Athanasus Ungang, Church of the Brethren Global Mission staff in South Sudan, was released from prison this week after a detention lasting more than three weeks. He and other church leaders and colleagues had been held for questioning following the murder of a church leader in May, although he was not a suspect in the case and the authorities did not press formal charges.
A plan to expand Church of the Brethren agriculture and trauma recovery programing in South Sudan is receiving support from Brethren Disaster Ministries and the Global Food Initiative. A joint allocation directs $29,500 to the work in South Sudan, including $24,500 from the Emergency Disaster Fund (EDF) and $5,000 from the Global Food Initiative (GFI).
In recent weeks the Church of the Brethren’s Emergency Disaster Fund (EDF) has disbursed several grants, directed by the Brethren Disaster Ministries staff. The largest are helping to continue hurricane recovery work in Puerto Rico ($150,000), the Carolinas ($40,500), and the Bahamas ($25,000). Grants for COVID-19 response are going to Honduras (two grants for $20,000
As the situation in South Sudan deteriorates, with recent eruption of renewed armed conflict and United Nations reports that 4.8 million people face food shortages, the Church of the Brethren has donated a vehicle to aid staff in food distribution and other relief work.
Brethren Disaster Ministries staff have directed grants from the Church of the Brethren’s Emergency Disaster Fund to a variety of projects in recent weeks. Among them are a bridge rebuilding project in West Virginia, assistance for refugees from Burundi living in Rwanda, assistance for people displaced by violence in the DR Congo, a Disaster Recovery Support Initiative aiding a longterm recovery group in South Carolina, food assistance in South Sudan, and aid for Haitian migrants returning to Haiti from the Dominican Republic. These grants total $85,950.
South Sudan church leaders have requested Christians around the world to join them in a time of prayer for peace in their nation on this Saturday, Feb. 6, from 11 a.m.-2 p.m. The request is being shared with the Church of the Brethren by members of a delegation that recently visited South Sudan and met with church leaders there.
South Sudan has experienced nearly continuous war since 1955. Although a peace accord was signed between North Sudan and South Sudan in 2005, the people of South Sudan have continued to suffer under ineffective South Sudanese government, lingering military engagement with North Sudan, and tribal conflicts.
“Malέ?” the Nuer greeting of “peace” filled the air as I reconnected with Nuer people of the Mayom/Bentiu area of South Sudan after 34 years. What a joyous occasion to again see these friends and to be able to introduce them to Jay Wittmeyer on our recent trip to South Sudan. This meeting confirmed the importance of the presence of the Church of the Brethren personnel from the 1980s to the present as we worked on issues of development and peace.
Brethren Disaster Ministries has directed an allocation of $15,000 from the Emergency Disaster Fund (EDF) to aid displaced people in South Sudan. Fighting that began in Dec. 2013 has resulted in the displacement of more than 200,000 people in South Sudan.
Brethren Disaster Ministries has directed grants from the church’s Emergency Disaster Fund (EDF) to the needs of people displaced by armed conflict in South Sudan, and to people threatened by food insecurity after Honduras declared a state of national emergency due to a disease affecting the coffee harvest.