A Dinka-language congregation was a part of St Philip's for over four years. It first gathered at St Philip's on Sunday 1 May 2011, St Philip's Day, and was farewelled on 11 October 2015.
The Anglican services were largely in the Bor Dinka language of South Eastern Sudan and held each Sunday afternoon. The St Philip's English-language and Dinka congregations shared a combined service a few times a year, especially on festival days. Both languages were used, with hymns in Dinka and English, Bible readings in both languages and the sermon interpreted from English to Dinka or vice versa. We joyfully gathered together at the Lord's Table and shared enriching fellowship. Pentecost 2011 was an ideal occasion for our such first combined service.
The Reverend Peter Manyok Kuot led the Dinka Congregation as a lay minister from its formation as part of St Philip's. He was ordained as a deacon in the Anglican Church of Australia on 28 February 2015 and was supported by lay ministers and an elected Leadership Council. On 8 July 2012, the Reverend Monica Adua Garang was presented with the Bishop's authority to officiate. She had been ordained in the Sudan over ten years before and her ordination was now recognized in our diocese— a joyous occasion to celebrate!
Raised in a traditional Christian family in South Sudan, Peter came to faith as a child and in his teens he began to minister with others at a small church on the banks of the Nile, where he worked as a fisherman. He was later trained as a lay evangelist. While still a teenager Peter was obliged to flee from Sudan and spent five years in Kakuma refugee camp in Kenya. There he ministered as an evangelist and worked with youth and children. On coming to Australia, Peter continued in lay ministry at St George's Pearce. He then became the leader of the South Sudanese congregation at St Philip's.
Earlier, the first leadership of the congregation had been inaugurated at a service on Sunday 7 August 2011 at which there were also many baptisms of children. Holy Communion was celebrated, and Revd Rebecca Newland preached on Take heart, Jesus is with you.. The Rector of St Philip's had oversight of both congregations, the leaders of which conferred regularly.
Cross-Cultural Family Program 2013-15
To minister with its Dinka people, St Philip's undertook a Cross-Cultural Ministry program, with funding from the Pelican Foundation and from Anglicare, supplemented with support from the Parish. On 13 January 2013, Andrea — who had considerable experience and training cross-cultural ministry to children's and families — was commissioned as Family Minister, and Ruben as bilingual assistant. Ruben also had much experience in Christian leadership and ministry to families and young South Sudanese people. One of the many aspects of this ministry was Homework and Learning Club, with free tuition, homework support and social activities during the school term for primary and secondary students from our the Dinka community.
By mid-2015 the numbers attending the Dinka services, especially children, had greatly outgrown St Philip's accommodation and the congregation moved to establish a new ministry unit at St Paul's Ginninderra Anglican Church at Spence. Revd Peter Kuot said that it was sad that he and his people had to leave as they had been welcomed and happy at St Philip's. They were glad to have been part of the St Philip’s community and were especially grateful for the support of Revd Rebecca and for Revd Andrea's work with the community and the children.