At a crossroads
Greetings to you all. It has been a busy year for Solidarity with South Sudan. The ongoing disruption within the country while no longer pulling media attention as it did at the end of last year, has continued to provide challenges for us as we move forwards. While we had to redeploy members from Malakal, due to the violence which resulted in all Priests and religious temporarily leaving the Diocese, we have begun to make efforts to return to see what presence we might have as the buildings we left have been ransacked and it is not an area student teachers would be prepared to travel to from other parts of the country.
In July I made a trip to South Sudan to visit the project and see our members on the ground. I saw much that had changed and developed since my last visit three years ago. I had time to visit and meet with the communities of Juba, Rimenzee, Yambio and Wau. While the dedication of our people continues to be inspiring I think the value of our presence and the contribution we are making to this struggling country, was symbolised for me in comments I heard from students in our institutions. Though from different Tribes their shared experience with Solidarity has helped them overcome the prejudices that can so easily lead to violence and bloodshed so that in the uncertainty and unrest they care and support one another. They were for me a true sign of light and hope in this dark situation.
Outside of South Sudan, life has continued to be busy for everyone as we have continued to support the projects despite the increased difficulties due to the political situation in South Sudan.
The governing Board has initiated a strategic planning process to provide a map for our on going service and work
The project moves forward demonstrating that we have built something sufficiently robust as to be able to deal with what has been a very trying year.
Some of our community members have been renewed. We thank all who have left; for all their life given in mission, remaining with our brothers and sisters of South Sudan during these difficult times.
We are also welcoming new members who have already joined their communities, or will be doing it during the next months, we thank them and their congregations for their generosity.
A new website will be accessible in November, we hope it will help to increase the awareness on the situation in South Sudan and will make Solidarity known.
Please continue to pray for the solidarity team and the people they serve. We continue to thank you and depend upon your support and generosity in a situation that is likely to get more complicated if and when the predicted famine arrives. Please feel free to share this newsletter with others, so that the knowledge of the work being done by Religious in response to the challenges of South Sudan might be more widely known.
Yours in Christ
Paul Smyth cmf
President of Solidarity with South Sudan.