The Rev. Canon Petero Sabune
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The Rev. Canon Petero A. N. Sabune is currently the Africa Partnership officer for the Episcopal Church, a position he has held since May 17, 2010. He was born in Uganda and the son of a priest, Sabune came to the United States through the American Field Service exchange program in 1969. He returned to Uganda in 1970 and, fleeing Dictator Idi Amin, came back as a freshman at Rutgers University in 1972, where he joined his brother who was then attending Rutgers Law School. Sabune has said that Amin killed his brother in 1976 and his sister was killed by one of Amin’s men in 1977. Another brother died in Nairobi, Kenya, after a narrow escape from Amin’s men.
From Rutgers, Sabune transferred to Vassar College in Poughkeepsie, New York, where he earned a Bachelor of Arts degree. He graduated from Union Theological Seminary with a Master of Divinity degree, and was ordained in May 1981. He currently serves as a trustee of Union Theological Seminary.
As a parish priest, Sabune served churches in two Episcopal dioceses: four in the Diocese of New York — Grace, White Plains; Saints John, Paul and Clement, Mt. Vernon; Trinity Parish and St. James (both in New York City) — and two in the Diocese of Newark: Incarnation, Jersey City; and Trinity and St. Philip’s Cathedral in Newark, where he served as dean.
He has visited 28 African countries and 10 of the 12 Anglican Provinces on the African continent. As dean of the Newark cathedral, he hosted Anglican leaders from Africa for a symposium on Islam in Africa, including the primates of Nigeria, Uganda and Sudan and Archbishop Desmond Tutu of South Africa.
Additionally, for the Diocese of New York, he was the dean of Institutional Clergy and chair of both the Immigration Network and the Commission on Congregational Life and Mission. He also served as a member of diocesan council.
In the Diocese of Newark, he served on the standing committee, diocesan council and as chair of the diocesan companion relationship committee.
He is a former member of Executive Council, where he served as the Episcopal Church representative to the Anglican Church of Canada. He has been chair of both the Province II Immigration and the Prison Ministry networks; and was a General Convention deputy in 1994 and 1997.
Internationally, he is a trustee of the Episcopal Seminary in Haiti; was a founding board member of the Business and Technology Institute of Haiti; and was chair of the Forgiveness and Reconciliation Project.
Sabune was a board member of Forward Movement Publications and contributed to two books. He has lectured and led retreats, including the Absalom Jones Annual Lecture at General Theological Seminary in New York and the Mosley Memorial Lecture on Urban Ministry at Trinity College, Toronto, Canada
Among his awards and honors, he received the Minorities in Criminal Justice Leadership Award; the NAACP Community Service Award; and the Caribbean American Families Inc Community Service Award.
In 2007, Sabune was named a Trinity Fellow by Trinity Church, New York. A $20,000 grant enabled him to focus on the Forgiveness and Reconciliation Project with prisoners and pastors who participated in the 1994 genocide in Rwanda. As a part of the project, Sabune visited 10 African prisons from 2007-09.
Sabune and his wife, Dr. Maureen Fonseca, have four children: Haba, 31, who is doing his residency in Washington, DC; Rini, 29, graduating from law school in 2012; Bing, 24, a youth crisis counselor; and Nzaba, 20, will graduate from college in 2012. They are also the “adopted” parents of Sabune’s deceased siblings’ children: his sister’s daughter, Kami, 34, and his brother’s son, Richard, 23.