“…prepare the way, take up the stumbling block out of the way of my people.”
(Isaiah 57:14b, Old King James Version)
25-28th NOVEMBER, 2015
Dec 07, 2015(Nyamilepedia) — We, the bishops from 43 dioceses of the Episcopal Church of South Sudan and the Sudan have met from November 25-28, 2015 in the Diocese of Juba, Central Equatoria for our annual House of Bishops (HOB) Meeting to reflect on the life of the church and the general situation in our countries.
We acknowledge the presence of our Provincial and Diocesan Chancellors for their technical expertise over the Provincial Constitutional review.
We commend and appreciate the address of H.E. Festus G. Mogae, the Former President of Botswana and the Chairman of the Join Monitoring and Evaluation Commission (JMEC) for coming to speak to us about the implementation of the peace agreement. We thank him and his colleagues for the tireless efforts to help the South Sudanese achieve a lasting peace.
We commend and appreciate Dr. Saluwa Barbary, the Deputy Minister for the Ministry of Cabinet Affairs for attending the opening season of the House of Bishops meeting. We thank her for the word of encouragement and support for the Bishops in their role of peace, reconciliation and forgiveness in South Sudan and the Sudan.
We appreciate the return of the former political detainees to South Sudan to join the implementation of the peace agreement. We thank them for addressing the House of Bishops. We urge the SPLM – in Opposition to send their delegation to Juba to speed up the process of the implementation.
We have challenged ourselves as bishops in South Sudan and the Sudan on how to contribute effectively towards peace in our beloved two nations. We call for all citizens of South Sudan and the Sudan to speak with one voice for a lasting peace and stop hate speech that incites hatred and war.
We believe that peace is God’s gift of grace to whole humanity. It is the fundamental right of every person in the planet earth. God’s original intention is for human beings to have wholeness of life which means; tranquility, freedom, security; health; dignity; hope and prosperity Our ministry as the Church in two Sudans is peace, unity and justice for all peoples.
In South Sudan and the Sudan, our people are denied peace by their own leaders who are supposed to protect and care for them. We struggle to find people. We are traumatized. We ask the Almighty God to reign His glory upon us.
As faith leaders from the Episcopal Church of South Sudan and the Sudan, we share the pain and the suffering of our people who are victims of the political power struggle that has put our nations at the edge of the sword. We challenge the culture of violence and impunity, revenge and tribalism. We urge in particular South Sudan government, opposition and Former political detainees to give peace a chance to listen to the voices of the innocent, to stop the drums of war and destruction. Engouth people have killed and destroyed God’s writing is on the wall as the Prophet Daniel said in Chapter 5 and none of us can interpret the writings.
As the House of Bishops, we are aware that the people of South Sudan and the Sudan are suffering from the poverty not only of material but even in the mind. We pray God to give us grace to bring change and transformation of these phenomena. What a paradox in the Western and Asian worlds today people are planning to send their children to space including Mars, in South Sudan and the Sudan, we send our children to the bush, refugee camps and graveyard. Instead of giving bread, pen and pencil to go to school, study, think and write, we give them guns and bullets, knives, pangas and spears to kill and destroy. We are denying our children access to education, good health and right for life.
Thus, as Bishops of ECSS&S we fully support the present South Sudan peace agreement signed in August 2015 by the warring parties. We encourage them to respect the ceasefire, lay down arms and work with IGAD, AU and Troika to form the Transitional Government of National Unity. We thank the above international and regional bodies in their role and support of peace in our beloved two nations. We call upon the government of South Sudan and the opposition to expedite all processes of August 2015 Peace Agreement to end the suffering of our people.
We condemn the continuation of war and violence in all states. Unity, Jongiei, Western Quatoria, Eastern Equatoria, and Central Equotira especially the daily killings of innocent, people in the capital city of Juba. We also condemn the ongoing revenge killing in Lakes State and Warrap State and urge those involved to stop the killings now.
We remind the government of South Sudan and international community about the issue of the Abyei. We urge them not to forget the rights of the people of Abyei to be allowed to choose where they want to belong to live as free people.
We call upon the government of South Sudan and the national and international Oil Companies to address the issue of oil spills during the shutdown of the oil pipelines that have polluted the environment, damaged natural ecosystems in Panrieng area. The spilled oil contaminated water, grass and air and it has impacted on both animal and human lives, for example birds and cows are dying in great numbers and women are giving birth to deformed children.
We commit ourselves to promote peace, cultivate the culture of peace and co-existence in our communities. We want to engage our boys and girls and communities at the grassroots to become peace-builders and peace-makers through the peace building reconciliation and healing program we have started taking into grassroots level. No time is appropriate than now to build the culture of peace.
We stand in solidarity with those who work to promote and build peace in our two countries. We dedicate ourselves to finding solution to our ethnic and political problems and violence.
We call on all faith leaders of these countries to join us in speaking out and condemning the spirit of violence. Let us remove the rocks on the way that block the processes of peace and work together to end all types of war in our countries.
We are appalled by the beheading of a South Sudanese refugee in Libya by the Islamic State terror group. We condemn the killing and beheading of innocent people all over the world by the terrorist group and urge the government of South Sudan to protect every South Sudanese living abroad.
We affirm our commitment to work together with our Muslim brothers and sisters in the two countries to promote harmonious relations, tolerance, co-existence, dialogue, harmony and peace.
We call upon South Sudan and Sudan government, the military community and civil society leaders to work together in spirit of unity to help the wars in our two nations
On relations with other parts of the Anglican communion we support our Archbishop and Primate’s acceptance to the invitation from the Archbishop of Canterbury to the Primates meeting in January 2016 in Canterbury.
The House of bishops learned with sadness the two resolutions passed by the Episcopal Church (TEC) in their General Convention (25 June to 3 July 2015) that purport to bring liturgical marriage equality to all dioceses of the Episcopal Church beginning on the first Sudan in Advent by changing the canons of their church regarding marriage to make it “gender neutral” and also approving of “two trial liturgies”. In our view such innovations are not in conformity with the Scriptures.
The House of Bishops was encouraged to read of the 18 TEC Bishops who issued a minority report dissenting to the TEC resolutions. We encourage these Bishops to stand firm on their position as well as those parishes within the IEC who disagree with TEC resolutions but abide with the Biblical understanding that marriage is a relationship between one man and one woman.
Because of the above resolutions, the House of Bishops do hereby recommend to our Provincial Synod to sever relationship with TEC and any other Provinces or Dioceses that approves liturgy for blessing same sex relationship. We will make exception to the dioceses of the 18 TEC Bishops who issued the minority letter of objections to TEC Convention resolutions
The House of Bishops has agreed to formally recognize the Anglican Church of North America (ACNA) and recommends our Archbishop and Primate to forge relationship with ACNA.
The House of Bishops also affirm its commitment to be part of Global South and the GAFCON fellowship.
We realize that there are South Sudanese Diaspora congregations that are originally from ECSS&S and are currently under TEC dioceses and Provinces, which support same sex relations. We encourage such congregations that are in the US to join Anglican Church of North America (ACNA) parishes, where they exist.
We call upon our people in the Diaspora to promote peace and reconciliation instead of promoting the conflict through media and internet. We appeal to the governments of two Sudans and humanitarian organizations to prepare for the return of the IDPs.
And refugees from various camps by providing them with humanitarian supports such shelter, food and agricultural tools.
May God bless you all!
The most Rev. Dr. Daniel Deng But The Most Rev. Ezekiel Kondo
The Archbishop, Primate of the ECSSS Archbishop of the Internal
And the Diocesan Bishop of Juba Province of the Sudan
And the Diocesan Bishop of Juba
LARYKOK CLUSTER UPPER NILE CLUSTER
The Rt. Rev. Hilary Adeba The Rt. Rev. Hilary Garang
Chairman of the Cluster and Chairman of the Cluster and The
Bishop of Yei and the Bishop of Malakal
BAHR EL GHALAL CLUSTER CENTRAL CLUSTER
The Rt. Rev. Joseph Maker The Rt. Rev. Stephen Dokolo
Chairman of the Cluster Chairman of the Cluster and
And the Bishop of Pacong the Bishop of Lui
The Rev. Peter Munde The Rt. Rev. Bismark M. Avokaya
Chairman of the Cluster A/Secretary HOB & Bishop of Mundri
& the Bishop of Yambiro