[St. Paul’s Church – Foley, Alabama] The first weekend of February 2012 was a spirit-filled time for the people of Saint Paul’s Episcopal Church in Foley, Alabama, as they had the honor and pleasure of hosting the Rt. Rev. Andudu Adam Elnail, bishop of the Diocese of Kadugli, the Episcopal Church of Sudan. Bishop Andudu was elected bishop in 2002. At that time he was the youngest bishop in the Anglican Communion. There are more than 20,000 thousand Episcopalians in the diocese and 68 clergy. The Diocese of Kadugli is located in the Southern Kordofan State (Nuba Mountain Region) of central Sudan with an estimated population of 3.5 million. Most of the people are small-scale subsistence farmers with Christian population coming second after Muslims. The region has been subject to civil war for many years. At this time most of the clergy and members of the church live in hiding from the oppressive regime of Northern Sudan. They are facing each day the threatening issues of starvation, disease and extermination.
Bishop Andudu joined the Saint Paul’s delegation, including the Rev. Keith Talbert, the Rev. Steve Pankey, Carole Hudson, Helen Lambard and Anne Stevens, in attending the 41st Annual Convention of the Diocese of the Central Gulf Coast held at Christ Church Cathedral in Mobile, Alabama.
During the convention, Bishop Andudu had the opportunity to meet many delegates, clergy, and other leaders in the Diocese of the Central Gulf Coast. Thanks to the hospitality and generosity of the Rt. Rev. Philip M. Duncan II, bishop of the Central Gulf Coast, Bishop Andudu was able to address the Convention twice: first, sharing the story of suffering, hunger, bombings and fear that his people in the Nuba Mountains experience every day, and later to express his gratitude for the unanimous passing of a diocesan resolution resolving solidarity, prayers, advocacy, and support for the people of Sudan. The Committee on Finance resolved that 50 percent of the collections from the convention services would be earmarked for the Diocese of Kadugli.
On Sunday, the bishop preached at both services (7:30 a.m. and 10 a.m.) on the healing of Peter’s Mother-in-Law from Mark chapter one, calling on the church to take seriously its need for healing: physically, spiritually, and relationally as well as its place in the life of world, not just as a building, but a people united by fellowship, prayer, sacrament, and faith who do the good work of service. He also shared the story of his people in the Nuba Mountains during the 9 a.m. Sunday school hour.
Saint Paul’s Episcopal Church is a ministering community: reaching up in worship, reaching in to serve, reaching out in love to the glory of Jesus Christ. Established in 1924, Saint Paul’s has been serving God in downtown Foley for nearly 90 years.