|Support the People of South Sudan!The people of South Sudan are in desperate need of help. On April 12, the United States along with the European Union and the United Nations outlined the problems and called for immediate action in a statement below:
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“Despite a Cessation of Hostilities agreement, fighting has continued, causing tremendous suffering and large-scale displacement inside and outside the country. This is a man-made disaster. All parties need to urgently work together to create the conditions for peace and stability to return to South Sudan.There are five million people in need, 800,000 people who are internally displaced, and 280,000 who have fled to neighboring countries. We thank those countries for hosting refugees from South Sudan.Humanitarian agencies have reached more than one million people with life-saving aid. But this is just a fifth of the people in need. There must be immediate and unconditional access for the UN and humanitarian organizations to reach people in need across all areas of South Sudan.
Please contact your members of congress and urge them to support increased diplomatic initiatives and funding for humanitarian aid for South Sudan. And, urge the Secretary of State and President to use all possible means to continue to press for humanitarian access.
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From the Presbyterian Church (PCUSA) Office of Public Witness
Rev. Debbie Braaksma, Africa Area Coordinator, Presbyterian Church USA (PCUSA) reported from the February 2014 All Africa Council of Churches meeting in Addis Ababa, Ethiopia of dialogue with leaders of the Presbyterian Church of South Sudan (PCOSS).
One of the stories she recounted of courageous witness of the PCOSS was as they sheltered 6,000 people of all ethnicities ( Nuer, Dinka, Shilluk, Anuak and Murle) in their church compounds. Moderator Peter Gai positioned himself at the gate of the PCOSS compound strongly refusing entry to the soldiers who wanted to come in looking for certain people saying “there are no enemies here”. The situation he described in Malakal and many other parts of South Sudan is very bleak, they told about the horrific conditions of the tens of thousands who are in refugee camps.
As a ceasefire was declared on January 23, between Sudan and South Sudan. Our sisters and brothers in South Sudan need our prayers as they seek to move into a future of justice and peace. Your prayers are requested for those who mourn the loss of loved ones, for those injured in the conflict, for political and religious leaders, and for all who work for peace and justice.
In addition to prayer, Presbyterians are encouraged to:
- Advocate with the United States government. Information is available through the PC(USA) Office of Public Witness.
- Give. Your gifts to DR-000042-South Sudan will help provide food, emergency supplies, trauma recovery, and peace-building support.
- View the Jan. 24 CNN interview with Shelvis and Nancy Smith-Mather, PC(USA) mission workers in South Sudan.
- Read a reflection from Linda Valentine, executive director of the Presbyterian Mission Agency, on how the Presbyterian Ministry at the United Nations works for peace in South Sudan.
A group of youth and adults from First Presbyterian served a delicious meal on December 30 at Loaves and Fishes for the 4th time in 2013.
Mittens, hats and scarves from the Mitten Tree collection during Advent were gratefully accepted by guests on that cold December evening. Thanks to Lisa Warntjes and Carla Hilbert for their continued leadership and organization of this outreach mission.