No reconciliation without repentance, says archbishop

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[Juba, South Sudan, TCT] The Archbishop of Episcopal Church of South Sudan and Sudan (ECSS&S), Most Rev. Daniel Bul Deng has said that genuine reconciliation will only happen in South Sudan if there is repentance for wrong doing.

He was speaking last week during the 10th Provincial Synod of the Episcopal Church, an event that was also attended and addressed by the first Vice President Taban Deng Gai.

“South Sudanese, let us repent and be reconciled,.. [our repentenace should demonstrate] deep regret and change of mind and change of heart,” he said.

In his opening speech to the gathering of more than 300 delegates including bishops, clergy and laity who were assembled at All Saints Cathedral in Juba, the Archbishop & Primate of the Anglican Province of South Sudan and Sudan said that true repentance will restore broken relationships between people and God and between citizens of the country.

“True repentance is by facing the consequences of your actions,... repentance breaks the circle of sin,” he told the gathering.

The Primate, who is set to retire late 2017 regretted that the Church has failed in its responsibility of evangelizing the nation and bringing the people together.

While enumerating the challenges and the achievements of the ECSS&S in the time he has been in office the last ten years, the Primate said his vision was to leave behind a strong church that would do evangelism, training and healing ministry, following in the footsteps of Jesus.

He expressed satisfaction with rapid expansion of the church from 24 dioceses when he took over, to the current 43,with each of them having permanent structures for holding church services. His leadership has also seen a creation of eight internal provinces both in South Sudan and Sudan, a move that is equated to the goverment creation of 28 states!

He announced that any new dioceseis will only be stablished by the internal archbishop and the chairman of the cluster carrying out assessment, and only after following the due processes of the church.

Archbishop Deng also said that when he took over office in 2008, his hope was to bring the Dinka and Nuer together, using the gospel. Unfortunately, he says, his intentions were mistaken by some leaders within the church. He says he is still hopeful that this will happen.

“My heart is with the people of those areas (Bentiu, Ayod, Akobo and Nasir), and my vision still remains the same, that one day, God will bring the leaders from these areas together. The gospel will bring peace between the Jieng (Dinka), Nuer and other tribes in the nation", he emphasised.

During the 10th Synod, the ECSS&S re-elected Mr. John Augustino as the Provincial Secretary of the church. Mr. Augustino was elected in the same position in the last two elections.

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