The Episcopal Church Office of Government Relations sent a memo on January 10 to members of the Obama Administration and Congress about the situation in South Sudan. It highlights the strength and capacity of the Episcopal Church of South Sudan and Sudan as a key partner in peacemaking at both the grassroots and national levels, and encourages the US Government to consider how it can support these efforts.
We urge the Administration and Congress, as they consider the best ways to work with rival South Sudanese leaders to end hostilities and re-engage in political dialogue, to pay particular attention to supporting the efforts of local civil-society leaders – particularly, once again, the faith community of South Sudan – who have longstanding credibility as peacemakers. Such efforts must be sufficiently resourced, through both private and public investments, to account for the logistical challenges of engaging all parts and sectors and groups in the process. The Church has credibility and presence but needs the means to effectively implement an extensive peace process. The U.S. government – which has been a pioneer in engaging faith voices in development efforts around the world – should devote significant attention to discerning how it can resource such efforts.
For more coverage and to read the full text of the memo, read Episcopal News Service’s article here.
Please continue to pray for peace in South Sudan, for Church leaders who are working steadfastly to encourage and support negotiations, and for those who are separated from their homes, loved ones and livelihoods by the conflict.
Episcopal Relief & Development is working with its partners in South Sudan as they respond to the humanitarian needs of people displaced by the current crisis. The Episcopal Church of South Sudan & Sudan (ECSSS) has established nine relief centers in Awerial to provide supplies and pastoral care to people who have fled violence in the nearby town of Bor. The Church’s relief and development arm, SUDRA (the Sudanese Development and Relief Agency), reports that nearly 76,000 people from Bor are currently sheltering at churches, schools and under trees in Awerial. Many of the displaced arrived on boats via the Nile River, which separates Jonglei State from Lakes State.
December 30, 2013
The number of people reported displaced by the current crisis in South Sudan has risen to 180,000, according to the latest UN OCHA situation report on December 29. With clashes intensifying around Bor, the capital of Jonglei state, many people are sheltering at the UN base or fleeing to Awerial in neighboring Lakes State. Episcopal Relief & Development has been in contact with Episcopal Church in South Sudan & Sudan (ECSSS) leadership in impacted areas, including Juba, Bor, Awerial, Bentiu and Malakal.
The agency has been working with the Church’s Health Commission and relief and development arm, SUDRA (the Sudanese Relief & Development Agency), to provide necessary assistance for internally displaced people and returning refugees since South Sudan gained its independence in 2011. The organizations responded to an outbreak of conflict in the border region of Abyei later in 2011, and Episcopal Relief & Development has been supportive of ECSSS’ leadership in peace-building efforts. The Most Rev. Daniel Deng Bul, ECSSS Archbishop, has been a key figure in mediating conflict and strengthening institutions throughout South Sudan’s emergence as an independent state.
Currently, food, water, shelter, medicine and adequate sanitation are urgently needed in displacement camps throughout the impacted region, which spans seven out of the country’s ten states. The UN and aid agencies including SUDRA are responding to these needs as the security situation allows. ECSSS contacts report that many displaced people are seeking assistance and refuge at local churches.
According to The Rev. Joseph Loabe, Director of SUDRA, there are 20,000 individuals from Bor sheltering at the church compound in Awerial. The church is providing food and seeking to supply additional items such as blankets, cooking utensils and mosquito nets to prevent malaria. In Malakal, in the northern Upper Nile State, the church is addressing the loss of property and livelihoods after markets were looted and destroyed, and prioritizing medical support and cleanup efforts to reduce waterborne disease. Food and medical supplies are direly needed in Bor and Bentiu, but security concerns and transportation challenges are hampering humanitarian response in these areas. In Juba, the country’s capital, SUDRA is working with the Ministry of Health to provide local hospitals with necessary medical equipment to treat injuries and illnesses.
Please continue to pray for all humanitarian workers, especially ECSSS and SUDRA staff, who are responding to acute needs in this difficult situation, and for all those impacted by violence, displacement and uncertainty. The Rt. Rev. Anthony Poggo, Bishop of the Diocese of Kajo-Keji, issued the following appeal for prayers:
Appeal for prayer from The Rt. Rev. Anthony Poggo, Bishop of the Diocese of Kajo-Keji of the Episcopal Church of South Sudan & Sudan
Please pray for the following:
- Pray for those who are involved in peace efforts that they will succeed in bringing together the two sides to dialogue and to start peace negotiations. Pray for our Archbishop, the Most Rev. Daniel Deng Bul, in his national role in Peace, Reconciliation and National Healing. Pray for other religious leaders that they are working together on this.
- Pray for the safety of all those who have taken refuge in United Nation camps and places of worship that they will be secure and that their immediate needs will be met.
- Pray for those who have been injured and are in hospitals that they will speedily recover and that the needed medicines will be available.
- Pray for those who have lost relatives that they will experience comfort at such a time of great distress. Pray that there will be an end to the spirit of revenge.
- We pray for all leaders in government, churches and communities that they will preach peace during this time of Christmas and the New Year.
The Episcopal Church of South Sudan & Sudan (ECSSS) reports overwhelming attendance at prayer services during Christmas week, as South Sudan
struggles with an outbreak of violence and civil unrest. Please continue to pray for our Church partners there, who are responding to the health needs of people displaced by the conflict, and for all who are impacted. According to the UN, over 120,000 people have fled their homes, seeking safety. The Church's Health Commission and its relief and development arm, SUDRA (the Sudanese Relief and Development Agency), are working together to develop a consolidated proposal in response to the humanitarian needs across the country, including working with the Ministry of Health to send medical supplies and equipment where they are urgently needed.
Prayer for Refugees
You know what it means to be a refugee. You also lost all and perhaps remembered how you came to be hungry and naked, thirsty and cold, prisoners in a camp or prisoners in our own minds. They even took your cloak and you had nothing left, except some people who came by to quench your thirst, to give you a blanket and to help carry your burden.
Lord Jesus, for God's sake, let us be those people who bring comfort, food and water, and an encouraging word. And may we then hear the words softly spoken: "insofar as you did it unto these people who are the least of my brothers, you did it unto me. Go in peace!"
By Brother Andrew L. de Carpentier, Jordan
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