Many will know of Bishop Anthony Poggo and of his work over many years with the churches of South Sudan. Bishop Anthony was ordained in 1995 after working with the Christian mission movement Scripture Union. In 2002, he joined the international Christian organisation ACROSS, which works to support communities, strengthen churches and improve education and livelihoods in South Sudan. He became its executive director in 2004 before his election as Bishop of Kajo-Keji in 2007. In 2016, he was appointed as the Archbishop of Canterbury’s Advisor for Anglican Communion Affairs, based at Lambeth Palace, London.
Bishop Anthony, along with Mrs Jane Poggo, kindly joined us at our Annual General Meeting in London on 16 June of this year. This was in the wake of the happy news of the election and enthronement of Archbishop Justin Badi and Bishop Anthony was able to tell us that his election had done much to strengthen the credibility of the South Sudan Council of Churches.
Archbishop Justin also has a strategic 10-year plan, introduced since his enthronement, which was outlined by Bishop Anthony; within this, his main overarching theme is:
‘A focus on making and teaching disciples, based on the Lord’s Prayer.’
His strategic plan comprises of the following 10 points:
- Working towards the unity of the Anglican Church – this aspect focusses on the Anglican Communion’s Five Marks of Mission and seeks to unify the church through a common commitment to, and understanding of, God’s holistic and integral mission.
- Improving & constructing church buildings – this may include a large national cathedral in due course, as All Souls Cathedral in Juba is struggling to accommodate all worshippers.
- Strategic Evangelism – this will include the appointment of a person who will have oversight of evangelism.
- Leadership Development – there is a particular need to train bishops in this area in view of their wide-ranging ministry, as well as perhaps the development of an Episcopal University in the future.
- Advocating of behalf of the people – this will include carrying out programmes to support communities, such as social services and schools, as well as encouraging partnerships.
- Working towards the sustainability of the church – the church as a whole, as well as individual churches, need to stand ‘on their own two feet.’ An important step towards this would be the establishment of a Church Commissioners office within South Sudan, following the example of Kenya, Uganda & South Africa, to ensure that the church’s assets are used wisely.
- Supporting peace building and reconciliation
- Discipleship training
- Encouraging prayer & fellowship
- Auditing the church’s resources, at both Province & Diocese level.
This paints a very encouraging picture for Archbishop Justin’s tenure. Bishop Anthony reminded us all that Archbishop Justin had served the church for a long time, having first been a lay reader, then an ordained minister and then a bishop. As a leader himself, he feels strongly that the central role of a leader is to sacrifice one’s own life to search for God’s flock and to put ordinary people first. This leads to his passion to see disciples created and leaders developed.
We pray for both Bishop Anthony and Archbishop Justin in their ministry.
The next Sudan Church Association AGM will be on 15 June 2019 in London.