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Tuesday, December 6, 2022
FairfaxChurch continues efforts at supporting South Sudan community

Church continues efforts at supporting South Sudan community

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St. Francis Episcopal Church in Great Falls has provided support to the Episcopal church in Ezo, South Sudan, for more than 20 years as the people of Ezo dealt with civil war, terrorism, drought, famine and more.

Most of the money raised at the church’s February 2020 gala – more than $20,000 – was earmarked for clean water projects in Ezo. The prospect of clean water in Ezo seemed promising, even imminent, but three weeks later, the pandemic shut everything down.

In South Sudan, Ezo became even more isolated as borders closed and travel ceased. The companies that normally drilled water wells couldn’t travel.

St. Francis continued to correspond with the church in Ezo when possible, but communication was particularly difficult. In 2021, Bishop John Zawo of Ezo resigned, and a new bishop, the Right Rev. Isaac Bangisa, was elected and installed in Ezo.

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As the world began to emerge from and adapt to COVID, St. Francis reached out to the new bishop to explore the possibility of finally directing the gala proceeds to clean-water projects in Ezo. Bishop Bangisa, who had developed a strategic plan for Ezo during his first days as bishop, was eager to put the money toward the repair and drilling of wells.

In October 2021, a well was repaired on the church compound, and this February a new well was drilled and opened at an elementary school in Ezo.

These wells offer more than just drinking water; they also provide a clean alternative to the river water that can cause cholera, typhoid and dysentery in that area of the world. And, when water has to be carried from a stream and boiled, that task becomes the work of the girls in the villages and can prevent them from attending school. Easily accessible, clean water is a boon to families in many different ways, church officials said.

Leaders at St. Francis are excited that the monies raised two years ago have finally fulfilled their designated purpose. The next support project will be a Lenten offering for schoolchildren in Ezo.

To find out more about St. Francis Episcopal Church and the St. Francis outreach program, including the recent resettlement of two Afghan families and the upcoming concert to benefit Ukraine, visit https://stfrancisgreatfalls.org.

–Leslie Siegmund

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