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Ecumenical Network sends pastoral message of support to churches and people of South Sudan

Ecumenical Network sends pastoral message of support to churches and people of South Sudan

©Peter Williams/WCC

05 April 2017

The Ecumenical Network of South Sudan (ENSS) - European Hub has expressed great concern about the “unprecedented crisis of violent conflicts, starvation death and displacement” that is “tearing apart” the nation of South Sudan.

The group met at the Ecumenical Centre in Geneva on 27 March and later released a pastoral message to the South Sudan Council of Churches (SSCC) and the people of the troubled north east African nation.

“We acknowledge that in the midst of the suffering and pain the communities are experiencing, the churches continue to accompany the people in their journey through these difficult times. We recognize the tremendous responsibility that the church leaders shoulder, to give hope and succour to the children of God,” they say in the letter.

The general secretary of the World Council of Churches, Rev. Dr Olav Fykse Tveit and Rev. Frank Chikane, the moderator of the WCC’s Commission of the Churches on International Affairs (CCIA) both met with the members of the ENSS and a similar group working on Sudan.

“Sudan is getting forgotten and therefore it is important that we can use our voice at WCC to continue to have attention on what is going on,” said Tveit.

He said South Sudan does get some attention, “but it is diminishing” at a time when public concern and international attention is needed.

Chikane, who worked under President Nelson Mandela and later became Director General of the presidency of South Africa, said he knows well the challenges South Sudan and Sudan are facing.

“I always ask myself the question, what could we have done to avoid the death and destruction that is happening?” said the CCIA moderator. “I must say I also feel that my country could have done more than it has done.

“When I was in government the key leaders of South Sudan would come to our offices and the government would be met at a different level. I still believe more could have been done.”

The South Sudan network said it hopes and prays for a strong impetus for engagement and advocacy, which will also contribute to the visit of Pope Francis scheduled for later this to South Sudan along with “prominent representatives of the international Oikumene”.

'We, who are many, are one body in Christ, and individually we are members one of another.' (Romans 12:5) We are with you, and your pain and joy are shared by us,” the ENSS says in its letter.

“We are with you in our prayer, our yearnings and hope for God's blessing, redemption, and healing. We are committed to walking with you in your accompaniment of the people of South Sudan.”

Read the full letter

WCC member churches in South Sudan