Common Roots: Ancient Evangelical Future Conference

Archbishop of South Sudan enthroned

Archbishop Justin Badi Arama installed as fifth primate of South Sudan and Archbishop of Juba

[Juba] Sunday the 22nd of April, 2018 was a joyous day in the south Sudanese capital of Juba, as thousands of Christians gathered at All Saints Cathedral to witness the enthronement of the fifth archbishop and primate of the Episcopal Church of South Sudan.

The Rt Rev Justin Badi Arama, who was previously the Bishop of the Anglican Diocese of Maridi in the western part of the country, won the election after a tight victory over the Rt. Rev. Abraham Yel Bishop of Aweil, a diocese in the northern part of the country. Bishop Justin won the election on 20 Jan 2018 by only a vote over his challenger and was pronounced the fifth archbishop of the province.

The Rt Rev Tim Thornton, Bishop of Lambeth, represented the Archbishop of Canterbury at the enthronement, noting Archbishop Welby regretted he was not able to attend due to the Commonwealth heads of government meeting in London. Bishop Thornton read out a letter written by the Archbishop of Canterbury to the new archbishop expressing have his greetings to the people of south Sudan. Archbishop Welby wrote that though he was not present at the occasion of the enthronement he will be coming with Pope Francis to South Sudan once they have fix a date for their joint visit. He have assured the people of South Sudan that Christians worldwide were praying for South Sudan so that they may see peace once again.

The six-hour service included a sermon on the topic of forgiveness by the Rt Rev Dr Josiah Atkins Idowu secretary general of the Anglican Consultative Council. He started by encouraging South Sudanese to love themselves regardless of tribes, saying “I came from a country where there are more than 250 tribes. Tribalism cannot take you ahead “and for you to realise peace it must start from you to love each other dearly.

He further said “this constant division on basis of tribes and in the church must not take our hearts out of the love of Christ. The constant disagreement in the present church on the issue of women’s ordination or baptism (sprinkling water or immersion) should not be issues that Christians should break fellowship. Our unity is not about women’s ordination or any other doctrine but our unity remains in Jesus Christ and we must all be united in the name of Jesus whether you are from the tribe of Dinka, Nuer, Azande or Bari. We are all one in Jesus.”

The vice president of the republic, Dr James Wani Igga, gave a speech on behalf of the government assuring the church of its commitment to work with them. “I want to assure you, your grace Archbishop Justin Badi Arama that we in the government will cooperate with you as we have been doing to the outgoing archbishop Daniel Deng. As you know the church and the government is inter-connected and each need the other as the government needs the church, the church also needs the government.” He added: “I need you and you need me.”

The vice president also assured the new archbishop of the love the people have for him as evidenced by the multitude gathered in and outside the church. He assured the archbishop the government will “100% ” cooperate with the church, and offered an update on the status of the ongoing peace talks in the Ethiopian capital Addis Ababa. assuring the citizens of the government’s readiness to bring peace to the nation

The occasion was attended by a number of archbishop and present are  the primate of the Church of Uganda Archbishop Stanley Ntagali, Archbishop Thabo Makgoba of the Anglican Church of Southern Africa, Archbishop Onesphore Rwaje of the Church of Rwanda, and Archbishop Ezekiel Kumir Kondo from the Episcopal Church of Sudan. Representatives of the Archbishop of the Anglican Church in North America, the Episcopal Church of the USA, Church of Ireland, a the World Council of Churches, the Catholic archbishop of South Sudan, and the Bishop of Lambeth representing the Archbishop of Canterbury were also in attendance.

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