From the Archbishop

As suffering continues, please pray for Sudanese

TMA

By Archbishop Philip Freier

November 17 2016At the Melbourne Synod in October, I met with members of the Sudanese community in the diocese. We came together to pray for the nations of Sudan and South Sudan, where many of our members were born. The two nations originated in 2011 from the partition of the war-wracked nation of Sudan following its tragic civil war that raged between 1983 and 2005. There are Sudanese in congregations in Melbourne who were refugees and have been given a place of safety in this country.

Many of our church members are heartbroken at the continuation of the suffering as rival militias threaten further dislocation in South Sudan, and the persecution of the Christian minority escalates in Sudan. Bishop Philip Huggins and I heard from those present in the Cathedral of the destruction of home villages, the death of near relatives in the recent fighting, and the helplessness that many feel. It is hard for us to imagine knowing personal safety but having loved ones a continent away in such peril.

Despite the different tribal identities of the President of South Sudan, Salva Kiir, and the Vice President, Riek Machar, and the tribal loyalties of the militias that support each contender in the present political power struggle, there is optimism that the conflict is not defined along tribal lines. Tragically, all are suffering from the actions of these militia irrespective of their tribe and language. More than a million South Sudanese still live in refugee camps outside South Sudan, and another 250,000 people are internally displaced.

In Sudan, the northern of the two countries formed in 2011, the Christians of the Nuba Mountains in South Kordofan province face ongoing hostility. They have been targeted by deadly air strikes as well as ground attacks. As recently as June this year Muslim militia set fire to the Episcopal Church of Sudan buildings in the capital of South Kordofan, Kadugli. Bishop Andudu Adam Elnail of the Episcopal Church of Sudan Diocese of Kadugli has witnessed the destruction of much of the diocesan infrastructure and continues to minister to these suffering people.

Please pray for strong acts of grace to change these situations, and for the hearts and minds of the leaders of these countries to be moved to compassion for the suffering of their people. Pray that issues of prestige and corruption which seem to dominate the politics of these countries may give way to peace and stability.

We are blessed to have very committed Christian leaders among the Melbourne Sudanese, including capable priests who minister to those suffering the pain of these troubles in the land of their birth. The journey of healing will be long for people so traumatised by their own experiences and the experiences of those they know and love. We have a strong framework in place for Sudanese in our diocese to be welcomed into all aspects of church life through our parishes and theological colleges. Please pray for our Sudanese brothers and sisters to be comforted and supported in these traumatic times. Pray for God’s call on the Australian-born Sudanese members of our Church to vocations in the ordained ministry. Yes, please pray.

Read more from Dr Philip Freier, Anglican Primate of Australia and Archbishop of Melbourne, at http://www.anglicanprimate.com.au/