Church Leaders in South Sudan Call for Active Participation in Planned Ecumenical Prayer

Members of the South Sudan Council of Churches (SSCC). Credit: SSCC

Members of the South Sudan Council of Churches (SSCC) have, in a collective statement, encouraged the people of God in the East-Central African nation “to actively participate” in the planned ecumenical prayer session schedule to take place on Saturday, June 18.

In the statement shared with ACI Africa Wednesday, June 15, SSCC members say, “Church members need to actively participate in the event for ‘peace and justice’ in South Sudan.”

“All the members of the Churches are asked to join the ecumenical prayer together in love, hope, peace and unity,” the representatives of church leaders in South Sudan say, and add, “The prayers will be hosted at All Saints Cathedral in Juba this week and SSCC will be happy with the presence of all the Church members on this remarkable day.”

The prayer initiative, which church leaders in South Sudan have organized, was part of the preparatory activities ahead of the postponed ecumenical visit to the country that was to be undertaken by Pope Francis alongside the Archbishop of Canterbury, Justin Welby, and the Moderator of the Church of Scotland, Jim Wallace.

On June 10, the Vatican announced the postponement of Pope Francis’ six-day Apostolic trip to the Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC) and the ecumenical visit to South Sudan that had previously been scheduled for July 2-7.


The Holy See Press Office Director, Matteo Bruni, said that the postponement of the Holy Father’s pastoral visit had been “at the request of his doctors” and that the trip would take place at a date that is yet to be determined.

Reacting to the news of the postponement on June 10, Archbishop Stephen Ameyu Martin of Juba Archdiocese said, “The planned ecumenical prayer of this month will continue without any problem”.

“We will continue with the activities that have been planned like meetings and other preparations,” Archbishop Ameyu said, and added, “This announcement cannot stop us from preparing because the Holy Father is postponing his visit to South Sudan, not canceling it.” 

In a May 28 Interview with Radio Bakhita, Archbishop Ameyu highlighted the importance of the prayer initiative saying, “I know we have had a problem in the Catholic Church before, but now people are working together and greeting each other.” 

He added, “Before the coming of Pope Francis this prayer will include all the churches and believers even Muslims for reconciliation that will be in June.”

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Separated from the Sudan Council of Churches (SCC) in 2013 after South Sudan had gained independence from Sudan in 2011, SSCC provides a platform to enhance the spirit of ecumenical cooperation towards collective action for peace in the world’s youngest nation.

In their June 15 collective statement, SSCC members say, “These prayers will support and enhance peace, healing and reconciliation for the people of South Sudan”.

“The planned ecumenical prayer this week will be making the journey of the ecumenical pilgrimage to South Sudan by the world Church leaders,” they add.

On June 12, Pope Francis said he is praying to reschedule the apostolic trip to DRC and the ecumenical visit to South Sudan “as soon as possible”.

In his remarks after his Angelus reflection for pilgrims gathered in St. Peter’s Square on Holy Trinity Sunday, the Holy Father expressed optimism and asked the people of God to join him in praying for the realization of his third trip to Africa. He apologized to authorities of DRC and South Sudan for having to postpone the six-day trip.


On June 13, the Holy Father reiterated his intention to reschedule his African trip.

The 85-year-old Pontiff has been suffering from a torn ligament in his right knee, limiting his ability to walk. On May 19, he used a wheelchair during a public meeting, the first time he had done so publicly since leaving the hospital after colon surgery in July 2021.

The pain in his right knee has seen the Holy Father cancel some of his engagements. On May 9, the Tourism Minister of Lebanon announced that the Holy Father had postponed the June 12-13 trip to the Western Asian country “for health reasons”. 

Pope Francis is scheduled to visit Canada next month, from July 24-29.

Patrick Juma Wani is a South Sudanese journalist with a great zeal and interest for Catholic Church related communication. Patrick holds a Diploma in Journalism and Mass Communication from Makerere Institute for Social Development (MISD) in Uganda. He has over 7 years of extensive experience in leading the development and implementation of media, advocacy, communication and multimedia strategy and operations, with an excellent track record of editorial leadership, budget management, and stakeholder outreach. He currently works as a Journalist for ACI Africa.