The American Friends of the Episcopal Church of the Sudans, founded in 2005, is a network of individuals, churches, dioceses, and other organizations that seeks to focus attention on the needs and priorities of the Episcopal Church of South Sudan (ECSS) and enable American friends to assist the ECSS in meeting the needs of the Sudanese people.
AFRECS works to advance peace and stability in South Sudan and Sudan, seeking to amplify the voices of Sudanese Christians and, through prayer, to catch the movement of the Holy Spirit in the churches in our countries.
AFRECS works to enhance communication and synergy among Episcopal dioceses, parishes, and other organizations working in relationship with dioceses in Sudan or seeking to do so. AFRECS also promotes and facilitates the development of new relationships between U.S. and South Sudanese and Sudanese partners.
Become a member or make a donation to support the ECSS online today!
Last Friday, AFRECS and the Center for Anglican Communion Studies (CACS) hosted Bishop Grant LeMarquand at a luncheon at Virginia Seminary, giving LeMarquand the opportunity to talk of his work as the area Bishop of the Horn of Africa, Diocese of Egypt. The Bishop's work has been heavily defined largely by his responsibility for Gambella - a area of Ethiopia that has absorbed over 400,000 displaced South Sudanese who have added to an already poor, impacted area of Ethiopia. The influx of refugees has added greatly to the diversity of the region and with that diversity has come challenges that one might have expected to result in horrific violence and upheaval. The fact that that has not occurred and that diverse groups have been able to live and worship together was a key message of Bishop LeMarquand's message.
Dr. Richard Jones, a friend of the Bishop's and an AFRECS board member, has captured much of the Bishop's message and has by using as text direct commentary from the Bishop, provided an excellent account of what we heard and learned at the luncheon. This is being passed along as testimony to the fact that diverse ethnic South Sudanese tribes can live together peacefully even following the pain of displacement and upheaval. Bishop LeMarquand's remarks also give us a look at the circumstances of uprooted South Sudanese as they try to rebuild their lives in another country where they face extraordinary obstacles and yet find hospitality.
As we enter into the Lenten season, there are lessons here that might inform our Lenten reflections.