Visiting our partners in South Sudan – October 2023

In late October, John Inglis-Jones, our new Regional Relationship Manager, and Doug Ingram, our Chief Operating Officer, travelled to Juba to visit our partner church, the Episcopal Church of South Sudan (ECSS). The purpose of the visit was to strengthen our relationship with our brothers and sisters in the ECSS, discuss the progress of ongoing projects, and facilitate a handover of responsibilities from Doug to John.  

The ECSS is one of the largest churches in the Anglican Communion, with over 4 million members. It is led by Archbishop Justin Badi Arama.   Unfortunately, the team couldn’t meet with Archbishop Badi, as he was in Cairo but they were wonderfully hosted by the Provincial Secretary Reverend Peter Garang Deng. 

During the early part of the visit, Doug and John had meetings with the team from the Anglican Discipleship Programme (ADP).  The ADP is a wide-ranging catechist training program active in 50 dioceses across the country with around 5800 students attending weekly training. Discussions primarily revolved around the program’s future, including the integration of practical ministry training and grassroots training for non-literate believers.  

They also had the chance to meet with the administrative staff of The Episcopal University (TEU) and inspect the ongoing renovations of the law faculty and student accommodation. Additionally, the team discussed the TEU’s plans to determine where the Trust might be able to support the church in their development. 

The visit also coincided with a Relay Trust sponsored initiative from SOMA International to provide leadership training and spiritual encouragement to the youth within the church.  SOMA undertook the first training with two of the eight South Sudanese Internal Provinces in January 2023 and this visit was to provide the training to the Northern Bahr El Ghazal Internal Province in Wau and Tonj. 

A key element of the visit was for Doug to hand over the relationship between the Relay Trust and the ECSS to John.  While John has previously supported the Trust as an accounting consultant, he only joined the Trust as a team member at the beginning of October.  However, he brings extensive experience from working in South Sudan, having been actively involved with the Church Association of Sudan and South Sudan (CASSS) and Anglican International Development (AID). This marked his 31st visit to the country and combined with his background in the military and accounting, he is well-equipped to nurture the Trust’s relationship with the ECSS in the years ahead. 

As we reflect on the situation in South Sudan, a nation with a challenging history and a difficult path ahead, we would appreciate your prayers for the ECSS, TEU, the ADP and the work SOMA are doing. The church is considered one of the few trusted organizations in the country, and we pray that the increased training and education throughout the church will not only lead more people to embrace Jesus but also play a central role in transforming the nation through His love.