Peace and Partnerships
Tenth Anniversary National Conference
October 23-25, 2015
St. Paul's Episcopal Church
The 10th Anniversary Annual Conference of the American Friends of the Episcopal Church of the Sudans (AFRECS) took place at St. Paul's Episcopal Parish in Alexandria, VA on October 23 and 24 with a concluding Eucharist on Sunday, October 25th.
The Rt. Rev. Samuel Peni, Bishop of Nzara Diocese of the Episcopal Church of South Sudan and Sudan (ECSSS) and the Chair of the Justice, Peace and Reconciliation Commission gave the keynote address followed by questions from the audience, moderated by The Rev. Ranjit Mathews, Officer for Global Relations and Networking, Global Partnerships, The Episcopal Church.
A panel of ECSSS Bishops spoke on the topic of Perspectives on Peace Building. The panel included the Bishop of Renk, Joseph Garang, the Bishop of Wau, Moses Deng Bol, and the Bishop of Kadugli, Andudu Adam Elnail. Moderator for the discussion of the challenges to peace building in each of these dioceses and regions of South Sudan and Sudan was The Rev. Canon Ian Woodward, Vicar of the Close, Salisbury Cathedral and Chair, Salisbury-Sudans Partnership.
Ethnicity and Peace Building: Ethnicity's effect on conflict and and peace building was presented by The Rev. E. Ross Kane, Associate Rector, of St. Paul's, Alexandria. Moderator for this segment was Dr. Richard J. Jones, Founding President of AFRECS and member of the AFRECS Board.
The Rev. Jerry Drino, Founder, Hope with South Sudan and Advisor, South Sudan Youth for Peace Initiative presented A Peace Initiative that Works, showing slides and telling the story of successful soccer tournaments organized in Kakuma refugee camp with participants that included different ethnic groups on each team.
After a community dinner hosted by St. Paul's Parish Outreach Committee and AFRECS, a portion of the Aljazeera film, Fight for the Heart of South Sudan was shown with discussion moderated by Dr. Jones.
On Saturday, four presentations with discussion following were given throughout the day. They were:
Understanding Challenges and Dynamics of Peacemaking and Partnerships
Dr. Margaret Smith, Adjunct Professor, American University
Dr. Joseph Bilal, Project manager, Episcopal University in the ECSSS
Dr. Barry Hart, Professor of Trauma, Identity and Conflict Studies, Center for Justice and Peace, Eastern Mennonite University
Dr. David Hooker, President & Lead Consultant, CounterStories Consulting, LLC
Moderator: The Rev. Kane
Partnerships in Conflict Situations
Buck Blanchard, Director of Global Mission, Diocese of Virginia
Ray Gaebler, Companions of Nzara Coordinator, Diocese of Iowa
Jackie Kraus, Canon, St Matthews Cathedral, Renk and Editor, SUDAN CONNECTIONS
Moderator: The Rt. Rev. David C. Jones, AFRECS President
US Policy and Peace Building in South Sudan: Implications for Church Partners
Presenter: Linda I. Ethin, Deputy Assistant Administrator, US Agency for International Development (Africa)
Moderator for a discussion of US policy and the role of faith communities: Canon Russell Randle, AFRECS Board Memeber
Working as a Network
Moderator for the discussion of lessons learned and challenges going forward: Bishop Jones
That evening the conferees gathered for a community dinner hosted by nearby Christ Church.
On Sunday during the Adult Forum, three ECSSS Bishops - Moses Bol of Wau, Andudu Elnail of Kadugli, and Samuel Peni of Nzara - discussed the topic of Peace and Partnership, Moderated by The Rev. Oran Warder, Rector, St. Paul's, Alexandria. At the Service of Holy Eucharist which followed, The Very Rev. Dr. Ian Markham, Dean and President of Virginia Theological Seminary, preached the sermon. The Celebrant was the Rector of St. Paul's and the three ECSSS Bishops (named above) shared in leading the Holy Communion.