New Episcopal University opens in South Sudan

by Michael Ford last modified 09 Apr, 2019 04:51 PM

A conference on peace and reconciliation marked the launch of South Sudan's new Episcopal University.

The three day conference, facilitated by Justice Africa, considered how the church could support the peace process, locally, nationally and internationally, and the ongoing role of the church Justice, Peace and Reconciliation Committee.

Ron Hart from SOMA, who attended on behalf of the group set up to support the University, said:

"There was a memorable speech challenging the Church to fight any tribalism in its own ranks."

Ron, a retired priest in the Church of England with a long association with East Africa, including teaching in Kenya in the 1960s, has just returned from the South Sudanese capital Juba, where he also attended the validation service of the new Episcopal University.

"A number of the South Sudan Archbishops attended, along with principles of five of the colleges, academics, and a high court judge. The proceedings were chaired by the Primate, Archbishop Justin Badi. Two of us were there to represent the UK support group."

ECSSSUP (Episcopal Church of Sudan and South Sudan University Partnership) is a registered charity that has been supporting the formation and the development of the University, at what was the old Bishop Gwynne College in Juba.

ECSSSUP is working with the Episcopal Church of Sudan and South Sudan to establish this new seat of theological learning in the country.

Ron said:

"There was also a second conference looked at the detail of setting up the new University, which is being formed by the Federation of five of the existing theological colleges ( with the possibility of others joining later).

"The Governance structures were agreed, issues of harmonisation of syllabi and fees discussed, and the issue of quality control and especially the role of the senate in maintaining standard. All these were highly constructive and detailed discussions.

"The culmination came with the Service of Validation, confirming the existence of the new University. The letter ratifying this from the Ministry of Higher Education should come any day now."

As a result of the work, the new central structures of the University are based in the old Bishop Gwynne college and the other colleges involved will become college campusses.

Ron added:

"Canon Dr Joseph Bilal will be the new Deputy Vice Chancellor, and we are being asked to help find a Vice Chancellor to serve for three years.

"It is a tremendous achievement to have reach this point, and I was able to bring our congratulations and assurance of continued support to all those attending the service."

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