(CEN) Independence will not divide the Sudanese church, bishops say

A divided nation will not lead to a divided church, the House of Bishops of the Episcopal Church of the Sudan said last month in a statement released at the close of their Feb 11-12 meeting in Juba.

Official results of Southern Sudan’s January independence referendum showed that 98.83 per cent of the South voted for secession from the Khartoum government. The vote means that Africa’s newest nation will receive its formal independence on July 9, 2011. However, key issues remain unresolved, and must be negotiated between the north’s National Congress Party (NCP) and the south’s Sudan People’s Liberation Movement (SPLM).

In their first meeting since the independence vote, the Sudanese Bishops outlined the challenges facing the two nations and their church. South Sudan risked becoming a “failed state,” the bishops said, unless reforms promoting free markets and open government were implemented, and the border disputes with the north were settled.

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