Latest update from Bor, South Sudan
Bible Training in local Episcopal Church dioceses
Core firmly believes that the Church is vital in bringing healing and reconciliation to this troubled nation. Therefore, as part of the process of deepening faith and obedience, training pastors is a crucial aspect of assisting the process of stabilisation in South Sudan.
Bor, South Sudan
Bor is a town that has been heavily impacted by violence due to civil war. Thousands have lost their lives and all have lost loved ones during the periods of war between north and south. In January 2014, soon after fighting broke out in Juba, Bor was invaded again, this time by the Nuer White Army loyal to Riek Machar and again many people lost their lives and homes. Much of Bor was destroyed and most inhabitants fled.
Michael, who attended the training, described the impact the war has had on the community:
“Almost the whole community is traumatized and so we need more counselling. The mental healing is seriously needed. There should be a spiritual forgiveness together with forgetfulness within the Christian Community.”
Pastors attending the course were from the dioceses of Bor, Malek and Athooch. Teachers who travelled to the capital of South Sudan, Juba, included Rev Misheck Mbevi, senior pastor of Gospel Life Church in Kenya, Rev Dr Ian Pennicook, an Anglican clergyman from Australia who also taught with Core in the Gambia and Darien Khlentzos, CEO of Core. All in all around 50 pastors attended the course.
The training was postponed by one week by political instability and dramatically increased security concerns due to the sudden return to Juba of rebel leader, Riek Machar, to form what is now the transitional government of South Sudan.
Thankfully, after a short evacuation, the team were able to travel the 6 hour drive to Bor and on Monday 25 April, the teachers began working through ‘The Whole Counsel of God,’ course. This is a course developed with the aim of giving pastors a “strong framework by which to understand God’s plan of salvation, and by which to dig deeper and even to inspire some to undertake further, formal Bible training”. Darien was taken out of action by severe illness after the first day and became unable to continue teaching. Rev Pennicook and Rev Mbevi continued the training, and at the end of the week Rev Mbevi wrote, “Pastor training at Bor, South Sudan done. About 50 pastors trained on The Whole Counsel of God… 32 topics covered. From Creation to New Creation. Very good responses from the pastors. Very happy that they can read and preach from the Bible with more clarity. They have beseeched us to return back soon. Thank you for your prayers and support. All glory to God.”
Pastors received detailed handouts of the course and the ECSSS cathedral in Bor received a massive bible timeline to assist pastors in understanding how God’s plan of salvation fits together chronologically.
Testimonies and comments from participants
Some comments from pastors, deacons and evangelists included:
“As a pastor and teacher it will help me to teach others” Pastor Abraham Noon
“It will help (me) a lot to be a good shepherd to God’s flock.” Pastor Gabriel
“It has been very important to me because it has refreshed the word of God in my mind and that will cause me to resume my duties in the ministry of God. I would like your ministry school to take place yearly if possible on your side and that it extends to other states here in South Sudan” Michael
Although contested, we believe that this local training is essential to strengthening the Church in South Sudan. Suitable pastors attending the course will be recommended to continue their studies at Diploma level at Bishop Gwynne College.