ACNS Article by Jim Rosenthal in Khartoum.
27th February 2006.
In the scorching sun amidst the desert sands, Archbishop of Canterbury Rowan Williams preached Sunday morning at Emmanuel Church in Al Gariya camp (a displaced persons camp) an hour from Khartoum. Hundreds of people greeted the delegation at the church , a hut like edifice with a low mud back wall, with children peering through windows and openings to catch a glimpse of the world Anglican leader.
The Archbishop heard testimonies from displaced people about the difficulties of returning to the South and the need for the return of Church property, confiscated over the years by Sudanese officials, including a guest house, hospital and the original Cathedral (on the grounds of the palace).
The Communion Service marked the start of 8 days in Sudan with Archbishop Williams declaring 'you are not forgotten.' Bishop of Salisbury David Stancliffe is travelling with the party as well as the representative of the Sudan Church Association, the Archdeacon of Warwick, Michael Paget-Wilkes. Hosting the visit is the Archbishop of the Episcopal Church (ECS) the Most Revd Joseph Marona, as well as local Bishops in the various dioceses.
In his welcome to the ABC Archbishop Marona (ECS) said, 'you have come at the right time.' He said 'we need concrete signs of peace which will encourage people and give confidence that the peace is here to stay'.
The theme of the visit is 'how beautiful are the feet of those who bring good news.'
Archbishop Marona noted it was now one year since the signing of the Comprehensive Peace Agreements. He said, 'implementing the Peace needs great vision and courage. It needs people with peace in their hearts.'
At a diocesan welcome service several thousand worshippers came to hear Archbishop Rowan preach. Civic leaders including the Deputy Governor of Khartoum were present, as was the Roman Catholic Archbishop Gabriel Zubeir Wako.
In the evening the British Ambassador hosted a reception for the Archbishop and his team to meet local leaders, NGO's and other faith leaders.
Among those present were staff from World Vision, Christian AID, the Greek Orthodox Church, Tear fund, Hope and Homes for Children, Together for Sudan, Sudan Council of Churches and many others.
Monday morning found the Archbishop meeting with the 1st Vice President of Sudan, the President of Southern Sudan Salva Kiir in a forum at the Sudan Inter-Religious Council (SIRC). Tuesday the delegation moves to the South to Malakal, Renk, Juba and Maridi.