With his country wracked by poverty and a decades-old civil war that has claimed the lives of more than two million people, the new archbishop of Sudan, Joseph Marona, says he sees both difficulties and blessings.
“This is not an easy time for me to become an archbishop, at a time of wars and killings and persecution in the church,” said Archbishop Marona during a late summer visit to Church House in Toronto.
“As the third archbishop, my first priority is to go out and talk about peace.”
The archbishop is hopeful. Three years ago, as chairman of the New Sudan Council of Churches, he met with the leaders of the rebel faction, the Sudan People’s Liberation Army, to try to convince them to end their violent acts. Today, the situation is somewhat improved, he believes. Similar positive steps can be seen in the church’s attempts to reconcile conflicts between the Nuer and Dinka tribes, he added.
As well, the World Council of Churches is helping to organize a meeting in November among the different players in Sudan.
Archbishop Marona also sees blessings in that “The churches are coming up as mushrooms.”
He thanked the Canadian church and spoke of its special relationship with the Sudanese church. “Sometimes we are sorry because the suffering compels us to ask to give, give, give some more ? Thank God, we are not alone.”