Church leaders in Connor’s partner diocese of Yei, South Sudan, were the victims of an attack which left eight people badly injured.
In the incident in Yei town on July 25, five households were targeted. Money and possessions were stolen. Alerting Church Mission Society Ireland (CMSI) to the attacks, Bishop Hilary of Yei said he believes the Church has become a specific target for violence.
In his communication, Bishop Hilary indicates this represents a significant challenge for the Church’s presence and ministry in the midst of the conflict.
“From the start of the crisis in Yei last July, [the local church leaders] took a firm decision together to remain in town with the people. They saw this as being important and a fulfilment of their moral and spiritual obligation to give encouragement to the people and to strengthen the weak, the abandoned, the widows, the hungry, the dying, the scared and the vulnerable. It was a very serious sacrifice made to remain in Yei at a time when security had broken down and our members were being killed at ease.
“The mediating role of the church and the work of advocacy for peace is being undermined by such atrocities.”
CMSI facilitates partnership links between dioceses, parishes and individuals in Ireland and four dioceses in South Sudan. These relationships have been a significant source of encouragement and support for the Church at this time of upheaval.
In response to a direct plea from Bishop Hilary at the end of March, parishes and individuals in Connor Diocese have donated more than £11,000 to CMSI and these emergency donations made through CMSI have been used to support Yei Diocese by:
CMSI said: “Despite the many obstacles and obvious risks, the Church in South Sudan continues to be a source of life, love and hope for those whose lives have been devastated by conflict and famine. They need our continued prayers, friendship and support.”
Donations are still welcome for CMSI’s South Sudan Appeal and can be made via the CMSI offices or on the CMSI website. Gifts are used in their entirety to support the global Church as it responds to this crisis.