In March of 2015 the Diocese of Bor in South Sudan ended its 14-year partnership with the Diocese of Indianapolis. This relationship ended after the Episcopal Church in Sudan and South Sudan passed a resolution calling for the end of all formal partnerships with Dioceses where same-sex blessings occur.
The three-way relationship between the Diocese of Indianapolis, Bor and Brasilia was the first such partnership between three Anglican institutions, working and praying together in communion. Christ Church Cathedral decided that although we are no longer in a formal partnership with the Diocese of Bor that we could not turn away from our long-time partners.
South Sudan was engaged in the South Sudanese Civil War starting in December 2013 with opposition and government forces engaged in conflict for over two years. It is estimated that up to 300,000 people have been killed in the war. BBC news reports that more than 1,000,000 people have been displaced within South Sudan and more than 400,000 people have fled the country.
A grant of $10,000 was made to support peace and reconciliation training in Southern Sudan in reaction to violence the area has endured.
In May, Bishops, clergy and laity of Bor, including three women representatives, attended a conference given by the Archbishop of the Anglican Church of Rwanda and a team to discuss the mandate, role and responsibility of faith leaders in helping bring peace to the new nation of the Republic of Southern Sudan. The Anglican Church of Rwanda was witness to genocide and war, and the leaders from Rwanda were able to provide a unique post-genocide context to the peacemaking process.
The members of the Southern Sudan outlined their reflections and meditations from this conference into a distinctive call to action as faith leaders. The Southern Sudan delegation made a statement in which they agreed to:
- Speak out against any form of destruction and human rights abuses.
- Call our leaders to stop the war.
- Implore our people to take the spirit of nationhood.
- Promote and advocate for justice, peace, reconciliation and accountability.
- Transform all people and reform any spirit of violence or revenge killing.
It is our sincere hope that the Diocese of Bor will continue to be leaders in peace and reconciliation. It is our hope that one day we may once again share a relationship with the people of Southern Sudan. Until then, we pray for peace and for the human rights of all people.
A letter from Richard Parkins, American Friends of the Episcopal Church of South Sudan and Sudan
It is with great thanks that I send this belated note of appreciation for the generous support that the Cathedral has extended to the Justice, Peace, and Reconciliation Commission of the Episcopal Church of South Sudan (JPRCE/ECSSS). The grant of $10,000 comes at a critical time as the Commission is bolstering its effort to carry out peace and reconciliation work as the country struggles to promote a culture of forgiveness and reconciliation even as pockets of conflict continue to add to the suffering of the Sudanese people.
Please know that the funds that you have made available will make possible a more robust peace effort in parts of South Sudan where the church is attempting to minister to survivors of yet another horrific conflict in this country’s long history of war and suffering.
I have a wonderful connection with Christ Church Cathedral through my dear friend, the late Drew Klatte. Drew and I traveled together on a mission trip to South Sudan with one of the first and few missionaries to the church, Marc Nikkel.
Our journey together in 1996 was the beginning of a friendship that focused on our shared love for the Sudanese people. Drew was so instrumental in linking the diocese of Indianapolis to the DIocese of Bor in South Sudan. Sadly, that partnership has ended; but the spirit of the partnership is preserved in the gift of Christ Church Cathedral to the JPRC.
This gift also honors Drew and all those in the diocese who cared deeply about the people of Bor which, incidentally, was the area in which the initial work of the JPRC took place.
Again, my profound thanks for your support of this shared ministry with friends in South Sudan.
American Friends of the Episcopal Church of South Sudan and Sudan