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News from Myanmar

Posted on: September 29, 2008 5:47 PM
L-R: Archbishop Samuel San Si Htay (ret’d), Asst. Bishop Francis Sein Aung (Sittwe), Bishop Saw John Wilme (Taungoo), Archbishop Stephen Than Myint Oo, Bishop George Kyaw Mya (ret’d), Bishop Stylo (Hpa-An), Bishop Barnabas Theaung Hawi (Sittwe), Bishop David Than Lwin (Myitkyina), Bishop Noel Nay Lin (Mandalay), Bishop Daniel White Kyin (ret’d).
Photo Credit: Church of the Province of Myanmar
Related Categories: Myanmar

Consecration and Installation of Bishop Saw Stylo as Bishop of Hpa-An

Bishop Stylo was installed as the sixth Bishop of the Diocese of Hpa-An in the Church of the Province of Myanmar at a simple but meaningful ceremony at St. Peter’s Cathedral in Hpa-An on 21 September 2008 at 3.00pm. In a ceremony earlier in the day, he was consecrated as a bishop. 

Both the consecration and installation were presided over by the Most Reverend Stephen Than Myint Oo, Archbishop of the Church of the Province of Myanmar and Primate (and himself a previous Bishop of Hpa-An). All Diocesan Bishops of the Church of the Province of Myanmar were present, as well as the Assistant Bishop of Sittwe, the retired Archbishop of Myanmar the Most Reverend Samuel San Si Htay, and 2 former bishops of Hpa-An, Bishop George Kyaw Mya and Bishop Daniel White Kyin.

Bishop Stylo was born on 5 October 1952 in Lar War village, Hlaing Bwe township, Kayin State. His parents, U Poe Tal and Daw Ngwe Hlaing, were farmers. He received his early education at the free education school in Kan Par Ni village and attended middle school at Upper Yay Pu Gyi village.

In 1973 he joined St. Peter’s Bible School in Taungoo, then still a part of the Diocese of Hpa-An. From 1976 to 1977 he served as a catechist at St. Peter’s Church (now Cathedral) in Hpa-An. On 19 June 1979 he was ordained as a deacon. He was priested on 16 May 1980 by Bishop George Kyaw Mya at St. Paul's Church, Taungoo.

From 1979 to 1980 Bishop Stylo served as Vice Principal of St. Peter's Bible School. He served as an assistant parish priest in Loikaw Parish from 1981 to 1990. From 1990 to 1992 he was both the Diocesan Secretary and Diocesan Treasurer of the Diocese of Hpa-An. From 1992 until his election as Bishop he served as parish priest at St. Paul’s Church, Loikaw and Resurrection Church, Mawchee.

 In 1993, Bishop Stylo established an agricultural centre as well as an orphanage in Loikaw. He attended the Asian Rural Institute in Japan in 2002 and obtained a Diploma in Agriculture. In 2004 he opened the Daniel Integrated Agricultural Centre focusing on agriculture, fisheries and animal breeding at St. Paul’s Church, Loikaw. The centre has since achieved local and international renown.

Bishop Stylo is also active in community affairs. In 1995 he worked as Chairman of the Peace and Reconciliation Committee in Kayah State. In 2006 he served as President of the Fish Breeding Federation of Kayah State. From 1997 to the present, he is a committee member of the Myanmar Fishery Federation.

Bishop Stylo married Daw Naw Phaw Yee on 8 June 1980. They are blessed with 6 sons and 1 daughter.

(Report prepared by Andrew Khoo of the Diocese of West Malaysia, Province of South East Asia, with the assistance of Saw Fabian of the Church of the Province of Myanmar.)

Ends


Second Statement by the Archbishop of Myanmar on Cyclone Nargis

Sisters and Brothers in Christ,

In a week’s time, on Thursday 2 October 2008, we will mark 5 months to the day when Cyclone Nargis first struck Myanmar. Damage was wide spread, with trees torn down, roofs blown away, power and communication lines largely cut, while accompanying rain caused flooding in many areas. In the Ayeyarwady Delta region, strong winds compounded by a high tidal surge of 3-4 meters flattened many villages. About 21.5 million people out of Myanmar’s 53-million population live in the five regions that were declared disaster zones – Yangon, Ayeyarwady Division, Bagu Division, Kayin and Mon state. The Myanmar Foreign Ministry reported US$10.7 billion in losses. About 95% of structures in the Ayeyarwady Delta were destroyed. Official Government of Myanmar figures state that 77,738 people have been killed and 55,917 are missing. State media reported 19,359 persons were injured with over a million homeless.

An estimated 80-90% of the total households in the affected areas are living in improvised shelter. The monsoon season has worsened conditions of overcrowding, lack of hygiene and potential spread of diseases. Most of the existing water sources are either damaged or spoiled. There have been reports of diarrhoeal diseases in the affected population. In addition, stagnant water due to flooding increases the risks of malaria and dengue fever. Added to this, World Health Organisation estimates that at least 60% of health infrastructures in the delta have been either destroyed or damaged. 

In the immediate aftermath of Cyclone Nargis, and in response to the tragedy, we immediately sent 4 survey teams to the affected areas: group 1 to explore Kyun Chaung and Gayan; group 2 to explore East and West Pantanaw; group 3 to explore MyaungMya; Pathein and Gatsu, group 4 to explore Yangon. All affected areas fall under the Diocese of Yangon and two its three deaneries – Yangon and Delta. 

The greatest destruction is in the parish of Kyun Chaung (pronounced Jhun Jaung) in the Ayeyarwady Delta area, where even before our relief teams arrived, several people had reported heavy devastation. Subsequently, our relief teams reached this area where the greatest need was identified and established a base of operations at this Parish. The parish falls within the township (now upgraded to a district) of Latputta. The relief team comprised health workers, pastoral support, logisticians, and other labour personnel tasked to clear debris, fix boats, cut trees etc. We were the first, and continue to be the main, agency in the area. The relief team has made 7 further trips to Kyun Chaung and the villages of Danipoke and Ponekamar, which are the focus of our relief efforts. 

Our relief committee, which began work on 7 May 2008, continues to manage and oversee the relief efforts. Travel to the affected areas continue to prove challenging. Kyun Chaung, Danipoke and Ponekamar are all only accessible by boat. We have recently purchased a boat to facilitate our relief work, in addition to the one we have already been using. While most of the immediate needs have been met, food and medical relief will continue to be necessary for the foreseeable future. We have drained water ponds damaged by salt-water, installed water filters and carried our water sanitation work. We have helped some of the villages in Danipoke to plant water cress and other vegetables. We have also carried out trauma counselling and given health-care awareness seminars. We are also assisting affected villages to return to fishing and shrimp farming. And although we have distributed hand-held power tillers and several water buffalo, agricultural activity remains stunted due to the unsatisfactory nature of the soil. Sadly, the relief team has also had to inter human remains.

The relief committee has also distributed funds to assist schoolchildren with new school uniforms and stationery. Funds have also been used to rebuild a school devastated by Cyclone Nargis, and to pay the salaries of 2 teachers for the current academic year.

Needless to say, much more remains to be done.   Alongside the continuing need for food and medical aid (which we now estimate will continue until December 2009), we have drawn up plans for a medium-term rehabilitation programme that will take approximately 18 months to implement upon commencement. The budget for this rehabilitation programme is approximately US$1.55 million, of which we have already received funds/pledges for about 60%. We are now appealing for financial assistance only from amongst the Anglican Communion to help support this rehabilitation programme. The immediate priority is to restore livelihoods in the fisheries and agricultural sectors while work on permanent construction work in our areas of focus will commence in earnest once the monsoon season ends in late October/early November. Other rehabilitation categories include water, sanitation, health, counselling and children. Included in our fund-raising appeal is the need to raise funds for the repair required to some of our major church buildings, namely the Provincial Office, Holy Cross Theological College, and the Anglican Religious Training Centre. Copies of our proposal and budget are made available through the Anglican Communion network to each Provincial office/agency, or can be obtained directly from our Overseas Relief Coordinator Saw Edward (sawedward@mac.com).

We are grateful for the moral, financial and prayer support given by our sisters and brothers within the Anglican Communion thus far. In addition to this, we appreciate the logistical support and training provided in Yangon by the Anglican Board of Mission-Australia, Anglican Church of Thailand, Diocese of Sabah, Diocese of West Malaysia, Episcopal Relief and Development and Nippon Sei Ko Kai. This has proven invaluable to our relief efforts. Although some parts of the affected areas are now open to overseas visitors, it remains inadvisable for our overseas friends to travel deeper into the affected areas, or to our areas of focus.

The Diocese of Singapore is assisting us by being the receiving point for financial assistance from overseas. We would greatly appreciate it if you would continue to direct your donations through your national or provincial Anglican Church office or agency to the Diocese of Singapore which will in turn forward them to our Provincial Office.

May the Peace of God be and remain with us always.

The Most Revd Stephen Than Myint Oo
Primate, The Church of the Province of Myanmar
25 September 2008