4:00 P.M. EST Feb. 22, 2010 | KINGSPORT, Tenn. (UMNS)
Curious children peer into the United Methodist Church in Yei, Sudan, in
February 2009. A UMNS photo by David Malloy, GBGM.
View in Photo Gallery
A March summit will bring United Methodists from around the world
together to discuss the urgent needs in Sudan.
United Methodists who want to learn more about ongoing work in south
Sudan—while sharing knowledge and resources -- are invited to "come to
the table," said Danny Howe, chair of Holston’s Annual (regional)
Conference Missions Ministry Team and missions director for the summit's
host church, First
Broad Street United Methodist Church.
“There is so much more work to do than we could have ever imagined,”
Howe said. “We need to operate in our full capacity as United Methodists
to unify our efforts to eliminate hardship and bring hope to our
brothers and sisters in south Sudan.”
At least 300,000 people have died in Darfur and more than 2.7 million
have been driven from their homes by six years of fighting, according to
international reports. A study by the Center for Research on the
Epidemiology of Disasters said more people are dying from disease than
“Far more died of diarrhea spread by filthy water, pneumonia picked up
in swirls of desert dust and fire smoke, malaria carried into their
tents by mosquitoes and other maladies from years of rough living,” the
A family draws water from a well. A UMNS photo by Annette Spence.
Since signing a covenant partnership with the East Africa Conference,
Holston has raised more than $627,000 for the region. The conference
has provided medical care, dug three wells, built part of a school,
funded clergy salaries and training, sent nine mission teams, sent
supplies and appointed two clergy members to live and work in Sudan for
The Sudan Summit March 11-12 will build on those accomplishments, Howe
A benefit concert on March 11 will raise money to dig wells in Sudan.
Clean water is the top request of the Sudanese people encountered by
Holston, as well as by the East Africa Conference and the Board of
Global Ministries, Howe said.
“When you begin to provide clean water and rural hygiene, suddenly
you've taken a big chunk out of the needs for medical care,” he said.
Speakers at the event will include Tom Omach, field officer for the
United Methodist Committee on Relief in Yei, Sudan, where Holston has
based its mission work since 2006.
The former top executive of UMCOR, the Rev. Sam Dixon, had been
scheduled as a keynote speaker. Dixon was trapped and later died from
injuries during the Jan. 12 earthquake in Haiti. The Rev. Jim Gulley, an
UMCOR consultant, will take Dixon’s place. Gulley was trapped with
Dixon, but was rescued after 55 hours.
Representing the East Africa Conference will be David Muwaya, assistant
to resident Bishop Daniel Wandabula. Bishop James Swanson, resident
bishop of Holston Conference, will lead worship and commission Holston's
10th mission team to Sudan, departing April 1.
Seven to eight other annual conferences have contacted Holston with
mission interests in south Sudan, Howe said.
The registration fee for the Sudan Summit is $20 per person and includes
meals. Download a brochure for more information.
* Spence is editor of The Call, the newspaper of the Holston Annual
News media contact: Kathy L. Gilbert, Nashville, Tenn., (615) 742-5470