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On Thursday, Nov. 23, as most Americans were sitting down to Thanksgiving dinner, the people of Sudan were experiencing an intensification of the long-running conflict between the Sudan Armed Forces (SAF) and a paramilitary insurgency known as the Rapid Support Forces (RSF).
Presbyterian Mission Agency mission co-workers the Revs. Shelvis and Nancy Smith-Mather are in the United States this week to meet with several entities at the United Nations to create awareness around the critical needs of those living in South Sudan under the barrage of continued violence and near-civil war. Hosted by the Presbyterian Ministry at the United Nations, the Smith-Mathers led the Thursday morning chapel service for a group of in-person and online worshippers via Zoom.
Fighting in Sudan has reached its worst levels in decades, according to a recent Reuters news report, and heavy gunfire on Tuesday has shattered a 24-hour truce.
Transformational healing has begun in Abyei.
Red Clay Creek Presbyterian Church in Wilmington, Delaware, turns 300 this year, and the congregation plans a year-long celebration. On Sunday, worshipers meeting both in-person and online heard an inspiring and heartfelt sermon from one of its favorite sons, U.S. Senator Chris Coons, D-Delaware, who deftly put into historical perspective the church’s lengthy history.
The Rev. Sharon Stewart of Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania, and the Rev. Dr. Melodie Jones Pointon, senior pastor and head of staff at Eastridge Presbyterian Church in Lincoln, Nebraska, recently served as co-conveners of one of the first virtual mission network meetings.
The Rev. Dr. Joseph Martin “Joe” Hopkins, a beloved Presbyterian volunteer and mission specialist in Malawi as well as Sudan and Haiti, died in New Wilmington, Pennsylvania, on Oct. 24 at age 100.
“Pray for a new Sudan to come” was the heartfelt plea given by Dr. Aida Weran to the members of the South Sudan/Sudan Mission Network that recently met at the New Wilmington Mission Conference at Westminster College in New Wilmington, Pa. Weran is an instructor at Nile Theological College in Khartoum, Sudan, an institution that Weran described as being at the “crossroads of the violence.”
Just as one country became two with South Sudan’s independence in 2011, Nile Theological College, offering both Arabic and English curriculum tracks, also split into two campuses in two countries the same year.
Church partners in the Republic of Sudan are asking for prayers for peaceful resistance and non-violent responses to the change in the leadership of its government.