Sudan Church Thrives in Midst of Civil War: Archbishop (Joseph Marona) Travels to Be with Flock

Article excerpt

Archbishop of Sudan Joseph Marona says the civil war in his homeland has claimed more than 500,000 victims since his last visit to Canada about a year ago, bringing the total tally to 3 million dead.

And yet, in spite of the turmoil, violence and death, the church is thriving, the archbishop said. The war in Sudan, which began in 1983, is "the worst, most long-lasting war in the world," the archbishop said in an interview during a recent visit with his wife, Eunice, to the Anglican Church of Canada's national office in Toronto.

But the Episcopalian church in the Sudan is still growing, he added. "When there are problems, people always look to God," he said. The church hopes a planned meeting in February wall result in a new constitution. It has also begun to ordain women, he reported.

The archbishop acknowledged that he remains in the Sudan at some peril, when he is not travelling outside the country to raise support for the cause of peace. When he is at home, he moves around a lot. "The church is scattered during this difficult and challenging period. One has to move around to see one's flock."

Archbishop Marona described a new "people to people" peace initiative within the mostly southern Christian community in the Sudan. "We are hoping to promote peace, love and unity among the Christians so that they love themselves. The hatred will disappear and they will not want to fight." This has not extended to the Muslim community, he said. …