News of progress in efforts to reduce violent confrontation between opposing forces in Sudan has been welcomed by the General Secretary of the World Communion of Reformed Churches (WCRC).
“We are heartened by news of positive developments,” Setri Nyomi says in a statement issued today (June 30) from WCRC’s office in Geneva. “It is urgent that terms for sustainable peace be found.”
Nyomi was referring to media reports from the African Union (AU) on an agreement to create a demilitarized buffer zone between north and south Sudan. The AU is seeking to defuse tension in the period leading up to the July 9 declaration of independence of Southern Sudan.
In recent weeks violence in the South Kordofan and the Blue Nile border states has led to civilian deaths and destruction of property.
In a message to the 230 member churches of the global organization of churches, Nyomi encourages prayer and advocacy for Sudan leading up to July 9. The Presbyterian Church of the Sudan and the Africa Inland Church Sudan are among the 66 WCRC member churches in Africa.
“We call on all WCRC member churches and area councils to pray for the people of Sudan between July 3 and July 10,” Nyomi writes.
“We ask especially that worship services on Sunday, July 3 and Sunday July 10 include times of prayer for a peaceful transition into nationhood for Southern Sudan and peace for all the people in both Southern Sudan and Northern Sudan.”
Noting that prayers need to be accompanied by action, Nyomi is urging church leaders to use whatever leverage they have to influence the peace process. In some cases, Nyomi says, this may mean contacting government officials asking them to “expose the forces of death and destruction and to support all efforts that bring life, peace and justice.”
The full text of Nyomi’s message, dated June 30:
Call for a week of prayer and advocacy for Sudan
In solidarity with the celebration of Southern Sudan’s Independence on July 9, we call on all WCRC member churches and area councils to pray for the people of Sudan between Sunday July 3 and Sunday July 10. We are aware that many of you have been praying for years for peace in this troubled country and urge you to continue to do so.
We ask especially that worship services on Sunday, July 3 and Sunday July 10 include times of prayer for a peaceful transition into nationhood for Southern Sudan and peace for all the people in both Southern Sudan and Northern Sudan.
July 9 is the Independence Day for Southern Sudan. We thank God for the birth of a new nation and pray that this will indeed bring lasting peace to a people who have known no peace for more than 50 years.
In recent weeks we have been disturbed by what has been happening in some border areas in particular. In South Kordofan there have been atrocities against civilians committed mostly by the Sudan Armed Forces (SAF) and their militias. Earlier this month, we heard that the very homes, schools and churches that should have been places of refuge have been burned and destroyed. We are outraged by this and will continue to lift up our voices against such evil. We pray that in this period leading up to the Independence Day and in the months after independence, such violence will cease, giving way to peace.
In addition to our prayers, we ask that our church leaders use every opportunity at their disposal to advocate for peace and justice for the people of Southern Sudan, as well as for people of all faiths in Sudan to live in peace and harmony. In some cases this may mean contacting government officials asking them to expose the forces of death and destruction and to support all efforts that bring life, peace and justice.
We thank you for setting aside time to keep Sudan in your prayers in the coming weeks.
Setri Nyomi, General Secretary