you hardly know where to begin. Just after I posted the prayer thread below, I discovered this comment from the ever-wise, ever-peaceful Welshman (that stalker.) It’s a good counterpoint to my “Word for the Week” diary, which, as Welshman points out, has a tinge of underlying violence to it.
No sooner than I’d read that than I found an e-mail from my mom, with this story from the Washington Post:
It begins in southwest Uganda near Mount Rwenzori (Mountains of the Moon) in an area called the Kasese district. Kasese is home to about 520,000 mostly illiterate people. During the war in nearby Congo that ended four years ago, more than 150,000 of Kasese’s residents were displaced; many ended up living in camps.
The insurgents have faded away, only to be replaced by another deadly enemy: HIV-AIDS. Kasese has the highest rate in Uganda, with five people dying of AIDS every week. Would that HIV-AIDS were Kasese’s only danger. Each week, malaria also kills about 20 of its children. The 1996-2001 insurgency has left much of Kasese broken and with pressing needs: schools, dispensaries, homes and morale, all in need of repair. About 70 people who lost their legs to land mines are still living in the area.
All this has become known through a written appeal for help issued by Jackson Nzerebende Tembo, Anglican bishop of the South Rwenzori Diocese, which serves the Kasese district. Bishop Tembo, a native of the area, prayed in his message that “the Lord will bless the Diocese with resources needed” to continue the church’s work with the desolate and forlorn people of his community.
The bishop’s desperate call for help was heard and answered by the Anglican Communion on the other side of the Atlantic: the Episcopal Diocese of Central Pennsylvania, headquartered in Harrisburg.
The Pennsylvanians pulled together more than $350,000 for Kasese to support HIV-AIDS patients as well as a little extra money for the Bishop Masereka Christian Foundation to help pay for the education of Kasese’s orphans. The Pennsylvania Episcopalians also arranged to send a group of physicians and other medical personnel to the South Rwenzori Diocese this summer.
Then, darkness and betrayal.
Last week Bishop Tembo suspended all activities with the Episcopal Diocese of Central Pennsylvania. He withdrew his request for $352,941 to support his HIV-AIDS program, including money for orphans’ education, and he postponed the visit of the medical team. What, pray tell, could have led the bishop to refuse this help for people in need?
In every large organization, there’s always that 5 percent who never get the word. The Anglican Communion is no exception. In a March 8 “Dear Friends” letter, Bishop Tembo said he had just learned the week before that the Diocese of Central Pennsylvania had voted “yes” to the election of openly gay Gene Robinson as bishop of New Hampshire. The election, by the way, took place two years ago.
Asserting that the South Rwenzori Diocese “upholds the Holy Scriptures as the true word of God,” and implying that the Pennsylvanian diocese — by supporting a gay bishop — does not, Bishop Tembo proclaimed the two dioceses to be in “theological conflict,” thus leading him to reject all ties to his brothers and sisters in Christ living in and around Harrisburg.
Harrisburg, if you didn’t know it, is about 35 miles from Casa Pastor; Lancaster is part of the same synod. I can vouch that it is anything but a hotbed of radical support for the “homosexual agenda.”
And I’d hardly finished reading that when I found this diary by PBJ Diddy on “Desecrating Jesus AND the Flag,” on some of the crazier crazies protesting outside Terri Schiavo’s hospice.
Is it just me, or does our world seem to have gone off the deep end in the past couple of weeks?
Is it just me, or does the world seem to need our prayers and actions more than ever?