National, News

Church wrangle spills filth on gov’t

By Charles K Mark

Episcopal Church of South Sudan (ECSS) leadership has expressed disappointment over failure by the government to protect church members against attacks by armed youth in Bor.

The Primate of ECSS in Juba, His Grace Archbishop Dr. Justin Badi Arama, issued a statement of discontent over government’s responses to the turn of events in the ongoing power wrangles in ECSS Jonglei State internal province.

He said it has now been over three years since ECSS leaders have continued to be humiliated, tortured, and restricted from their free movement and worship by the youths and local authorities in Bor.

“The ECSS leadership is dissatisfied with the failure of the government to give equal rights and protection to ECSS like the other denominations in Bor town.” Said Archbishop Badi.

The ECSS primate echoed his dissatisfaction with the chaotic situation, quoting the book of Zechariah 4:6 that says God’s work is done not by force nor by strength but by the spirit of God.

He strongly condemned the torture of priests and the closure of the church by the chiefs, community leaders, and youths in Bor.

Speaking to the media in a press conference yesterday, Archbishop Badi accused some community leaders and chiefs in Bor, mainly from Makuach Payam, of having mobilized heavily armed youths to forcefully close the churches that are loyal to the ECSS administration.

The Primate reported that the oppressors sealed the doors of the main Church known as St. Peter’s Parish (Langbar B), which he said remained closed up to date under the watch of the Government.

Today, in the name of the almighty God, we call upon the government to immediately give orders for our Church in Bor to be opened for worship as soon as possible.” Dr. Badi appealed to the authorities.

“… and give freedom to all ECSS clergy and faithful to move and operate freely in Bor town.” He continued.

The Bor ECSS church wrangles all started three years ago when the ex-bishop, Bishop Ruben Akurdit Ngong, was defrocked from the church for misconduct by Primate Justin Badi.

But ex-bishop Akurdit refused to step down and paved the way for the installation of a newly elected Bishop of Bor Diocese.

However, after dragging of feet on the matter, the office of the president recently tried to intervene to resolve the impasse between Primate Badi and defrocked Bishop Akurdit followers.

A letter from the office of the president seen by No. 1 Citizen outlined four main resolutions:

First, the ex-bishop must adhere to the constitution of the ECSS, apologizes for his misconduct, be forgiven, and be reinstated with dignity.

The resolution also stated that the defrocking of Akurdit was to be lifted by the primate once he apologized, and lastly, the people involved in the shooting were to be held accountable.

But all the efforts to resolve the matter seem to have gone in vain, as the conflicting clergymen failed to reach consensus for the reinstatement of the defrocked Archbishop Akurdit, even though he wrote the apology letter.

“The crisis in the ECSS Church in Bor is not about resources; the crisis is about the former Archbishop demanding three more months after his retirement,” Moses Deng Bol, Archbishop of the Internal Province of ECSS in the Northern Bahr El Ghazal region, said.

Mr. Deng said the ex-clergyman refused to retire even when his retirement age was overdue in 2021.

The ECSS disagreements reached a breaking point when four people were injured when members of the Episcopal Church of South Sudan (ECSS) in Bor town, Jonglei State, clashed with security forces at the church premises on December 20, 2020.

The clashes reportedly erupted following a misunderstanding between the congregants and the forces deployed to shut down the Langbar (B) St. Peter Parish church.

Late last month, Police in Jonglei State’s capital, Bor town, remanded 27 members of the Episcopal Church of South Sudan (ECSS), including the bishop of Makuac diocese, who were engaged in a fistfight over the leadership of the church in Bor.


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