Sunday the 22nd of April, 2018 was a joyous day in the south Sudanese capital of Juba, as thousands of Christians gathered at All Saints Cathedral to witness the enthronement of the fifth archbishop and primate of the Episcopal Church of South Sudan.
The Rt Rev Justin Badi Arama, who was previously the Bishop of the Anglican Diocese of Maridi in the western part of the country, won the election after a tight victory over the Rt. Rev. Abraham Yel Bishop of Aweil, a diocese in the northern part of the country. Bishop Justin won the election on 20 Jan 2018 by only a vote over his challenger and was pronounced the fifth archbishop of the province.
The Rt Rev Tim Thornton, Bishop of Lambeth, represented the Archbishop of Canterbury at the enthronement, noting Archbishop Welby regretted he was not able to attend due to the Commonwealth heads of government meeting in London. Bishop Thornton read out a letter written by the Archbishop of Canterbury to the new archbishop expressing have his greetings to the people of south Sudan. Archbishop Welby wrote that though he was not present at the occasion of the enthronement he will be coming with Pope Francis to South Sudan once they have fix a date for their joint visit. He have assured the people of South Sudan that Christians worldwide were praying for South Sudan so that they may see peace once again.
The six-hour service included a sermon on the topic of forgiveness by the Rt Rev Dr Josiah Atkins Idowu secretary general of the Anglican Consultative Council. He started by encouraging South Sudanese to love themselves regardless of tribes, saying “I came from a country where there are more than 250 tribes. Tribalism cannot take you ahead “and for you to realise peace it must start from you to love each other dearly.
He further said “this constant division on basis of tribes and in the church must not take our hearts out of the love of Christ. The constant disagreement in the present church on the issue of women’s ordination or baptism (sprinkling water or immersion) should not be issues that Christians should break fellowship. Our unity is not about women’s ordination or any other doctrine but our unity remains in Jesus Christ and we must all be united in the name of Jesus whether you are from the tribe of Dinka, Nuer, Azande or Bari. We are all one in Jesus.”