Wednesday, 18 November 2009

Thanks to all our supporters. We can now begin on the next stage of our project - the expansion of the Theological College on a new site in Juba

The New Site
The new site consists of some 9000 square meters adjacent to the Juba Model Secondary School (founded through the vision of St Francis church in Salisbury, UK) and its sister primary schools in the heart of Juba. Some of the site is already owned by Bishop Gwynne College, and a student dormitory and dining hall/kitchen already stand there. The rest of the site has been occupied in recent times by the church's relief arm, SUDRA. SUDRA no longer requires this site. So we have a substantial site in a prime location that needs developing.

Our first priority is substantial fencing. Next, the site has to be cleared of large amounts of debris left by the bulldozers as they have recently cleared the land of refugee dwellings, and the unwanted SUDRA buildings. It is our plan to utilise all the area not immediately needed for buildings for agriculture. This land has probably never been used for such purposes, and even when cleared, will need substantial treatment with mulching and compost to bring it into production. (The process of achieving this will all form part of the students' education, as every parish priest needs to know how to make the land productive. Christianity in Sudan is properly engaged in both spiritual and material growth).

Then we need to bring the existing buildings into a good state of repair. There is exterior pointing and complete interior re-decoration to be done for the dormitory and dining hall, but when completed these will provide student accommodation for the first stages of the new college development.

A major aspiration is a new multipurpose chapel with attached vestry. This will serve well as a library and administrative centre when not in use for worship. We will also need proper toilets and washing facilities and some additional staff housing.

From the outset the position of the other buildings earmarked for this site in the longer term will be marked out, so that the college area develops in a carefully landscaped manner. A number of trees already exist including eucalypts, neem trees, papaya as well as banana plants. Additional trees will be planted - the traditional mangoes, attractive frangipanis, as well as moringa and other useful trees. Areas will be demarcated for permanent horticulture for the education of students, and also as a source of food for those resident in the college. All these farming opportunities will form an important aspect of the theology students' education.

A New Chapel
An attractive chapel is a significant objective in the second phase of the development of the new site. The work of God is central to our vision and worship will form a significant part of the college ethos. Corporate prayer and celebration will begin and end each day, and the chapel will form the heart of the learning process. Although the building will be technically described as "multipurpose", the learning that will go on in it is all part of our worship for a creator who has called us to his service in Christ in his world. Until a permanent building is constructed, the theological library will be housed here. Indeed it may always be the home for devotional literature. Here the students will be able to conduct their private reading and study as well as prayer. Outlines designs for this new chapel are are being drawn up.

The "Foundation Appeal
" It is our aim that Bishop Gwynne be self-sustaining (see below under "On-Going Funding"). However, in order to get the foundation "off the ground", we are seeking world-wide grants and sponsorship from corporate bodies and individuals. This will make all the difference to us because it will speed up the process enormously and kick-start various aspects of the project. BGC has been a theological college for 60 years. Our requirements for this vision are:
  • The fencing and clearing of the site; Up to US$70,000
  • Repair of the existing structures and rebuilding; Up to $8,000
  • Washrooms, toilets; Up to $20,000
  • Books, study resources, computers and Internet facilities; Up to $10,000
  • A multipurpose chapel and vestry; Phase 2
  • A purpose-built library, study centres and staff housing. Phase 3
We are not pretending that this is an not ambitious project, but we are certain that we are doing all the right things to support this vibrant but under-resourced church in trhe Sudan. We know that God is with us. In a European context such a statement might seem arrogant. In the Sudan it is simply self-evident!
Thanks for your prayers!

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