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South Sudan: 3000 churches in prayers for peace

Church leaders in South Sudan – which celebrated its sixth anniversary as one of the world’s newest nations at the weekend - and in neighbouring Kenya and Uganda are calling for prayer for the restoration of peace and stability.

A movement of over 3,000 churches united in prayer at the weekend and a National Day of Prayer has been organised today (Monday 10 July) in Juba.

The country has declared that, amidst ongoing conflict and a food crisis that has seen 50% of the population dependent on food aid, 2 million displaced internally and a further 1.9 million flee the country, official independence day celebrations will not go ahead this year.

In South Sudan, Tearfund is providing food to vulnerable households, including the elderly and those with a disability, through vouchers and cash. This enables families to purchase staple items, such as pulses and oil, at markets. At the same time children who are malnourished are being given a high energy food supplement as part of a programme to help them and their families to get healthy again.

Despite the troubled times, families are also provided with seeds and tools to be able to continue farming in small vegetable gardens so that they have a food source in months to come. 

Worshippers at a church in Juba

Andy Morgan, Deputy Head of Tearfund’s East and Southern Africa Team said: “The humanitarian needs of the people of South Sudan are dire and although the recent increase in international aid has helped, the food crisis is still extremely serious and we must and will do more.

"We are committed to continue to pray for peace in South Sudan and will not give up! Peace and stability are essential for the people of South Sudan to be able to live dignified and peaceful lives in the long-run.”

Bishop Anthony Poggo, former Bishop of the Diocese of Kajo-Keji, a Tearfund Partner in South Sudan, who was recently appointed as an Advisor to the Archbishop of Canterbury in the UK said: "We pray that the people of South Sudan, the people of my homeland, who are so fully loved by God, unite. We pray that healing and restoration will come soon and that the South Sudanese find strength in their diversity and in the beautiful and resourceful country we call home. Be encouraged we are praying with you! Never give up!"

Father James Oyet of the South Sudanese Council of Churches, who have organised a National Day of Prayer in Juba on Monday 10 July said: “In spite of all the thunderstorms of life, the food crisis, the economic crisis, we want to thank God. We thank God for life and celebrate the people of South Sudan. We thank God for Independence, but now we seek healing and reconciliation as the wounds are too big.”

Photos: Tom Price/Tearfund

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