GUILFORD -- Al Franklin may never have been off the continent in his 74 years, but he is ready to travel to a small village in Kenya on Monday. He and eight others will travel with Pastor Lise Sparrow to the village of Kaiguchu, hosted by the group they consider their global partner.
They will spend a week helping, in small part, with the planting of some of the 10,000 trees funded by churches around the United States as part of the Mission 4-1 Earth to support the Guilford/Kaiguchu project. Don and Judith Kinley are especially excited to help plant 400 macadamia trees which will be planted at the site of a secondary school. The school is under construction to bring vulnerable teens from the village and from the Kibera slum together for secondary education and training.
Dr. Cheri Brodhurst will bring medical supplies for the local clinic and James Brown will work with local carpenters to build desks and benches for the school. Others will visit the local primary school, learning and teaching about geography, physics and the work of Wangari Maathai and about the trees which are important to Vermont and Kenyan cultures. Maathai was born near the village.
The stay will end with the hanging of a mural of Maathai created by local art teacher Laura Pratt and sent with the group to be completed and to be hung at the school. The group will also travel to see some of the large animals which are native to Kenya. They will personally carry a donation gathered by the children and teens at Guilford Church to the David Sheldrike Elephant and Rhino Refuge.
Dummerston Church and Guilford Church are also collaborating in sending donations to support the 140 children orphaned by HIV/AIDS in the small community.
The Sunday, Oct. 27, service at Guilford Community Church will include a blessing of the group as well as a celebration of the global partnership. The Sunday School will open the service with "Rise and Shine" as the culmination of their fall celebration of endangered species. They will offer a puppet show for the adults featuring some of the stories behind animals who are endangered.
The choir, under the direction of Andy Davis, will offer two anthems appropriate to the day, one in Swahili, "Hakuna Mungu Kama Yeye," and one in Spanish and English, "Somos el Barco" which speaks of our interconnectedness with the earth, its creatures and each other.
Pastor Sparrow will share stories of some of the children who have been helped by the project since its inception. Everyone is welcome.
Guilford Community Church is an Open and Affirming Congregation of the United Church of Christ and is fully handicapped accessible and committed to providing ASL interpreter and hearing assistance.
The church is located one mile south of exit 1 on Route 5 just in back of the Guilford Country Store. For more information call 257-2776 or check the website at www.guilfordchurch.org.