The following Press Release was issued by the office of:
The National Religious Leaders of African Ancestry
Concerned about Darfur (NRRLA)

Reverend Daughtry heads home after Africa Trip


Reverend Daughtry, accompanied by his daughter, Sharon, returned home after visits to Ethiopia and Sudan. After spending two days in Ethiopia (during the same time the President of Southern Sudan, Salvar Kiir, was meeting with Secretary Condoleezza Rice), the Reverend and Ms. Daughtry arrived in Juba, capital of Southern Sudan on Wednesday, December 5, 2007. Upon arrival, they were greeted at the airplane by Mr. Ramadan Hassan and Mr. Edward Lennoe, members of a task force appointed by President Salvar Kiir to assist the Darfurian leadership in their quest for unity. After exchanging smiles, handshakes and hugs, Mr. Lennoe said, “Welcome home. We are glad to see you.” “It’s good to be home,” replied Reverend Daughtry. "I’ve been away a long time.”

As they walked to the VIP lounge, Mr. Yahya Ousman, a member of the Sudan Liberation Movement/Army, who is a close friend and traveling companion of Reverend Daughtry said, “You just missed the President. He waited for half and hour.”

In the VIP lounge, according to Reverend Daughtry, the leaders discussed the progress of the unification of Darfurian leaders, the Comprehensive Peace Agreement (CPA), and the itinerary of meetings with governmental, religious, and movement leaders.

The Reverend and his daughter were obviously pleased by the reception. He said, “I’m honored and delighted that I have received so much hospitality.”

On Thursday, December 6, 2007, the Reverend and his daughter registered with the US Embassy and conferred with a United Nations official regarding the 5-year plan for Sudan, beginning in 2009. On Friday December 7, 2007, Reverend Daughtry was invited to give the invocation at the Conference on Human Rights, held at the South Sudanese Parliament building. December 10th is International Human Rights Day.

Five panelists addressed the conference. Then the audience put grievances forth. Mr. Denge Ajok, advisor to the President on Military Affairs, chaired the meeting. Commenting after the conference, the Reverend said, “This Human Rights conference is a testimony that the government of Southern Sudan intends to be fair, and when the people here feel that they have been denied their rights, they have a place to get a hearing.”

Not far from the Parliament building is the monument to John Garang. Mr. Garang led the Sudanese South in a 23-year war against the Bashir government in the North. He succeeded in defeating the armies of Bashir and was able to negotiate a package called the CPA, which was signed in 2005. It includes a number of ambassadorships, cabinet members, semi autonomy and a plebiscite to be held in 2011 to determine if Southern Sudan wants independence or some other kind of an arrangement that keeps the South connected to the North. Also, as written in the CPA, the South elects its own President, who serves as a Vice President in the Central government. Mr. Garang was killed in a helicopter accident in July 2005. Mr. Kiir, who was commander of the army, then became president.A walking stick belonging to Mr. Garang lay across the stone crypt that now holds his body. Standing at the crypt, the Reverend said, “Mr. John Garang was a great leader who loved his people and won their freedom. Understandably, to his people, he is an icon.”

On Saturday December 8, the Reverend spent most of the day meeting with various leaders and conferring with the people.

On the morning of Sunday, December 9, the Reverend and his daughter met with Mr. Salvar Kiir at the Kator Cathedral Church. It is the second time the two men have met. Their first meeting was in N’djamena, Tchad in March of 2007. Mr. Kiir is an active part of the 50% Christian population in the South. After the meeting, the Reverend was asked to address the hundreds of worshippers that packed into the huge church. With President Kiir, the Speaker of the Assembly and governmental officials listening intently, the Reverend spoke on many themes, including history, culture, slavery, colonization, exploitation and human rights. He said, “Our mothers and fathers were stolen from this great land many years ago. I am their son. We have retuned home. I have been commissioned by my church, The House of The Lord Churches and the National Religious Leaders of African Ancestry Concerned about Darfur (NRLAA) to support the implementation of the CPA and Darfurian unity.” Referring to the previously preached sermon by head priest, Father Oliver, who talked about Jesus as liberator, the Reverend continued, “I believe Jesus is our liberator who frees our spirits so we can love each other and do the right things. But I also believe that Jesus is liberator of our minds and bodies. It is God’s will that we should have houses, land, medicine, and education - the good things in life, which other people are enjoying from the resources they have stolen away from the land that God has given us.” On a number of occasions, the Reverend was interrupted with amen(s) and resounding applause. After worship, the President and the Reverend stood outside the church and greeted the people. As the two men stood outside the church greeting the people, President Kiir said to the Reverend, "That was a great speech."  The Reverend replied, "I had some more ideas I need to share with you," to which President Kiir said, "We need more time."

Later, after lunch, the Reverend was asked to address the 15-member leadership group, which constitutes the Sudan Liberation Movement/Army (SLM/A).

During this meeting, he relayed the history of the ‘divide and conquer strategy’- Europeans dividing Africans. He urged the leaders to unite. The Reverend said, “It is important for you to unite, not only for your people, Darfurians, but also for Sudan; indeed, for Africa, and even for Africans in the Diaspora. There comes to few leaders, relatively speaking, an opportunity to change history, to do so much for so many. That time has come for you. But you must act now.” He went on to say, “There is a line in Shakespeare’s play, Julius Caesar, which goes, ‘There is a time in the affairs of men, taken at its current leads on to fortune. Neglected, men spend their lives beating in the shallows.”’ The translator, Mr. Ousman, had difficulty translating “shallows.” So the Reverend substituted the word to “bathtub.” “Beating in the bathtub.” The Reverend concluded, “I would hate to think that years from now your children’s children will ask, Why are we oppressed? Why are we without education, without houses, without our own land, without freedom? And the answer would be, our leaders could not unite.”

After the presentation, the Darfurian leadership gave the Reverend enthusiastic embraces and handshakes. They continued to express their appreciation long after the meeting was over.

Prior to departing for Africa, the Reverend spent Friday and Saturday in Ohio, educating and organizing around the crisis in Darfur. On Friday, November 30, in a breakfast meeting, the Reverend addressed the clergy at Mount Calvary Baptist Church in Akron, Ohio. At noon, he spoke to high school students at Oberlin High School. And in the evening, he addressed students, professors, activist and clergy at Oberlin College, Oberlin, Ohio. On Saturday, December 1, he conferred with a men’s group. This luncheon included pastors, professionals and business leaders. Saturday night, he flew to Washington DC where he joined his daughter, Ms. CONTACT _Con-3EE075681 \c \s \l Sharon Daughtry. And on Sunday morning, on an Ethiopian Airline Flight at 7:30am, they flew from Washington DC to Rome, Italy, then to Addis Ababa, Ethiopia, and then on to Juba, Sudan.

The tireless, globetrotting Reverend said, “It was a great trip. I feel so honored and blessed to be in the center of the historic developments taking place on the African continent. These developments can influence the world. And to play a role, however minor, is mind blowing.”

What is so important about this time is the refusal of the Bashir government to implement the CPA. Mr. Kiir has insisted that the implementation take place immediately. He has appealed to world leaders for assistance. Mr. Bashir has threatened a jihad. He has said that his holy warriors are ready. This meeting in Juba, with ambassadors from various countries, and UN representatives, is to resolve the issue before the threats become actualized. So, with both the CPA meeting and the Darfurian quest for unification, this adds up to one of the most critical moments in African history.

Upcoming Events

Attend the Timbuktu Learning Center’s weekly Thursday night forums 7pm to 9pm held at the House of the Lord Church.

Attend NRLAA’s monthly forum Focus on Africa the 2nd Saturday from 2pm to 4pm.
Organizing Meetings regarding Darfur every Thursday - 12noon @ the House of the Lord Church
Keep abreast of our Darfurian activities by checking our web page @ www.holnj.org.
For further Information on all events, contact The House of the Lord Church @ (718) 596-1991.