Episcopal Church Presiding Bishop Katharine Jefferts Schori has called for a Day of Prayer for South Sudan for February 16.

Bishop Jefferts Schori is joined in this call by the Rev. Gradye Parsons, the Stated Clerk of the Presbyterian General Assembly and the Reformed Church in America.

“The world is increasingly concerned over the rampant violence in South Sudan,” the Presiding Bishop said.  “The recent increase in armed conflict, murder, and mayhem has been fomented in part by inaccurate reports of tribal partisanship.  The new nation needs peace, in order that all its people might thrive. The Episcopal Church of Sudan is partnering with others on the ground in that work of peace-building. The Sudanese communities within our own Episcopal Church have been important and effective leaders in this work. I ask your prayers for peace, as well as your awareness and involvement in the lives of our brothers and sisters across the globe. The Prince of Peace serves the whole world.  As his disciples, may we do no less!”

In July 2011, a referendum called for the African country of Sudan to become two nations – Sudan and South Sudan.  Since that time, many residents of South Sudan have experienced violence and suffered inhumane treatment.

“For fifty years, as civil war raged in Sudan, it was clear to people there that the outside world knew very little of their plight, and cared less,” noted Bishop Catherine Waynick, Diocese of Indianapolis. “While this new month-long conflict has taken a huge toll and set the development of South Sudan back in incalculable ways, there is at least the assurance that this time things are different.”

The Diocese of Indianapolis maintains a companion relationship with Episcopal Diocese of Bor in South Sudan. “The world does know, and brothers and sisters around the Anglican Communion do care, and the very stones will not need to cry out for justice and peace, because we are assaulting heaven with prayers of our own.  It means the world to them,” Bishop Waynick said.

Presiding Bishop Jefferts Schori has noted that The Episcopal Church now has a number of Sudanese congregations and communities of faith as a result of the Lost Boys of Sudan, who immigrated to the United States as refugees beginning in 2001.

“My life was forever changed by the people of South Sudan,” explained Robin Denney, former Episcopal missionary who was based in Juba, South Sudan. “They showed me that the Gospel brings life in the midst of death, and they awakened in me a deep love of the Gospel.  As we commit ourselves to prayer for South Sudan, and as we give, let us open our hearts to hope and to be changed, for as I learned in South Sudan, God will never be defeated.”