UNMISS amplifies messages of peace and reconciliation at annual religious event in Juba
“The economic crisis in our country is a direct effect of the COVID-19 pandemic,” says Reverend James Fadamulla from the Episcopal Church of South Sudan. “At this year’s revival meeting our aim is to reassure them that we are in this together, that everybody is suffering during this catastrophic time and that our biggest strength lies in being a unified, peaceful nation.”
Reverend Fadamulla’s powerful message resonated with many of his parishioners attending this four-day annual event that started on 12 November 2020; 300 people from all walks of life came together over this period to hear these much-needed words of hope and peaceful coexistence.
“This occasion is particularly important for South Sudanese women,” reveals Reverend Sarah Paul, the women’s representative of St. Thomas Church, Juba, where the event was held. “Women in South Sudan play a key role as heads of households. Peace begins at home and we, as representatives of a church where women attend regular services, make sure that they are kept abreast of the latest in our country’s slow but sure progress towards a peaceful democracy,” she adds.
Pastor Jacob Salim, Chair of the Revival Committee, agrees with Reverend Paul and says he believes that people attending the event often trickle-down messages of hope, reconciliation and kindness to their communities. “Word of mouth is a powerful tool that all of us who labour to put this event together believe in. It is our duty as citizens of this nation to make sure that our peace messages strike a chord with everybody who hears them,” he states.
The location of this event is also significant, according to Right Reverend Jackson Gabriel, Assistant Bishop, Episcopal Church. “Juba is the capital city and home to almost all ethnic groups spread across the country. If we communicate reconciliation messages effectively in Juba, it is almost certain that people here will spread these messages to their families and loved ones scattered in all corners of this young nation,” explains Reverend Gabriel.
For its part, UNMISS buoyed this event by distributing aprons among the women and men who participated. “It is the people of South Sudan who signed the Revitalized Peace Agreement. Therefore, every individual has a role to play in ensuring the Agreement is implemented to the fullest and in shaping a peaceful, prosperous future for future generations,” said Reuben Inaju, Head, Community Outreach, UNMISS, while addressing the gathering.
“UNMISS is always here to support you; we will continue working with all communities across South Sudan to protect civilians and build durable peace.”