This will be a long entry. I received a surprising email from a Sudanese Bishop elect with whom I thought we were going to be in relationship. What follows is his letter and my response.
TO REVD. GEOFFREY HOARE, THE PARISH PRIEST OF ALL SAINTS EPISCOPAL
Christian greetings to you.
Dear Revd. Geoffrey Hoare, this letter is to serve as a repetition to my last year objection to your unhealthy proposed partnership between your parish and the Aweil Churches. I called it unhealthy proposed partnership, because our meeting with your parish Global out-reach committee, began like this,
Mathew, have you ever heard about the Gay issue? With this malicious question, I felt offended by being forced to speak, on an issue, that is regarded as non debatable agenda in our society.
But there was no way for me to avoid giving an answer. As a result, my respond was that, I, always used to hearing the term Gay, through the international debate quorums, in which it has been described as negative approach towards bible teachings, by the liberalist. In addition, it approves the dangerous acts of the so-called Gay marriages in the church. That is between man with another man as well as between the females.
Mathew, we are hated by many people because of this Gay issue. Our money had been thrown onto our faces in
However, we know that you, the Sudanese church leaders, have no problem with the Gay system. You are very special and not like the other people. You are the kind of the people who deserve our support, as the partnership concerned in this regard. what is your opinion? We have enough funds to provide you with all that you need. We understand that your diocese of Wau is going to split into two very soon. In which your home area Aweil will become an independent new Diocese. For this reason, we are to support you under the promise to fulfil our demands before you. Hopelly,you might be the one to lead this new Diocese. Deacon Abraham Nhial was the eyewitness, when all these things took place.
My second response was, so challenging. I opted to inform the meeting about the consequences that law breakers of this kind face, as being stipulated in our community norms. Issues like Gay or Homo –sexuality, have no room for discussion in our traditional community. It has a section in our community traditional laws. It is punishable. You can imagine, something prohibited by non believers in Christ long time ago upto date, what if it is the believers in Christ of that community? Condemnation ………..
Hence, my unexpected negative response, caused great panic among your parish global out-reach committee members. As a result, three members of your parish committee, boycotted the meeting with bitterness in their faces followed by words of regret. That was the end of our meeting. Furthermore, I did not wait for you to say goodbye. I was so upset. My spirit was so irritating. Yet, I was still taking this matter as the simple thing. But with all that respect from my side, you mistaken me and start speaking about me in connection with what I called the unhealthy proposed partnership. You spoke boldly as if I have mandated you to do so. Please, stop take advantages of other people seem to be in need. That is total hypocrisy rather than a servanthood attitude.
My main aim is not to block you with your mission to Aweil or
But, if you have that freedom of using other friends, I will have no authority to stop you from doing so. But, there is a saying, I quote, “ an already crowled hyena, never finds an animal to eat”. In the same way, your traps are already become known to ever God fearing flock, in the areas that your mission will be heading to.
In deed, there are vital needs in our area Aweil as you used to say. But I will not accept grants you uder the term Gay mission. Never, never. However, I will be very ready to receive grants, from ever generous God fearing person(s) communities, etc. whom their aims and purpose are to strengthen and encourage their own God given mission to progress, mainly to glorify God in this regard.
Our own vital needs in Aweil ECS church, shall never drive us into the pit of curses. Aweil churches and the common people underwent the following hardships within more than three decades, because of their unshaken faith in Christ.
(1) Islamic Mallitia-men torturing them to abandon both their own faith and their identity.
(2) Religious suppression through money and force by the hypocrites.
(3) War and the severe poverty. In the face of all this, the church was able to survive. Therefore, we will still be able to endure and survived hardships that are presented before us, in form of testing our faith. In the name of our lord and Saviour Jesus Christ, Glory be to God alone. His justice and power, shall follow and guide His humble and faithful servants now and for ever, Amen.
You may be able to use other channels or persons, either in
2 Timothy 6: 3-21. Please,let this chapter remind you.
Thank you very much.
REV. CANON MATHEW GARANG CHIMIIR
RT. REV. HENRY RIAK BISHOP OF WAU DIOCESE.
ARCHBISHOP OF THE PROVINCE OF THE ECS.
ALL ECS BISHOPS.
AWEIL ARCHDEACONERIES, DEANERIES AND PARISHES.
My response :
Dear Canon Matthew Garang Chimiir:
I received your surprising letter in which you denounce our invitation to relationship with the proposed diocese of Aweil as ‘insincere’. I was unaware that you had stated any objection in the past and am sorry that your meeting with our global missions committee was so offensive to you. Your recollection of that meeting is quite different than the one that was described to me by others in attendance. I am certain that they had no idea that they were giving you offense and will be appalled to learn that they did.
The purpose of that meeting was to explore whether there were any barriers to entering into relationship with you. As you are well aware relationships in our communion are strained as many bishops decline to be in any conversation with members of the Episcopal Church in the
We understood that we were talking to you as the bishop elect of a proposed diocese being created from the diocese of Wau, whose bishop, Henry Riak, had visited us in the past. It is clear that you do not wish to be in relationship with us on the basis that we accept and affirm the life and ministries of those in our parish who are gay or lesbian. That is your choice and we will most certainly honor it. We have no desire to proceed with relationship over your objection and are sorry to learn that you took offense at our desire to be clear. Please know that no offense was intended and, as is clear from your letter, stemmed from your being uncomfortable with feeling that you were in some way being asked to respond on a subject that you felt unequipped or ill-equipped to discuss. We too would rather not have to discuss something which for us is far from a central concern of our life and ministry, but which appears to be for so many in our communion.
I would like to take this opportunity to put in writing the nature of the invitation that you are choosing to decline. The Christians of All Saints’ Episcopal Church in
We believe that it takes a long time to know and be known in an international relationship given the costs associated with being in each others’ presence, but that such relationship is still worth pursuing. We know that there are many needs of the kind you outline towards the end of your letter which we would like to understand and in which we would like to become engaged. (We are, for example, particularly interested in learning from you about your experience of Islamic neighbors as that becomes part of our reality here in Atlanta.) We have sometimes found that others are only interested in relating to us on a formal basis to see what kind of financial support we might offer. In our turn, we have declined to enter into such relationships. We already have much work that we have been given to do here in
I used to disagree with using resources for such relationships until I met your new Presiding Bishop and who invited me and some others to ‘come and see’ the realities of his ministry in Renk more than twelve years ago. I am now personally committed to the power of such friendships for proclaiming the love of Christ for all people and for the strengthening of the Church. We will continue, in all sincerity, to seek such relationships wherever there are Christians who are willing to be in relationship with us. If you are ever inclined to change your mind and decide that what God is doing in our lives in
In the meantime I wish you well with the work God has given you to do.
Yours Sincerely in Christ,