JUBA JUNE 09, 2015 (CISA): Church leaders from South Sudan Council of Churches (SSCC) have said reconciliation at all levels, “vertically and horizontally” is essential to stop the recurring conflict in the country.
The leaders said they shall embark on a process of advocacy and spearhead reconciliation, where necessary incorporating existing mechanisms so as not to lose what has already begun on the ground including peace negotiations.
“We commit ourselves to modelling reconciliation and forgiveness in our words and actions,” they said.
“We will go to regional church bodies, national councils of churches and individual churches and, through them we will reach out to key regional leaders. We also appreciate the role of the international community, and will reach out to them.
The 25 leaders and representatives from the member churches of SSCC together with lay members and partners had gathered in Kigali, Rwanda for a retreat from June 1 – 7 where they gave a “statement of our intent to achieve peace and reconciliation for our beloved nation.”
The church leaders further called for the “senseless war” to stop immediately and for the needs of the people to be met, not the needs of political and military elites especially during peace negotiations that are set to resume.
“A cessation of hostilities must be implemented before any detailed negotiations for the future; it is unacceptable to negotiate posts and positions while people are killing and being killed. There is no moral justification to continue killing ourselves, regardless of any legitimate political issues with government or opposition,” said the church leaders.
The church leaders added that they have been inspired by “the spirit of love and forgiveness we have seen in our brothers and sisters in Rwanda.”
“We have learned many things from them: the need for reconciliation, forgiveness, humility, unity and leadership. We have seen how they developed their country after the genocide of 1994, and how they addressed the pain, anger and bitterness of those terrible events,” they said.