As civil unrest continues in South Sudan, the Bishop of Connor has appealed to parishes to support South Sudan both prayerfully and by raising vital funding.
The Rt Rev Alan Abernethy is urging people to donate to CMS Ireland’s Emergency Appeal for South Sudan, and to respond to prayer requests which have emerged following discussions with CMSI’s global partners there.
These include Bishop Hilary from Connor’s partner diocese of Yei. Bishop Alan and a team from Connor were due to travel to Yei this Thursday, January 16, to lead youth and clergy conferences, meet MU representatives and run health training. The trip was postponed last week due to the ongoing unrest.
Since fighting broke out on December 15 more than 1,000 people have been killed and some 350,000 have been forced to flee their homes in search of shelter.
In a letter to clergy, Bishop Alan writes: “Most of the trouble has been many miles from Yei, yet some of these displaced people have walked with their families to Yei and other places where they know the church will give them refuge.
“The Connor trip, and a visit by a team from Down and Dromore Diocese to Maridi due to take place next month, have both been postponed because Bishop Hilary of Yei and Bishop Justin of Maridi said they could not guarantee our safety.
“But there is another reason we cannot be in Yei now. The beds we would have slept in, the churches we would have worshipped in, the rooms where we would have run conferences for clergy and young people, have been turned over for accommodation for those who have fled in the fighting in places like Bor, Malakal and the capital Juba.”
Displaced people are also being directed to the UN compound in Yei, and Yei Diocese has committed to provide essentials like food and water to support them too. In communciations to CMSI, Bishop Hilary said that the number is rising every day, with at least 800 people are sheltering in the camp.
Bishop Alan said that while the team cannot be with Bishop Hilary and the people of Yei and South Sudan in person at this time, but there was much could be done to support them from Connor Diocese.
“We can support them through prayer, and CMS Ireland has drawn up points for prayer requests which I list below. I hope you will focus prayer on South Sudan in your parishes in the coming weeks,” he said.
“We can support them in a practical way too by donating funds to buy essential items to allow the church in South Sudan to care for those who have fled their homes with nothing but the clothes on their backs.”
Bishop Alan said he would like Connor Diocese to support the Emergency Appeal for South Sudan launched by CMSI. “CMSI is in daily contact with its global partners in South Sudan, namely the dioceses of Yei, Maridi, Ibba and Kajo Keji, and can send the money directly to where it is most needed. With its local knowledge and accountability CMSI is well placed to do this,” the Bishop said.
CMSI figures indicate that emergency provision for a family of eight for two weeks costs £100. This will provide provide food, jerrycans, cooking pots, blankets and medical care
A donation of £5 provides one blanket; £8 provides maize meal for a family for a week; £15 provides beans for a family for a week.
“Please help us to help the church in South Sudan make life bearable for the men, women and children who have once again had to flee their homes due to fighting which began as a political crisis and has quickly changed into tribal warfare between South Sudan’s largest tribes the Dinka and the Nuer,” Bishop Alan added.
Donations should be sent directly to CMS Ireland. There are various ways to donate, please follow this link to see what is easiest for you.
Funds can also be channeled to the CMSI South Sudan Emergency Appeal through the Church of Ireland Bishops’ Appeal.
Jenny Smyth, Partnership Co–ordinator with CMSI, said: “We have been receiving regular updates from our global partners. The stories emerging are heart breaking with so much loss of life in the northern areas and in Juba, and so many people fleeing their homes to seek refuge elsewhere. The breaking up of communities only so recently trying to establish themselves is so sad to see.”
CMSI Prayer Requests for South Sudan
1. Pray for the political crisis in South Sudan, particularly the President of South Sudan HE Salva Kiir and the rebel leader Dr Riak Machar so that God can change their hearts and minds to sit down and agree on things that can bring peace in the country.
2. Pray for the church as it offers sanctuary and assistance to those fleeing their homes – Bishop Justin, Bishop Hilary and Bishop Wilson as they lead
3. Pray for adequate resources, shelter, water, food, medical assistance, and the capacity to manage the response
4. Pray that communications links are protected
5. Pray for good co–ordination of the emergency response
6. Pray for men and women of vision to lead the nation forwards