Episcopal News Service was on hand when Archbishop Daniel Deng of the Church of Sudan visited Trinity Church Wall Street as part of a 12-day American tour aimed at raising awareness of the dire situation in that country in advance of a January 9 referendum that will determine whether his country will remain united or split in half, north and south.
"Six years ago Sudan signed a Comprehensive Peace Agreement between the people in … south Sudan and the people in the north," Deng said during his sermon at the parish’s 11:15 a.m. Eucharist service. "And this agreement is coming to an end on the ninth of January 2011. We as the church … we have fears that the Comprehensive Peace Agreement, the CPA, all the processes that were supposed to be done have not been completed … The fear in the country is that Sudan will go back to war."
The referendum is one of the major terms of Sudan's Comprehensive Peace Agreement, which was signed in January 2005 by the two warring parties -- the Government of Sudan in the predominantly Muslim north and the Sudan People's Liberation Movement in the mainly Christian and Animist south -- bringing an end to a 21-year civil war that claimed more than 2 million lives and displaced about 7 million people.
The agreement also called for the equitable distribution of oil revenues, drawing of fair borders, the development of democratic governance throughout the country, and the reconstruction of devastated infrastructure. The north has been criticized for failing to live into the terms of the peace agreement.
In his sermon, the archbishop acknowledged the north's Khartoum-based government's failures and expressed concern for the safety of some 4 million refugees from the south who are currently living in the north.