The Episcopal Church of South Sudan (ECSS)
The Bor meeting in November 2013 laid the groundwork for the South Sudanese church to become independent of the Episcopal Church of Sudan. It was decided at the same meeting to divide the Episcopal Church of South Sudan into 8 internal provinces.
Following the constitution of the new province of Sudan, the 39th province of the Anglican Communion, which took place in Khartoum on 30 July 2017, the South Sudanese church became independent of the Sudanese church to form the Episcopal Church of South Sudan (ECSS).
The first internal province to be created was the Central Equatorial Internal Province, whose first archbishop was Paul Pitya Benjamin Yugusuk, son of the late Primate Benjamin Wani Yugusuk. He was enthroned in Juba on 23 July 2017.
The ECSS is funded by a number of Western-based supporting agencies, including the CASSS, together with internal funding from its own resources and from each diocese. At present, the CASSS sends all interest gained from its historic and contemporary financial resources on a quarterly basis to the Juba headquarters of the ECSS.
The church today
The overwhelming majority of the population of South Sudan identifies itself as Christian and the churches within the country form a network which has survived the ravages of the civil war. Due to the Church’s reliability and endurance during the war, it is well-respected and trusted at a national level as well as within local and regional communities. The Church is active at all levels of governance and, with over 155 tribal groups each possessing their own language and culture, it has the potential to heal internal divisions within South Sudan and unite people from across the country. Indeed, the Church was influential in bringing about the Comprehensive Peace Agreement that ended the Second Sudanese Civil War in 2005.
Whilst widespread and influential, the Church in South Sudan is badly under-resourced. Most pastors have had little, if any, training and very few believers have their own Bible. However, many of the country’s people are Christians; although exact numbers are hard to come by, with around 4 million members, the ECSS accounts for almost half of the country’s population.
There are fewer than 200 doctors in South Sudan, and yet there are 200 pastors in Juba, the capital, alone. The average congregation size for Juba is 200, and pastors can be found up and down the country, in rural areas and towns, leading congregations, as well as communities, where government structures are generally weak or lacking.
Key facts of ECSS
- Has 5 million members
- Is growing fast
- Has 55 dioceses
- Has been badly affected by the civil war
- Has faced persecution
What ECSS does
- Proclaims the Gospel of Jesus
- Peace making
- Cares for the homeless
- Provides basic education
- Cares for the sick
Click on the map of Sudan and South Sudan on the right for details of dioceses and clergy contacts.