[ACNS, by Kenyi Dube] All Saints Cathedral in Juba was the setting for an ecumenical prayer service yesterday (Thursday), organised by the South Sudan Council of Churches. The congregation was welcomed by the Anglican Bishop of Rejaf, the Rt Revd Enoch Tombe Stephen, who on behalf of Archbishop Daniel Deng Bul, who was out of the country, thanked a group who had travelled from Nairobi in Kenya to join in the service, led by former Archbishop Dr Eliud Wabukala.
The Kenyan delegation also included the former moderator of the Presbyterian Church of East Africa, the Very Revd Dr Jessey Kamau. They were joined by the Revd Dr Lydia Mwaniki, director of theology for the All Africa Council of Churches. South Sudanese clergy taking part in the service included Bishop Dr Isaiah Dau, the general overseer of the Sudan and South Sudan Pentecostal Church, and the leader of the Roman Catholic Church in South Sudan, the Archbishop of Juba, the Most Revd Paulino Lukudu Loro.
“Thank you all for coming to pray with us here in South Sudan at this trying moments,” Bishop Enoch said. “These are the moments that the church must work hard and also continue to pray for the president the first vice president and the vice president with all their cabinet that God in his mercy will help them”
Archbishop Loro called on the pastors from different denomination “to work together as a team in the whole country to embrace peace and love among ourselves.” He said that church leaders had prepared a document during a peace training session the previous weekend; and he challenged them to “put the document into action [to give it] meaning.”
Dr Wabukala preached a sermon, which he began by bringing greetings from Kenya to the people of South Sudan. “The first apostle, Peter, suffered a lot and it was because the Church was persecuted,” he said. “Let the Church in South Sudan not get tired of doing good to each other.”
He said that his visit, which had been requested by all conference of churches of Africa, was “to show that you are not alone.”
Dr Wabukala continued: “Indeed you are not alone. Many Christians around the world are also praying with you just like we are here today praying with you.
“God has created us with many tribes in Africa. For example in my own country we have 42 tribes and here in South Sudan you have 64 tribes. And God has not created all these tribes in Africa that we may hate each other; but to build strong unity and love among ourselves.
“You first fought for freedom and you were united and you surely achieved your own country now. This war is just about nation building – and we must build it in Christ Jesus.
“In Jesus we don’t have the tribe of Nuer, or Dinka or Bari; whether male or female, rich or poor, tall or short, we are all equal in Jesus name.”
Dr Wabukala said that it was his third visit to South Sudan, adding: “I believe that on my next visit we shall not talk about peace; but we will be celebrating it in the name of the Father, Son and Holy spirit.”