Thousands forced to seek refuge in South Sudan: Canon Ian Woodward’s update
Our concerns for the Sudans reach out to the whole Horn of Africa region with emigres going westwards to Chad, northwards to Egypt, south to South Sudan and some eastwards to Eritrea. The United States is leading the talks with Saudi Arabia with the initial purpose of securing a ceasefire. They say they are ‘cautiously optimistic’. We had a very helpful meeting yesterday with the Chair of the Sudans All Party Parliamentary Group and amongst our topics we discussed the possibility of setting up a DEC Disasters Emergency Committee, which my colleague Robert Hayward is taking the lead with our partner Christian Aid. While Christian Aid does not function in Sudan any longer the effect on South Sudan is likely to be terrible. It is estimated that some 800,000 South Sudanese could be returning from Sudan to South Sudan.
We have heard from Archbishop Moses Deng Bull, of the internal province of Northern Bahr el Ghazal. His province, centred on Wau is likely to be the most affected by the Sudan cconflict. He wrote to the Poole-Wau Partnership:
“We have been receiving thousands of South Sudanese returnees and Sudanese refugees in the Dioceses of Wanyjok, Nyamlel and Raja since the conflict began.
“I was afraid to reach out to PWP because I did not want the emergency relief to interrupt the long term benefit of training at St John's College. We will appreciate if PWP is able to raise funds to support the returnees and the refugees outside the new normal St John's budget.”
Let us continue to pray for everyone involved in this wretched power struggle, using the prayer below.
A Prayer for Sudan
God our Father, whose son Jesus Christ wept over your people, because they knew not the way of peace and were as sheep without a shepherd; hear our prayer for the all the people of Sudan. Turn the hearts of their leaders to reconciliation and peace. Bless Archbishop Ezekiel, his bishops and clergy that they may have the strength and support to be true shepherds of your people in the midst of war. Strengthen those who seek to bring peace, who heal the sick and feed the starving and hasten the time when all nations will own your just and gentle rule and receive your gift of peace. Amen
How we support Sudan as a diocese
Every diocese in the Church of England has a link with another diocese in the Anglican Communion. Since 1972, we have been linked with the Episcopal Church of Sudan, and since 2011 with the Episcopal Churches of Sudan and South Sudan.
Unlike an aid agency, the Salisbury-Sudans Link is based on mutuality: that two churches separated by distance and culture can care for one another in sharing resources, experience and practical help. Prayer for one another in central to the link, strengthened by relationships between people of all three countries.
Many people from our diocese have visited or hosted visitors from the Sudans over the years.
The link has many aspects and we provide support number of ways, including in:
Deanery and Parish Links
Giving of our time and resources
Here are some examples of the varied education projects we have helped to fund: Groups within our diocese also support Juba Diocese Model Secondary School, the most successful school in South Sudan, and provide bursaries for the fees of children in secondary and primary school.
The work is overseen by our Diocese's Sudan Link Committee and serviced by a steering committee. The next major fundraising event is on the Fete on the 25 June at Bishop Stephen's home in the Close in Salisbury. All are welcome and more information to follow.