This afternoon, Bishop Jennifer welcomed the Rt. Rev. Moses Anur Ayom, bishop of the Diocese of Athooch in the Episcopal Church of South Sudan, and Rebecca Koryom, head of the Mothers Union in that diocese. The pair are visiting the Diocese of Indianapolis for six days to continue conversations that began in March 2017 about forming a companion relationship.
“I’m delighted to see Bishop Moses again and to meet Mrs. Koryom,” Bishop Jennifer said. “Our dioceses share similar challenges in our efforts to form and call clergy who can meet the needs of God’s people in new and sustainable ways including encouraging bi-vocational ministry. Doing church the same old way is not available to us right now in either Indianapolis or South Sudan, and I am looking forward to seeing how together we can do a new thing.”
The Diocese of Athooch was formed in 2014 when then-Archbishop Daniel Deng Bul split the Diocese of Bor into two entities and established the new diocese north of Bor. Deng Bul retired last month and was succeeded by the Most Rev. Justin Bada Arama. The Diocese of Indianapolis had a companion relationship with the Diocese of Bor from 2002-2016.
In December, Bishop Moses wrote to Bishop Jennifer about his hopes for the visit, the situation in his diocese and the ongoing civil war in South Sudan. “There are many things we wish to share with you as to how our gracious God has blessed us despite the many difficulties we have faced,” he wrote. “It is so clear to me and to many others here that we have been protected, given grace to persevere, and shown ways to forgive and reconcile our differences between tribes. There have been setbacks of course, but by his grace we are healed. It is an exciting time!”
During their visit, Bishop Moses and Koryom will visit a number of congregations in the diocese and Waycross Camp and Conference Center. On Thursday, they will meet with members of the Global Missions Commission.
“Our hope is that Bishop Moses and Rebecca Koryom as they come here will get a sense of the breadth of our congregations and our ministries and begin a conversation about what it might look like to enter into a covenant relationship,” said the Rev. Jeff Bower, chair of the commission. Later this week, he said, members of the commission will attend the annual meeting of the American Friends of the Episcopal Church of the Sudans “to learn best practices for expanding the scope of our global mission relationship.”
“We’re focused on the ways we are united as brothers and sisters in Christ and what we have to offer one another,” he said. “There is much we can learn.”