35 new deacons and priests from at least ten different Sudanese tribes were ordained yesterday by the Bishop of Khartoum, the Rt. Reverend Bulus Idris Tia, at All Saints Cathedral to serve in different parishes in the Khartoum Diocese of the Episcopal Church of Sudan (ECS). In his sermon, the Bishop of Renk, the Rt. Reverend Daniel Deng Bul emphasised how they were not being ordained as pastors of their own tribe, but as pastors of all God's children, bought with the price of the precious blood of his Son Jesus Christ.
The service went ahead disregarding bomb threats which had been made beforehand. Bishop Deng drew comparisons with a traditional Dinka tale about two birds: a bird with small eyes which had made itself a comfortable home but was chased out by a bird with large eyes and ears. "We must not be intimidated by big eyes and big ears: we must stand firm, holding only to the cross of Christ."
The Archbishop of the Sudan, the Most Reverend Dr Joseph Marona also took part in the service. Quoting St Paul, he reminded the packed congregation that in Christ there was neither Jew nor Greek, nor Dinka nor Nuba, nor Zande nor Nuer, but all were one in Christ, baptised in the name of the Father, the Son and the Holy Spirit.
The Episcopal Church of the Sudan is the largest Church in Sudan: there are estimated to be some 5 million members. The first ECS church was founded in Omdurman in 1899 and Khartoum became one of the first four dioceses to be created in Sudan. The Diocese of Khartoum has grown significantly in recent years. Due to displacement and other people movements, the Diocese has also become one of the most culturally diverse dioceses in Sudan. Services are held in different languages and in eighteen different parishes around Khartoum. Those ordained yesterday included Nuba, Zande, Baka, Dinka, Nuer, Mundu, Moru, Bari, Avokaya and Morukodo.