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South Sudanese Archbishop Posthumously Honored for “outstanding contributions to Church”

The Late Archbishop Emeritus of the Archdiocese of Juba, Paulino Lukudu/ Credit: Courtesy Photo

The late South Sudanese Archbishop Paolino Lukudu Loro is among the recipients of the 2021 Lambeth Awards given by the head of the worldwide Anglican Church, the Archbishop of Canterbury.

Established in 1940, the Lambeth Awards which are divided into nine categories, recognize different professionals across the globe for their contributions to the church and society.

In a statement announcing the over 30 recipients of this year’s award, the Archbishop of Canterbury, Justin Welby, posthumously awarded Archbishop Lukudu the Hubert Walter Award for Reconciliation and Interfaith Cooperation “for consistently demonstrating exceptional commitment to the defense of human rights and contributing to peace and ecumenism in South Sudan (1983-2019).”

“Throughout the two decades of civil war (1983-2005) and up to his retirement in December 2019, the Archbishop Emeritus of Juba, as an individual and the president of the Sudan Catholic Bishops’ Conference (SCBC) remained deeply committed to peace, with an outstanding voice in defense of human rights and the dignity of non-Muslims and people of African race in Sudan,” Archbishop Welby says in the 2021 Lambeth Awards Compendium of Citations.

He adds that the late Archbishop who had been at the helm of South Sudan’s only metropolitan see, Juba, from February 1983 to December 2019 “spoke out boldly and courageously against dehumanization and any sort of abuse against non-Muslims, especially during the regime of former president Omar Hassan Al Bashir (and) exhibited leadership in the face of imminent danger to his life.”

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“The Archbishop Emeritus also championed ecumenism and the unity of the Church under the Sudan Council of Churches (SCC) now South Sudan Council of Churches (SSCC),” the Anglican Archbishop says and continues, “He rallied ecumenical effort for peace and reconciliation through advocacy and humanitarian service to those affected by war.”

Archbishop Welby adds that the member of the Comboni Missionaries who died April 5 at the age of 80 “was renowned for his deep spirituality, humanity, wisdom, love for all people, and his ardent desire for peace. He commanded the respect and admiration of many people, irrespective of religious affiliations, race, tribe and gender.”

Originally comprising of three categories namely the Canterbury Cross, Lambeth Cross and the Cross of St Augustine, the Lambeth Awards were expanded in 2016 to include the Hubert Walter Award for Reconciliation and Interfaith Cooperation, Alphege Award for Evangelism and Witness, Lanfranc Award for Education and Scholarship, Langton Award for Community Service, Cranmer Award for Worship, and Dunstan Award for Prayer and the Religious Life.

Announcing the 2021 recipients of the annual international recognition, the head of the Anglican Church said, “During the pandemic, we have seen just how vital the contribution of churches is to the fabric of our society. As well as finding creative ways to worship together safely, churches have been feeding the hungry, reaching out to the lonely and offering hope to those struggling in the midst of the crisis.”

“This year’s Lambeth Awards recipients, not all of whom are Christians, embody this spirit of service – not just during the pandemic but, for many of them, through decades of faithful work,” Archbishop Welby said and commended the awardees for their efforts.

More in Africa

Besides Archbishop Lukudu, the former Archbishop of the Episcopal Church in South Sudan, Danial Deng Bul, also received the Hubert Walter Award for Reconciliation and Interfaith Cooperation following “his outstanding ability to mobilize different religious, political and tribal groups for peace and reconciliation.”

Archbishop Deng chaired the High-Level Committee, which mediated peace between the government of President Salva Kiir and the rebel leader George Athor.

In 2013, President Kiir appointed Archbishop Deng the chairman of the National Reconciliation Committee. 

In the April 7 statement announcing the 2021 recipients of the Lambeth Awards, Archbishop Welby says the South Sudanese Episcopal church leader’s “contribution to reconciliation within South Sudan and beyond has been truly outstanding.”

Other African personalities who received the Lamberth Awards include Rev. Canon Dr. Isaac Kawuki Mukasa and Anglican Bishops Luke Lungile Pato of Namibia, Daniel Yinkah Sarfo of Ghana, and the late Ellinah Wamukoya of Swaziland.

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