Douglas J. Tilton | Presbyterian News Service
JUBA, SOUTH SUDAN – Ten South Sudanese humanitarian aid workers disappeared April 26 outside of Yei in South Sudan’s Central Equatoria region. Among the missing are two staff members from ACROSS, a global partner of the Presbyterian Church (U.S.A.).
“We are deeply concerned about the safety and well-being of these dedicated humanitarian workers,” said the Rev. Dr. J. Herbert Nelson, II, Stated Clerk of the General Assembly of the Presbyterian Church (U.S.A.). “I urge all Presbyterians to pray, not only for the safe return of the missing personnel, but also for the people of South Sudan and the diligent efforts of ACROSS, the United Nations and the wide range of international agencies who are working to build justice and peace in South Sudan.”
The Rev. Debbie Braaksma, Presbyterian World Mission’s Africa area coordinator, agreed. “We know that our partners at ACROSS and in other humanitarian organizations face the risk of injury, abduction or even death on a daily basis,” she added.
Leisa Wagstaff, a PC(USA) mission co-worker who serves with the Presbyterian Church of South Sudan/Sudan as an education facilitator, met with ACROSS officials to express support and solidarity. “They are truly touched by the concern of the PC(USA) and are asking for continued prayers for the safety of their workers as well as the other missing humanitarian workers,” she said.
Presbyterian World Mission urges people of faith in the United States to:
- For the safety and well-being of all of South Sudan’s people, particularly humanitarian aid workers who risk their lives to address conflict and need.
- That all of the parties to South Sudan’s conflict will put the needs of the people above their own personal interests and will find genuine commitment to a peaceful future.
- Learn more about the situation in South Sudan. See World Mission’s South Sudan website, the Presbyterian Peacemaking Program and Presbyterian Ministry at the United Nations’ “Swords into Plowshares” blog, and Presbyterian Disaster Assistance’s South Sudan web page for more resources.
- Write to your members of Congress and Secretary of State Mike Pompeo to share your concern about the situation in South Sudan. Urge U.S. officials to take steps to promote the safety of humanitarian workers and to ensure that they have clear passage for the delivery of aid.
- Sign up for Action Alerts and other advocacy resources from the PC(USA)’s Office of Public Witness. In particular, see the OPW’s most recent Action Alert for South Sudan.
- Presbyterian Disaster Assistance (PDA) and Presbyterian World Mission are accompanying our South Sudanese partners as they respond to the crisis. PDA supports Presbyterian Relief and Disaster Assistance as they provide emergency relief and work to improve health and food security. Through World Mission’s South Sudan Education and Peace Building Project, RECONCILE (the Resource Center for Civil Leadership) and the Presbyterian Church of South Sudan address the root causes of the war through peace-building, trauma recovery and education ministries. Please support this work by making gifts to: