Displaced, but not abandoned: crisis and compassion in Southern Sudan

Posted by Sarah Caughey on Fri, 11 Dec 2009 | Bookmark: digg this Post this to del.icio.us Post this to Facebook

With Christmas approaching and with daylight and temperatures declining, those of us who live in Ireland tend to appreciate our homes a little bit more in December. Warmth, light, Christmas decorations, fine food – these are all features of our houses at this time of year. But in Lainya, Sudan, thousands of people have been forcibly severed from the comforts of home.

The Anglican Diocese of Lainya is one of CMS Ireland’s Global Partners in Southern Sudan, a region that continues to suffer after many years of civil war and political unrest. The 2005 peace treaty that brought to an end 21 years of civil war in Sudan has led to a somewhat fragile and false ‘peace’ in the south of the country. Recent years have seen an increase in ethnic violence in a region that already endures the crippling effects of hunger, disease and poverty. And this ethnic tension has displaced almost 400,000 people.

A recent incident in the Diocese of Lainya has forced over 3700 people to flee their homes and seek safety and sanctuary in the cathedral in Lainya town. The church in Lainya has committed to accommodate and support these people whilst working with local and government leaders to broker a peaceful resolution to the situation.

The task of providing food and shelter for the displaced families is made all the more difficult by the lack of local provisions after failed rains and a poor harvest; food and other supplies are being brought in from Uganda. As they seek to respond to the needs facing these people, the Diocese has asked for help from local and international agencies and from partners, such as CMS Ireland.

Last week, CMS Ireland invited Sudan Link Parishes and individual supporters to respond to this crisis with their prayers and their finances, as an expression of their partnership with Sudan. We want to stand with our partners as they reach out through acts of love and service to these frightened and displaced people.

At Christmas, we celebrate the Light that came in to the darkness and the hope that comes through Christ. The Church throughout the world has been called to continue to share this light and hope with a world of need. The Diocese of Lainya is doing just that. Please join us in praying for them and for the whole region of Southern Sudan at this time of suffering and uncertainty.

For more information on how to support our partners in Lainya, please contact David Gough through the Belfast office.