Read Letters from Sharon Curry
January 2013 #2
Pray to End Violence in South Sudan
The crisis in South Sudan’s Jonglei State has escalated alarmingly. The deteriorating situation has prompted the Presbyterian Church (U.S.A.) to express deepening concern for the people of the region and to renew its urgent call to prayer and action to promote justice, peace and genuine security for the affected populations. Read more
Sharon will next be in the USA, based in Dallas TX, in Summer 2014. Email her or the Mission Connections office (Rachel.Anderson@pcusa.org) to extend an invitation to visit your congregation or organization.
About Sharon Curry’s ministry
As regional health and development consultant with the Presbyterian Church of South Sudan (PCOSS), Sharon Curry will help the PCOSS implement a program of Community Health Evangelism. This initiative seeks to transform individuals and communities by integrating community-based development, evangelism, and discipleship. Working alongside the staff of the Presbyterian Relief & Development Agency, the social service arm of the PCOSS, she will assist in training community development committees and support them as they initiate and manage efforts aimed at bringing about sustainable change.
In early 2011 the people of South Sudan voted to separate from the Khartoum-based government of Sudan and form an independent country. The referendum was part of a 2005 peace accord that ended decades of civil war between rebels in the South (mainly black Africans) and government forces from the North (mainly Arabs). Most Sudanese in the South are Christians or adherents of traditional African religions, while most in the North are Muslim. The Presbyterian Church (U.S.A.) has been involved in Sudan for more than a century and has longstanding relationships with two partner churches, the Sudan Presbyterian Evangelical Church (SPEC) and the Presbyterian Church of Sudan (PCOS), which had been the primary Presbyterian denomination serving Sudan, and now significantly also with the Presbyterian Church of South Sudan (PCOSS). The years of civil war left South Sudan’s infrastructure in ruins, but the region is home to abundant natural resources and many faithful Christians. The PC(USA) is working with Sudanese partners to help South Sudan maximize the promise of independence and improve the plight of the people.
About Sharon Curry
Sharon Curry’s sense of calling brings to mind the oft-quoted statement by minister and author Frederick Buechner: “Your vocation in life is where your greatest joy meets the world's greatest need.”
When she arrives in the new nation of South Sudan, she will be serving in one of the world’s poorest countries. She goes with a great passion to serve the people there.
“I have always wanted to work with the poorest of the poor,” says Sharon, noting that Mother Theresa has always been her hero. “They have always had a special place in my heart, and I have always longed to do whatever I could to ease their suffering, if only for a moment.”
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Committed to serve
After being evacuated from her new mission assignment, Sharon Curry looks forward to her return
For Sharon, these are not untested sentiments. She has spent 15 years working with the homeless in Fort Worth, Texas. While her work filled a crucial need, she always knew that there was some other place where she could do more. Her desire to serve sent her to Dembi Dolo, Ethiopia, where she spent a year teaching elementary school as a Volunteer in Mission. “I had many opportunities to go and visit remote villages, seeing life outside of Dembi,” she says. “Still, there was something more waiting for me ahead.”
Not having a firm idea of what ‘more’ meant, she remarked to friends, “Just take me to Sudan and drop me in a refugee camp.” This statement was not uttered flippantly, but as a reflection of her deep yearning to work where she could be of greatest service.
Having served in Africa and having followed events in South Sudan, Sharon is not naïve about the challenges that await her. Still, she is excited about the opportunities to help the South Sudanese build a new life for themselves. “It seems to answer the call of my heart,” she says.
She looks forward to the “joy” of teaching skills to improve children’s health and lighten the workload of women, helping parents educate their children and themselves, and encouraging young people to lay down their arms and work for the rebuilding of their country.
When her friends see photos of South Sudan, Sharon says they turn their heads and can’t look, but she can find hope in those pictures. “I see the eyes,” she says. “It is always the eyes calling out to me with one little glimmer of hope that says ‘help.’”
Sharon sensed the stirrings of God early in her life. “I have felt the call to mission since I was a young girl,” she explains. “I told my mother ‘I am going to be a missionary in Africa.’ Who would have dreamed it would take so long to make it come true?”
In addition to her work in mission and social service, Sharon has been a professional photographer and graphic designer. She is an active Presbyterian and has served as moderator for mission for Presbyterian Women in Grace Presbytery.
Birthday: February 12