Training for South Sudan

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One of the leaders of the Anglican Church in South Sudan has visited Sydney, seeking help to boost theological training in the new nation.

The Republic of South Sudan gained independence from Sudan in 2011 after civil strife that stretched for more than 20 years.

Bishop Anthony Poggio from the Kajo-Keji Diocese of South Sudan told an Anglican Aid function that, “during the war, the church was growing tremendously – in fact at one stage it was said to be the fastest-growing church in the world. It was hard to meet that growth with relevant training.

“Bishops did what they could to give people very basic training, on-the-job training, and then ordained them. Now [peace has returned] we are doing what we can to bring this standard up.”

Twenty-two clergy and Christian leaders from South Sudan are already training at a high level at Carlile College in Kenya, and plan to return to their homeland to train others. But Bishop Poggio is seeking support for gospel workers training locally in shorter courses.

Kajo-Keji Christian College offers nine- month courses in three-month sessions to clergy already ordained in the diocese who do not have a theological qualification.

The director of Anglican Aid, the Rev David Mansfield, said: “Young people wanting to prepare for gospel ministry are often too poor to commit to the nine months of training needed. Commitments to their families mean they are often hesitant to lead the uncertain life of a minister, for which there is no guaranteed stipend.”
Anglican Aid has begun a program to support students by providing them with scholarships.

It has also partnered with the Kajo-Keji Diocese to address the food security and psycho-social needs of South Sudanese who have returned to their country after being evicted to Uganda during the civil war.

Photo: Bishop Anthony Poggio from South Sudan during his visit to Sydney

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