Presbyterian leaders offer a call to prayer for Sudan

LOUISVILLE (PNS) With violence flaring in Sudan as the July 9 independence
of South Sudan nears, Presbyterian Church (U.S.A.) leaders have called on all
Presbyterians to pray for peace in the East African country.

The call was issued by General Assembly Moderator Cynthia Bolbach, General
Assembly Stated Clerk Gradye Parsons and General Assembly Mission Council
Executive Director Linda Valentine.

After decades of civil war between the Khartoum-based Islamist government of Sudan
and the mainly Christian and animist south, a Comprehensive Peace Agreement was
signed in 2005. The agreement called for a referendum on self-determination for
southern Sudan. The referendum was held in January of this year, with overwhelming
support for independence, which is scheduled to take place July 9.

The full text of the call to prayer:

The Presbyterian Church (U.S.A.) has more than 100 years of ministry with our sisters
and brothers in Sudan. Our engagement in Sudan involves ministry through mission
personnel and our partner churches in both the northern and southern parts of the
country. Because of this longstanding commitment, we want to focus attention on a
particularly serious situation.

Last January, in a relatively peaceful referendum on self-determination held under the
auspices of the 2005 Comprehensive Peace Agreement that ended a long civil war,
the people of southern Sudan voted for independence. South Sudan is scheduled to
become an independent state on July 9.

In recent days, violence has flared in the border regions of South Kordofan and Abyei.
Violence has also broken out between the Nuer and Murle peoples in Jonglei state.
Violence continues in the Darfur region in western Sudan. Reports of attacks in areas
of civilian populations raise additional concerns. Many people have been displaced
in each of these areas, increasing the risks they face. In the South Kordofan region,
reports indicate that international humanitarian providers are relocating or evacuating
their staff out of concern for their safety. In some locations, violence has diminished
or ceased, however its effects remain, as does the potential for further violence.

General Assembly Mission Council Staff and Presbyterians committed to Sudan are

responding. We are engaged in advocacy with representatives of the United States
government. With our international, ecumenical partners we are calling the United
Nations Security Council and other members of the international community to act
to ensure that humanitarian assistance programs have access to all parts of Sudan.
We are also calling for actions to ensure that the United Nations Mission in Sudan
mandate to protect civilians is fulfilled. We are supporting efforts to respond to
humanitarian needs.

Now we invite you to act on behalf of the people of Sudan through prayer. We invite
individual Presbyterians and Presbyterian congregations to pray regularly for the
people of Sudan. Pray for all the people, particularly those affected by violence in
South Kordofan, Jonglei State and Darfur. Pray that the leaders of Sudan and South
Sudan will turn from violence. Pray for our brothers and sisters in Christ. Pray for
those who provide humanitarian assistance. Pray that the international community will
find effective ways to intervene. Pray for peace.

Come Holy Spirit, come to the people of Sudan.

Come Holy Spirit, break the hold of violence.

Come Holy Spirit, draw the people together.

Come Holy Spirit, lead the people in paths of peace.

Come Holy Spirit, guide the people to establish justice.

Come Holy Spirit, come to the people of Sudan.

By God’s grace, may it be so. Amen.

Debbie Braaksma, coordinator of the Africa Office in Presbyterian World Mission,
Mark Koenig, director of the Presbyterian Mission at the United Nations, and Sharon
Youngs, communications coordinator for the Office of the General Assembly,
contributed to this story.