth 6th to 12th grades, Cathedral Church of the Nativity, Bethlehem
Sunday, March 7: 10:30 a.m. –– Preaching at Church of the Redeemer, Sayre, followed by reception and conversation at noon
During these public events, Bishop Poggo will show updated pictures of the progress in building in Kajo Keji, resulting from the New Hope Campaign (see below) and invite conversation. Additionally, Bishop Poggo will meet privately with clergy groups, the World Mission Committee of the diocese and diocesan staff.

The two dioceses have developed a close partnership relationship which began in 2001, a deliberate policy of reciprocal enrichment. Nearly 20 lay persons and clergy of the Diocese of Bethlehem, as well as Bishop and Mrs. Diana Marshall, two to four at a times, have travelled to Southern Sudan on some 15 mission trips. A few have gone several times. All have been deeply affected by their visits. The former Bishop of Kajo Keji visited the Diocese of Bethlehem in 2002. This will be the current bishop's second trip to the 14-county northeastern Pennsylvania diocese. Bishop Marshall visited in Africa in 2000 and 2005.

Bishop Marshall joined members of the World Mission Committee and other interested people from the diocese on an advocacy trip to Washington, DC, to meet with key senators and representatives and members of the State Department to make the case for alleviating the suffering of the Sudanese people.

"Since 2000, I and others from our diocese have gone to Africa several times to seek a vision for Bethlehem among the suffering and those who care for them, in a place where the Holy Spirit can work," said Marshall.

In July 2004, some 157,000 expatriate Sudanese had come back across the southern border of Sudan after a series of terrorist incidents, including rapes and refugee camp lootings, by the Lord’s Resistance Army, a Ugandan rebel group backed by the government of Sudan. The people had fled to Uganda in the first place after being displaced by the ongoing Sudanese civil war, which had been raging in Africa’s largest nation since independence was granted in 1955. Because of a local drought and other inhospitable conditions, as well as the overwhelming volume of need, the Diocese of Kajo Keji had no food, shelter, clothing, medicines, or agricultural tools to give them.

“We must act now to prevent people in Kajo Keji from starving to death,” Bishop Paul wrote late in July on the diocesan internet list. By mid September, more than $70,000 was received. Funds were wired to the Diocese of Kajo Keji by way of an account in Kampala, Uganda, the closest large city. Because of conditions in Sudan, the diocese decided to buy food and rent the trucks to haul it from Kampala to the refugee enclaves in Kajo Keji. Within days, trucks loaded with staples were on their way over rutted roads into the Kajo Keji area.

“Even if you don’t see it on the national news, “ Bishop Paul said then, “it really happened. This summer we learned again that when followers of Jesus work together, great good comes of it. We best know who we are when we care for others ... The first shipments of food reached Kajo Keji in time to prevent mass starvation, and the funds we provided will continue to feed the refugees for the immediate future.” A correspondent in Sudan wrote: “What the Diocese of Bethlehem has done will enter the history books of Kajo Keji… Their actions have given our people hope that they are not alone...”

“In the last five years,” Bishop Paul said in his address to the 2006 Convention of the Diocese of Bethlehem, “our relatively tiny diocese has given over $800,000 to relief for Africa (to fund scholarships, buy agricultural tools and oxen, adopt schools and stave off starvation in Kajo Keji), for tsunami victims, and for hurricane relief. And that is just the money we know about because it flowed through us to Episcopal Relief and Development. Certainly there has been more. No one can doubt that the love of God lives among us, and I thank you on behalf of the many who have no other way to address you.”

"It is one of the paradoxes of the modern world," onetime ABC News Nightline correspondent Dave Marash has said, "that we can and are made aware of far more serious problems than we can solve. Measuring up to this challenge, finding room in our hearts and our wallets for simultaneous catastrophes … is the challenge of the 21st century."

In 2007, the Diocese of Bethlehem launched the New Hope Campaign, to raise $3.6 million ($2.7 to provide "holistic support for our Sudanese brothers and sisters in areas where they have specifically asked for our support" and $900,000 for programs to support the needy in northeastern Pennsylvania). Contributions and pledges surpassed the goal within a year. To date, the total approaches $4.1 million.

Upon returning from his 2005 mission trip to southern Sudan, Bishop Marshall told a story about the impetus for the New Hope Campaign. “At the end of a week in that bomb-torn country, Diana and I baked in a bus for 14 hours in the Ugandan sun. Finally you give up wiping your face. As we became increasingly caked with red dirt and the overcrowded bus grew hotter and hotter, I found myself baking in a creative and holy sense: I knew God wanted my attention. Genesis says humans began our existence as kind of mud pies, and the red dust of the earth baking into my pores helped me have a new beginning of insight: Here were sisters and brothers with almost nothing to their names trying to build a life and a country — how could I go on as usual? In addition to altering how I live personally, I had to abandon some of my bricks-and-mortar dreams for our own diocese, particularly regarding a conference center, in order to see what God would have us do for others. The question that intrigued me was, Could we dare to have a capital fund drive where we didn’t get the money?”

In 2002, Bishop Marshall had asked Charlie Barebo to help spearhead a capital campaign to develop a camp and conference center for the diocese. "A funny thing happened on the way," said Barebo. "I woke up one morning in the Sudan." It was a "life-changing event that has deepened my faith and forever altered my outlook on this world and the next," said Barebo, a global traveler as CEO of Otterbine Barebo, a lake and pond water quality management firm in Upper MilfordTownship.

Barebo has served as chair of the New Hope Campaign and is volunteer missioner for development on Bishop Marshall's staff.

Born 1964 in Kajo Keji, Bishop Anthony Dangasuk Poggo became Bishop of Kajo Keji in 2007. Ordained a priest in 1996, he has worked with ACROSS, a Christian aid and relief organization in Sudan, Kenya and Uganda, in several capacities, including coordinator, communication and publishing director, and executive director. He has ministered also as attached clergy to St. Luke’s in Kenyatta (part of All Saints Cathedral in Nairobi, Kenya). He has a bachelor’s degree in public administration and management, a master’s degree in biblical studies, and an MBA. He is fluent in spoken and written English and Bari, fair in spoken Arabic and Kishwahili, and has a working knowledge of biblical Hebrew and Greek. He is married to Jane Basa Namurye. They have three children: Grace, Faith and Joy.

Bishop Paul Marshall has been bishop of the Diocese of Bethlehem since 1996. He had been a professor at Yale University Divinity School and director of the Yale Instiute of Sacred Music. His ministry as bishop has been broad and deep: teacher, pastor, preacher, administrator, author, advocate and participant in ministry with people in the developing world, children and youth, the poor and the marginalized, advocate and reconciler with those within the church who consider themselves progressive as well as those who consider themselves traditionalists, interpreter of family systems theory, communicator within and beyond the diocesan community, a leader who consults with colleagues, and a person whose ministry as bishop proceeds from prayer and a contemplative vision of God's kingdom.

Many people beyond the Episcopal Church know him through a monthly column he wrote for the secular press for 13 years. Born 1947 in New York City and raised in Lancaster County (PA) he has also written some ten books and more than 60 articles and reviews for periodicals.

He and Diana, a registered nurse and attorney, have two grown children.

Posted by Bill Lewellis

Bethlehem Tailors' Training Center in Kajo Keji

Bethlehem Tailors’ Training Centre (BTTC)
Diocese of Kajo Keji.

2009 Annual Report


Bethlehem Tailors Training Centre started as a simple project aimed at training young women to be able to acquire skills for self sufficiency and for them to be able to contribute in the development of the Diocese of Kajo Keji. When it started, it operated in a house offered freely for use by one of the Church elders.

The Diocese of Bethlehem came to the aid of the women and supported them in the building of the centre. The block has two halls and two small rooms that are used as offices/storage.

Now, in addition to its building, the centre has three small grass thatched huts used as dormitories for some of the trainers (these can only accommodate up to 6 students). It has 23 working machines, 11 machines that need fixing and 4 industrial machines. The ECW of the Diocese of Bethlehem has helped in acquiring the machines and has greatly helped in tutor support and training materials.

Download the complete report below.

Download 2009 BTTC Annual Report.pdf

Sudan –– U. S. Policy and New Hope

14 December 2009
By Howard Stringfellow
Archdeacon, Diocese of Bethlehem

Charlie Barebo and I flew to Kajo-Keji October 20 none the wiser. We landed on the grass and gravel airstrip the following day still not knowing anything had happened. When Bishop Anthony arrived from Juba having attended an election of ten new bishops for ten new dioceses in the Episcopal Church of Sudan, he told us.

“President Obama has changed U. S. policy regarding Sudan. It just happened.” I looked at him blankly for two reasons: I knew nothing about the old policy, and as surely I knew nothing about the new one. But right away my neglected homework stood right in front of me. No way around it. An agenda had been set. “Archdeacon, I will send you some documents that I just received.”

It was one of those moments that seemed then and now as though time slowed, and something was being revealed from somewhere beyond the surface. I find that the priestly vocation is like this. Another layer of possibility and reality is revealed when you least expect it. There’s no danger of missing the revelation, but there’s every danger that the revelation won’t be heeded or won’t be honored. We come in to the picture heeding and honoring the revelation; we come into the picture by accepting the love of God the revelation represents.

Continue reading "Sudan –– U. S. Policy and New Hope" »

Dreams realized in two dioceses, on two sides of the world

By Charlie Barebo

[Nine Photos below]

Archdeacon Howard Stringfellow and I have recently completed a mission trip to Kajo Keji. For me the trip started October 18 at Bishop Paul’s New Hope Donors reception and ended with a presentation to the Presiding Bishop in November. The October event was a meeting of New Hope donors. We socialized for about an hour. Bishop Paul gathered the group and he blessed the New Hope donors and the bronze dedication plaques that would soon be mounted on the walls of schools in the Sudan. It was an emotional moment filled with love, the Holy Spirit and the memory of loved ones. There were few dry eyes in the room.

We set off on the 8,000 mile journey to Kajo Keji with 80 pounds of plaques and great expectations, expectations that were surpassed. The minute we landed on the dirt strip at Kajo Keji, significant changes became evident. In the distance there were dozens of metal roofs, two FM transmission towers and four cell phone towers.

Continue reading "Dreams realized in two dioceses, on two sides of the world" »

Kajo Keji fundraiser at Mediator Sunday School

[From Mediator Allentown rector Maria Tjeltveit to the families of Sunday School Children]

I wanted to give you a final snapshot of the November Soccer Fundraiser results. As I mentioned last week, through your generosity and with the help of the parish we were able to double our intended target of $252 to a final sum of $505.56. The money is paying for the following items for the Loopo Primary School:  22 soccer uniforms (whole team), 1 wooden table (they don’t use desks and several students sit at a table), 2 wooden chairs, 6 jump ropes, 6 yards of fabric (used to make school uniforms), 1 soccer ball and 2 net balls. That is an amazing accomplishment for one church Sunday School and I hope you will find a way to convey to your child how much this effort will mean to the students of the Loopo school. My hope is that this spirit of doing for others will last a lifetime for them.  A very sincere thank you to all of you. If you missed the opportunity to give to our fundraiser and would still like to participate, the 12 Days of Christmas diocesan effort will continue until 12/15.

Mediator board 

Click image to enlarge

Desks and chairs for Kajo Keji kids

These kids in Kajo Keji (Southern Sudan, photos below) have no desks or chairs in their new classrooms. The desks you see are borrowed from the nursery school next door. $930 will pay for desks and chairs for a classroom of 40. If your church can sponsor a classroom this Christmas it will be a gift of love from our faith community to their faith community. Checks made out to the New Hope Campaign, noted for desks and chairs, should be sent to Diocesan House, 333 Wyandotte Street, Bethlehem PA 18015. If you cannot sponsor a classroom but want to sponsor a single desk and chair you may do this through the 12 Days of Christmas project.

[Click on photos to enlarge them.]

God Bless You All,

Charlie Barebo
New Hope Chair
Phone 610-965-6018 ext 210
Cell: 610-509-8767

Borrowed chairs Need more desks 28th Nov 2009, Gaderu School, the Pupils infron of their New School


Happy Anniversary, New Hope

By Charlie Barebo

Gaderu students watching the construction of their New Hope School.lo-res Gaderu students watch the construction of their new school

Join me in celebrating the second anniversary of the New Hope Campaign! As we pass this milestone, may we join in a prayer of thanksgiving. We have received $3,900,000 in gifts and pledges, $300,000 more than our initial goal and just $200,000 short of our stretch goal of $4,100,000. Of this we have collected over $2,400,000. Despite the troubling economic times, pledge fulfillment rates remain high. Your pledge commitment is a sacred one. You will bring the gift of the Gospel to a child.

Continue reading "Happy Anniversary, New Hope" »

Afrecs at GC 2009

Afrecs at General Convention 2009
By Connie Fegley

“Afrecs (American Friends of the Episcopal Church of Sudan) really needs to have a presence at General Convention,” I heard myself say at a board meeting late in 2008. “In the Diocese of Bethlehem, our world mission committee had an exhibit at Diocesan Convention every year, and it really made a difference in strengthening our ties to Kajo Keji.”

Little did I know what lay ahead as the board endorsed the concept, with the caveat that this exhibit needed to be professionally prepared. After securing a wonderful graphic artist in Lancaster County who does work for the Mennonite Central Committee, we were off and running.

Continue reading "Afrecs at GC 2009" »

My new understanding of ashes to ashes

By Daniel Gunn

Lent began early for me this year. Rather than being driven into the wilderness for this annual time of spiritual introspection, I was flown into our companion diocese of Kajo Keji. I do not intend to give the impression that the place is desolate or the people uncivilized. Rather, I reflect on what the experience of being with our brothers and sisters meant to me. It was a Lenten journey in which I found a new understanding to an old verse. 

[Download Father Gunn's reflection and a photo story, Download 090405.pdf]

With our brothers and sisters in Kajo Keji

By Trip Trepagnier

The Rev. Daniel Gunn, rector of St. Stephens Pro Cathedral, Wilkes-Barre, and Trip Trepagnier, chair of the World Mission Committee of the Diocese of Bethlehem, had the privilege of traveling in Kajo Keji during the last week of February.

The companion relationship between the dioceses of Bethlehem in Pennsylvania and Kajo Keji in southern Sudan is flourishing. In addition to funding the construction of schools and a college, the dioceses are participating at a more personal level.

Youth members of the Cathedral Church of the Nativity’s church school made greeting cards and a quilt for delivery to their companion parish in Romogi; they, in turn, received messages from the children of Romogi primary school.

Palm crosses brought from Bethlehem were burned together with those from Kajo Keji and used at an Ash Wednesday service led by Father Daniel Gunn and the Rev. Samuel Pianile Alibe.

Christmas gifts purchased by Diocese of Bethlehem parishioners were distributed to an orphanage, the Mothers’ Union Training Center, primary schools and archdeaconries throughout the Diocese of Kajo Keji.

Prayers are offered weekly for members of the two dioceses.

Although we live many thousands of miles apart, the people of Kajo Keji and Bethlehem are one body in Christ.

[Download the photo feature from the April Diocesan Life, Download 090404.pdf]

Trinity Wall Street grants that may affect Kajo Keji

The Trinity Grants Program, part of Trinity Wall Street, has distributed grants of more than $1 million to aid communities in metro New York during 2008. An additional $2 million was awarded to Episcopal dioceses in the United States and the 70 nation Anglican Communion.

I include here only the awarded grants and program descriptions that may relate in some way to the Diocese of Kajo Keji, our companion diocese in southern Sudan.

Continue reading "Trinity Wall Street grants that may affect Kajo Keji" »

From Bishop Anthony of Kajo Keji

February 9, 2009
Dear Archdeacon Howard and Charlie Barebo,
Greetings from Kajo-Keji.

As you would have read recently and also as per the Presiding Bishop's statement, there have been a resurgence of Lord’s Resistance Army (LRA) activities in Western Equatoria state and in the Democratic Republic of Congo from December. So far, we have not heard any reports of any major LRA activities in Central Equatoria State in general and Kajo-Keji County in particular.

I would like to assure you that the situation in Kajo-Keji in regards to the LRA is normal and has been so since March 2008. I spoke to the Commissioner of Kajo-Keji County who assured me that there are no reports of LRA activities but that they are monitoring the situation closely.

There is no current threat to any of our Diocesan plans and activities; this includes the New Hope Campaign funded projects.

I would like to request you to pray that the situation in the affected areas would
improve and that a permanent solution would be found to this problem.

Secondly, I join the Presiding Bishop in encouraging you to raise this issue with
your government so that efforts are made to bring the LRA war against civilians
in Sudan, Uganda, Congo and Central Africa to an end.


Rt Rev Anthony Poggo
Diocese of Kajo-Keji
Episcopal Church of the Sudan

Bethlehem Tailors' Training Centre in Kajo Keji

The following nine-month report (Jan 1 through Sept. 30, 2008) was prepared by Grace Basa Tomor of the Diocese of Kajo Keji.

Introduction: Bethlehem Tailors' Training Centre started as a simple project aiming at training young women to be able to acquire skills for self sufficiency and for them to be able to contribute to the development of the Diocese. The Diocese of Bethlehem came to the aid of the women and supported them in building the centre. Currently the centre is used for morning devotions and meetings for the diocesan staff and trainees, and Accelerated Learning program classes.

The main activities in the centre include tailoring and dress making, tie and dye, knitting, hand craft, cake and bread baking.

Achievements: Since this centre started in September 2000, it had a break of three years without training when the women concentrated on building their centre. The actual period of training has resulted in 92 women trained, 22 women standing on their own or sewing in rented places. Forty-eight women are in the course this year.

Challenges: The greatest challenge currently felt is the cost of materials and accessories for the trainees. The current annual cost per student is US $200. This cost covers training material for the student, contribution towards the operating costs for the centre, and needed accessories, e.g., needles, sewing threads, wool threads and buttons.

Plans: The women are now planning to build a dormitory in the centre for women from around the Diocese who will be trainers in their own archdeaconries. It is felt that this will then have a greater impact. We plan to admit 50 women in the coming year.

Download a pdf file of the report, with photos. Download BTTC

Families and friends of Diocese of Bethlehem raised $16,600 for purchases of gifts during "12 Days of Christmas for Kajo Keji" project

[From Jo Trepagnier]

Families and friends of the Diocese of Bethlehem raised $16,600 toward purchases of gifts for our friends in the Diocese of Kajo Keji. This Christmas ingathering (based on the song The 12 Days of Christmas) allowed 150 U.S. families to buy items for Sudanese primary schools, the women's training center, clergy, churches and the local college. Most of the funds have been transferred to Sudan so that items can be purchased locally. Solar powered radios will be brought in from the United States in mid February by Kajo Keji's next Bethlehem visitors: Trip Trepagnier, Chair of the World Mission Committee, and the Rev. Daniel Gunn, rector of St. Stephen's Church Wilkes Bare and chair of the Northeastern PA portion of the New Hope Campaign.

The final count of gifts is:

                        Solar Lanterns              15
                        5 Gallon Water Jugs    118
                        Radios                          30
                        Bikes                            19
                        Yards of Fabric            164
                        Laying Hens                 120
                        Sewing Machines            26
                        Tables                           10
                        Soccer Balls                   20
                        Jump Ropes                   14
                        Plastic Chairs                 20
                        Basketballs                    12

Thank you all for your support. The World Mission Committee intends to continue this project next year with new items added with ongoing advice from our friends in Kajo Keji. Thanks to the women of St. Brigid's Church in Nazareth and the ECW for their ideas and support, to Norma Meyers for her artwork and vision for the project, to Jenifer Gamber for her ongoing sage advice, for Charlie Barebo for 'Keeping It Gangsta',  and to the members of the World Mission Committee.

We'll have new pictures of Sudan by the end of February which will include these purchases for an upcoming Diocesan Life and we would welcome an invitation to visit your church.

Jo Trepagnier

Find Background here.

The World Mission Committee thanks you for your ongoing support.