Many in the World Council of Churches (WCC) ecumenical fellowship were saddened to learn of Lukudu’s passing, and reached out with condolences for his family members and loved ones.
He was a beloved and foundational figure for countless people during times of conflict, said WCC moderator Dr Agnes Abuom, noting that for “vulnerable women, men, girls and boys, he provided an anchor for years during and after the war.”
Many people are shattered by the demise of Lukudu because he amplified their voices and cries, said Abuom. "You projected, for decades, the pain and tears of people to the forces of death and power that cared less about their security, development and human dignity,” said Abuom. “Your Eminence, you represented a beacon of hope, freedom and life in fullness amidst chaos, war and conflict.”
During and after the war, Lukudu continued to be a steadfast, unshakable pillar that the South Sudanese could lean on, continued Abuom. “Your spiritual messages vibrated across the states and communities as you reminded people to focus on treasures above and not only those here on earth,” she said. “You called national leaders to account.”
Lukudu’s retreat with political leaders in Rome was a reminder to all of the key mark of leadership, namely service, said Abuom. “In spite of the candle of hope and joy of independence getting dim, you restored a sense of purpose by reminding South Sudanese to look up to God as the source of liberation and sustainable peace through the power of forgiveness,” she said. “I vividly recall an ecumenical and pastoral visit with the church leadership of South Sudan in order to reassure and express our ecumenical solidarity and accompaniment.”
Lukudu, together with other church leaders, reminded the global ecumenical circle that churches, united in South Sudan, were a powerful witness.
“This visit will forever remain a sign of hope for a better future for South Sudanese,” said Abuom. “Through your wisdom and shared leadership, the South Sudan Council of Churches was revitalized.”
Specialized ministries and ecumenical organizations have benefitted from Lukudu’s words of encouragement, prayers and advice rooted in his many years of experience and fountain of wisdom, Abuom noted.
“We will miss you, but then we are pilgrims and when our part of the walk, work and prayer is completed, we allow others to pick the mantle and continue,” Abuom said. “What a joy to have known you, to have benefited from your advice and knowledge. This I will forever cherish.”
The Archdiocese of Juba, in a letter, declared a four-day mourning period over the loss of “a star that was ceaselessly shining over our church and nation for well over thirty years.”