“Peace is not an event, nor a document, but a process requiring commitment and sacrifice.” (SSCC 19th July 2018)
A joint statement issued from Church leaders in South Sudan, including Archbishop Justin Badi Arama, has called on political leaders to pursue peace. The statement, entitled ‘Peace Now!’was issued after a meeting of the South Sudan Council of Churches (SSCC) in Nairobi, Kenya on 17th-19th July.
Here are some other extracts from the statement:
“We as the Shepherds of the People of South Sudan continue to mourn and grieve for our country. Our hearts pain for the suffering, tired, hungry flock and for our leaders with all their fears, anger and trauma as they struggle both across our nation, the region and the world.”
“We have spoken out for peace and justice, and we have called for our leaders to be accountable and we pledge to work continually for peace in our country, encouraging all of our people to hold on to faith and hope, trusting wholeheartedly that peace will return to our country sooner rather than later. We believe and therefore we speak!”
“Peace is the call of the hearts of all the people of South Sudan.”
The statement concludes:
“We reach out to all the leaders without seeking popularity or favour, acting to remind them of their duties to protect life. We seek to pursue a vision that will bring our people out of the desert of this violence to an oasis of peace where all the fragmented people of South Sudan will seek a vibrant and cohesive nation that is one people, one nation, and one South Sudan. Oh God bless South Sudan.”
Following this statement, CMSI urges churches and supporters in Ireland to continue praying for South Sudan and for the Church there as it brings together opposing sides of the conflict and cares for communities devastated by the on-going violence.
In particular, CMSI is asking churches to include South Sudan in their prayers this Sunday.
Speaking about the statement from the SSCC, CMSI Partnership Coordinator for South Sudan, Linda Abwa, said:
“The violence, chaos and insecurity continue in South Sudan, with no sign of an end. Lives and livelihoods are being lost every day. Meanwhile, the Church continues to walk the path of peace, bringing help and hope to those whose lives have been devastated. This statement from Archbishop Justin and his colleagues is a powerful reminder that we must keep standing with our brothers and sisters and uphold them in our prayers. We hope that many churches will join us in praying for South Sudan this Sunday.”
Plans are coming together for the CMSI Peace and Reconciliation Conference taking place in Arua, Northern Uganda from 15th-17th October. Bishop Hilary and Yei Diocese have sought refuge in Arua because of the conflict. This conference is a follow-up from CMSI's Crossing Bridges event in Stormont in October 2017, at which Archbishop Justin spoke.
Link parishes from Down and Dromore Diocese, Connor Diocese and Albany Diocese, USA will be attending the Arua event. Archbishop Justin Badi Arama will be speaking at the conference along with representatives from Reconcile, an organisation from Yei Diocese, South Sudan.