Janda, from the Episcopal Church of South Sudan, passed away on 8 March in Uganda at the age of 80.
He served as executive secretary of the WCC Commission of Churches on International Affairs from 1988 to 1992. He also served as the general secretary of the Sudan Council of Churches; director of Mindolo Ecumenical Foundation in Kitwe, Zambia; and general secretary of the All Africa Conference of Churches.
In a letter of consolation to the Episcopal Church of South Sudan and to the South Sudan Council of Churches, WCC acting general secretary Rev. Prof. Dr Ioan Sauca said it was painful to learn of Janda’s death.
“Rev. Canon Clement Janda was a special gift to the ecumenical movement,” wrote Sauca. “He was a great ecumenist who served and contributed immensely to the ecumenical work at different levels of his engagement.”
Sauca reflected that Janda was a valuable and highly respected person not only in the ecumenical movement but in society. “Those who had the honour and pleasure of working with him are feeling the effects of his loss already,” wrote Sauca. “It is my prayer that the legacies of justice, peace and reconciliation he stood for during his earthly pilgrimage will be achieved for the people of South Sudan soon.”
WCC moderator Dr Agnes Abuom reflected that it takes courage for a man of such social standing to walk away from all the trappings of comfort as a senator, and choose to take refuge in a small town, namely Arua in Uganda, as Janda did. “As ecumenical actors and organizations, the death of Canon Clement Janda is a rude reminder of why we must find meaningful ways of walking the journey with those out of the active circle,” she said.
Rev. Dr Fidon Mwombeki, general secretary of the All Africa Conference of Churches, commended the 12 years of service Janda gave to the conference. “He is fondly remembered by those who worked with him as an outgoing and friendly man, who always had an open door policy,” wrote Mwombeki. “He was always ready to listen to the problems of his staff.”
Janda was born in Sudan in 1942. He graduated from the Bishop Tucker Theological College (now the Uganda Christian University) in Mukono, Uganda, with a diploma in theology with distinction in the late 1960s.
He earned a bachelor of arts in divinity from Makerere University, Kampala, Uganda, in 1973, and a master’s in theology from the Austin Theological Seminary in Texas (USA) in 1974.
He became a lecturer at the Bishop Theological College before he returned to Sudan to serve as the provincial secretary of the Episcopal Church of the Sudan.
Known for always having a heart for liberation, Janda’s drive for justice was a lifelong endeavor.