Clergy urged to be united for peace in South Sudan

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[Juba, South Sudan, TCT] The clergy in South Sudan have been urged to be united in order to lead their flock effectively and towards the achievement of peace in the country.

This message came out during a recent one day ecumenical pastors and clergy conference held in Juba on the 13th of August, which brought together some 200 clergymen from the seven member churches of the South Sudan Council of Churches (SSCC). SSCC convened the conference as part of its national Action Plan for Peace.

'We must now come together to lead God's people to peace. Not just the peace that is signed with ink on paper, but also the peace that loves your neighbor and prays for those who persecute you," reads a statement from SSCC.

The statement by the heads of churches states that to be able to lead God's people to peace, the clergy must shepherd in unity, in honesty and with courage.

"Every time we refer to ourselves as "churches" we become more vulnerable and divided. The more we refer to ourselves as "one church" the stronger we become," stated the leaders who signed the statement on behalf of their denominations.

The leaders say that they had decided to speak in one voice and walk together in unity because a church that is united will bring good to all.

The leaders decried that some church leaders had in the past used their pulpits to spread rumors, and preached messages of hate and revenge.

"As shepherds to our people we need to ask for forgiveness and lead by example, model peace, reconciliation and care in our behavior, every single hour of every single day," the clergy declared.

The leaders came together in a conference that was aimed at promoting unity of clergy and pastors and to help them develop unified messages to the people of South Sudan, their leaders as well as regional leaders.

The leaders asked clergy under their leadership to speak up in the face of injustice and reminded them that they have to be the voice of the voiceless in society.

They urged preachers to always speak the truth for the sake of the good of those that they lead. This is the only way to guarantee peace, they said.

"Peace is made on the ground where we come together as brothers and sisters and together build a country where our children will have no reason for fear and where they will not go hungry," said the statement.

The statement comes at a time when reports indicate that thousands have lost their lives, while more than 2 million people have been displaced due to the violence that has rocked parts of the country since late 2013.

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