Archive for the ‘Africa’ Category

113 Pictures from Kenya via Yahoo

January 4, 2008

I just received this link for a gallery of 113 photographs of Kenya. Some are graphic.

Eden Grace’s Report from Kenya

January 3, 2008

    Subject:     Kenya update from the Graces
    Date:     January 3, 2008 4:59:36 AM EST
    Dear Friends,

Please pray for Kenya. Much of the country is in turmoil following last week’s contested presidential election. Many have been killed. Many more have been injured and their homes destroyed. The disruption appears to be worse than at any time since the country’s independence in the 1960s. Most Kenyans cherish democracy and find it hard to comprehend the turmoil that has followed the elections. We are safe, but many are not.

Here in Kisumu, Kenya’s third largest city, most of the shops and businesses along the main road have been destroyed and looted. Many are now burned-out hulks, and looters are pulling metal for scrap out of what little structure remains. The transportation network has been
disrupted so many goods are no longer distributed. Queues are long to buy flour where people still can. Food and fuel are hard to come by. Cell phone air time has been sold out in Kisumu and elsewhere, so most people cannot even use their phones. There are also severe shortages in Uganda of fuel and other goods that reach that country through Kenya.

We had gone out of town for the election and following days to the Friends mission in Kaimosi, where things remain calm. With us were three visitors from the U.S.: Eden’s mother Lisa, sister Wendy and friend Chandra. Yesterday morning we returned to Kisumu. After a long queue at the airport we managed to secure three of the last four remaining seats for the day from Kisumu to Nairobi. Our visitors flew to Nairobi last evening and from there managed to board flights last night heading back to the U.S.

Last night plans were being made for most of the remaining Americans in Kisumu, including us, to leave this morning at 5am in a convoy with an armed escort to the Uganda boarder, to proceed to Jinja and stay there
until things are calmer in Kisumu. As we were packing to leave, plans changed six times during the night with the result that the trip was called off. We are presently in our house in the safest part of town. If things get less safe, we have an offer to stay a few blocks away in a high-security compound for U.S. government employees. We are not
worried for our own safety. The Embassy is sending someone tomorrow to hold a “town hall” meeting for all American citizens in Kisumu, which will hopefully be an opportunity to share ideas about safety in the days ahead. We feel blessed to be part of such a caring community in

The opposition leader Raila Odinga–whom many believe rightly won the presidency but had it stolen through election fraud–has called for a large rally today in the nation’s capital Nairobi. The Kenyan police have declared it illegal and have promised to block it as they did an attempted rally earlier this week. We expect some sympathetic action to happen here in Kisumu, which is Raila’s home base of support.

We have secured adequate food (much of it purchased in the Kaimosi area.) We somehow managed to find an open gas station and got a full tank of diesel fuel yesterday on our arrival in Kisumu. We were able to get some cash from a bank yesterday with our ATM card. One of our guests purchased some Internet air time for us at the Nairobi airport last night before leaving and relayed the codes back to us, so we should have Internet connectivity for a while. If the U.S. citizens in Kisumu need to be evacuated, we expect to be included in those plans.
The Embassy is sending someone tomorrow to hold a “town hall” meeting for all American citizens in Kisumu, which will hopefully be an opportunity to share ideas about safety in the days ahead. We feel blessed to be part of such a caring community in Kisumu.

We are planning to leave shortly, to spend the day with our American friends in the high-security compound. Depending on how the day progresses, we may also stay there one or more nights. Please pray that Kenyans are not shooting Kenyans today in the country’s capital, and
that a spirit of peace may come to the rest of Kenya as well.

We appreciate your prayers and many email messages of concern and support. We’re sorry this is a generic reply to so many of your heart-felt personal messages, but we are trying to conserve our Internet connection in case we can’t get more air time. Please know that we are so heartened to hear from you all, and to know that you are thinking of us. We are not afraid, and hope you can replace worry with

Jim, Eden, Isaiah and Jesse

Friends United Meeting’s Press Release on Kenya

January 2, 2008

FUM has posted a report on the situation in Kenya on its Web site.

 Here’s the link.

If you are getting information from your sources in Kenya and circulating it on the Internet, be mindful of the advice in the concluding paragraph of the report:

Friends, your prayers for Kenya are needed desperately. We hope you will invite many others to pray for peace, for a healthy dialogue between the warring parties, and for a quick end to this “sad and bloody new year for Kenya 2008” as John Muhanji says. However, please be careful in your communication that you do not put in details that might harm our staff or others involved in this wave of hatred and violence.

Kenya Update

January 2, 2008

John Muhanji was able to send another e-mail yesterday. The Graces, Richmonds, and Muhanjis are safe. John is busy organizing peaceful forms of recreation in his village. Here is an excerpt from the beginning of his message:

Friends when you see yourselves enjoying the peace you have now wherever you are praise God for everything. Because that can be taken from you in a twinkling of an eye as it happened here in Kenya. Peace is something that needs to be guarded with a lot of care from everybody in the world.

I do not feel clear to posting on the Internet further excerpts from his message given the volatility of the situation and the tribal nature of the conflict. There is a media blackout. No news is being broadcast in Kenya. The stories and blogs I’m reading do seem to be saying the same thing. Kenyans are stunned that this is happening to them. Comparisons to Rwanda are being made. And it looks like there’s some military activity going on on the Uganda-Kenya border.

Here is one of the most informative Kenyan blogs I’ve found, the Kenyan Pundit. It has links that will take you deeper into the story if you’re so led to follow to them.

John cautions that January 3 may be a particularly dangerous day because a demonstration in Nairobi is scheduled.

I can only repeat his request. Pray for Kenya.

Pray for Kenya

January 1, 2008

I have been reading with increasing horror and helplessness the news of the election in Kenya and its aftermath.

I have never been to Kenya, but I’ve learned much about the country these past six years as I’ve served as one of New York Yearly Meeting’s representatives to the Friends United Meeting board. (Quakers are more concentrated in Kenya than anywhere else in the world.) I also met many Kenyan woman at the United Society of Friends Women International triennial in North Carolina three years ago. I’m not a very good singer, but somehow, miraculously, my voice inexplicably soared out of me when I sang hymns with them in Swahili, and that amazing memory is with me as I read the stories coming in with names of places that I recognize.

Here’s one of the stories.

I have friends from New England Yearly Meeting, James and Eden Grace and their young sons, Jesse and Isaiah, who are living in Kisumu, Kenya, working at FUM’s African Ministries office there. Kisumu is under curfew now, according to the New York Times, in an attempt to control the rioting there. Ben and Jody Richmond, whose hospitality I enjoyed many times at their home in Indiana, are serving an interim assignment at Friends Theological College in Tiriki, Kenya.

Here is part of the request for prayer that my colleague John Muhanji, head of FUM’s African Ministries Office, made on an FUM mailing list.

The country Kenya is now in chaos now and many people are dying and properties destroyed as a reaction to the announcement of the results. We are appealing for prayers that calmness may come to our country.
Peace and unity may prevail in our country. We are all safe wherever we are. Pray for Kenya!! Pray for Kenya!!!

God bless

John Muhanji

The Episcopal Church, the Anglican Communion, and FUM

September 26, 2007

It’s featured news in the New York Times for September 26 that the Episcopal bishops in North America have disagreed with the worldwide Anglican Communion on LGBTQ issues and are coming closer and closer to schism.

Thanks to Father Jake I found a blog called Anglican Resistance. There a priest named Bill Carroll has posted “My Word to the Church.” It’s a message that feels like vocal ministry to me.

Yes. I do understand that this Anglican Communion is the one whose liturgical church services George Fox kept busting up. And yet. . . . And yet. . . . I keep hearing a cry for faithfulness, for humility, and for unity in God’s love from these hireling ministers that calls to me. 

What can I learn from these priests and bishops?

Can I come to see my own struggle with the diversity of worldwide Quakerism more clearly by walking beside them for a while?

Learning from an Episcopal Priest’s Blog

September 8, 2007

Every few months or so I check in with the blog of an Episcopal priest I stumbled upon called “Father Jake Stops the World.” Father Jake’s posts for the first week in September 2007 remind me that I need to read him more often.

 As you may know, the Anglican Communion is being challenged by its African members–to the point of schism–on LGBTQ issues. Archbishop Akinola of Nigeria is recruiting conservative American congregations to join him in a breakaway communion. He’s got five in the U.S. standing with him so far, and he’s actively working to get more. In a post for September 8, Father Jake calls for attendance at a demonstration against Akinola when he arrives in Chicago. And Father Jake’s posts about an outrageous statement made by another Nigerian bishop may interest those who’ve been following Friends United Meeting’s struggles in the wake of its February 2007 general board meeting in Kenya.

I was interested to read about the Listening Process that the Anglican bishops are engaged in. It reminds me not to get self-righteous about Quaker process and Gospel Order. It’s a humbling revelation to this proud Quaker that others who seek to follow the Gospels might also be capable of following Gospel Order.

Father Jake’s post on “Sexual Ethics and Scripture” was helpful to me and I’ve saved it. The remarks of William Countryman that he quotes on the authority of Scripture sound very Hicksite.

This week Father Jake is focused on the schismatic struggles rending the Anglican Communion he’s given his life to, but he ranges widely. I suspect few Quakers could resist a post titled “Pacifism for Violent SOBs.” Both these archived posts are listed under their respective categories on the Home page of his blog.

His entries are filled with links that make his blog an interesting portal for matters of faith, Scripture, and social justice. I commend Father Jake to your attention.