Sudan synod rejects call to divide: The Church of England Newspaper, December 13, 2013 December 18, 2013Posted by geoconger in Church of England Newspaper, Episcopal Church of the Sudan.
The Episcopal Church of the Sudan has rejected calls to divide the church along national lines, but has agreed to rename itself the Province of the Episcopal Church of South Sudan and Sudan to mark the 2011 independence of South Sudan from Khartoum.
Meeting from 27-30 Nov 2013 in the Jonglei state capital of Bor in South Sudan 35 bishops and delegates from the church’s 31 dioceses: 26 in South Sudan and 5 (Khartoum, Port Sudan, Wad Medani, Kadugli, and El Obeid) in Sudan, debated the structure of the 4.5 million member church at the 10th meeting of the Provincial Standing Committee (synod).
The Bishop of Lianya, the Rt. Rev. Peter Amidi, told the Sudan Tribune the tremendous growth of the church over the past generation, coupled with the 2011 independence of South Sudan had raised the question of division. A split would “not [be a] separation as such but an arrangement within the Anglican communion where you devolve power from the mother provincial authority to the area of clusters of dioceses”.
Sources in the Sudanese church told the Church of England Newspaper the delegates discussed creating an independent province and an internal province for the north led by its own archbishop. However, the lack of infrastructure and funds along with the desire to support the persecuted church in the north led the delegates to endorse the status quo.
Christian Solidarity Worldwide reports Christians in the north are harassed by the government, which seeks to deport them to South Sudan or convert them to Islam. In April 2013 Khartoum’s Minister of Guidance and Endowments, Al-Fatih Taj al-Sir, told the country’s Parliament the government will not permit the construction of new Christian churches in the country. CSW reports there has also been a systematic targeting of African ethnic groups, particularly the Nuba, prompting fears of a government plan for the Islamisation and Arabisation of norther Sudan.
In their communique, the Sudanese church welcomed the “improvement in relations” between north and south Sudan, and urged the two governments to “tackle any outstanding issues in a peaceful way.”
The communique also called upon the government of South Sudan to stem the recent outbreaks of tribal violence and called upon the international community to maintain pressure on Khartoum to halt the violence in Darfur, the Blue Nile and Nuba Mountains.
The synod also reaffirmed its support for the church’s traditional teaching on human sexuality, rejecting innovations in doctrine and disciple that would permit gay blessings. “We reaffirm our position rejecting same-sex relationship,” the communique said.