A two-day forum bringing together members of the Ecumenical Network South Sudan (ENSS) in Juba has given hope to the revival of the religious entity that engages internal and external partners in view of advancing priority needs in the world’s youngest nation.
Guided by the need for collective peace in South Sudan and especially the desire to revive the ruined hopes of South Sudanese, the forum that took place in January 2020 focused on two significant aspects; advocacy for peace and reviving the collaboration between local and international stakeholders of ENSS. The meeting was facilitated by John Ashworth, who has worked in South Sudan and advised its churches for more than 30 years.
Participants at the meeting also spent time seeking how to communicate with each other, “looking at how our international partners are going to work together as a network,” Ashworth said about the meeting held at the Good Shepherd Peace Centre in the outskirts of Juba within Rejaf County.
According to SSCC Secretary General, Father James Oyet Latansio, who was part of the two-day ENSS forum, issues around the oil sector were discussed, including initiatives to “support justice and reparation for those affected by oil exploration.”
Further, in its working document titled Reflections of the Ecumenical Network South Sudan, ENSS members encouraged SSCC and partners to reach out to parties of the Revitalized Agreement on the Resolution of Conflict in South Sudan (R-ARCSS) in order to influence “decision making around sticky issues of the deadlock,” according to Father James.
Meanwhile, Isaac Kenyi, an official with the Juba-based South Sudan Catholic Bishops’ Secretariat said that the most important takeaway from that meeting is the revitalization of the network itself.
“We are reviving the old network but in a new format. This coming together was like renewing or recommitment of partners to this ecumenical network,” Kenyi said.