From the Worldwide Faith News archives www.wfn.org
Seminar Addresses Ongoing Tragedy of Sudan
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
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 PCUSA.NEWS@pcusa.org Web page: http://www.pcusa.org
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