On 27th November 2019, Solidarity with South Sudan held its annual Assembly at the De La Salle Brothers headquarters in Rome. Thirty six member congregations attended, along with a number of other congregations who are considering various types of engagement in South Sudan. Also in attendance, where diplomatic representatives from the USA and the UK and some donor organizations.
Last year, this occasion offered a retrospective look at ten years of presence in the country. This year, we considered some of the implications of an in-depth study which examined the impact of Solidarity in South Sudan. The study was very positive regarding the achievements of Solidarity and the influence it has on individual lives. In addition, Solidarity has helped to build the capacity of communities, especially in the areas of training health, education, pastoral workers and farmers. During all the past violent upheavals, it was noted that Solidarity never once closed its doors, and continued to operate when many other helping agencies fled the scene.
Looking to the future, the Assembly concentrated on two areas of concern; ‘How to reach out to other religious congregations who would like to engage more with Solidarity’s mission?’. The second question was to consider ‘How Solidarity might eventually hand over its operations to locally or regionally based church organizations?’ Part of Solidarity’s mission is to build capacity not only in individuals and communities but also to build the capacity of the local church to take on and manage the institutions it founded.
Solidarity is not simply a Christian NGO. It seeks to embody our religious call to live as faithful witnesses of Christ’s love for those on the margins. We seek to live this out in intercultural, intercongregational communities of men and women, who desire to make visible the passion of Christ for his sisters and brothers. Finally, it was noted that the harvest is great but the labourers are indeed few. Come and join us!
F. Jim Greene, MAfr