The Archbishop of Canterbury, Justin Welby, has inaugurated an Anglican province in Muslim-majority Sudan. Sudan became the 39th province of the worldwide Anglican Communion on Sunday (30 July). Speaking at the service of inauguration in All Saints’ Cathedral, Khartoum, at which he installed the new Primate of Sudan, Ezekiel Kumir Kondo, Bishop of Khartoum, Welby said the inauguation marked a “new beginning” for the country’s Christian community.
“Like all new births it comes with responsibility within Sudan for Christians to make it work, and from outside to support, to pray, to love this new Province,” he said. “There is much to develop, many opportunities, and many challenges,” he added.
Since South Sudan gained independence from Sudan in 2011, the Sudanese Anglican Church – renamed the Anglican Church of South Sudan and Sudan (ACoSS&S) – has been controlled from Juba, the capital of South Sudan.
The new province was requested by the head of the Anglican Church in Juba, Revd Daniel Deng, who said it was difficult for him to administrate to the Sudanese Anglicans due to strained relations between Sudan and South Sudan.
The Anglican Consultative Council later approved the request.
The move divides the province of South Sudan and Sudan into two separate communions.
During the service Welby said that although Provinces were autonomous they are also “inter-dependent” and they must rely on one another “for love and prayer and support.”
The Archbishop of Canterbury later met the President of Sudan, Omar al-Bashir, with whom he discussed the issue of freedom of religion.
Speaking on BBC Radio 4’s Today programme this morning (31 July), Archbishop Welby said that he had discussed with President Bashir the difficulties facing Christians in Sudan.
Welby spent two days in Sudan. Following time in Khartoum, he travelled to the diocese of Kadugli and the Nuba Mountains in the south of the country, where he opened a new diocesan office.
He later wrote in a Facebook post that visiting religious leaders, refugees, and internally displaced people in the diocese had been a “great privilege”.
He wrote that there was also great hope for peace and reconciliation.
“In Kadugli, today,” he wrote, “I heard inspiring stories from Christian and Muslim leaders who want peace, and who are actively working together to achieve it. They need peace. They understand more than anyone else the cost of war. Pray that the world rallies behind them, fulfilling the promises of support made.”