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Briefing: Historic peace pilgrimage by church leaders to South Sudan

The Pope, the Archbishop of Canterbury Justin Welby, and the moderator of the Church of Scotland the Rev Dr Iain Greenshields are visiting South Sudan this weekend on a “pilgrimage of peace”.

South Sudan is going through an ongoing civil war, frequent floods have wiped out homes and livelihoods causing widespread food shortages and there are millions of displaced people. The country is 60 percent Christian and most are Catholic, but Dr Greenshields said this ecumenical trip is a historic occasion, the first time that the Pope and reformed leaders have done something together since the reformation.

They are meeting politicians and religious leaders, as well as people living on the edge dealing with multiple crises. There is also a massive prayer meeting planned with an expected congregation of 60,000 when the church leaders will encourage communities to find a way forward for peace.

Our Religion Media Centre briefing included guests the Rev Dr Iain Greenshields; Tom Delamare, CAFOD’s deputy country representative for South Sudan; and Lucy Gillingham, from Jesuit Missions, recently returned from South Sudan. Guests from the Episcopal Church of South Sudan were unfortunately unable to join due to internet failure, but afterwards Archbishop Samuel Peni of Western Equatoria in Sudan said that “doctrinal issues are different from peace issues. If the Archbishop is spearheading peace making for South Sudan, then there should be no objection nor division”. 

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Historic peace pilgrimage of three church leaders to South Sudan

The significance of the peace pilgrimage to South Sudan by the Pope, the Archbishop of Canterbury and the moderator of the Church of Scotland, “must not be underestimated”

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