Bishop Francis, of the Diocese of Rokon in South Sudan, sadly died on Sunday 3rd October in Kampala, Uganda. During Sudan’s civil war, Bishop Francis was imprisoned and tortured and his family fled into the bush. They thought one another dead for many years, before they were eventually reunited by relief agencies.
He later came to the UK and studied at St John’s College, Durham University from 2004-05; the college hosted him as guest of honour at a special event when he visited the city in 2013. The event honoured Bishop Francis and his involvement with the Durham-based Edith Jackson Trust, which raised money to build a school in the Bishop’s home town of Rokon. Bishop Francis was a champion of education in South Sudan.
At the time of his visit, Rev Canon Dr Alan Bartlett, his former tutor at Durham, said: “Bishop Francis is a visionary man who dreams of free, educated, confident people turning the oil rich Southern Sudan into a peaceful prosperous society. He has achieved a lot, with very little, and his visit to Durham is an inspiration to the trust and provided an opportunity to hear a little more about this humble, yet remarkable man.”
Canon Ian Woodward of the Salisbury-Sudans Link said:
“We first met Francis in 1998 when he was newly consecrated and the youngest bishop in what was then the ECS. He had come over for the Lambeth Conference that year. He often said how much he felt ‘at home’ in the Diocese of Salisbury and the Cathedral whenever he visited us, and he greatly valued the link with the Deanery of Milton and Blandford. His natural humour, energy and faith in Christ was infectious and as we know he gathered many supporters around him for innumerable projects they helped him initiate with varying degrees of success – but always with the love of his people in Rokon foremost in his heart.”