One World Week...
...as if People and the Earth Matter
22nd - 29th October 2000
We have a wonderful opportunity of hearing first-hand from one of the
poorest and most long-suffering countries in the world during One World
Week this year.
On Sunday 22nd October, at our Parish Eucharist at 10.45am the
Archbishop of Sudan, the Most Revd. Joseph Marona will be the preacher.
Archbishop Marona was elected to this post in February this year at a
meeting of the Provincial Synod of the Episcopal Church of Sudan, which
was held in Nairobi (because it is impossible to hold such a gathering
inside Sudan). This was the first time for ten years that the Synod had
been able to meet. I was present at Archbishop Marona’s enthronement in
Juba, the capital of the South of the country, in April, when the
Archbishop of Canterbury preached.
Sudan has been in a constant state of Civil War since 1985, when the
current regime took power in a coup d’état. But its political
problems go much further back to the 1950s when the political arrangements
which gave Britain and Egypt control of the country finally ended, and
British administrators withdrew.
Sudan is the largest country in the world and currently has a
population of some 27 million. Although there have been some minor
relaxations in recent years, it is essentially a one-party state, governed
by the National Islamic Front. Although that title immediately raises
caricatures in one’s mind, and there is a very peaceful Muslim lobby
within and behind the régime, it is an over-simplification to call the
crisis a Christian-Muslim struggle. There are conflicting ideologies, but
it is much more a conflict of cultures, northern Sudanese looking to North
Africa and the Arab world, and southerners to sub-Saharan Africa.
But war recognises no such divide. All Sudanese suffer, and most
especially those who are the poorest people. Many are forced into armies,
many more are forced out of their homes into the bush, and into refugee
camps. Food is scarce, the climate is harsh, and the land dangerous -
littered with landmines, and vulnerable to air attack from Government
In all this chaos, the churches have had a heroic ministry - pastoral,
sacrificial and prophetic. Amongst church leaders, Joseph Marona has been
particularly distinguished by his courageous speeches, and his readiness
to cross borders and boundaries in the search for peace and justice. He is
a humble, simple man, a man of deep love, with no airs or graces. Great
hopes have been invested in him. Do come and meet him and hear him preach.
You will moved and inspired.
Return to the
Articles contents page