Republic of South Sudan
The Presbyterian Church (U.S.A.) celebrates more than 100 years of ministry in Sudan. Its engagement in the country has involved ministry through mission personnel and partner church relationships. Since Sudan gained independence in 1956 civil war has gripped the nation for most of its post-colonial history. The war pitted Sudan’s northern-based government, controlled by fundamentalist Muslims, against the southern Sudanese, who are mostly black African Christians and animists. Nevertheless, many people in Sudan struggled to find a common peace. Read more now.
A referendum in early 2011 was the climax of a 2005 peace agreement that ended two decades of civil war, war that had claimed some 2 million lives. Independence on July 9, 2011, gave the people of South Sudan a chance to chart their own future. Despite more than 50 years of civil war and an infrastructure that is in ruins, a sense of hope now pervades the people of South Sudan. The Republic of South Sudan began nationhood as one of the world’s poorest countries, but it has a landscape with rich natural resources and churches with abundant faith. In December of 2013, civil war again erupted which has claimed 50,000 lives. A fragile peace agreement has yet to be implemented. The PC(USA) is working with its partner churches and organizations, the Presbyterian Church of South Sudan (PCOSS), the Sudan Evangelical Presbyterian Church, Nile Theological College, RECONCILE, Across and the South Sudan Council of Churches to help craft a brighter tomorrow for the people in South Sudan.
Nearly 80 percent of South Sudan’s 8.6 million people depend on crop farming or animal husbandry for their livelihood, and most of them are one bad growing season away from the threat of starvation. Almost 40 percent of the people must walk more than 30 minutes to collect drinking water, 50 percent use firewood or grass as their primary source of lighting, and 27 percent have no lighting at all. The PC(USA) joins its partners in a holistic approach to ministry that includes education and leadership development, peace building, community development, evangelism and new church development. Our deepest engagement is in education and peace building, through the South Sudan Education and Peacebuilding Project.
Challenges remain for the new nation, among them major humanitarian and development problems. Thousands of Southerners have returned from the North, adding pressure to communities already struggling to cope. The long-term needs are huge. The threat of inter-ethnic fighting continues, and problems in border areas with the North have yet to be resolved.