"I'm what the world considers to be a phenomenally successful man. And I've failed much more than I've succeeded.
And each time I fail, I get my people together, and I say, "Where are we going?" And it starts to get better." - Calvin Trager

With Ya, my Ga tutor in Mallam
The Rev. Mike Kinman
Executive Director
Episcopalians for Global Reconciliation
Age: 38

Check out Forsyth School ...
where Robin teaches and
the boys attend.

Since you're already blowing time surfing,
why not do some cool stuff

  • Watch the Make Poverty History videos
  • Watch Sara McLachlan's "World on Fire" video
  • Take a seat at Oxfam America's Hunger Banquet
  • Look at the "Eight Ways to Change The World" photo exhibition
  • See how rich you are on the Global Rich List
  • Make a promise to do something cool -- and get people to do it with you
  • Use your computer to fight HIV/AIDS and other diseases

    While you're at it, do these things
  • Join the ONE Campaign to Make Poverty History
  • Join the Episcopal Public Policy Network
  • Join Amnesty International
  • Subscribe to Sojourners Online newsletter about faith, politics and culture
  • Sign the Micah Call and join other Christians in the fight against poverty
  • Subscribe to a great new magazine about women and children transforming our world

    People who show us What One Person Can Do
  • Liza Koerner (Teaching soccer and doing mission work in Costa Rica)
  • Erica Trapps (Raising money so Tanzanian children can go to school -- check out her photo gallery)

    What's happening in Sudan might
    surprise (and shock) you

  • Episcopal Diocese of Lui
  • South Sudanese Friends International
  • The Sudan Tribune
  • SudanReeves -- research, analysis and advocacy
  • Save Darfur
  • Darfur: a genocide we can stop

    For your daily fix on the irreverent...
  • Jesus of the Week
  • The Onion

    Interesting People Who Are Great To Read
  • Beth Maynard's excellent U2 sermons blog
  • Global Voices Online
  • Neha Viswanathan - poetry, commentary, humor, reflections

    Some interesting organizations and programs
  • Borgen Project - poverty reduction through political accountability
  • CARE
  • Center of Concern
  • DATA: Debt, AIDS and Trade in Africa (Bono's site)
  • El Circulo de Mujeres/Circle of Women
  • Engineering Ministries International
  • Episcopal Peace Fellowship
  • Episcopal Relief and Development
  • FreshMinistries
  • Global Campaign Against Poverty
  • Global Ministries
  • Global Work Ethic Fund -- Promoting philanthropy and fundraising in developing and transition countries.
  • Karen Emergency Relief Fund
  • Magdalene House
  • The M.K. Gandhi Institute for Nonviolence
  • Natural Capitalism
  • NetMarkAid - Humanitarian Entrepreneurs
  • North American Association for the Diaconate
  • Peace Child International
  • People Building Peace
  • Project Honduras
  • Results - Creating political will to end hunger
  • St. Paul's Institute
  • Stop Global AIDS
  • TakingITGlobal -- connecting youth for action in local and global communities
  • Tanzania Educational AIDS Mission
  • TEAR (Transformation, Empowerment, Advocacy, Relief) - An Australian Christian anti-poverty movement
  • Working For Change
  • Xigi.net -- an open-source tool to aid discovery in the capital markets that fund good.

    Some Episcopal churches and dioceses doing cool things
  • Companions of Swaziland - Diocese of Iowa's Companion Relationship
  • International Development Missions -- St. Paul's Church, Sparks, NV
  • The Malaria Villages Project - St. Paul's Church, West Whiteland, PA

    Must-read books and websites about them
  • What Can One Person Do: faith to heal a broken world -- Sabina Alkire & Edmund Newell
  • The End of Poverty -- Jeffrey Sachs

    Learn more about things you really should know more about
  • UN Millenium Development Goals
  • The Millennium Campaign
  • AIDS Matters - a resource for global AIDS professionals
  • Christian Aid's in-depth report: "Millennium Lottery: Who lives and who dies in an age of third world debt?"
  • Foreign Policy In Focus
  • Poverty Mapping
  • Solutions for a water-short world
  • Transparency International: The global coalition against corruption
  • UNICEF's State of The World's Children report 2005

    General cool and/or goofy stuff
  • Alicebot chat robot
  • Bono Quotes -- but what's really wild is that it's from a page on Boycottliberalism.com!
  • Buffy Slanguage
  • Big Bunny

    Useful web tools
  • Gcast - make your own podcast
  • Podzinger - podcast search engine
  • Orb - streaming digital media

    July 2003August 2003November 2003January 2004February 2004March 2004April 2004May 2004June 2004July 2004August 2004September 2004October 2004November 2004December 2004January 2005February 2005March 2005April 2005May 2005June 2005July 2005August 2005September 2005October 2005November 2005January 2006February 2006March 2006April 2006June 2006July 2006August 2006September 2006October 2006November 2006December 2006January 2007February 2007March 2007April 2007May 2007September 2007October 2007December 2007February 2008July 2008December 2008April 2009

    Listed on Blogwise
  • Saturday, April 16, 2005

    Mama Jarusa's Funeral

    Every night, the singing got louder.

    The singing got louder because the crowds got bigger. They were streaming in from miles around ... maybe as much as a hundred miles around. Almost all of them on foot or by bicycle. Carrying with them whatever they would need for the journey but also knowing that they would have a place to stay and other things provided for them when they arrived.

    We passed the people all day on Thursday and Friday when we were driving to and from the confirmations in the bush. People heading toward Lui. We would slow down and they would wave and shout greetings at us.

    When they got to Lui, they encamped in the area around Mama Jarusa's grave ... which was right near the Bishop's tukal. And at night, they would sing. And as the crowd grew, so did the singing.

    The funeral was to take place in two parts. The actual burial had happened weeks before ... 3 days after her death, by custom. Saturday morning would be the placing of the cross ... literally putting the headstone in place and dedicating the grave ... and then a procession to the Cathedral for the funeral service.

    Bishop Smith was asked to preach at the funeral. I certainly didn't envy him. Even though in my mind I understood the genuineness of their hospitality and how they truly believed that we are family and we belonged there, I couldn't help but feeling at least a little like an intruder at a family occasion ... kind of like the distant cousin who shows up at a special family dinner when nobody has seen them in ages. Yeah, you're family, but ... Guest preaching is tough enough ... but preaching at the funeral of the bishop's wife!

    After breakfast, we went over to wait by Bishop Bullen's residence (which was where all the crowds were gathering). There were people everywhere, dressed in incredible colors. The choirs and the clergy were getting vested. We were ushered into the same tukal where we had met Bishop Bullen on our first night and sat waiting for the chief bishop of the province to arrive from Juba (he was late ... not a surprise given the distance and the roads).

    (By the way, all the pictures that have the dates on them are courtesy of Susan Naylor)

    Outside the tukal, we could see a fire lit and the people heating the drums (which is how you tune them ... the heat stretches the skin and changes the timbre). When everyone had arrived, the clergy vested and we were told to go stand in orders.

    The procession was enormous ... only at General Convention had I seen anything larger. Every priest and deacon in the diocese was there and vested (all in cassock and surplice ... Lui is very low church ... I stood out in my alb. Of course, that wasn't the only reason I stood out!).

    And this was where it got really, really powerful. The deacons immediately made space for Peggy and Susan. The priests immediately made space for me and the one behind me stretched out his arm so I could sing from his hymnal (we were singing "Onward, Christian Soldiers" in Moru, of course!) so I could join in the singing.

    It's impossible to describe what happened in any way that conveys the experience. And we don't really have pictures (though I think Lisa has some) because we were right in the middle of it and too busy just being in the moment .. besides, we were vested and taking part in the liturgy.

    It was hot. I mean it was REALLY hot. It was about 10:30 in the morning and the sun was bright and beating down. You noticed it because you were always wiping the sweat out of your eyes, but believe me when I say that other than that I didn't really feel it.

    We processed the short distance to the grave and the entire procession formed a great circle around it ... and then the throngs of people not in the procession crowded around also, making this enormous gathering, singing loudly, around the grave. Because we had roles leading prayers, Bishop Smith, Peggy, Susan and I were ushered to the head of the grave and I found myself standing right in front of the headstone.

    For a minute I had one of those moments where you kind see yourself and your surroundings almost from the perspective of someone looking at them from the outside. I was in the middle of this incredible crowd of singing people standing at the head of a grave of the wife of the bishop of Lui, a woman who was obviously adored not just by her husband but by this entire community. Part of me marveled at what in the world I was doing there. But most of me was just too busy being blown away by the depth of the love the people were showing for their bishop, for Mama Jarusa, and for God whom they knew was taking care of them all.

    The placing of the cross was a simple service. Probably took no more than 15-20 minutes. The presider (the bishop from Juba) led prayers out of a Moru prayer book and also out of the American BCP. Bishop Smith, Peggy and I led prayers from the BCP funeral rite. But again, the technical details don't tell the story. All I can say is that it was one of those wonderful experiences where you know you are in the very depths of what sacred is.

    We processed from the grave a short way to the Cathedral. There we had more singing and the funeral Eucharist. Bishop Smith did an amazing job ... a real home run. And he did it by doing what he had to do ... preaching the basics of resurrection and honoring the incredible faithfulness of the people and of Mama Jarusa, past and present. It was one of those situations where he really needed to nail it and he did.

    The funeral service was nothing fancy or ornate ... but the emotion and the energy in the Cathedral (which was packed to overflowing) was incredible. At Eucharist, the people just kept on coming and coming and coming. And you got the sense that this was really people being fed.

    By the end of the service, we were all that combination of exhausted and energized that leaves you kind of dizzy. We were physically drained from the heat and from the whole experience. We were emotionally drained from the whole experience. But we were also moved and energized from the whole experience.

    Reading back over this, it all sounds so inadequate to describe how it really was. Not just the details of the experience, but the power behind the devotion ... and the power that it was as outsiders to feel so genuinely and completely welcomed into the heart of their grieving and celebration for Mama Jarusa.

    When I was in Ghana, I wrote about how what I had begun to understand about the true nature of communion was how communion was lived there. Mama Jarusa's funeral was as powerful an experience as I have ever had of communion incarnated. There is a way that I know we can never consider ourselves separate from one another, or consider our lives unaffected by each other ... because we have stood at that grave together ... and we have walked together from the grave to the Eucharist and beyond.

    More later.
    Mike at 4/16/2005 06:18:00 AM

    Comments: Post a Comment
    Subscribe in a reader
    Episcopalians for
    Global Reconciliation

    EGR is an organization resourcing a grassroots movement of spiritual transformation in the Episcopal Church to end extreme poverty on this planet.

    The structure for this movement is the Millennium Development Goals -- 8 goals committed to by all member nations of the UN and a unique partnership of governments and civil society to:

    *End extreme poverty
    *Achieve universal
    primary education

    *Promote gender equalty
    *Improve maternal health
    *Reverse the spread of HIV/AIDS
    *Promote environmental sustainability
    *Build a global partnership for development

    EGR resources and connects the church to embrace what one person, one congregation, one diocese and one church can do to make this mission of global reconciliation happen.

    Want to find out more ... check our our website at www.e4gr.org.

    "Christ's example is being demeaned by the church if they ignore the new leprosy, which is AIDS. The church is the sleeping giant here. If it wakes up to what's really going on in the rest of the world, it has a real role to play. If it doesn't, it will be irrelevant."
    - Bono


    What I'm Reading
    Team of Rivals: The Political Genius of Abraham Lincoln
    by Doris Kearns Goodwin