The news about the transition of the Archbishop from this world to the next, caught me unguarded. For a moment I stopped to digest the information. More important to me was how this news would be received by the faithful, the vulnerable women, men, girls and boys that he provided an anchor for years during and after the war.
While many of these people have already preceded you your eminence as they went back to their creator, the many still alive, are shattered by your demise because you amplified their voice and cry; you projected for decades, their pain and tears to the forces of death and powers that cared less about their security, development and human dignity. Your eminence, you represented a beacon of hope, freedom and life in fullness amidst chaos, war and conflict.
During and after the war you continued to be steadfast and an unshakable pillar that the south Sudanese could lean on. 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 and as called national leaders to account. Your retreat with political leaders in Rome was a reminder to all of us of the key mark of leadership namely SERVICE. In spite of the candle of hope and joy of independence getting deem, you restored a sense of purpose by reminding south Sudanese to look up to God as the source of liberation, sustainable peace through the power of forgiveness.
I vividly recall ecumenical leadership of WCC, AACC and FECCLAHA pastoral visit to the church leadership of south Sudan in order, to re-assure and express our ecumenical solidarity and accompaniment; you together with other church leaders, reminded us that you are a church and not churches in south Sudan what a powerful witness it was to us.
This visit/meeting will forever remain a sign of hope for a better future for south Sudanese. It was at this landmark meeting we all acknowledged that the church in south Sudan has capacity and the catholic church offered leadership in the form of a general secretary to one of the few national councils that have full membership of the catholic church as a founder and active participant. Through your wisdom and shared leadership SSCC was revitalized.
Thereafter, we specialized ministries, ecumenical organizations have benefitted from your words of encouragement, prayers and advise rooted in your many years of experience and fountain of wisdom.
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. What a joy to have known you, to have benefited from your advice and knowledge. This I will forever cherish. Fare thee well your Eminence, rest with the angels until we meet again!
Dr Agnes Abuom
Moderator of the WCC Central Committee