Archbishop Joseph Marona has just returned from a demanding two-week pastoral visit up in the Nuba Mountains. The Archbishop’s visit crossed the military front-line under the terms of the local cease-fire agreed earlier in the year and involved strenuous climbs to remote church centres.
The Archbishop met with the Governors and officials on both sides and conducted confirmations and ordinations in places without pastoral support for many years. It is the first time in the history of the Episcopal Church of the Sudan that an Archbishop has visited the Mountains.
The Archbishop’s message focused on the need for love to replace enmity:
"Live in love and peace among yourselves. Love yourselves; because God’s love has been poured into our hearts through the Holy Spirit which has been given to us."
The Archbishop reminded people of the wider vision offered by the Christian Gospel:
"Christ wants to be our way, our truth, our life, but we also have to allow him to enter. This means sharing his vision of the entire world reconciled to the Father. That is why it is my task to travel across the entire Province, bringing words of justice, peace and reconciliation; bringing words of hope and healing to the Church."
The Archbishop was accompanied by Bishop Andudu Adam Elnail, the new Bishop of Kadugli, who was elected and consecrated in January this year, and Bishop Bulus Idris Tia, the Bishop of Khartoum. Their presence together demonstrated the unity of the church and brought new optimism. It is hoped that the visit will help open up the way for much-needed relief to be brought to the area. As the Archbishop declared,
"Sharing God’s vision of reconciliation means having an open heart towards all God’s children. It means having his sensitivity to the plight of the poor, the hungry, the aged, and the ill." This was the task of all God’s people.
"God has not given you these mountains in vain. The main aim is to serve him upon these mountains."
The Episcopal Church of the Sudan is the largest Church in Sudan: there are estimated to be some 5 million members. The Church has been involved in educational work in the Nuba Mountains since 1935 and developed strongly there during the 1970s and early 1980s. However, contact with the outside world was completely lost for ten years after the war came to the area in 1985. The work of the Church continued nevertheless and the number of pastors serving there has now increased with the ordination of new deacons.
Article from: Province of the Episcopal Church of the Sudan