Dear Conference Colleagues,
As a Communion we exist among the poorest, most disadvantaged and most troubled parts of the world. It may seem invidious to pick out a special place but for several reasons at the present moment the Sudan needs our special help and our prayers. For thirty years the Sudanese people have been immersed in a vicious civil war which has taken thousands of innocent lives. The country has also suffered a series of natural disasters which have caused widespread famine. Large areas of the South now are suffering profoundly from lack of food, principally because armies on both sides have prevented the distribution of relief. The Church has for years been a vital network for this relief, for communication, and for spiritual support, but the Church itself is under attack.
A few months ago Archbishop Benjamina Yugusuk retired after a long and heroic ministry. Bishop Daniel Zindo, the bishop of Yambio, as Dean of the Province, was chosen to be Acting Archbishop until an opportunity presented itself for a General Synod to elect a new Archbishop.
This coming September, Daniel will go to Khartoum to take up his responsibilities in the north. This will not be easy for him. Not only could there be considerable personal risks involved but there is at present very little by way of structures to assist in his onerous duties. We are attempting to put together a 'package' to help him. He has also asked for help towards the salaries of bishops who, in several cases, have not been paid for five months!
I want to pay tribute to several parts of the Anglican Communion who have helped greatly over the years:The Anglican Church of Canada, the dioceses of Southwestern Virginia, Bradford and Salisbury and others too.
In 2 Corinthians 8, Paul reminds us of the example of the Church of Macedonia, how "in serious affliction," their "abundance of joy and their extreme poverty have overflowed in a wealth of liberality." He could have been writing about Christians in Sudan. So, as we make collection on their behalf on Sunday morning, I hope you will be able to give generously, to "excel in this gracious work also."