Wednesday 2 October 2013

Welcome to Archbishop of Sudan

This media release from the meeting of Provincial Synod was issued on 2 October, 2013.

Anglican Church Welcomes Archbishop of Sudan

The Most Revd Daniel Deng Bul, Archbishop of the Episcopal Church of the Sudan (ECS), has appealed to Anglicans in southern Africa to help his "traumatised" people to overcome the effects of decades of war.

Addressing the Provincial Synod of the Anglican Church of Southern Africa (ACSA) on Wednesday, Archbishop Deng also appealed to ACSA to lobby the South African government to help resolve outstanding conflicts between Sudan and the new state of South Sudan.

The Archbishop, who is also Bishop of Juba, is a guest of the Synod, which is meeting this week in Benoni, near Johannesburg.

Sharing the mission challenges of his church, Archbishop Deng told of how South Sudan had been founded as a new, separate nation two years ago in the wake of a “bitter war” which had been waged between the north and the south for the best part of 45 years.

“Because Jesus is with us, the church has become stronger and stronger,” he said. About four million of the 12 million people of South Sudan were Anglicans. But because of the war, the ECS was still “an infant church” and its people were traumatised.

“They are wounded spiritually. They need care. They need help,” Archbishop Deng said.

He told the Synod that he had been appointed by President Salva Kiir of South Sudan to chair a committee to promote healing and reconciliation in the country, which was still beset by ethnic tensions and the difficulty of reintegrating people returning home after long periods living abroad.

Southern Africa could bring to South Sudan its experience with education and reconciliation: “We have no tools. We have no capacity. We look to... Southern Africa for help.”

The Archbishop also told the Synod of the continuing tensions between South Sudan and the government of Sudan, based in Khartoum in the north, over the delineation of the border between the two states and over the control of oil fields and exports.

He pointed out that the issue of whether the Abyei region, which lies on the border, should be part of South Sudan or Sudan had still to be decided in a plebiscite.

He noted that former South African president Thabo Mbeki was helping to lead an African Union panel which was mediating between Khartoum and Juba. He appealed to ACSA to support the mediation, and also invited the Archbishop of Cape Town, the Most Revd Thabo Makgoba, to visit South Sudan.