The miracles of New Hope, by Charlie Barebo

“One prays for miracles but works for results,” said Augustine.

During our January trip to Kajo Keji we saw both. The miracles of New Hope: that we would raise $4,000,000, build six schools, a college and that there would be a sustained period of peace in Kajo Keji. All are rich blessings on two peoples separated by over 8,000 miles.

The continuing transformation in Kajo Keji is a miracle in itself. Gone are the sharp edged ribs brought on by two generations of warfare and starvation. Food is no longer a primary concern. As the Missionary Air flight circles the dirt landing strip we see evidence of increasing prosperity - metal roofs, dozens of autos, light trucks and small dirt bikes on the road, four cell towers and three AM radio broadcast antennas. Clothing is well mended, clean and pressed, everyone wears shoes or flip-flops and we see many transistor radios and iPods - unthinkable progress since our first trip in January 2007.

In our first two and a half days, we inspected all six schools and the twelve buildings at the college. We are delighted at the progress made by the PTA’s and local communities. At four of the six schools they have started building tukels for the teachers, they have planted crops and orchards to feed teachers and students, selling excess crops to provide some ready money to pay volunteer teachers and buy supplies. In fact, as we arrived at the Dwani-Star of Bethlehem School the entire community was out making bricks for teacher housing, like a community barn raising in 18th and 19th century America. These four schools are moving from dependence to independence, a necessary step when a country in crisis moves from a relief to a developing economy. Their love for their communities and sense of pride in their accomplishments are evident.

We also noticed some common problems at each school. A culture that lives in homes of sun-baked brick and straw roofs has no concept of how to maintain these block and cement buildings. We see some broken windows, window latches and leaky metal roofs. Minor problems. Stephen is charged with developing quotes and we will effect the repairs, paying for them from the support trusts of the schools and college. The larger concern is how the 18 primary and secondary school buildings are faring in regards to cleanliness and the condition of the interior walls. The floors are dirty and the walls caked with grime from five years of little hands and finger prints.

It occurs to me it is cultural. When you are raised in a tukel these smooth, cool walls are something foreign but fun to touch. I remarked to Archdeacon Stringfellow that “quite unintended, we find ourselves in the property management business with the thirty first New Hope building under construction.”

This means that much of the income from the school and college ongoing support trusts will be allocated towards building maintenance. We started an immediate grass roots campaign with the teachers to teach the children to “Keep their hands off the walls!” It appears South Sudanese kids are no different from American kids.

The funds raised during the “Twelve Days of Christmas” campaign will be spent on 50 primary school scholarships, evenly divided between girls and boys, 11 secondary school scholarships with room and board for needy female students and $1100 to buy paper and printer cartridges for the New Hope School system printer. I ask that you remember Jack Welsch and Fr. Earl Trygar in your prayers. They spearheaded raising these funds.

The highlight of our trip was the second annual “Best Practices” meeting for the New Hope School system. This meeting is comprised of the PTA chair, head teacher, and pastor of each New Hope School, DOKK Education Coordinator, Diocesan Secretary, Bishop Anthony, Stephen Tomor, Archdeacon Stringfellow and me. The purpose of the meeting is for each PTA Chair, each pastor and each head teacher to share the three practices that had the most impact in their respective schools. By sharing our successes all may benefit from tried and true field experience. The early meetings were ask-a-thons, each school asking for worthy things but either outside the New Hope charter or budget.

We saw growth and maturity at this meeting. Pastors reports on converts to the faith, confirmations, how they taught the bible and conducted prayer. Head teachers reported on growth in attendance, sports trophies won, the high rate of students passing the grade eight finals to move into secondary school, their school’s establishment of parent-teachers meetings, and the need for Bibles. It was noted that of the county’s 54 primary schools, 3 New Hope Schools are in the top ten. PTA’s reported that they are building teacher housing, planting crops and orchards and willing to get out the word regarding building care.

Headmasters requested companion classes here in Bethlehem for pen pals. Certainly there is a connection between Dwani Star of Bethlehem and Trinity Bethlehem, Helen Wagner Liwolo School and St. Mark’s Moscow, Trinity Easton Sodogo School and Trinity Easton, Cathedral of the Nativity and Romogi Primary, Earl Secondary School and the Church of the Mediator. How can we work together to start email pen pal relationships?
One comment made at all the schools was how they appreciated the love and courage we exhibited by visiting them during the uprising in the north. While the US State Department and other American NGO’s had all left, the Diocese of Bethlehem had arrived. We all celebrated in thanksgiving when a cease fire was announced the day prior to our departure. Thank you for your prayers.

John Mono, college principal, has a background in painting buildings and does Stephen Tomor. Both offered to teach the PTA’s how to wash the school walls and how to paint them if need be. The college graduated 8 students ready for the ordination “process,” another 8 are ready for teaching certificates, and provided training for 54 lay leaders.

There is little furniture in the kitchen-dining hall at the college. Projects we can help them with in 2014 include fund raising for tables and chairs, electrification and scientific equipment at the Earl Secondary School.

We prayed and continue to pray for the miracle that has become New Hope. We have dedicated ourselves, as individuals and corporately as a diocese, to its success. The many sacrifices and the hours of hard work, on both sides of the Atlantic, are bearing fruit. Augustine had it right but maybe he inverted the word order. If one works hard, we have the right to pray for miracles. For after all “faith is the assurance of things hoped for.” Hebrews 11:1

In His Service,
Charlie Barebo
New Hope Chair

Working with what we don't know about Sudan

Bishop Paul wrote the following to the people of the Diocese of Bethlehem on Bakery, the list-serve of the Diocese of Bethlehem.

Some of you have noticed reports about the archbishop of the Sudanese church recognizing the Anglican Church in North America as the true Anglican presence in North America, and pledging his church to work only with "orthodox" dioceses within The Episcopal Church. The archbishop of Sudan has accordingly withdrawn his invitation to our Presiding Bishop to visit Sudan. The issue is the status of gay and lesbian people in our church.

It is my hope that Bishop Anthony of Kajo-Keji and I can have personal communication before there is any public analysis from either of us on the substance of this matter, or of the theological and ecclesial dimensions of an individual national church taking decisions about how the Anglican Communion is present in another place, and I wrote to him on Saturday and have forwarded other correspondence to him, including this. It is my hope to get some sense of why the letter was written, why it was written now, and what nuances may be lost on westerners (and vice versa--I couldn't begin to compose a theological statement in a second living language). Until I hear from Bishop Anthony about any _actual_ change in the nature of our relationship, including our perceived status as orthodox (or orthodox enough), I am simply pausing, on both the personal and administrative levels, and have communicated that sense of pause to the New Hope administrators as well as to Bishop Anthony. To me, this is one of those times when it is necessary to do nothing.

Ideally, Bishop Anthony and I will write to you together, as we have done in the past when there was tension. In any event, I will share what I learn from him.


1) Here is what I am remembering as I wait for more information: every day up to 1600 Sudanese children go to school because you and I have cared about them. That concrete fact will anchor us as we try to understand a particular moment in the always-changing contours of any living relationship.

2) Those of us who have a passion about sisters and brothers in Africa will need to continue believing that love always finds a way. The question of the giving and receiving love between those who may not understand or approve of each other is absolutely essential to the gospel of reconciliation, and this issue always comes before fine points biblical interpretation or ecclesiastical politics. Politics can be about love, however, in the long run.

3) Advent is about waiting, as Canon Anne Kitch has reminded us so movingly over the last four weeks in her daily columns. But to those who have grown weary through millenia of waiting for dignity--or physical security--because of who they are sexually, and who may be beyond-tired of being an issue for other people to debate yet again, I express my profound and lasting regret, a regret really too deep for mere words, along with my admiration for their bothering to be Christian at all and my belief that there will be another set of circumstances if we really choose that as God's people.


posted by Andrew Gerns

New Hope News from Kajo Keji

You can download the latest New Hope News from the Diocese of Kajo Keji below. With this edition, please note that we have built all five primary schools and the secondary school. The college has been completed for some time and we will be working on some other initiatives plus providing furnishings and books for our school. Thank you for all your contributions to date!

Download the latest news from Kajo Keji here:
Download 111208 Kajo Keji News October - December 2011 Issue

Resolutions of Courtesy from Diocesan Convention

By Canon Anne Kitch

May it be resolved, that we who are gathered in this place do most graciously give voice to our joy in thy worshipful servant Bishop Paul, and that we offer unto him deep gratitude for that he hath led us on to ponder "whatsoever things are true, whatsoever things are honest, whatsoever things are just, whatsoever things are pure, whatsoever things are lovely, whatsoever things are of good report;” and for that he doth continually translate God’s Word for us.

Resolved, we salute Bishop Jack for being an all around holy man and for proving that it is possible to take our faith seriously while maintaining a light heart.

Resolved, we admire Canon Jane Teter for knitting the Diocese together through the warmth of her spirit and the multitude of her ministries.

Resolved, we humbly honor Stephen Tomor, the New Hope Campaign Coordinator in Kajo-Keji, and offer heartfelt gratitude for his faithful oversight of the construction of the schools in South Sudan.

Resolved, we applaud and support the deep Christian compassion manifested by the spontaneous outpouring of aid from parishes and individuals in our Diocese in response to those grievously afflicted by the recent flooding.

Resolved, we celebrate The Congregational Renewal Committee, for establishing the Diocesan Renewal Assemblies, summoning us to lives of prayer, showing us how to celebrate our blessings and inviting us to connect the dots.

Resolved, we marvel at Tom Lloyd, who has given 50 years of service on the Peace Commission of this Diocese and been a stalwart champion for matters of justice and peace.

Resolved, we glorify the Holy Spirit who has inspired us to bear a common witness in a hurting world with our sisters and brothers of other denominations and other faiths thereby finding strength in unity.

Resolved, we express copious gratitude to the people of the Cathedral Church of the Nativity for lavishly hosting us and for inspiring us by their gallant example of how we might cope gracefully with all impediments—scaling new heights and crossing hazardous terrain with confidence.

Resolved, we praise our merciful God for gifting us with new ministry, new schools, and new hope in our Diocese and for the favor poured out upon this Convention evident in the first four consecutive days in four months without rain. May God bless us and give us the courage to climb the mountain and the inner silence to hear God’s word.

Respectfully presented by the Committee on Resolutions of Courtesy

The Rev. Canon Anne E. Kitch, chair
The Rev. Earl Trygar
Ms. Melody Lewis

Diocesan Life for September 2011

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Diocesan Life for July/August 2011


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Social Ministries now accepting grant requests from New Hope Campaign

[From the Social Ministries Committee]

17 May 2011

Dear Partners in Ministry,

The Social Ministries Committee is now ready to receive and consider requests for disbursements from the New Hope Campaign.  The total amount we are able to grant for the 2011-12 calendar year is $100,000.  Therefore, we are inviting Letters of Intent from parishes and Episcopal related organizations within the Episcopal Diocese of Bethlehem.  The Deadline for Letters of Intent is 15 July 2011.

The Letter of Intent should contain:

  • The Mission Statement of the parish/organization
  • A summary of the proposal including a brief project description
  • An outline of the focus and scope (who will be served?)
  • Amount to be requested from the SMC (one time or multi-year request)
  • Partner churches, agencies, organizations, etc., if any
  • Project start date
  • Name, e-mail and day and evening telephone number of contact person(s).

Letters of Intent should be sent to The Rev’d Daniel C. Gunn, St. Stephen’s Pro-cathedral, 35 South Franklin Street, Wilkes-Barre, PA  18701 or emailed to [email protected] with “Social Ministry Application” in the subject line.

A member of the Social Ministries Committee will be in contact soon thereafter.  These Letters are preliminary proposals and will be considered in the order in which they are received.  Applications will be sent after the initial contact.

In peace,

The Rev’d Daniel C. Gunn, Chair

Sudan/Kajo Keji (February 9)...latest news on top of each section

In Our Diocese or our Partner Diocese of Kajo Keji

Christians in northern Sudan flock south ... [Andrew Gerns, Episcopal Cafe] Reuters reports that many Christians who live in northern Sudan are flocking south in anticipation of independence there, but are also driven by fears that the north could become an Islamic state governed by Shariah law. More here.

Election results for Kajo Keji from Bishop Anthony Poggo: The provisional Referendum results for Kajo-Keji County were announced today.  The summary showed that 198 people voted for Unity while 45,892 voters voted for Secession. This represented 98.7 % of all the votes that were casted. There were 102 invalid votes and 85 unmarked votes. Out of 46,454 registered voters, 46,277 voters participated in the plebiscite. This represented 99.6% voter turn-out.

The Archbishop of Sudan casts his vote
... [fron Bishop Anthony] Sunday 9th January marked the first of seven days in the historic self‐determination referendum for the people of Southern Sudan. The Most Rev. Dr.Daniel Deng Bul Yak, Episcopal Archbishop of the Sudan, together with Archbishop Paulino Lukudu of the Roman Catholic Church advanced to Hai Jalaba Junior School polling station to cast their referendum ballots at four o’clock that afternoon. Unsurprisingly, there was heavy media attention ready to capture the two archbishops exercising their democratic right at the polling station. Download the pdf file forwarded by Bishop Anthony for the complete story and pics. Download 01. ABD and ABP vote in Referendum

First Day's voting passes peacefully in Kajo Keji by Stephen Tomor...[ACNS] Read it here.

Sudan's referendum and why the West should care
[WHYY Radio Times Broadcast] with Dr. Randall Fegley. Check it out here.

New Hope's Faith Journey
... A photo story in the Oct-Dec newsletter of Kajo Keji. Download it here.

12 Days of Christmas for Kajo Keji ... [World Mission Committee] The first batch of gifts to Kajo Keji from the Diocese of Bethlehem for Christmas 2010 is being transferred. More here.

"Bethlehem People, God has Chosen You to Come" to Kajo Keji by Charlie Barebo. Find it here.

In the World

Southern Sudanese celebrate the birth of a new nation...[ENS] Read it here.

Southern Sudan votes to split from the north...

Northern Sudan's protests trigged by long-term economic, political frustrations..
.[Christian Science Monitor] Read more here.

Complete preliminary results show 99% vote to split in Southern Sudan...
[CNN] More here.

Church of Sudan Builds Peace, Serves Returning Refugees During Country’s Transition..
.[Episcopal Relief and Development blog] Read more here.

Analysis: South Sudan secession a risky precedent...[The Florida Times Union] More here.

Some south Sudanese believe independence in Bible...[Associated Press] Read it here.

Voices of Sudan...[Odyssey Network] Find it here.

As South Sudan prepares for independence, old hurts linger...
[Christian Science Monitor] More here.

Exiled Sudanese clergy hope for peaceful return...[Ecumenical News International, Nairobi] Read it here.

In Sudan, provisional referendum results indicate landslide independence vote..
.[ENS]  More here.

Overwhelming vote for Southern Sudan secession ... Southern Sudanese election officials posted early results on Sunday indicating that perhaps more than 95 percent of voters in this regional capital of Juba voted to secede from Sudan. More at the NYTimes.

Notes from Sudan...[Trinity Wall Street] Read it here.

Voices of Sudan Part 4: Lost Boy Abraham Achiek..
.[Odyssey Networks] More here.

Voices of Sudan Part 3 Lost Boy Gabriel Tor...[Odyssey Networks]  More here.

Sudanese Episcopalians rejoice as historic referendum draws to a close... [ENS] More here.

US allies keep close watch on Sudan independence vote...[Christian Century].  Read it here.

Prayer Vigil..
.[Odyssey Network] More here.

Thousands vote in Southern Sudan as violence flares in disputed region
...[CNN] Find it here.

Sudan referendum success in Juba.
..[ENS]. Read it here.

Millions take to the polls in Sudan's historic referendum; clashes in Abyei claim lives...[ENS] More here.

Southern Sudanese, in a Jubilant Mood, Begin to Vote on Secession
...[New York Times] Find it here.

Chicago Episcopalians pray for peace in Sudan.
..[Chicago Tribune] More here.

First day of voting goes off well
...[CNN] Read it here.

In Southern Sudan, the clock ticks toward 'liberation'.
..[CNN] Find it here.

In Sudan, an Election and a Beginning
(by President Barack Obama)...[New York Times] More here.

Praying for Peace in Sudan...
[Trinity Wall Street] Read it here.

Sudan Prayer Vigil.
.. Find it on YouTube

Metro-area South Sudanese refugees take part in historic vote for independence...[Atlanta Journal Constituion] More here.

Roanoke Sudanese make voices heard...[Roanoke Times]. Read it here.

For local Episcopalians, vote in Sudan gets personal...[St. Louis Post Dispatch]. More here.

Sudan: The trek home to vote...[CNN]. Read it here.

Episcopalians, Sudanese partners unite in prayer for a peaceful referendum
...[ENS]. More here.

Sudanese Bishop Joseph Garang speaks about the referendum and international partnerships...[ENS].  Read it here.

Christians Issue Prayer Call for Peace Ahead of Sudan Vote...[Christian Post] More here.

The Anglican Communion rallies in prayer behind Sudan...[ACNS] Read the story here.

Chicago Episcopalians capture spirit of Sudan through video, images, music...[ENS] Read it here.

Voices of Sudan Part 2... [Odyssey Network] More here.

Southern Sudan returnees put a strain on limited resources... [CNN] An influx of people returning home to vote in Southern Sudan is straining communities suffering from lack of food and water in the remote region, aid groups said Wednesday. Read it here.

Sudan's President Opens to South's Succession...[Wall Street Journal, by Sarah Childress] Find it here.

Can Sudan split without falling apart? ... [Time Magazine] Read it here.

Peaceful vote on Sudan appears more likely ... [NYTimes, Jan. 2, Jeffrey Gettleman] Read it here.

George Clooney 'antigenocide Papparazzi': Watching Sudan ... [Time Magazine] Read it here.

Prayer vigil for the people of Sudan [Trib-local, Libertyville] More here.

Voices of Sudan [Odyssey Network] More here.

Pace: Southern Sudan secession? [Richmond Times Dispatch] More here.

Peace hovers in Sudan, but most soldiers stay armed ... [NYTimes, Josh Kron] With little more than a week to go before a vote on independence for southern Sudan, virtually none of the soldiers have put down their weapons and fully rejoined civilian life. More here.

Trinty, Wall Street's Praying for Peace resource page. Find it here.

Episcopal Relief and Development's Power of Partnerships. More here.

Ballots delivered for Sudan independence vote [CNN]...Each ballot carries two pictures: One hand signifies independence; two hands, a unified Sudan. More here.

Sudan's president warns of tighter Islamic law [CNN]...Sudanese President Omar al-Bashir has warned that he will tighten the application of Islamic law, or sharia, in northern Sudan if southern Sudan votes for independence next month, the Sudan News Agency reported. More here.

Praying with and for the people of Sudan [ACNS]...From the Secretary General, Canon Kenneth Kearon. More here.

New CD features Sudanese voices from the Diocese of Renk...[From Rebecca Wilson, Diocese of Chicago] A newly-released musical composition that captures the spirit of the people on the fault line in Sudan’s bloody civil conflict has its roots in the relationship between the Episcopal Diocese of Chicago and the Sudanese Diocese of Renk.

In Voices of Faith, Chicago composer Chris Beckstrom, has woven song, percussion and handclapping recorded in Sudan by members of the Chicago diocese’s Renk Media Team into an original 12-track audio CD available for $20 through All proceeds benefit the Diocese of Renk.

Sudanese summit strengthens partners in ministry...[ENS] Here.

Dreams of life in Southern Sudan clash with reality ... [NPR] Here.

Act now to prevent war in Sudan ... [CNN, George Clooney and John Prendergast] Here.

African poverty is falling ... much faster than you think. More here. [VoxEU, H/T John B. Chilton at Episcopal Café]

Attention-Grabber for Sudan's cause ... [NYTimes] John Prendergast has focused the attention of movie stars and President Obama. But will that be enough to head off another bloodbath? More here.

Bishop Katharine discusses discusses Sudan's January referendum in new video ... “I ask for your action on behalf of the people of Sudan,” Episcopal Church Presiding Bishop Katharine Jefferts Schori notes in a new video posted on the Episcopal Church’s Sudan Resource page. where you will also find prayer resources and more on Sudan. A Sudanese-wide referendum is slated for January 9, 2011 which, if successful, will establish a separate Southern Sudan with full rights to self-determination.

Sudan is church's focus as vote on partition draws near ... [Episcopal Cafe, Nick Knisely] As part of the 2005 Peace agreement signed by Sudanese in the northern and southern parts of country, a binding vote on partition will be taken in early January that could split the country into two parts, its Muslim dominated north and its Christian dominated south. More here.

George Clooney and John Prendergast on Sudan's Peace Process ...  [The Atlantic Wire] Clooney and Prendergast then put forward a series of proposals to help lay the foundation for peace. Read Not too late to stop another war in Sudan.

Diocesan Life February 2011

Hello everyone! Here is the latest edition of Diocesan Life. We are now wrapping around a new, independent paper called the Episcopal Journal. Of course, our online version doesn't include that news, but you should receive it in your mailboxes this week. As always, if you have stories, photos, news, please pass them along to Kat Lehman. The file is in .pdf formate and is 2.3 MB in size.

Download 1102_DiocesanLifeFINAL_SMALL

‘Bethlehem People, God Has Chosen You to Come’ to Kajo Keji

By Charlie Barebo

Road to Sodogo On the road to Sodogo

Our November mission trip evidenced a greatly changed Kajo Keji that awaits the January 9 referendum with eager anticipation. On approach, as the MAF flight passes over the dirt airstrip to insure it is clear of the ubiquitous goats and sheep, we see the addition of several new western-style buildings and two new cell towers.

It has been an arduous day on the twin engine Cessna; eight hours with seven take offs and landings, a regular milk run. Stephen Tomor and Bishop Anthony complete with his posse greet us at the airport. The ride to Romogi is fast and smooth, a pleasure after 22 hours in the air.

Evidence of the economic recovery brought on by five years of peace is all around us: five times the livestock we have seen on previous trips, no protruding ribs on people or animals, no rags passing for clothes, flip flops or shoes now the norm. We pass five automobiles on the first ride to Romogi, more than we saw on the entire trip in January 2007. On Monday as we drive to the school opening in Sodogo, we pass a car with a large sign on the roof: “Kajo Keji Driving School.” Who ever would have thought…

Secondary level needs are now being fulfilled and we see sunglasses, radios and iPods; soccer balls and bikes are more in evidence. This place is no longer bleak house; the feel is upbeat. There is a political overtone in the air. Here there is no unending bickering between out of step political parties but people talking about voting for their freedom and self determination, a first since the colonial period started, 150 years ago. Voter registration starts while we are here. We watch Bishop Anthony register. There are proud smiles on the faces of those registering. A legitimate census has been done and indicates that there are 193,000 inhabitants of the county. The Comprehensive Peace Agreement states that for the New Sudan to gain its independence, 60% of registered voters must vote and for independence to pass it must have only a simple majority, 51%.

Like Palm Sunday Like Palm Sunday

We inspect the New Hope Schools at Romogi and Gaderu and officially open the Kitchen-Dining Hall at the college as well the New Hope Primary Schools in Liwolo and Sodogo. The Romogi School wins the Bishop Marshall Prize for the best kept gardens and grounds. We meet with the college management team and the students, more on this in a later issue.

I want to share the story of the opening of the Trinity Easton New Hope School in Sodogo. This school will always hold a special place in my heart as Trinity Easton stepped forward and tithed their own capital campaign to New Hope. Before our very eyes, two dioceses witnessed God’s people in Christ’s church doing precisely what Christ asked us to do in the Great Commandment. These school openings are always a joyous occasion, a day of fulfillment, both functionally and spiritually.

Sodogo is a long drive and you must take the small all-wheel drive vehicles through a small river. Boys are playing in the river; a mother is doing the family laundry. There are no crocodiles in this shallow section. We are met two miles outside of the village and led by a joyful throng, singing before us and holding high banners of the cross. Could this be what Christ and the Apostles felt like on Palm Sunday? I say a prayer of dedication and Archdeacon Stringfellow cuts the ribbon. Adrenalin pushes the jet lag out of my mind. We move over to the parade ground where we will sit for the two-hour program. Have you heard that the Kukus like to make long speeches? The PTA President announces he has a few brief comments. Archdeacon Stringfellow spies six pages of single-spaced typed notes.

Wilson Rembe, Landlord Wilson Rembe, Landlord

The landlord who donated the land for the school to the Diocese of Kajo Keji stands up to make a speech. “I am Wilson Rembe,” he says. “I am 84 years old. My ancestors gave me this land. All these days, I have been waiting for this school like a bride waits for a groom. The fox used to run on this road. When I was a boy my father and I built a bridge over the stream. I think he knew there would be a school built here one day. People used to make fun of us and say, ‘Did you build this bridge for fox or for people?’ Now the little children are my foxes who will use this bridge to go to school. Who are these people from across the sea who give their money so our children can go to school? I tell you they are God’s people. Thank God for the people of Bethlehem. I am Wilson Rembe, landlord.”

Jumping for Joy Jumping for joy

Now there is feasting, singing, and dancing. A choir from the school sings a response song for us. There is so much going on it is hard to focus. The Holy Spirit cuts through me like a knife and I hear the words, “Thank You, Bethlehem people, God has chosen you to come.”

Late at night when I have doubts about why God would let his people suffer so much or when my daughter or children who attend New Hope presentations at various parishes ask how a loving God would let His children suffer so much, I find my answers in that chorus. God’s people in Kajo Keji and the southern Sudan have suffered. But God always knew he would choose us. He chose us to help heal his wounded children. God chose us to give sight to the blind, to lift the yoke of oppression, to raise up the foundations of many generations. We have been given a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity. We have been truly blessed.

Old & new Sodogo School


Old and new Sodogo school


[Charlie Barebo is chair of the New Hope Campaign and Development Officer for the Diocese of Bethlehem. More about Charlie here.]

   Barebo, Inc., is chair of the

My Father's House at St. Luke's Lebanon

My Father's House My Father's House, a refurbished apartment attached to the former rectory of St. Luke's Episcopal Church, 6th & Chestnut Streets, Lebanon, was recently dedicated for community service. For this project, St. Luke's partnered with two county agencies, Community Action Partnership (CAP) and the Coalition to End Lebanon County Homelessness. 

The apartment at the rear of 519 Chestnut Street, will be used for transitional housing for folks in need in Lebanon County. This pilot project for the county received grant money from the Diocese of Bethlehem through a New Hope Campaign in which funds were solicited for a companion diocese in New Sudan, Africa, as well as the Needy in Pennsylvania.

On hand for the blessing were representatives from each of the agencies and the Lebanon Ministerium,    In its history, St. Luke's Church has given the community the Good Samaritan Hospital and Lebanon's first library.

Father Terrence Wible, rector, led the dedication. This project was developed by the Outreach Committee of the church, Todd Snovel, Chairman. People in need of housing should contact the Community Action Partnership.

Letters of Intent requested for New Hope grants

16 June 2010

Dear Partners in Ministry,

The Social Ministries Committee is now ready to receive and consider requests for disbursements from the New Hope Campaign. The total amount we are able to grant for the 2010-11 calendar year is $100,000. Therefore, we are inviting Letters of Intent from parishes and Episcopal related organizations within the Episcopal Diocese of Bethlehem. The Deadline for Letters of Intent is 30 July 2010.

The Letter of Intent should contain:

•The Mission Statement of the parish/organization
•A summary of the proposal including a brief project description
•An outline of the focus and scope (who will be served?)
•Amount to be requested from the SMC (one time or multi-year request)
•Partner churches, agencies, organizations, etc., if any
•Project start date
•Name, e-mail and day and evening telephone number of contact person(s).

Letters of Intent should be sent to The Rev’d Daniel C. Gunn, St. Stephen’s Pro-cathedral, 35 South Franklin Street, Wilkes-Barre, PA 18701 or emailed to [email protected] with “Social Ministry Application” in the subject line. A member of the Social Ministries Committee will be in contact soon thereafter. These Letters are preliminary proposals and will be considered in the order in which they are received. Applications will be sent after the initial contact. 

In peace,

The Rev’d Daniel C. Gunn, Chair
Social Ministries Committee
Diocese of Bethlehem

Bishop Anthony's visit to Trinity, Easton

Bishop Visit 10 22 Bishop Anthony Poggo of the Diocese of Kajo Keji came to Trinity, Easton on Wednesday, March 3, 2010 to have lunch and tell a group of laity about Southern Sudan and Kajo Keji. He also saw the construction and renovations taking place at Trinity, Easton, and to hear about the parish's outreach ministries.

Poggo had lunch with a group of vestry and other lay ministry leaders  representing a cross-section of the parish and ministries, and told then about the work of the diocese of Kajo Keji and the current situation in Southern Sudan.

In the first picture, Bishop Anthony and Father Andrew Gerns stand where Trinity's new kitchen will be.  They discussed the new addition and the primary school in Sodogo, Kajo Keji, that the parish is making possible by tithing the parish's capital campaign to New Hope.

Bishop Visit 10 27

Barbi Haigh gives Bishop Anthony a short tour of the church.

Bishop Visit 10 38 During lunch, vestry member Barb Edwards speaks with Bishop Anthony.

Bishop Visit 10 44 Bishop Anthony speaks to vestry members and lay leaders of Trinity Church, Easton during a lunch on March 3, 2010.

See also TrinEast.

--posted by Andrew Gerns

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