Province of South Sudan and Sudan consecrate canon Omuku and assign him the role of international advocacy

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[Juba, South Sudan, TCT] The Archbishop and Primate of the Episcopal Church of South Sudan and Sudan (ECSS&S), Daniel Deng Bul Yak in a live televised event on January 3 2016 has consecrated Rev. Canon Precious Omuku as bishop in his province bringing a total number of ECSS& S bishops to over 50.

[Juba, South Sudan, TCT] The Archbishop and Primate of the Episcopal Church of South Sudan and Sudan (ECSS&S), Daniel Deng Bul Yak in a live televised event on January 3 2016 has consecrated Rev. Canon Precious Omuku as bishop in his province bringing a total number of ECSS& S bishops to over 50.

Bishop Omuku, a native of Nigeria will perform crucial role of an international advocate for the Anglican province of South Sudan and in addition to his duty as special envoy of Archbishop of Canterbury, the Most Reverend Justin Welby.

According to the Revd. Dr. Joseph Bilal, a board member of the Justice, Peace and Reconciliation of the Province of ECSS& S, bishop Omuku will continue to work in his base at the Lambeth Palace as special adviser of Archbishop of Canterbury on Anglican Communion Affairs. “He will not necessarily be move out from his base at Lambeth Palace, but he will continue with his duties as adviser of the archbishop of Canterbury on Anglican communion affairs. He will be keenly involved on issues of sustainable development, justice, peace and reconciliation in South Sudan and Sudan,” Dr. Bilal explained.

The historic service conducted at the All Saint Cathedral in Juba, was attended by several bishops of the ECSS& S including the Rt. Rev. Hillary Garang Deng, the bishop of Malakal and chair of the Upper Nile cluster of dioceses including Bor, Twich East, Duk, Malakal, Bentiu and others. Among the bishops who participated in the consecration service were Enoch Tombe of Rejaf, Samuel Peni of Nzara, Ezekiel Diing of Twich East dioceses.

It is first of its kind for the province of South Sudan and Sudan to consecrate and assign a bishop from a different province. The ECSS & S practice appointment of bishops who are strictly natives from the diocese of which the position has fallen vacant; but in rare cases are bishops appointed from other communities to oversee dioceses as local missionary bishops.

The position of the province of South Sudan and Sudan The consecration and assignment of bishop Omuku came barely a month after the house of bishops of South Sudan and Sudan has issued a communique straining years of relationship and partnership with The Episcopal Church, USA (TEC) and some dioceses in Church of England (CoE) due to differing theological stands on the issue of sexuality.

The ECSS& S does not recognize teachings, which allows same sex marriage, a position, which does not favor some of its partners, mainly TEC and some dioceses in CoE. The November 2015 house of bishops’ communique of ECSS & S affirmed membership of its primate and archbishop to the global fellowship of confessing Anglicans (Gafcon) and recognize the Anglican Church in Norther America (ACNA), groups of orthodox Anglicans objecting same sex teaching.

The house of bishops also endorsed the attendance of Archbishop Daniel Deng to the gathering of primates convened by the Archbishop of Canterbury to take place on January 11-16, 2016 in England. Conflict in South Sudan For about two years, South Sudan has engaged in a serious conflict with itself, a situation that has forced more than a million people to take refuge in neighboring countries and made another million internally displaced since December 2013.

Rights groups and organizations estimate that more than 10, 000 lives have been lost to this war, which many refer to it as ‘senseless war.’ In February 2014, archbishop Welby paid a solidarity visit to South Sudan at the invitation of the archbishop Daniel Deng Bul. During his visit, Welby went to the town of Bor in the troubled state of Jonglei where he blessed a mass grave of which more than 20 female clergy of the ECSS were buried.

The rebels under leadership of Riek Machar, a practicing Christian, murdered them inside the Cathedral of Bor Diocese while praying. The Archbishop of Canterbury, Welby urged and pledged to support for ‘the long and hard work’ of reconciliation in the troubled youngest country.

The shaky peace agreement signed by South Sudanese government led by President Salva Kiir and armed opposition forces led by the former vice president Riek Machar in August 2015 promised to end the nearly two years conflict. But the reports of continuing fighting in the country are rampant contributing to the delay on arrangements of implementation of peace agreement including the establishment of the new transitional government.

The economy in the youngest nation is also roaring with prices of imported goods becoming unbearable to the poor majority in the nation, especially after the recent devaluation of South Sudan currency.

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