Blackmore Vale Deanery has a link with the Diocese of Lui, in South Sudan. This is part of the Diocese of Salisbury’s 40-year-long partnership with the Episcopal Church of South Sudan and Sudan.
Since it started in 2009, this link has involved:
Visits and Communication
- 5 groups have visited Lui from Blackmore Vale
- a week’s visit to UK by Rt Rev Stephen Dokolo, Bishop of Lui
- meetings with people from Lui Diocese who’ve travelled to UK or other countries
- ongoing contact with the Bishop of Lui by email and phone
Fundraising and Giving
Funds have been raised by Blackmore Vale and taken/sent to Lui Diocese for:
- educational materials for primary school
- teacher training
- motorcycles and bicycles for clergy and MU leaders
- humanitarian aid for displaced people
Passing on Skills
We’ve delivered three short training programmes for pre-school leaders, as well as made contributions to clergy, youth leader, sunday school leader and Mothers’ Union education and training.
An important part of the link and something we can all do is to pray for the needs of people in Lui and to know that they pray for us.
Situation in Lui
Lui was affected by the devastating civil war that broke out in South Sudan in 2013. Many of Lui’s population to fled into the bush for safety as they have done in the past time and again in the many conflicts that have affected their country. For several years the town of Lui was held by government forces whilst opposition militia controlled many surrounding villages and travel within the area was extremely dangerous. Planting and harvesting was disrupted. The situation has been improving and slowly life has returned to normal with schools opened and people rebuilding their livelihoods. The causes of the civil war are not completely resolved, however, A fragile peace agreement was signed in February 2020 between the President Salva Kiir and opposition leader Riek Machar who represent the two largest of the many tribes in South Sudan. They agreed to form a Government of National Unity but the situation remains unstable. The people of Lui are members of the small Moru tribe are not supporters of either faction in the civil war.
Contact and Visits
It had been hoped that Archbishop Stephen of Lui and his wife Lillian would come to the Lambeth Conference in July 2020 and thus be able to visit us and spend a few days in Blackmore Vale Deanery. Due to COVID-19 the Lambeth Conference has been delayed for a year. This means, of course, that our hope-for visit is delayed. Using the imagery of a shepherd when the wolf is attacking the flock, the Archbishop of Canterbury said church leaders have a vital pastoral role to play in their own Provinces and Dioceses at this time.
The first case of Covid-19 in South Sudan was reported on 7th April in the capital, Juba. The health system in the country is ill-equipped to contain and deal with a spread of Covid-19. All neighbouring countries are also affected, many of which host refugees. The closing of South Sudan’s borders to keep out the virus is also keeping out food from Uganda, so the cost of food has greatly increased, making life for poor South Sudanese even more difficult than it already was. Schools in both countries have already been closed for some time.
Please hold the people of Lui and its churches in your prayers as they face this latest crisis. They lack access to the resources, support and health systems that we enjoy and many have already suffered much. The Lord is, as ever, their only refuge. Psalm 46:1-3 “God is our refuge and strength, an ever-present help in trouble. Therefore, we will not fear, though the earth give way and the mountains fall into the heart of the sea, though its waters roar and foam and the mountains quake with their surging”.