South Sudan’s church leaders call for hope at Easter
24 March 2016
South Sudan Council of Churches (SSCC) leaders have in their Easter message reiterated a pledge no longer to simply make statements and stand idly by while their leaders ignore their advice in the quest for peace in their troubled nation.
“Easter is the ultimate expression of hope triumphing over times of darkness and despair. Jesus himself faced darkness ('If it is possible, let this cup pass me by!’ Matt. 26:39) and despair (‘My God, my God, why have you forsaken me?’ Matt. 27:46) but from suffering and death came new life and new hope in the Resurrection, ” say the church leaders in their 22 March message.
“Jesus Christ, the Risen Lord is our hope in the midst of suffering and death; he is the one who leads us to new life,” they said.
The SSCC is the national ecumenical body, and it comprises Catholic, Evangelical, Pentecostal and Protestant churches, including member churches of the World Council of Churches.
Landlocked South Sudan in north-eastern Africa became the world’s newest nation in 2011, but for the past 27 months a civil war has ravaged the country and its 12 million people.
“Our country is in limbo while we wait for the [transitional] government, which has been promised to us by all main parties when they signed the Agreement on the Resolution of the Conflict in the Republic of South Sudan (ARCSS),” in August 2015, says the SSCC.
Noting their Statement of Intent, issued in Kigali in June 2015, not to just stand by, the SSCC says it is now implementing its programme for advocacy, neutral forums and reconciliation.
“Through advocacy we will begin to change the narrative from one of conflict to one of peace, and to influence the policies of government and parties, nationally, regionally and internationally,” said the message.
“Through our neutral forums we will bring together stakeholders to discuss the root causes of the conflict and to envision the future of our nation, to find an indigenous South Sudanese resolution to our problems,” the SSCC says.