News from Sudan

News from Kadugli
(August 2017)

What takes our missionary links forward is the way we develop the relationships with those we seek to support. Bishop Hassan’s visit to us two years ago, had a profound affect and we felt we had a friend in Sudan.

It was therefore very important that Christopher, Ann and I made the trip to Khartoum to share with them in the celebrations of the creation of the new Anglican province of Sudan. The service lasted four and a half hours in a blistering 43 degrees heat. As I put my robes on, there was no doubt in my mind that an extra layer was not going to be helpful…!

There were fans in the ceiling of the cathedral, and it was uncomfortable but just about bearable, that was until the electricity failed and the fans stopped turning. Then with all the people in the building we sweltered. Thankfully they cut out the last hymns and even the communion or the service would have lasted 6 hours! Anyway, it was great to be there and our friend Archbishop Ezekiel is now the head of this brand new province and the Archbishop of Canterbury was present to install Ezekiel in his new role.

Service for the creation of the 39th Province of the Anglican Church

 

Kadugli is situate in a part of the country to which entry is normally denied for foreign visitors. However, since ++ Justin Welby was allowed to visit Kadugli on an official visit, I was given the opportunity to fly down to Kadugli with him as part of his official party which included the acting head of DFID and the British Ambassador to Sudan. We were escorted round by the governor of South Kordofan state. Everything had been smartened up for our visit, which sadly meant I didn’t get to see the grinding station which is in an area of town which was not deemed fit for us to see. Our grinding station in Delling has been open several months and is making income for the Diocese and feeding the poorest. The Kadugli one has only just opened.

One of the televised sessions with ++Justin, the governor and +Hassan

 

Andrew, ++Justin and +Hassan in Kadugli

 

I did however see the Archbishop of Canterbury in action at press conferences and televised meetings and he was absolutely brilliant at thinking on his feet and saying exactly the right thing. He was very gracious to the governor, but at the same time challenging him to treat Christians equally with Muslims, and to work for peace. + Hassan says the government has not bombed the people of the Nuba mountains for 9 months, so there is hope of peace. Please pray for it.

The Archbishop re-opened the Diocesan Office in Kadugli and we enjoyed a joyous service in the Cathedral.

Christopher and Ann’s Golden Wedding party in Khartoum

 

Please read on for details of this wonderful occasion . . .

Our time in Khartoum started with this service among some refugees and here are some pictures of the building they borrow as a church and the people who attended and finished with a visit to Hassan’s home and family.

The building where the church met

 

Some of the lovely people at the service

And where they live

 

At Hassan’s house. Hassan’s new wife in the check next to Andrew & Ann

 

Lots more fantastic things to share about this trip as time allows!

Andrew

 

A Golden Wedding with a Difference 

I suppose the date of our Golden Wedding was fixed the day we got married; that is, as long as the marriage lasted that long! It presented us with something of a problem, therefore, when we received an invitation to attend the celebrations of the Inauguration of the 39th Province of the Anglican Communion in Khartoum on 30 July, the day after our date. How could we refuse, particularly when Bishop Hassan of Kadugli, who has stayed with us in Broughton Gifford, said that he would organise a party for us?

In the event, he could not be in Khartoum on that day, but someone else would take on the responsibility for all the organisation. We were told that it would take place on the Saturday evening, from 20:00 – 22:00, at the Kanon Hotel, and how much it would cost us. (Rather more that I had expected!) We had no idea, however, what format it would take or who would be invited. To be completely fair, this is not totally true. The Sudanese love ‘programmes’ and we were sent one which included a number of speeches and concluded, somewhat cryptically, with ‘gifts’.

On the morning itself, we were told that a car would come to collect us from our hotel at 19:00. However, TIA This is Africa, no-one had arrived by a quarter to eight, so we found someone else to take us to the hotel. When we arrived there, we were told that the party was on the seventh floor and, indeed, there were tables laid for 35 people, but no people.

In due course they arrived and they included two archbishops, Khartoum and Canterbury, and about twenty others. We cut an enormous cake and sat down to a most enjoyable meal. The ‘gifts’ appeared as commemorative mugs, for all present, bearing on one side the message: Happy Wedding of 50 Years of Mr. Christopher and Mrs. Ann. 2017.7.29 and on the other Episcopal Church of Sudan, Diocese of Kadugli. We are certain that, in time, these will become collectors’ pieces, more valuable than Coronation Mugs.

This was a Golden Wedding to be remembered. We feel honoured that it was graced by two Graces!

Christopher and Ann Fielden