Multi-ethnic, multi-cultural and multi-religious nation
In May 2012 Archbishop Sentamu attended a retreat in South Sudan with Anglican bishops. Bishops from our Link Dioceses in Sudan, representing the often besieged Christian minority that remains in the north, were unable to attend. Those attending issued an appeal to a world that does not often heed their plight. They expressed frustration that the United Nations and other prominent international actors are largely ignoring the ongoing plight of Sudan’s oppressed minority groups against whom Khartoum continues to wage war. The targeted areas include Darfur in the Diocese of El Obeid, Nuba Mountains in the Diocese of Kadugli, and Blue Nile in the Diocese of Wad Medani.
Citing Martin Luther King, the bishops declared they “too have a dream” about “two nations [Sudan and South Sudan] which are democratic and free, where people of all religions, all ethnic groups, all cultures and all languages enjoy equal human rights based on citizenship,” and where Christians and Muslims “can attend church or mosque freely without fear.”
Later, in the House of Lords, Archbishop Sentamu said Britain should encourage Sudan to recognize the reality of itself as a “multi-ethnic, multi-cultural and multi-religious nation,” a concept absolutely rejected by the government of Khartoum. “Freedom of religion is an essential element of respect for human rights in Sudan and needs to be emphasized,” Sentamu said, pointing to the “significant indigenous Christian presence in Sudan whose rights must be respected.” In Sudan, since partitioning there is pressure to marginalise the church and with the intention it will depart to South Sudan. Yet the huge majority of the Christian Church in Sudan are now ‘northerners’: Sudan is their home and Jesus Christ is their Lord.
Sudan is a country facing huge problems including:
Annual inflation in Sudan increased to 42 per cent in July from 37 per cent in June, mainly due to increasing food prices. Over the last year sorghum prices have increased by 145 per cent, 30 per cent of that since Easter. Sorghum is the staple food for many poor households in central and eastern Sudan. Wheat prices increased by 50 per cent – the largest increase worldwide, according to the World Bank.
The situation is doubly tense for Christians because the government withdrew all personal ID cards from residents, making people re-apply. As they do that, they have to identify what religion they belong to. Many of the Christians are fearful to do that at this time. ID cards are required for access to many civil amenities such as school registration, banking transactions, driving licenses and passports.
Aggression continues between Sudan and South Sudan and scarce government resources are used for military action and not building up the country.
Please pray regularly for our link Dioceses and life in Sudan. Sudan items from the Diocesan Prayer Diary are here
St John's Church, Haj Yousif, Khartoum North destroyed
St John’s Church at Haj Yousif was built in 2009 on un-registered land. Requests to register the plot for the church had been repeatedly refused. On 18th June 2012 the local office of the Ministry and Planning and Housing sent bulldozers and demolished the church. The reason given is that ‘the church does not own the land on which it was built’. An RC church in another location has been demolished for the same reason. Bishop Ezekiel says ‘the authorities do not respect the right of non-Muslims in Sudan. I will ask for compensation and a legal plot of land for this church'.
AACC call for investigation
The All Africa Conference of Churches have called for an investigation into what is happening in Sudan, and appealed to Christians to pray for faith communities there.
"We once again regret that despite repeated rhetoric about freedom of religion and the protection of the minorities in the Republic of Sudan, the government policy seems to be bent on threatening and discriminating against Christians," they said. "By protecting religious fundamentalists who wreck mayhem and havoc on innocent civilians with impunity, the Republic of Sudan undermines the tenets on which a multi-religious society is based. The ecumenical movement cannot remain silent while such a horrific violation of human rights and threat to lives continues unabated. Indeed, as the Church, we are called to promote and assure abundant life, a possibility that seems to be fading for many Christians in Sudan."
Kadugli Cathedral re-opens
Bishop Ismail of El Obeid emails: I am pleased to inform you of my visit to South Kordofan state to participate at the thanksgiving service of the Kadugli Cathedral after restoration of the windows and doors. On Sunday 13th May 2012 the pastor and his congregation including other denominations who were invited, plus the government was asked to attend though no one came and that was because of the rain. Morning service was lively indeed as Christians were happy due to the restoration of the cathedral. The attendance in the morning service were 390. I confirmed 15 persons. The participants in the Holy Communion were 41 person. The celebration in evening was very good, because we danced, praised the Lord Jesus though it was raining. There were 450 at the evening celebration.
So I would like to inform you that cathedral has returned to the old shape. The windows, the doors all are fixed and of course it is God who has done this by allowing the governor to provide 30,000 Sudanese pounds in order that the cathedral can be repaired and so we give thanks.
There has been a tremendous response to the Kadugli Appeal - a wonderful demonstration of peoples care for those who are living rough with little food. We have raised around £95,000 so far, with £65,000 already transferred and used by the Dioceses in Sudan. We are responding to fresh calls from our partner Dioceses as their relief work continues, but we also plan to hold a reserve for work within the Nuba Mountains area when aid can be sent direct to people who haven't been able to get out of the war area. Please do continue to raise funds for Sudan.
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for people who would like to receive up to date news of Sudan. Would you like to join?
Please email Tim Lewis (secretary of the Sudan-Bradford Link Committee) who will add you to the distribution list: here
Newsletters: September 2012 here June 2012 here February 2012 here
General resources are listed here
Recent news items can be reviewed here
Information about our Diocesan Link management is given here.