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Reconciliation in the Sudans

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Stein Erik Horjen

In 2005, the Government of Sudan and the Sudan People’s Liberation Movement (SPLM) signed the Comprehensive Peace Agreement (CPA) that ended the longest civil war in African history. Stein Erik Horjen argues that although this second civil war was not a religious one, religion still played an important role in the conflict. Ensuring freedom of religion was a high priority for the SPLM and for the Sudanese churches, which were instrumental in preparing the ground for the 2005 agreement in the same way they had been in facilitating the Addis Ababa Peace Agreement in 1972.
Focusing on the pivotal role of the Sudanese churches through a grassroots peace process called People to People, Horjen examines the churches’ work in ensuring the success of the peace talks between the SPLM and the government sealed by the 2005 Peace Agreement. Taking up the role as the voice of the voiceless, the Sudanese churches challenged and criticized the military and political leaders in regards to abuses of power.
In Reconciliation in the Sudans, Horjen details the tremendous suffering of the people during recurrent conflicts in Sudan and South Sudan. Understanding the history will allow the reader contextual insight into the latest conflict that erupted in South Sudan in 2013. The failure of including mechanisms for reconciliation in the CPA can be considered a main reason for this latest war.
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Chapter 8. Peace in Addis

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← 44 | 45 →

· 8 ·

PEACE IN ADDIS

The persecuted and deprived Sudanese church was soon going to play an important role in the political development in Sudan. One of the first things that took place after three hundred missionaries were expelled was a rapprochement among the leaders of the various churches. The Sudan Council of Churches (SCC) was founded in 1965, one year after the expulsion. The establishment of an ecumenical movement was particularly important for the smaller Protestant Churches than the two largest denominations, the Catholics and the Episcopal Church. At the same time, these two strongest churches have always been among the most active in ecumenical engagement in the Sudans.

The ecumenical movement in Sudan has been well developed, and the Council of Churches is one of the widest in the world in terms of membership. From the outset, Pentecostals, Catholics, and Orthodox have been members of the same Council, and the vigorous role of the Catholic Church as a promoter of ecumenical collaboration is particularly striking. Although it is not a member of the World Council of Churches, the Catholic Church in Sudan has collaborated closely through the SCC with the ecumenical world organization, and Catholic bishops have played an important role in international ecumenical meetings. ← 45 | 46 →

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