Pledge Drive for Graceland International School.
The energy for this school project was contagious. We were excited to partner with the group in Gusau by raising money for this school, starting with the banquet held in October of 2009. The total cost of the complex is somewhere in the neighborhood of $350,000, a very small amount by American standards.
Now we need your help more than ever. While the initial fundraising effort yielded an amazing $39,000, the monies have been almost depleted with the construction of the first classroom building. Please consider making a donation to help complete the first classroom building - it needs a roof!
The estimate for the whole project is $350,000.
In October 2009, we held a banquet at St. Peter’s Episcopal Church, South Windsor, Connecticut, to raise money for the first phase of the project, which was to build a two storey block of classrooms. We invited Bishop John Danbinta to come from Gusau, Nigeria to speak at the banquet and to present his vision for Graceland International School.
One hundred and ten people attended from all over Connecticut. Included among the attendees was a large group of expatiate Nigerians interested in helping to develop a school that would be open to all students regardless of gender, religion or ethnic background.
The menu was three courses with Chicken Cordon Bleu as the main course.
After the dinner Bishop John presented the need and vision for Graceland International School. He emphasized the fact that the school would offer equal opportunities to girls, and in a region where ethnic and sectarian tensions run high the school would build bridges of peace between these different groups.
After Bishop John’s speech, Mr. Don Ghostlaw, our board chairperson, presented the financial challenge of such a large project. He called on those present to make a 3 year pledge toward the building of the school. Once all the pledges were in we had raised $39,500. Some of the money was given as a one time gift; other money was promised over a three year period.
Bishop John’s Story
I was I was born on October 11, 1958. My family members were animists and they did not have a western education. They were farmers and they did not really value education. I pleaded with my father to be allowed to attend school, even though I was nearly 20 years old, I had never learned to read or write. Eventually he allowed me to go, but after a few months in the primary school, my father withdrew me. He said I was very obedient and hard-working and he wanted me to come back and work on the farm. I eventually persuaded my father to allow me to return to school, and I received a basic education.
After leaving school. I was able to attend St. Francis of Assisi Theological College Wusasa, Zaria, and sat for their exams to be trained as church worker. I passed and was admitted from 1982-1985. I trained as a Catechist and was posted to work in Kano diocese at St. Peter's Anglican Church. I went to the same school again in 1988 and graduated in 1991, with my degree in theology.
The Rt. Reverend Josiah Idowu Fearon ordained me. I then went to Jos ECWA Theological Seminary where I got my first degree in Missions and Evangelism. During 1999-2000, I was sent to London where I spent the year doing door to door Evangelism in Plaistow, London.
I came back to Nigeria to continue with my church work. I then went to Cape Town, South Africa to study for an Honors degree in Pauline Studies in 2004. On March 10, 2005, I was elected Bishop of Gusau. In September 2006, I went to the United States, where I got my postgraduate and Masters degrees in Christian-Muslim Relations. That is where I met the Dewberrys, the Ghostlaws, the Whites, and the Chagnons of the AEP board, as well as the Rev. Canon Tom Furrer and his wife, Maryjane.
Coupled with my upbringing and poor background in education, I feel the need to bring education to those who have also been born into poor families. I looked around me here and I discovered that there are children who are in a worse situation than I was then. That is why the Graceland International School is so important to me. I hope that you will join me in supporting this important project. During this season of blessings and generosity, I pray that you will join me in support of education to the marginalized populations with prayers and donations to sustain this effort.
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