Church leaders from South Sudan gathered in London on Tuesday (Aug. 19) to campaign for peace and reconciliation in the war-torn country. Episcopalians, Presbyterians, Pentecostals, and African Inlanders jointed together, urging the church to take action against the violence that residents face daily.
Bishop Martin Mogga Ilfoga of the Africa Inland Church said, "We believe the Church can make a difference. We cannot stand by and not act."
South Sudan has been in political turmoil since last December when President Salva Kiir accused his former deputy Riek Machar of mutiny. In the months since, violence has spread throughout the nation, causing 1.5 million deaths and forcing 1.5 million out of their homes. Four million South Sudanese face food insecurity as a result of the civil war.
The church leaders fear that their struggles are being overlooked as world attention goes to the Islamic State’s horrific acts of persecution in Iraq and Syria.
One bishop said, "The international community has forgotten us. Please see how our people are suffering. People are dying without reason. Over one million people are dead now."
The leaders said that the church is in a position to bring about peace. Ilfoga said that United Nations workers have been prevented from entering parts of South Sudan, but the church has mobility.
Ilfoga said, "Thank God there are people on the front line who can go wherever they need to, and who are prepared to die for the sake of their people. The world should pay attention to South Sudan – it is very serious, very, very painful. But our people have confidence in the Church; those in the grassroots are the ones who empower church leaders to take initiative, because they hope in the Church."
Publication date: August 21, 2014