Monday, 16 December 2013

Merry Christmas from BGC

Bishop Gwynne College Prayer Partners
  • Special Christmas greetings to all our partners around the world. Thank you all you who have opted in to our partners list. There are 139 people getting these updates so you can understand that we needed to get it right. I loved some of you responses with much encouragement. Those of you who watch Dr. Who will know the expression “delete” as the thing the sibermen say before they zap you. So calls like “Please don't delete me!” sound like the pleas of those facing a sad end. I can assure you that the purpose of the exercise was not to delete anyone. You are all very important.
It is always possible to opt in or out of the list. There are a number who have not responded that will no longer be on the list so if you come across anyone who complains that they are missing out just get them to email me.

Prayer points in the emailings will be brief. Expanded news can be found on this blog

Students: We give thanks for their diligence, hard work and patience through the past semester. The special prayers for the finishing of Joseph Taban's engaged the students attention and work for the whole of one weekend and two weeks later the graduation meant a lot more was going on. As usual at BGC the site is a changing one. The building of the new library block has meant there has been workmen on the site for most of the time. But the greatest distraction has been the construction of the hotels next to the site. The hotel rising to twelve stories has meant constant noise. The lecture room is within a very few metres of the place where all the concrete is mixed. Yet, amazingly the students carry on do well.
Pray that they may have a profitable Christmastime with their families and all find the travel money to return on time at the end of January.
The shortage of money to travel, or even pay their fees, is a major problem for the students – and therefore also for the principal who is left with a problem. It costs four times more to educate, feed, house and provide health care for a student than we ask him or her pay. The fees we ask are very reasonable compared with any other institution, including other ECS theological colleges, and it is right to ask sending dioceses to contribute to a student who is committed to work back in the diocese – often without any stipend. Yet, there are so many demands on local resources that often students have to find their own fares as well as be breadwinners for their own families. The demands and commitments are enormous. The dedication to their vocation is second to none in the world.

Staff: Pray for the speedy appointment of a good person as Academic Dean to replace John Malesh who is leaving. Sadly John Malesh has decided to take up a new appointment after only a term as academic dean. It is sad that we should lose such an able man. However, we wish him well. Finding someone of the calibre we require at the salary and accommodation we can offer is a challenge. But we believe God has the right person for us. For someone with a vocation for the work, BGC is a very rewarding place.
Thank God for the work of Dr. Ellen Hanckel now back in the USA. Pray for Mary Schmitt who is commencing teaching in January for a semester. We are very grateful to our American and European friends who come and work under relatively harsh conditions to teach at BGC. Please continue to pray that the right people will continue to come forward. Jesse Zink who did a short placement at the college in 2010 has gone on to be ordained in the States. He has authored a second book. This one is called “Backpacking the Anglican Communion” which goes on sale from January. Apparently the whole of chapter five is about BGC. You can pre-order your copy from any major book distributor on either side of the pond. (If you are in the UK you donate the BGC by going to the regular online booksellers through Easyfundraising. See below for instructions.)

Library: Give thanks that after a difficult passage the books from the Theological Book Network have arrived in South Sudan. Pray for librarian Abraham as he sets about cataloguing them. There is a whole container full of these books. They have been nearly four months on the high seas and then travelling through Kenya and Uganda. We are very grateful indeed for the TBN for sending these books. They are not just for BGC but for many theological libraries around South Sudan. The huge number of new books is going to pose a large logistical demand on Abraham. We pray that he will get the help he requires. I doubt whether this will come free – voluntarism is not part of the culture in South Sudan where everyone expects an 'incentive' for anything. (Unless you are an ordained pastor of course!)

Pray also for a smooth transfer of the library into the new building. This is also a huge task. The existing and new books have all to be carried across the site and up the stairs of the new building. The right kind of shelves are under construction (the gift of the Slavanka Trust) and then simply arranging all the books in a proper order is no mean feat!

General News: The ECS has now officially become the Episcopal Church of South Sudan and Sudan. This recognises the great role it has in supporting an expanding church on both sides of the South Sudan/Sudan border.

STOP PRESS fro Larry Duffee in Juba.
Dear Friends:
     You may hear on the news reports of fighting in Juba.  I woke-up just after 6am for my morning run to hear explosions and gun-fire coming from across town.  Fortunately for me the area of the fighting was actually in a part of town we had only last month moved out of to new apartments.  We are lucky to have 24-hour generator power and good internet.
     The fighting seems to be between factions within the army and thus far civilians are not being targeted, though these things are hard to predict.  We are also lucky in that a number of our staff are out of town on assignment so our Juba presence is not too great.  We have advised all of our staff to remain at home until further notice.  We seem to be safe and sound for the moment and hope to remain that way.
     I ask all people to say prayers for South Sudan, that this baby nation not split itself apart but can hang together.  Please pray that cooler heads prevail and that people learn that violence is not the way forward, and pray for the victims of this violence.
    If the situation changes I will let you know.


Buying Online through Easyfundraising.
BGC have an account with Easyfundraising. Whatever you want to buy online from ebooks to music, TVs to car insurance, and item no matter how big of small if you go though Easyfundraising will enable a percentage of you purchase will go to BGC. When you access their website you will be given a choice of online retailers for the product you are looking for who support the cause with anything from one to even eight percent. (W.H.Smith, for example, currently offer 5%).

1. Start at easyfundraising
Let's say you want to buy a book from Amazon. Instead of going to, you go to first <> for the BGC account. Then enter your product or retailer, in this case Amazon.
Step 1
You click from the easyfundraising website through to Amazon to make your purchase.

2. Make a purchase
The price of the book is exactly the same as if you'd visited Amazon directly.
Step 2
3. Get a donation
After you have bought your book, Amazon will make a donation to our cause as a thank you for shopping with them. Easyfundraising collect these donations for us, and it costs nothing!

It's as easy as that! So far we have raised nearly £50 for BGC this way.

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