In the Diocese
Young members of the White Nile Community at Deanery Synod
The White Nile congregations in Oulu, Vaasa and Kokkola are made up of refugees from the Sudan who have been given asylum in Finland under UN auspices. They are now looking for the day when peace and stability returns to their homeland in Southern Sudan. The future of their country will be strengthened by educated Sudanese, now in exile, who hope to return to help rebuild their homeland. For this, a younger generation with English language skills will be vital. The young members of the White Nile congregations speak various Sudanese languages at home, use Arabic in worship, and, of course, are learning Finnish (and sometimes Swedish as well) in school! Funds from the Advent Appeal will support a project to enable them to improve their English, through tuition, books and other materials.
Their presence within our part of the Church of England has greatly enriched our lives, and the Church of England in turn can help, through this Appeal, to equip them to be leaders when they return to a new and peaceful land. I recently spent time with their priest, the Revd Amos Manga, in Oulu who shared with me the enthusiasm of his younger parishioners and the encouragement they feel from our support. (Please continue to hold Fr Amos in your prayers, as he is completing a final course of chemotherapy for cancer).
Outside the Diocese
Fr Chery (blue shirt) crossing the Artibonite River in Haiti
Our Lady of the Annunciation is one of the oldest parishes of the Anglican (Episcopal) Church in Haiti. It is located just outside the area of Port-au-Prince in one of the poorest zones in the country. The community faces so many difficulties (health care, accessibility, poverty) but remains a living community of faith. From this parish many vocations to the priesthood have been raised up. The Church and parish school were destroyed in the earthquake of last January 12th. The congregation and school have been meeting under tents since then.
The parish priest, Fr Jean Fils Chery, says the congregation has many young people. They are gifted with many talents. Our Appeal will support the rebuilding and re-equipping of the school. Also, as many of the youth who have finished secondary school cannot go on to college or university because of economic problems, the parish is embarking on a new programme to help prepare them for a trade or other profession.
The problems facing Haiti continue to be compounded. This past week I received an email from Canon Ogé Beauvoir, who is overseeing the reconstruction of Church properties in the country. He comments on the unrest following the elections held on Sunday 28 November.
After the earthquake, the cholera outbreak, and Tomas (the hurricane), Haiti is on the verge of serious political unrest following the violent and fraudulous election of today. Earlier last week, two of the nineteen candidates left the race. Earlier this afternoon, thirteen of the remaining seventeen candidates, including the leading one, Mirlande H. Manigat, asked the Electoral College and President Preval to void the election. Violence and fraud occurred in the today election were in favor of Jude Celestin, Mr. Preval’s candidate.
This afternoon, cities like Port-au-Prince, Petion-Ville, Petit-Goave, Gonaives, Saint-Marc, Cayes, Jacmel, Saint-Michel de l’Attalaye, and many other locations are dealing with big demonstrations. The days ahead will not be quiet.
Please continue to pray for Haiti as the country is facing another crisis.
Please give generously to the Bishop's Advent Appeal to help us support these two outstanding projects. You can donate through your own Diocese in Europe congregation, or you can contact our Diocesan Finance Officer for advice.
The official Appeal information can be found by clicking the tab above called "Advent Appeal".