Women ‘donate themselves’ to help find peace in South Sudan campaigner tells UN meeting

How women are leading the way to peace and reconciliation.

[L-R] Harriet Baka Nathan & Joy Kwaje Eluzai
Photo Credit: ACNS

Originally Posted on: March 16, 2017 3:28 PM by Anglican Communion News Service (ACNS)

Related Categories on ACNS: apjn, iawn, Other News, South Sudan, Sudan, UN, UNCSW

Begin quoteKey Anglican campaigners for peace and justice in war-torn South Sudan have told a meeting at the United Nations in New York about the vital role women and the church have been playing in peace building and supporting the victims of conflict.

Harriet Baka Nathan, from the Episcopal Church of South Sudan and Mothers’ Union, and Joy Kwaje Eluzai, a member of the country’s national assembly, were speaking to a packed meeting at the UN Commission on the Status of Women.

“Women have become an example to the community,” Harriet told them. “The church has become a role model as we wait for a bigger peace – reconciliation. The women never waited, the Mothers’ Union never waited, the Church never waited. We are donors of ourselves – when the conflict comes, we call a meeting and we give whatever we have.”

Harriet described how the conflict had devastated the country, displacing hundreds of thousands of people. The absence of people to work the land had led to widespread hunger and now there was a famine. She told the meeting how on one occasion, she had been part of a convoy taking aid to displaced people who had fled into the bush.

“God gave me courage to escort 25 tons (of aid) into a camp which was in the bush. This was very dangerous – I could have been raped or killed. But I did not have that fear at all because I was dressed with a spirit of boldness.

“She described how extreme hunger had left many women in the camp bedridden. But once a distribution centre was set up, the atmosphere began to change.

“In a short time there was smoke (around the camp) – people began to make porridge on small fires. Hope came back and then life came back.”

Harriet gave the meeting snapshots of various projects where women were working to bring peace to South Sudan.  She said they had initially been left out of negotiations but were now monitoring the implementation of peace agreements and lobbying hard for the agreements to be honoured.

In one example, she explained the vital role women had played in the diocese of Bor, the scene of some of the fiercest fighting. She had realised that bringing peace – and food – among the women would be a uniting factor.

“Because once you unite the women… where are the husbands who will not follow their wives and their children?  So as the women (from different tribes) got united – their families began to benefit and slowly these fighting men, who were not coming together, slowly they came in too.

“So the project provided food and united these fighting tribes. Now Bor is a role model for the Church. It has really created hope and it has created peace.”

Harriet also described how thousands of women had benefited from projects in literacy, numeracy and income generation and how better education had given them confidence to participate more fully in society. She said they felt inspired and economically empowered.

She thanked Christians around the world for their ongoing support.

“We are not alone with the Anglican Communion behind us,” she said. “If we were all alone, I don’t think we could make it”.Joy Kwaje Eluzai urged the audience to do more.“We are looking for shoulders to help us,” she said. “How can we reach your governments to make sure that peace is reached in South Sudan? How do we get your support and your strength to tell your governments that we are tired of the war?”

Noting that the theme of UNCSW61 is the economic empowerment of women, she said this had been eroded by the conflict in South Sudan. But she said the country had the desire, energy and the capacity to achieve the goals that had been set out by the UNCSW on the opening day.“t is only with peace that we can put the economic empowerment of women into perspective,” she said. “Economic empowerment of women benefits society. If a woman is empowered, that family is empowered…  and her children will never go uneducated.”

The meeting had to be hastily rescheduled by the Anglican Communion team at the UN after a snowstorm hit New York. The UN building was one of many in the city which was forced to stay closed because of the bad weather. Transport was also badly hit. But despite the difficulties, around 60 delegates attended the briefing by Harriet and Joy.

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Source: Women ‘donate themselves’ to help find peace in South Sudan campaigner tells UN meeting

Archbishop of Canterbury to express remorse over Reformation violence | Religion News Service

CANTERBURY, England (RNS) The archbishop of Canterbury, Justin Welby, is expected to issue a statement this week apologizing for the violence that followed the Protestant Reformation 500 years ago.

The statement, according to news accounts, will express remorse that the (Protestant) Church of England carried out so many acts of violence — including burning Roman Catholics at the stake.

It will also urge believers to ask for forgiveness for atrocities that happened on both sides during the Reformation and for greater unity between Catholic and Protestant churches today.

The publication of Martin Luther’s 95 Theses on Oct. 31, 1517, is traditionally considered the birth of the Reformation that split Western Christianity into Catholic and Protestant. Celebrations throughout the world will mark the 500th anniversary this year.

Welby’s statement is due to come a month before members of the Church of England’s General Synod discuss the commemoration.

Catholics and Protestants will gather at Lambeth Palace — Welby’s London home — to express remorse and pray for Christian unity.

Although the physical atrocities against Catholics took place during the reigns of Henry VIII, Elizabeth I and Edward VI, Catholics (and Jews) were not allowed to vote, sit in Parliament or attend universities until the middle of the 19th century.

Originally posted by Trevor Grundy on Religion News Service 1/17/17: Archbishop of Canterbury to express remorse over Reformation violence

Unity prayers to recall the Reformation and celebrate reconciliation

Martin Luther
Martin Luther’s act of nailing his 95 Theses to the door of Castle Church in Wittenberg gave birth to the Reformation. In this 500th anniversary year, the Week of Prayer for Christian Unity will reflect on the Reformation and ongoing reconciliation.

[WCC] The Week of Prayer for Christian Unity, celebrated worldwide from 18-25 January, will be hosted this year by the Council of Christian Churches in Germany (Arbeitsgemeinschaft Christlicher Kirchen in Deutschland / ACK). As 2017 marks the commemoration of the Reformation, the week of prayer will reflect on the legacy of the Reformation and the current spirit of reconciliation in Christ.

“For Christians in Germany and all over the world, the theme Reconciliation – The Love of Christ Compels Us (2 Corinthians 5:14-20) can be considered both a calling and an opportunity for reconciliation”, the Revd Dr Odair Pedroso Mateus, World Council of Churches (WCC) director of Faith and Order, said, “a chance to break historical walls that separate churches and congregations from each other, during times that require healing and recovering hope”. Continue reading “Unity prayers to recall the Reformation and celebrate reconciliation”

Remember

Remembering the Armenian Genocide

As you remember we direct you to a previous post: One Million Bones. Beyond remembering, the Spirit urges us to actions of healing and reconciliation and the promoting of a just peace throughout our world.

South African Anglicans respond to Archbishop Deng’s Challenge

On October 5th we shared the ACNS reporting of Archbishop Deng’s challenge to the Church. He was speaking to Anglicans in South Africa (and to all women and men of goodwill). The Church in South Africa has responded.

The Primate of the Episcopal Church of Sudan, the Most Revd Daniel Deng Bul YakThe Anglican Church in Southern Africa has committed itself to form a partnership with the Episcopal Church in Sudan, with which it shares membership of the Anglican Communion.

The commitment to pursue a ‘partners in mission’ relationship was made by the church’s Provincial Synod, meeting this week in Benoni, South Africa. I

t came in response to the address given by the Archbishop of Sudan, the Most Revd Dr Daniel Deng Bul, who has been a guest of the Provincial Synod, and of the Synod of Bishops which preceded it.

Read the report shared by AllAfrica.com on 10/7/13

A challenge from Sudan

On Sunday (10/6) we will take a closer look at 2 Timothy 1:1-14 (the lesson appointed for worship). Among other things we’ll hear, anew, the Apostle’s exhortation: “rekindle the gift of God that is within you through the laying on of my hands; for God did not give us a spirit of cowardice, but rather a spirit of power and of love and of self-discipline. (vv. 6-7 NRSV). Overall this letter exhorts Timothy (and us) to continue to trust the God who has called us and blessed us and sent us into the world to share God’s love.
In the midst of this study comes this challenge from the Primate of the Episcopal Church of Sudan (ministries exist in both Sudan and South Sudan). It is a reminder that being Christian is not always easy and that trusting God is not always easy and that prayer needs to be concurrent with action.

The Primate of the Episcopal Church of Sudan, the Most Revd Daniel Deng Bul YakThe Primate of the Episcopal Church of Sudan, the Most Revd Daniel Deng Bul Yak has challenged the worldwide Anglican Communion to actively help the war-affected people of South Sudan.

He was speaking in an exclusive interview with ACNS in Johannesburg, South Africa, where he is attending the Anglican Church of Southern Africa’s Provincial Synod as special guest.

The Primate complained that the Anglican Church in South Sudan felt it was struggling alone and not receiving adequate support from other Member Churches. “People are just saying we are supporting you in prayers, but prayers must be followed by action.

“We need good education and health and there are a lot of experienced people within the Anglican Communion who can come and help us,” he said. “We need missionaries to come and set up schools and health centres in South Sudan. There is a lot that Anglicans can do to help.” (Anglican Communion News Service, ACNS)

Read the complete report of the Archbishop’s Challenge.

Let us add this to our Sunday discussion. Come and join us on Sunday (10/6/13) if you are able.

Memorial Day: as we remember may we also become committed to work for peace

Memorial Day, which is observed on the last Monday of May, commemorates the men and women who died while in the military service.  In observance of the holiday, many people visit cemeteries and memorials, and volunteers often place American flags on each grave site at national cemeteries.  A national moment of remembrance takes place at 3:00 p.m. local time. —Dept. of Veterans Affairs

My hope this Memorial Day is that in the midst of whatever holiday fare you have planned today you will take a moment to remember the sacrifices made on our behalf. To help you here are some links I have found helpful in my spiritual journey:

Here is a short prayer shared by the Rev. Gagne in his essay. Let it be our prayer today.

 Loving God, we pray to you for people of every race, religion, langauge and nation. Help us always to respect and love each other for You have made us all. Let those who have given their lives for the sake of justice, peace and freedom be rewarded by your generous love. May their families and friends, and we who honor them today, remember them with love, now and always. Amen.