Some Recent News
Canon Trevor's Update August 2014
Dear Bishop Gwynne Prayer Partners
Thank you so much for all the prayers you have offered for BGC, the Episcopal Church of South Sudan and Sudan and the people of those countries in the past few months.
- The college is now re-convening for the beginning of a new semester with the potential of 32 new students as well as those continuing in their first and second years.
- The college ran a course during the long vacation in reconciliation and peace-making which was well attended.
- Those who took their exams in June await their results. Graduation for those who completed their third year is on 25th October.
We thank God for his blessings and pray for the students, staff and volunteers engaged in teaching and implementation of what they have learnt.
- The ECSSS has now established a new internal province for Sudan with Bishop Ezekiel of Khartoum as its head. Archbishop Daniel's address, which includes an excellent historical summary of the ECSSS, is below.
- Archbishop Daniel's Statement
Pray for Archbishop Daniel, leaders of other churches and all those engaged in Christian ministry throughout Sudan and South Sudan. Pray for the new internal province.
- The political and humanitarian situation in South Sudan is dire. Talks have taken place in Addis Abba but previous agreements have not been implemented. I include the latest communiqués from IGAD below that set out the protocol on the arrangements for a Transitional Government of National Unity (TGONU).
- The Protocol PDF
- The Final Communique
- The people of the Nuba Mountains and South Blue Nile continue to suffer attacks as they resist the Khartoum government.http://enoughproject.org/blogs/doctors-view-foxhole-sudan?utm_source=feedburner&utm_medium=feed&utm_campaign=Feed%3A+enoughblog+%28Enough+Said%29
Pray for all the participants in the talks and those called on to implement the agreements.
Pray for the many who are in desperate need of humanitarian aid, the homeless, the maimed, all those who lives have been shattered by the breakdown of stable governance.
Canon Trevor's Update June 2014
Thank you for your prayers which continue to bear fruit for BGC.
- The college remains among the poorest among colleges of tertiary education in Africa. But we have come a long long way from 2008 and the trend is still upwards despite all the problems in South Sudan. We give thanks for all of this.
- Give thanks for the arrival of computers for the students at the college. The first we have had since the college re-opened in 2010. Pray that we can now get connected in some way. Internet connectivity is important but very expensive.
- All went well for the final exams which finished earlier this month. All the students have now gone home - or at least to wherever they can find to be. We await the results which will not be published until the end of September. The graduation for those who have completed there three year diploma will be on 25th October 2014. Some of these students began in a foundation year in 2010 and have been at BGC four years. We give thanks for their commitment though tough times and their generous sponsors.
- The Principal, Samuel, has just had a two week holiday with his wife in Uganda and is now back at the college overseeing ...
- The completion of the library and foundation works to hold back the variable river that is constantly breaking down the bank.
- The neighbouring hotel has given a substantial sum which has been allocated to building a guest house for visiting lecturers and college supporters. I publish his full email on the blog
- http://trevorandtina.blogspot.com .
- The next event scheduled for the college is a short course for the training of pastors in peace and reconciliation work. Please pray for this.
- New applicants are due to sit the entrance exam in the middle to July. Your prayers needed that they may be able to travel, do well and then get the money to come.
An Easter Message From Bishop Gwynne College
A Statement from The South Sudan Council of Churches
Below is a satement given on April 9th from the SSCC which shows unity of purpose in seeing peace in South Sudan. Please follow the link to see a PDF copy to read or print.
Easter 2014 Update
The college continues to battle on positively despite the many hardships in South Sudan.
- The immediate future of the country is not positive. Please pray for a cessation of hostilities.
- The religious institutions (both Christian and Islamic) have remained united and committed to peace-building and reconciliation across the nation. I attach a statement from the South Sudan Council of Churches. This link to a statement from the UK Government you might find helpful https://www.gov.uk/government/publications/south-sudan-country-of-concern/south-sudan-country-of-concern-latest-update-31-march-2014.
- The college has had good results from its exams sat just before 15th December when the violence erupted. Please pray for the students as they lead up to this semester's exams at the end of May.
- We are very grateful for a recent gift of ten computers and two printers for the new college library which is gradually coming together.
- Finances are a challenge but the remarkable response from so many of you has meant a huge increase in money coming to us from overseas. All overseas giving to the college is now going to paying salaries, feeding students, paying for medicines and buying fuel for the generator and transport.
- Please continue to pray for our principal Samual Galuak, Esparanza Emil and Benjamin Disi.
The situation in Malakal is horrific. The rebel White Army have again taken control and the rapes, murders, lootings and destruction continue. They have taken no notice at all of the agreement to cease hostilities signed in Addis. We are told over and over again that they do not respect the church, aid workers or the UN. In fact churches have been targeted and women raped and murdered in them.
Please keep praying for Malakal and the whole of the country. Then tensions are high. Things are not improving, rather the reverse.
- Please pray for the over 700,000 displaced people and those seeking to help them.
- Please pray for Christians and Christian ministers of all denominations trying to care for people and teach the message of love.
- Please pray for the international community which, in seeking to try and remain neutral, earning the disapproval of both sides.
- Please pray for expatriates in the country working to help the humanitarian efforts who are put at risk by the negativity felt towards the international community.
- Please continue to pray for the staff and students at BGC struggling to keep the college alive despite the tensions and lack of sufficient resources.
- Give thanks for those who are hear about daily who care deeply and keep themselves informed, irrespective of insufficient reporting.
- Give thanks for those who have and are giving generously to BGC, and the support of the work of the churches with IDPs and in the area of reconciliation.
- Give thanks for the courage and dedication of the Christian leadership in South Sudan.
- Give thanks for the way God speaks to us so powerfully through the Scriptures and the example of Christ's people in the face of such suffering. God is with us. Never has Romans 8:31-39 felt so true.
- A short update. We now have 15 students who have returned. Some are giving excuses but Samuel is trying to be patient with them.
- Esparanza has not yet returned so there is only Samuel and Benjamin in the administration. They certainly need our prayers. However there is a slow but sure recovery for which to give thanks.
- We are still critically low on funds - but are so grateful to you all. Today we have received $500 from Canada and over £800 from the UK. Sadly this doesn't happen everyday! 15 students doesn't sound much but the overheads are high. Juba is no cheap place to live and food is now even higher priced.
- The US are having a day of prayer for South Sudan on 16th February. I attach a prayer sheet from the Diocese of Camino Real which you might find useful.
You will be aware of the way things have gone in South Sudan from the news-broadcasts. Despite the cease-fire agreement many parts of the country will not be back to any kind of regular daily life for a long time to come. Juba has been calm for several weeks but that does not mean that it is by any means back to normal either – especially from the commercial point of view. There are many factors that have changed for BGC and discussions are under-way regarding the organisation of the new semester. We ask you to pray for the principal, Samuel Galuak and the chairman and the governors as they meet this week.
As soon as decisions have been made regarding the new semester I will be back in touch with specific prayer requests.
We rejoice in the kindness and the generosity of our Prayer Partners and friends. We have received a number of valuable gifts and even more valuable new friends over the past month. Thank-you.
I attach two documents that you may not have come across that may be of interest to you.
- The first has been sent on by one of our BGC prayer partners in Canada. It is a letter from the Archbishop in Canada to the Canadian Prime Minister. Click here to see
- The second is a first-hand account of what it has been like in Malakal in Upper Nile State. This town has changed hands more than once and, in fleeing, two hundred people died in a ferry disaster along with who knows how many others caught up in the cross-fire. But as you see from the report the Church continues to worship and minister. The account comes from a Catholic source; reports have been received that the Anglican cathedral has been damaged by fire. Click here to see
I offer the following links that tell some of the story of what the churches are doing to broker peace and reconciliation in South Sudan.
- United States Institute of Peace: South Sudan’s Religious Unity Can Help Heal Wounds of Violence: http://www.usip.org/olivebranch/south-sudan-s-religious-unity-can-help-heal-wounds-of-violence
- Archbishop of Canterbury to visit South Sudan: http://www.anglicannews.org/news/2014/01/abp-welby-to-visit-south-sudan-and-great-lakes-region.aspx
- Interview on BBC: http://www.bbc.co.uk/iplayer/bigscreen/tv/episode/b03v4k3h/
- Our Canadian friends have referred us to an account by Bishop Grant LeMarquand of a visit to Dimma refugee camp for South Sudanese in Western Ethipia. See here
Two Useful Links
Military conflict is ongoing in Malakal and Bor. President Museveni of Uganda has confirmed that Ugandan troops are engaged in the fighting. Ugandan soldiers have been killed. Pray for the talks in Addis. Below are two useful links to news about the current situation in South Sudan, please use them to help you understand what is happening.
A Comment by Rev Jesse Zinc
Rev Jesse visited Bishop Gwynne College and was so impressed by the recent changes that he posted a blog online. Below is a link to that blog post and also a link to some more info about Jesse himself. Thank you for your kind comments.
New Appointments Promise a Bright Future
We give thanks for the successful BGC Board of Governors meeting at the beginning of this month which has worked to address the well-being and future needs of the college.
First they have appointed Samuel Galuak as the Principal of the college. He has been working as acting principal since January and now, with the sad parting of Joseph Taban, after due consideration it has been decided to appoint him as the college principal. Samuel has shown excellent qualities that will forward the vision that he shared with Joseph since September 2011. His experience, combined with his academic ability, make him the ideal candidate for the post. We praise God that we have found such a person for BGC when suitable people are so hard to find in South Sudan.
Secondly, the governors have appointed Revd. John Malesh as Academic Dean. John has MAs in two subjects and has been a visiting lecturer at the college since he returned to Juba in 2011. Before that he was the ECS liaison officer in Kampala where many of us expatriates first met him. John has also worked with Joseph and shared the BGC planning.
Thirdly, after 18 months of searching for the right person for the post of Administrative Secretary, the Board have appointed Mrs Esparanza Emil, Joseph Taban's widow. She is eminently qualified having the right kind of skills and a lot of experience in teaching in a primary school. She is also intimately connected to BGC of course.
Offering Esparanza this post also solves the problem of her future. She can continue in the college accommodation and it gives her a reasonable income to buy food and medicine and sufficient to pay the school fees of her three children at present.
These appointments means that Samuel has the support of two new full-time people in the college to add to the very experienced Benjamin Disi as logistic officer.
Eight new students have succeeded in passing the Special Entrance Exam and are ready to begin at the end of this month. Sadly a lot more failed than passed – we were hoping for a bigger intake this year. But the standard of English required is high and it is difficult for students in the remoter centres to get the tuition and practice in English they need.
The national government reshuffle last month seems to have gone off without any trouble. Although it took some people by surprise (especially the scale of it) it has met with fairly broad approval in the country. There is amicability on all sides and all have agreed that the President acted within his constitutional powers. The army in South Sudan, unlike Egypt and elsewhere, appears to keep well out of these kind of politics. The general impression is that South Sudan, despite its being such a young republic, is so far proving to be remarkably democratic despite its history of tribal differences. The churches and Christian message so widely heard in South Sudan is definitely impacting on the mood of the country.
Bishop Gwynne College is sad to announce that Rev Joseph Taban, Principal and much loved colleague died on the evening of May 21st. Please pray for his soul, Esparanza and the family he leaves behind.
Prayer Needed for Archbishop Daniel
Prayers need for Archbishop Daniel Deng and his new reconciliation committee. He is a very brave man to take it on. We earnestly pray for success.
Our Plans For the Future of BGC
See Below two PDF files with news about our plans for the future development of our college here in Juba and the plan of the college laid out itself.