The Dedicated Few
By Nagulan Nesiah.
The news from South Sudan continues to be troubling. But it's not news I see on our nightly broadcasts or read about in the major newspapers. South Sudan seems to be all but forgotten by the mainstream media. No, the news I get is directly from our partner, the Episcopal Church of South Sudan and Sudan (ECSSS). And they provide regular, accurate and comprehensive information of the nearly 5 million South Sudanese who have been affected by the eruption of violence over the past few months.
Every other Thursday, representatives from the global Anglican Agencies convene an online conference call to discuss, review and support the humanitarian response of the ECSSS. Every Friday a small committed group of about 20 global Anglicans participate in a call to discuss advocacy campaigns and how they can make the situation in South Sudan more visible. In each of these calls are representatives of ECSSS – bishops, provincial leadership and staff of the Church’s relief and development arm, SUDRA. On these calls, our friends from South Sudan update us on how the Church is demonstrating Christ’s compassion in serving those in need.
We hear of the nearly 30,000 people the Episcopal Church is providing dry rations to in the newly formed displacement camps in Nimule along the Southern border with Uganda.
We hear of the Bishops gathering to get trained in peace-building and socio-political advocacy so that when the opportunity comes, the Bishops will lead their diocese on efforts to bring reconciliation to their communities.
We hear of the Church’s plans to address relief needs but also plan and assess their role in the rehabilitation of communities once the displace are able return to their homes
We hear of the participation of the Church leadership in the negotiations to bring about a permanent ceasefire and lasting peace to their young nation.
Each week we leave these conference calls concerned about the plight of those affected by the violence, but also encouraged by the patient and targeted humanitarian response of the Church.
As Margaret Mead quipped, “Never doubt that a small group of thoughtful, committed citizens can change the world; indeed it’s the only thing that ever has.”
Episcopal Relief & Development serves as the key liaison with the Episcopal Church of South Sudan and Sudan (ECSSS) and the Sudanese Development and Relief Agency (SUDRA) for a group of Anglican and Episcopal Church agencies supporting the relief and recovery efforts.
Images: Top and Middle 1, Lilogo Camp in Juba. Middle 2 and Bottom, Registration in Awerial.
Photo Credit: Sudanese Relief and Development SUDRA