Updated 21 November 2018
Linked with Pacong - South Sudan, Kutigi - Nigeria, Southern Nyanza - Kenya, Ijesha North - Nigeria, Karnataka Central - South India
Pacong - South Sudan
South Sudan became an independent country in 2011. It is A landlocked country in NE Africa, with the Republic of Sudan to the north, Ethiopa to the east, the Democratic Republic of Congo to the southwest, Uganda to the South and Kenya to the southeast. Its current capital is Juba and includes the vast swamp region of Sudd including the White Nile. The country’s motto is Justice, Liberty and Prosperity. These seem aspirational rather than reality. Its flag is horizontal strips of black, red and green separated by narrow bands of white and a blue triangle with a gold star superimposed on the left-hand side. The main languages are Dinka and English.
The population seems to survive only on subsistence farming dependent on rainfall. There are no irrigation systems. There are some domestic animals such as cattle, sheep and goats, but the local breeds provide little meat or milk. Poverty levels are very high, South Sudan is less developed than the Republic of Sudan despite being rich in natural resources. There are very high maternal and infant mortality rates – 1 in 4 children die before they reach 5yrs. There are no midwives and few traditional birthing attendants. Healthy food, clean water, sanitation and health support were all lost after the civil war. There is ongoing violence, food insecurity and minimal government.
There are there are now 48 Dioceses in the Episcopal church of South Sudan and there are 5 Dioceses in what is due to become the Episcopal Church of Sudan on July 30th. The first Anglican mission was CMS in 1899 and the first diocese formed in 1945. The Church of South Sudan has 4.5 million members. Despite the succession of South Sudan the Church has remained united and played a prominent role in the peace process. Sudan is now considered an “internal province” with their archbishop based at Juba. Unfortunately it broke communion with the Episcopal Church in the US due to their acceptance of non-celibate homosexuality, but remained in communion with the Anglican Church in North America.
Pacong Diocese was established in 2009. There is a population of 100,000 of which 50% are Christian. Most of the 120 congregations meet in the open-air. There are about 50 ordained clergy in Sudan as a whole, but most have not been theologically trained or educated beyond Primary 4.The charity ‘Samaritans Purse’ built 8 churches including the cathedral, and also the diocesan offices.
Another charity, ‘The Anglican Alliance’ has provided ox ploughs and training.
‘Women for Women’ owns a 90 hectare co-operative farm and has recently obtained an additional 20 hectares. 3000 women have been trained in this work.
The charity ‘Life Care’ aims to set up a medical clinic.
The Bible Society is also active in South Sudan with a small new Bible Society with a local leader based in Juba. It works with churches and medical practitioners to offer a “Scripture-based healing programme, literacy classes and a revised translation of the Bari Bible.”
The diocese has identified its main aims: –
1. To develop agriculture through the provision of modern agricultural tools such as ox ploughs, tractors, irrigation pumps, seeds etc.
2. To develop education starting with primary schools and adult education institutes
3. To train its clergy using short theological courses and teaching of English.
Sadly, it was noted that in September 2014 there was continued fighting with no Non-Governmental Organisations providing relief supplies. Very recently it looked as though hundreds of child soldiers were to be released who would require resettlement and re-education.
MOTHERS UNION SOUTH SUDAN
South Sudan has 20,000 members. Members are involved in peace and reconciliation work especially in areas of disputed land rights, returning refugees and displaced people. This is done through fellowship groups, counselling and education, aiming to achieve improved understanding and co-operative activities. They network with other organisations and faith groups and in one area there is an interfaith workshop where the women share their stories which enables them to share pain and suffering.
The Literacy and Financial Education Programme works by encouraging literary circles for both men and women, although 79% of members are women. The aim is empowerment through education. When groups have advanced enough to be accredited as literate groups they can form co-operatives to save money to finance small businesses.
In addition external funding has come from Comic Relief providing food, clothing, blankets and latrines; also counselling for people displaced through war. MU members help with resettlement and are also trained in disaster preparation and response.
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