Episcopal Church of Sudan Archbishop Daniel Deng Bul and ecumenical team bring the plight of Sudan to the United States
The Most Rev. Daniel Deng Bul, Archbishop of the Episcopal Church of Sudan, and a five-member ecumenical team of religious leaders have embarked on an urgent informational and political visit to the United States to present the plight of the Sudanese to the world.
A Sudanese-wide referendum is slated for January 9, 2011 which, if successful, will establish a separate Southern Sudan with full rights to self determination. The ecumenical team will discuss the referendum and its impact.
The ecumenical team visits New York City October 10 16 and Washington DC October 17 to 22.
With Archbishop Deng are: Bishop Daniel Adwok Marko Kur, Auxiliary Roman Catholic Bishop of Khartoum; Bishop Paride Taban, Roman Catholic Bishop Emeritus of Torit; the Rev. Ramadan Chan, General Secretary of the Sudan Council of Churches; the Rev. Dr. Sam Kobia, Ecumenical Special Envoy to Sudan; and John Ashworth of Catholic Relief Services and Sudan Ecumenical Forum.
Archbishop Deng recently issued a Call to Prayer for Sudan, and Episcopal Church Presiding Bishop Katharine Jefferts Schori asked for A Season of Prayer for Sudan in preparation for January referendum
"I want to challenge us as a Church to pray for the people of Sudan, to learn more about the forces driving the violence, and to advocate for a peaceful referendum, and whatever the outcome, a peaceful future," the Presiding Bishop stated.
Presiding Bishop"s letter: http://www.episcopalchurch.org/newsline_124530_ENG_HTM.htm
In New York City, the ecumenical team will meet with United Nations Secretary General Ban ki-Moon and other UN officials; the organizations Religions for Peace, World Council of Churches and Caritas Internationalis; and attend an Ecumenical Luncheon hosted by Church World Service and the National Council of Churches.
A candlelight prayer vigil is slated for Tuesday, October 12 at the Isaiah Wall in front of the United Nations (42nd and First Ave, NYC) at 7:15 pm Eastern. All are invited.
On Thursday, October 14, the ecumenical team will participate in a panel discussion at the Council of Foreign Relations. The panel discussion will be facilitated by Ambassador Linda E. Watt, Chief Operating Officer of The Episcopal Church.
In Washington, the ecumenical team is expected to visit officials at the State Department, elected representatives and Sudanese government officials, and will attend prayer and religious services.
A Season of Prayer for Sudan, with comprehensive information for use by individuals, churches, groups, and dioceses, has been prepared to better understand the situation and to engage in the process. Available here: http://www.episcopalchurch.org/sudan
Sudan is Africa"s largest country in area and is the tenth-largest country in the world. Touching nine other countries, it is central to the African and Arab worlds. Many expressions of African, Muslim and Christian faith traditions are found here.
In the recent past, the north and south were governed separately. Civil wars lasting about 40 years came to an end in 2005 with the Comprehensive Peace Agreement (CPA), which gave the south political autonomy for six years, to be followed in 2011 by a referendum on secession. That referendum is slated for January 9, 2011.
About 17% of the population of Sudan lives on less than $1.25 US per day.
If the referendum vote is conducted fairly, most believe that the south will secede.
There are a myriad of issues standing in the way of peace, among them: just revenue sharing from oil; definition of borders; usage rights of the Nile which divide the country; repayment of debt to the world bank; recognition of religious and civil rights for all Sudanese; and full cessation of violence in Darfur.
The Episcopal Church of the Sudan is based in the southern city of Juba and claims 4 million members. It has been a long-standing and outspoken voice for peace. The Episcopal Church is neither pro- nor anti-secession, but rather pro-peace.
Southern secession will leave Episcopalians in the north in need of protection. Rights of Muslims and other minority religions in the largely Christian south would need protection as well.
The Episcopal Church and Sudan
The Episcopal Church has maintained strong ties to Sudan for many years. For example, there are four missionaries from The Episcopal Church currently posted in Sudan.
"Sudan, and the region of Darfur within it, have suffered years of civil war and genocide," explained the Rev. Canon Petero Sabune, Africa Partnership Officer for The Episcopal Church, who recently returned from assignment in Africa. "An important referendum on the future of Sudan and on self-determination for the people there is scheduled for January 2011. But there is no guarantee that this referendum will occur peacefully. In fact, there is every indication that violence and perhaps civil war will break out again following the referendum, no matter what the outcome."
Episcopal Church in Sudan: http://www.sudan.anglican.org/
NOTES TO MEDIA:
The Ecumenical group of religious leaders from the Sudan will meet with the press at 5 pm following their meeting with United Nations Secretary General Ban ki-Moon on Monday, October 11 at 5 pm. Following the meeting, the group will speak with he media on Sudan and the upcoming referendum. Contact Neva Rae Fox, Office of Public Affairs, The Episcopal Church, firstname.lastname@example.org; 212-716-6080
A Candlelight Prayer Vigil will be held at the Isaiah Wall, United Nations, 7:15 pm Tuesday, October 12. Great photo opportunities. For more info contact Neva Rae Fox, email@example.com
Media are invited to the Thursday panel discussion at the Council on Foreign Relations: www.cfr.org.
The Episcopal Church: www.episcopalchurch.org