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New resources for our churches to support Sudan

First published on: 31st July 2023

New resources to help our churches pray for Sudan have been shared with churches across the diocese.

After an emergency motion about the conflict in the country was passed by the Leeds Diocesan Synod, information and prayer resources have been sent to all churches in the diocese.

At Synod members heard from the Revd Anne Russell, Team Rector of the Parish of Seacroft, and Frederico Vuni, of Sudan.

Frederico spoke powerfully about the deteriorating situation in the country, before the Bishop of Bradford, the Rt Revd Toby Howarth, encouraged Synod to keep praying, keep talking about Sudan, and to be advocates.

The diocese has helped send humanitarian aid to Sudan to front line clergy, with funds reaching each of the five dioceses in Sudan that we are linked with.

207 clergy and their families have been supported with emergency food parcels, medicines and sleeping materials and help with office equipment.

Congregations and refugees are being helped through the cathedrals in Sudan.

As well as emergency supplies, the Bishops of Sudan have asked for continued prayer.

The Bishop of Leeds, the Rt Revd Nick Baines, is active in the All-Party Parliamentary Group on Sudan which seeks to influence the UK government's policy and practice by promoting the causes of peace, human rights, justice, and development in the country.  

The resources can be found here.

Please see below a summary of the latest situation in Sudan.

“The biggest concentration of Christians is in southern Sudan, the Nuba Mountains – Kadugli Diocese.  A third force has materialised there, as local freedom fighters, the Sudan Peoples Liberation Army (SPLA) have now mobilised and are shelling SAF positions in Kadugli town.  The town is cut off from the rest of Sudan, beyond reach of UN aid, as the RSF controls the roads.  Bishop Hassan writes El Obeid Diocese covering western Sudan has the smallest number of Christian communities, but they have suffered severe damage.  El Obeid town is described as under siege.  SAF has control of it but it is encircled by RSF forces, and a major offensive is feared.  It is a strategic location, the centre of roads connecting western and southern Sudan, the largest trading centre for Sudan’s agricultural exports, and has an airport used by SAF.  Bishop Ismail writes, “Killing has become normal, and hunger.  No place is secure within the cities, cars are being looted by lawless forces.  We continue our prayers at home, sometimes in the church when we are allowed by the soldiers.  Of other cities, most people fled west to camps in Chad, and church centres and schools have been destroyed.  In places there is no news of my people there.”

“Khartoum Diocese is in central and northern Sudan, and is the second largest concentration of Christians.  The churches are almost entirely situated in townships, away from the Khartoum and Omdurman city centres where fighting has been concentrated, but is spreading.  There is little direct church news as the cities are largely cut off, without power.  People who have got out have reported the Diocesan Offices and other church property as looted and destroyed.  Everything is gone or damaged.  Vehicles, cash, laptops, Jesus Film equipment and all valuable things.  The Cathedral has been used by the RSF as a barracks.  The team and staff and their families are scattered.  Some families are separated.  “We thank God that we are safe but in great need to keep ourselves and our families.  Thank you for your prayer and encouragement."  One pastor has been fatally shot, and another, who received shrapnel wounds had to travel for days to Cairo to get medical care. Archbishop Ezekiel is homeless, his house commandeered by the RSF, and his family scattered widely.  He has set up a new base in Port Sudan for the central church organization.  

“Port Sudan and Wad Medani Dioceses serve eastern and south-eastern Sudan.  They have seen little fighting but are trying to minister to large numbers of displaced people.  Photos show families camped out in the cathedral grounds, which have extensive puddles as it is the rainy season.  In Wad Medani, staff have also been distributing help in centres up to 80 miles away, all of which are receiving people seeking a place of safety.  The World Food Programme say they will supply food only to people in the large camps they have organised, miles further south.  In Port Sudan Bishop Abdu is attempting to set in motion their annual agricultural project which in previous years has been one of their financial lifelines.  This contrasts with other places where all normal living and planning is destroyed.

“Archbishop Ezekiel is in contact with our Diocese regularly. He messaged us in July: ‘Greetings from hot Port Sudan. We are doing well here though no change of the situation on the ground. Pastors and their families were so happy to receive financial relief support which were sent out by you. 207 clergy, staff and workers across the Province benefited from these Funds. Thank you so much.’”

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