Thursday, April 08, 2010

The Political Situation in Sudan

[This text is copied from the e-newsletter of the Diocese of Missouri, dated April 8]

If you are following current events in Sudan, you will note the increasing rhetoric and stridency in statements from most participants approaching the upcoming elections. The pronouncements are unwavering and dire, they hold no room for negotiation, and this is not a two sided conflict, but a complex situation.

Bishop Wayne Smith has often reminded us that the on-the-ground situation in Lui is fluid. We do not know as we are planning each mission trip, if some event will change the possibility of travel: political, weather, health. We do not know, we will not know. We open our hearts to understanding what that not-knowing might feel like for our brothers and sisters in the Diocese of Lui, and we also learn from their deep faith in Christ which triumphs over this not-knowingness. And we pray.

The new chairperson of the diocesan Companion Relationship Committee, the Rev. Emily Bloemker, articulates this clearly, “We’re the church, we’re not an NGO.” Our initial work with Lui diocese focused on our relationship with them, and an immediate need for available water. As our last deep water well is being completed, our common work is refocusing on supporting the ministry of the Lui diocese. “It’s about establishing a permanent home for the diocese, a place to carry out ministry with dignity.” Make no mistake, there are a lot of needs: the hospital, ongoing support of the Mothers Union, education, Lui diocese infrastructure, among others. Last year the missioners asked Bishop Bullen outright, “It takes money to make these mission trips happen, would you rather use the money spent for our travel on some of these identified needs.?” And he said no, the most important thing is that you come here, that you share worship and fellowship and relationship.

In the fluid process that is Sudan elections, it is possible for the Carter Center to be uninvited from election process oversight on April 1, receive close to an apology and re-invitation on April 3, to announce today that ex-president Carter will be in Sudan during the elections; possible for a party to threaten complete countrywide boycott of elections, then to clarify only certain regions. In this back and forth, we pray alongside our brothers and sisters in Lui diocese.

No comments: