Saturday brings a Fischy Music concert to St Silas' at 3pm. Families with small children will have a ball. Tickets available on the door.
Sunday morning sees the first of a new service style under the title "Together". Some very good visuals courtesy of Grayza (wait until you see them!), intense planning from two staff members, and the commitment of many volunteers should see us off to a good start as we begin to get used to being without a hall for the next year.
Monday sees two landmark occasions. First, I'll be leading the prayers of dedication at the official opening of the new Glasgow City Mission building on Crimea Street. Many long-term supporters and the great and the good will be present. In the evening, I'll be preaching at the decommissioning service for our old hall. This will be an emotional time for some as we look back at all God has done in this buildiing over its century+ history, as well as give thanks for His continued provision.
I've been thinking that I need to step up my personal Bible reading. Too many pastors rely on their preaching preparation or saying of the daily offices for their diet of Bible study. Of late I've been conscious of a need to study the Bible more, and wondered how I might go about it.
My first step was to get a new Bible: the English Standard Version Study Bible. I ordered it last night and it arrived this morning. A meaty doorstep of a book at 2750+ pages. It's beautifully presented and the single column layout makes it easy to read. I'm impressed - now I simply have to get reading it.
I went to the church later in the morning, and there was a letter inviting me to join with other pastors for a weekly early morning Bible study, to help us be more disciplined in our engagement with scripture!
I think I might be going along the right lines here.......
APPEAL regarding the recent atrocities in Jonglei and Western Equatoria States
On Saturday 29th August 2009 I received reports from Wernyol, Twic East County, Jonglei State, that there had been another attack on the peoples of the area in which over forty people – men, women and children – were killed. Amongst the dead were Ven. Joseph Mabior Garang, Archdeacon of Wernyol and Archbishop’s Commissary in the new Diocese of Twic East, who was shot at the altar of the church in Wernyol during a service of Morning Prayer. Tens of others have been wounded, some very seriously with gun-shot wounds and broken limbs. Only a few of these have been taken to Juba Military Hospital, whilst the rest are still in Bor Hospital.
I have leant from Episcopal Church sources on the ground that the attackers were well armed with new automatic weapons, dressed in army uniforms, and appeared well-organized and properly trained. Instead of attacking a cattle camp, this was an attack on a Payam headquarter town. Consequently in the view of the Church, this was not a tribal conflict as commonly reported, but a deliberately organized attack on civilians by those that are against the peace in Southern Sudan. These reports confirm the suspicions that I aired in my May 2009 appeal to the diplomatic and international community in Sudan.
Last week I received the news from Ezo, Ezo County, Western Equatoria State, that there had been another devastating attack by the Lord’s Resistance Army (LRA) on Ezo town on 12th/13th August in which three people, including an Episcopal Church lay reader had been murdered. The attack included the abduction of children from the Episcopal church building in Ezo, and several thousand more people have been displaced into Ezo town – people that the local churches are struggling to care for. Ezo Hospital was also attacked, medicine stolen and equipment destroyed.
I hear from Bishop John Zawo of the Episcopal Diocese of Ezo that the attack could have been avoided if better military security had been given to the town.
I am therefore appealing to the government and the international community at large to act swiftly in order to prevent such atrocities from occurring in future. Continuing violence such as this is not only a crime against the innocent people killed and injured, it is a crime against the peace of the Sudan and if left unchecked will do great damage to the smooth implementation of the Comprehensive Peace Agreement (CPA)
This is especially the case given the strained political situation whereby the two parties to the CPA – the National Congress Party (NCP) and the Sudan People’s Liberation Movement (SPLM) – are still not coming to an agreement regarding the laws governing the elections and referendum. The time frame given for the elections and referendum is already too short for the democratic processes to be effectively organized, and by the provisional dates chosen for voting in the elections, much of the South will already be suffering from logistics problems caused by the onset of the wet season.
This is an indication to the citizens of the Sudan that the people on the ground are not being regarded or included in the politics of peace and that we are vulnerable to future violations of the CPA and an uncertain future for peace in the Sudan.
I refer the government and international community to my May 2009 appeal to the diplomatic community in Sudan, and now strongly reiterate my plea to urge your countries’ governments to do more to guarantee the implementation of the CPA at all levels. As shown from the Twic East example, there is now accurate evidence to suggest that such violence is deliberately perpetrated as I implied in the May appeal. So long as all violence such as that in Jonglei and that perpetrated by the LRA continues – violence which is preventable by better use of security personnel – there is no hope of conducting free and fair elections in these areas in 2010 and no hope of a fair referendum on Southern secession in 2011.
In the mean time I am appealing for humanitarian assistance to those 24,000 displaced and wounded people in Twic East County and those 15,000 displaced and wounded people Ezo County. I would like to especially appeal for help for the widow and children of Ven. Joseph Mabior Garang, who now require food and education.
Unless the guarantor governments of the CPA act now the peace is in grave danger. As the Church, we look for the upholding of the rights of every Sudanese to a peaceful future.
His Grace the Most Rev. Dr. Daniel Deng Bul Yak
Archbishop and Primate of the Province of the Episcopal Church of the Sudan
Funds for the 39,000 displaced persons and the bereaved family of Archdeacon Garang may be sent to Anglican Mainstream (for AID – Sudan) 21 High Street, Eynsham, OX29 4HE UK or donated through the paypal link on the Anglican Mainstream website. All funds will be sent directly through with no deductions.
"Either we are children of God and brothers and sisters in Christ, or
we aren't. There are not preferred children and second-class children.
There are just children of God." Gene Robinson in The Guardian, 29th August 2009
Following his hospitalisation, GV Boy is confined to bed at home, and is not to move around very much. In fact, he is supposed to lie on his stomach to allow the open wound to heal. I get to serve his every need while instructing him on how to be a good patient.
Caring for one's children doesn't get any easier once they are adults.
Very early Friday am: GV Boy awakens me. He is in excruciating pain. Long story short: by way of NHS 24, our GP and A & E, he ends up in hospital having surgery on an abscess. He's out today, having had the whole thing cleaned out. Not nice.
In the midst of all that, I managed to fit in the first onsite meeting with the contractors for Building for the Future. I can't quite believe we've reached this stage. This time next year the new facilities should be completed.
On Friday morning, we have our first on site meeting with the team who will build our new hall facilities. One downside of the whole project is losing the current hall in order to gain something better. Inevitably, this brings with it a sense of bereavement. Memories of meetings, events, parties held there. Children nurtured both physically and spiritually. Community groups using the hall, the last being the fabulous Aerolocos. For some of us, the loss of the hall will be painful. That's why we are planning a service of Evensong, to give thanks for all that God has done on that spot and look forward to all that will be done in the future. It's looking like September 7th at 7.30pm at the moment, so we'll have to work hard together to make it happen, though one of our ever-competent lay readers has most of it organised already.
It will be an exciting day for me, as that lunchtime, I'll be leading prayers at the dedication and official opening of the new Glasgow City Mission building on Crimea Street. The facilities are so much better, and it was good to be at the Board meeting when the users of the service were arriving last night.
It turns out the contractors on that job, are going to build our halls too, and we even have the same clerk-of-works. If they do as good a job as they've done for the Mission, we'll be a very happy people.
I am thinking that I should never actually leave the computer, for it mysteriously generates work to be done when I return to it. For example tonight I've had to reply to more than twenty-two emails, and I was only out for five hours. This should make me feel wanted and important, but instead I'm feeling a wee bit enslaved. If I ignore them, they'll still be there in the morning, along with those I've yet to reply to and any more that come in the meantime! It's tyranny, isn't it?