From the Worldwide Faith News archives

Seminar Addresses Ongoing Tragedy of Sudan

Date 12 May 1996 20:18:20

May 9, 1996 
96165       Seminar Addresses Ongoing Tragedy of Sudan 
                      by Jerry L. Van Marter 
WASHINGTON--Fifty-five Christians from the United States and Sudan gathered 
here March 17-21 to consider the role of the church in seeking peace and 
reconciliation in the war- and famine-ravaged east African country. 
     Presbyterian Church (U.S.A.) involvement in Sudan dates back 94 years. 
     Co-sponsored by the Worldwide Ministries Division, the Presbyterian 
Washington Office and the Church of the Brethren, the "Sudan Seminar" 
included 40 Presbyterians, seven members of the Church of the Brethren, and 
members of several other denominations.  They were joined by 14 Sudanese, 
including nine refugees who have resettled in the U.S. 
     Conversations focused on the historical, political and humanitarian 
aspects of the situation in Sudan, where hundreds of thousands have died in 
more than a quarter-century of civil war and millions upon millions have 
been made homeless.  The group prayed together, studied in small groups, 
attended briefings with State Department and Congressional officials, met 
with their members of Congress, and gathered in the evenings to hear the 
Sudanese tell their stories. 
     Prior to their congressional visits, U.S. Representative Frank Wolf 
(R-Va.), a Presbyterian with a deep concern for Sudan, told seminar 
participants, "I've seen your schedule.  When you finish this seminar, you 
will know far more about Sudan than almost all members of Congress."  Wolf 
told the group to "be bold when you go to see your members [of Congress]." 
     After a trip to Washington's Holocaust Museum, Sudanese participants 
reflected on the similarities between Sudan and Hitler's Germany.  After 
seeing  mounds of shoes from the concentration camps of Germany, one 
Sudanese said, "The only difference with our people is that most of them 
have no shoes.  No one is writing down the names of our people who die or 
the names of the villages destroyed.  Will anyone remember?" 
     At their closing worship service, seminar participants collected an 
offering of $900.  The money will be used to purchase donkeys and carts for 
congregations among displaced persons in southern Sudan.  The carts will be 
used to transport water from the Nile River to parched refugee camps that 
dot the desert. 
(Information for this article was furnished by the Rev. William O. Lowrey, 
former missionary to Sudan and Sudan desk associate, Presbyterian 
Washington Office.) 

For more information contact Presbyterian News Service
  Presbyterian Church (U.S.A.), Louisville, KY 40202
  phone 502-569-5504            fax 502-569-8073  
  E-mail   Web page: 


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