Anglicans from Melbourne and all over the world are offering prayers and support to Sudan and striving to find ways to help the chaos-torn nation, which is soon to be split into two separate countries.
Bishop Phillip Huggins of Melbourne’s North West Region said the city’s large Sudanese population still bore the scars of earlier civil wars.
“We hold the people of Sudan in our prayers, and as a community we will continue to offer what support we can to them,” Bishop Huggins said.
Misha Coleman, CEO of the Anglican overseas aid agency Anglicord, which is based in East Melbourne, said the violence between the Sudan Armed Forces and the Sudan People’s Liberation Army (SPLA) has already claimed civilian lives and contravened the 2005 Comprehensive Peace Agreement.
“Protecting civilians must be of the highest priority,” Ms Coleman said.
The Episcopalian Church in America is also seeking out ways to assist the embattled nation.
The American Friends of the Episcopal Church of Sudan held a conference from the 17-19th of June with the theme “The Church and Sudan: Partnering for the Future.”
The Episcopal News Service reported that:
“Going forward, AFRECS members and conference attendees expressed a commitment to a continued focus on communication, cooperation and advocacy efforts, encouraging the U.S. government to keep focusing on Sudan and to encourage North Sudan to honor the terms of the Comprehensive Peace Agreement. But in addition to the advocacy work, attendees renewed a commitment to support ECS in another important way: through prayer.”
Prayer has been one of the foremost requests of the Sudanese Church, with Bishop Andudu Elnail of the Episcopal Diocese of Kadugli calling for a day of prayer for the people of Sudan.
In a recent statement he wrote:
“On behalf of my people in the Nuba Mountains of Sudan we are asking all Sudanese Christians wherever they are, and the Church throughout the world to join with us in a day of prayer and fasting on June 26, 2011.”
The Episcopal Church of Sudan has been vocal in its criticism of the treatment of Christians by the Sudanese Armed Forces.
The Most Revd Daniel Deng Bul Yak, Primate of the Episcopal Church of Sudan, issued a statement on the 14th of June condemning violence against Christians in Sudan:
“Fighting that originated between the Sudan Armed Forces (SAF) and the Sudan Peoples Liberation Army (SPLA) has now transformed into what can only be described as a deliberate strategy to rid Kadugli of its indigenous African and Christian population by the [Sudanese Armed Forces], in short a policy of ethnic cleansing."
This fighting in disputed border territories of Southern Kordofan and Abyei comes ahead of the partition of Sudan into two nations, which will take effect on the 9th of July.
The UN is reporting that 73,000 people have been displaced by the conflict in Southern Kordofan, since the 5th of June.