Potholes, Dancing and Optimism

by Michael Ford last modified 21 Oct, 2013 12:05 PM

Two priests currently working in Mundri, South Sudan, send us their latest reports.

Potholes, Dancing and Optimism

Andrew Poppe teaching the Second Year class

The Revds Jane Shaw and Andrew Poppe are spending time at Bishop Ngalamu Theological College, teaching various topics to enthusiastic students.

Jane says, "They are so keen to learn, it is really heart-warming: yesterday was a particularly hot and humid afternoon, with a Worship and Liturgy class, and I really felt after an exercise on writing their own Collect that they might have had enough (with half an hour to go) – so I suggested that might be enough for today…but the cry went up “Tell us more!”, so I took a deep breath and we embarked on the format for a Service of the Word."

Andrew says, "On Thursdays the students have the afternoon for manual work. They decide what they are going to do from gardening through to road repairs, which is what they have done this week to make the road into the college passable. We have been stuck in a 4X4 on that road already. They spent the afternoon filling the biggest holes with chunks of rock they dug out of the ground."

Speaking of the vibrant Sunday service, Jane says, "The singing was very rich and lively – the choir entered during the first song in procession from the west end, swaying to the music as they sang; the accompaniment, including keyboard, included a stunning range of percussion instruments – maracas, drums, tambourines, shaker canisters and of course clapping. Later in the service the Sunday School processed in similarly and performed a song and dance routine – well over 60 of them, all in immaculate uniform, and singing their hearts out."

Andrew concludes, "there is a steady optimism for the future, which firmly includes the central place of the Church in any development. The 'lived out' faith is wonderful to experience. God goes with everyone everywhere and church services are just an extension of the life of faith, praise and hope that is a core part of life here. I just note that the locals remember the College before the Civil War when it was large and thriving (and called The Bishop Gwynne College, which is now in Juba), and they knew the area as the Village of God."

Click here to read Jane's newsletter

Click here for Andrew's

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