South Sudanese Archbishop To Preach In Gilbertsville

South Sudanese Archbishop to preach in Gilbertsville (Submitted photo)

GILBERTSVILLE – Archbishop Justin Badi Arama will be visiting Gilbertsville NY at the end of August and is scheduled to preach at the ecumenical service in Centennial Park August 25 at 11:00 am. All are welcome and encouraged to attend. A covered dish meal will follow the service.

A relationship was established between the Episcopal Church of South Sudan and the Episcopal Diocese of Albany since 2001 when the first short term mission team visited the Diocese of Maridi. Kevin Steckline, a member of Christ Episcopal Church, Gilbertsville and a Physician Assistant with UHS in Sherburne, was one of the members from the Albany Diocese on the initial team. Since that time numerous trips have traveled to Maridi in conjunction with the sister Diocese of Down & Dromore of Northern Ireland. Projects assisting with medical training & supplies, theological training, building schools and clergy housing, community health projects as well as workshops on peace and reconciliation are just some of the work which has taken place over the long relationship. Sewing machine projects, goat & chicken projects as well as initiating the “Days for Girls” project which provides feminine hygiene products which allow continued participation in school and daily life are some of the more recent projects which have proven to be beneficial.

The Christian church of South Sudan has been persecuted for many years and many have died for their faith. The country now has been ripped apart and thrown into turmoil since a civil war erupted in 2013. This more recent conflict has displaced millions with many fleeing to other countries such as Uganda and Ethiopia. Archbishop Justin Badi Arama has been actively involved in trying to bring peace to South Sudan, even meeting with the Pope and leaders of his country to work toward peace and reconciliation.

Archbishop Justin was confirmed in the Anglican faith at 16 years old and his father gave him three gifts: a bible, a pen and a hoe. These tools have proven to be important for what God has called him to accomplish. He was ordained a priest in 1995 and elected the second Bishop of the Diocese of Maridi in 2001. He was elected Archbishop January 2018, and enthroned in April of 2018.

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