Here is Harry's latest update:
Jakobeans of Every Stripe:
Here’s a summary of comments on the School Project. I am proposing to call the project—not the school—Sail in the Wilderness. I learned from a comment that, more or less, that’s what Tanzania means.
Here's a summary of responses. I've actually tried to incorporate every single comment into these statements. If you feel your voice isn't present here--please let me know! email@example.com.
This is a reduction, of course, and can't catch the spirit of much of the comments. And it was an enormous task going through them one by one, and then organizing them so that I could see everything each separate write wrote in different posts and then cull from all the postings the gist of the tasks people see ahead of us. I haven't listed in the following summary tasks that are quite specific.
I'll be talking to Emmanuel Esserwada at 815 on Friday about how to proceed with all of this. At the same time, I'll figure out how to create an initial web implementation to work on this--without it having to dictate the flow on Jake's. I'd really like this to be, somehow, something that is a Jake's blog project--that somehow people checking in here have a way to see easily what's happening. We'll see.
By the way, Katharine did read the post. She wrote a lovely note, expressed her delight at all the response, and thinks good things will come of our working with Esserwada.
Keep the faith!
FIRST WAVE OF RESPONSE TO SCHOOL PROJECT
Jakobytes offerred prayers and reminded each other to keep praying. To listen for the Spirit. To be open to healing. To notice the light. And to laugh.
Many comments address the need to find balance between: being and doing, prayer and contemplation, practicing compassion and fighting oppression.
Many encouragements to be counted, to participate, to stand up run through the comments—but in many variations. Sometimes we encourage ourselves to stand up as anonymous Christians—not to let our exclusion by the church deprive us of our right to be anonymous and humble. And sometimes we are called upon the show up with a name and a face. And to be in other people’s faces.
There was concern that we remember there is work to be done at home where so many people don’t graduate from high school, and where in many places people aren’t learning to read.
Over and over the comments urge that we keep communicating! That I communicate forward momentum on the project, that we communicate our own journeys to each other, that we learn from those who have things to teach us, and above all that we communicate with the people we are proposing to aid.
Many want us to remember not to be a doormats at home. A good dose of cynicism and challenge makes the Pollyanna-ish idea of building a school a little less rosey and perhaps, in the long run, more open to reality and consequently, more possible
We need to set up a funding process. This will follow setting up an organizing process and after talks with 815. There are Jakeobytes who do grant writing, and so part of any sound fiscal reality in the project should include that.
We must avoid colonial mentality. Start a listening process! Don’t even imagine what people in Africa need without talking to them. Example: sending in supplies can be damaging to local economy and culture.
There are many people who post at Jakes who have substantial experience doing this kind of work, and many have spent time in Africa! This surprised me. And I’m thrilled. The urgings from these folks seem to be: Don’t tell, listen.
Remember that when different cultures meet there is much to celebrate, but that being pliable and willing to bend and stretch your limits (compromise) may also be necessary. For Babel to become Pentecost we may have to experience Crucifixion and Ressurection.
Good Mission work might require (might always require) compromise. When two cultures confront each other both must find ways to bend if Babel is to become Pentecost.
Education makes progress. It is the main means of progress. Without educational systems, addressing issues of bigotry is pointless.
We need to be students too. To learn about the Church’s organization. About mission. About Africa. About the history of Tanganyika and the church there.
We should—and will—explore existing organizations and missions and people: Episcopal Relief, Aid Workers, World Bank, UN, Lutherans, Quakers, Dorothy (a Jakeobyte and old “Afrika hand”), Atlanta and New York dioceses with relationships with Central Tanganyika, Debbie Shaw (Jakobyte who taught in Kenya), deaconmark (his parish built a school in Uganda), Craig Sweeney (his parish, Epiphany Glenburn, works with Pygmies in Uganda, Diocese of Bethlehem (see website) is raising $3.6 million to rebuild the Anglican Church in southern Sudan, Young Adults Service Corps, Mission Works, jimB’s parish is building a clinic in Sudan, Lisa Fox (Jakeobyte who spent time in Souther Sudan), NightOwl (Jakeobyte who has spent time in Rwanda), revLois’s parish has raised $5K to support a clinic in Sierra Leone, Sara Dylan Breuer did missionary work in Kenya and speaks Swahili, : St. Wilfrid of York Episcopal Church in Huntington Beach, CA
There is very reasonable concern that we do not expect our good intentions to be what the world will see. We’ll want to sure we get to know people abroad, and they get to know us and that these relationships, and the work of locals, become what people in Central Tanganyika see.
We can’t help ourselves or anyone else by living in denial. The HoB statement sucks for many of us. Homophobia abroad and at home is rapant. The church is flawed, the communion critically flawed. Stay real.
We can and should share our awkardness and vulnerability.
It was nice to come across posts that had clear statements of people’s personal limits. We should remember that doing a little is doing a lot, and that we shouldn’t succumb to ‘enthusiasm.’
In learning about the history and politics and economics of Central Tanganyika, we should also learn the stories, the jokes, art and culture or the place.
I'll continue to add links to updates near the top of the sidebar on the right.