The Episcopal Church Elects Bishop Justin Badi of Maridi as Primate of South Sudan

Posted: January 20, 2018 by PaanLuel Wël Media Ltd. in History, Junub Sudan, PaanLuel Wël, People

The Episcopal Church elects Bishop Justin Badi Arama of the Diocese of Maridi to replace Archbishop Dr. Daniel Deng Bul as Primate and Archbishop of South Sudan

By PaanLuel Wël, Juba, South Sudan

Justin Badi, elected Primate of the Anglican church in south Sudan and Sudan

The Episcopal Church elects Bishop Justin Badi Arama of the Diocese of Maridi to replace Archbishop Dr. Daniel Deng Bul as Primate and Archbishop of South Sudan

January 20, 2018 (SSB) — The Episcopal Church of South Sudan has elected Rt. Rev. Justin Badi Arama, the bishop of Maridi Diocese, as Primate and Archbishop of South Sudan. Initially, there were four candidates vying to succeed Archbishop Dr. Daniel Deng Bul as the Primate and Archbishop of South Sudan: Bishop Francis Loyo of Rokon Diocese and the Dean of the Province of the Episcopal Church of South Sudan; Bishop Monday Bismark Avokaya of Mundri Diocese; Bishop Justin Badi Arama of Maridi Diocese, and Bishop Abraham Yel Nhial of Aweil Diocese.

However, on the eve of the voting day at the All Saints Cathedral in Juba, Bishop Francis Loyo and Bishop Monday Bismark Avokaya dropped out on their own volitions. Thus, it became a hotly contested, two horse race, between Bishop Justin Badi Arama of Maridi Diocese and Bishop Abraham Yel Nhial of Aweil Diocese. There were 159 eligible Electoral College voters. When voting was conducted, counting done and results announced, the two candidates were separated by a mere single vote. Bishop Justin Badi Arama of Maridi Diocese won with 80 votes, while Bishop Abraham Yel Nhial of Aweil Diocese got 79 votes.

Abraham Yel Nhial, one of the youngest bishops of South Sudan, is a former Red Army in Ethiopia, a former refugee child in Kakuma Camp and a Lost Boy of South Sudan who is an American citizen. Two factors might have sealed his fate: his young age and the fact that he is a Dinka, the same community of the outgoing Archbishop Dr. Daniel Deng Bul. However, he stands a great chance of securing the title of the Primate and Archbishop of South Sudan in the future. Of the five (5) bishops that have held that title, four are from the Equatoria region, one from the Upper Nile region, and none from the Bahr el Ghazal region.

The outgoing Archbishop, Dr. Daniel Deng Bul

The outgoing Archbishop, Dr. Daniel Deng Bul during the voting process at the All Saints Cathedral, Juba, South Sudan; photo by Simon Yak Deng

Generally speaking, this is a legacy of the British colonial policy that sliced up the then Southern Sudan into distinct spheres of influence for the Episcopalians, Catholics, and the Presbyterians. Consequently, in contemporary South Sudan, Catholic dominates in the Bahr el Ghazal region, Presbyterian in the Upper Nile region and Episcopal in the Equatoria region and Greater Bor area. Perhaps, that explains why most Primates and Archbishops of South Sudan have hailed from the Equatoria region.

Meanwhile, Bishop Justin Badi Arama honed his pastoral and leadership skills in the SPLM/A liberated areas in and around Maridi, his hometown, where he ministered to the local population, including the Dinka IDPs who were displaced by the 1991 Bor Massacre. Most of these Dinkas, the majority of whom hailed from Bor, Twic East and Duk counties, speak highly of him as an able, tested leader whose leadership accolade cut across ethnic divides. One former IDP leader describes him as “an Equatorian by body and a Dinka by heart.” Such kind of a goodwill will immensely help Rt. Rev. Justin Badi in his new and challenging role of Archbishop of South Sudan and Primate of the Province of the Episcopal Church of South Sudan.

The Archbishop-elect Justin Badi will succeed Archbishop Dr. Daniel Deng Bul, the former bishop of Renk, who was elected as Archbishop and Primate of the Episcopal Church of South Sudan and Sudan in February 2008, succeeding Archbishop Joseph Marona. Since its inception in 1976, there have been four Archbishops and Primates of the Episcopal Church of South Sudan and Sudan: Elinana J. Ngalamu (1976–1988), Benjamin Wani Yugusuk (1988–1998), Joseph Marona (2000–2007) and Daniel Deng Bul (2008–2017). The fifth is the newly elected Archbishop and Primate, the Most Rev. Justin Badi Arama, whose ten-year term will come to an end in 2027.

dean of the episcopal

The Dean of the Episcopal Church of South Sudan, the Most Rev. Mondi, read the mandate and the two candidates were nominated and asked to take oath to keep the unity of the church irrespective of who won or lost. All Saints Cathedral, Juba, South Sudan; photo by Simon Yak Deng

 

The Archbishop and Primate of the Episcopal Church in South Sudan serves as the Metropolitan Bishop of Juba city and Primate of the Province of the Episcopal Church of South Sudan, which is part of the worldwide Anglican Communion headed by the Archbishop of Canterbury, England. The province of the Episcopal Church of South Sudan that Archbishop- and Primate-elect Justin Badi will be in charge of consists of 36 dioceses, each headed by a bishop.

The first Episcopalians were the early converts of the Church Missionary Society (CMS) which arrived in Omdurman, Khartoum, in 1899, under the auspices of the Diocese of Jerusalem. In 1920, a new Diocese of Egypt and the Sudan was established with Llewellyn Henry Gwynne of CMS as its first bishop, answerable to the Archbishop of Canterbury in England. With more conversion and growth among the faithful, especially in the then Southern Sudan, a new Diocese of the Sudan was established in 1945 with its own Bishop in Khartoum, separate from Egypt.

Hon Molana Majok Mading Majok

Hon Molana Majok Mading Majok, the legal advisor who oversaw the election of the new primate and archbishop of the Episcopal Church of South Sudan; All Saints Cathedral, Juba, South Sudan; photo by Simon Yak Deng

In 1957, the Diocese of the Sudan was shifted from the Archbishop of Canterbury to the Diocese of Jerusalem. After the signing of the Addis Ababa Accord in 1972 and the subsequent establishment of the autonomous Government of Southern Sudan under the leadership of Abel Alier and Joseph Lagu, the Diocese of Sudan became an independent province of the Anglican Church in 1974 under the Archbishop of Canterbury. Two years later, Rt. Rev. Elinana J. Ngalamu, the first Archbishop and Primate of the Episcopal Church of South Sudan and Sudan, was elected in 1976.

With the outbreak of the second civil war in 1983 spearheaded by the Sudan People’s Liberation Movement/Army (SPLM/A), the Episcopal Church was torn into two, with most members residing in the liberated areas under the control of the SPLM/A and the top leadership consigned to Khartoum, North Sudan. Bishop Nathaniel Garang Anyieth of Bor Diocese became a leading force in the Episcopal Church under SPLM/A controlled areas. By 1993, during the reign of the Most Rev. Benjamin Wani Yugusuk as the second Archbishop and Primate, there were eleven (11) dioceses under the Episcopal Church of the South Sudan and Sudan.

synod of the ECS

Members of the Provincial Synod. The Episcopal Church elects Bishop Justin Badi Arama of the Diocese of Maridi to replace Archbishop Dr. Daniel Deng Bul as Primate and Archbishop of South Sudan; All Saints Cathedral, photo by Simon Yak Deng

The 2005 Comprehensive Peace Agreement (CPA) was negotiated and signed during the reign of the Most Rev. Joseph Marona as the third Archbishop and Primate of the Episcopal Church of South Sudan and Sudan. It was Archbishop Joseph Marona who conducted the funeral rites of Dr. John Garang at the All Saints Cathedral in Juba, South Sudan, in August 2005. It was Archbishop Joseph Marona who anointed John Garang the Moses of South Sudan. It was Archbishop Joseph Marona who declared Salva Kiir the Joshua of South Sudan. “Moses is not with us anymore, our leader who led us out of Egypt, and across the river to the Promised Land. He didn’t get the opportunity to join us there. It is Joshua who now has to take on the difficult task of leading our people in this new era, and through the difficulties that are lying ahead.”

By 2011, the independence of South Sudan, the number of dioceses had increased to thirty-one (31) dioceses. There were twenty-six (26) in the newly independent South Sudan and five (5) remaining in the Sudan. Currently, there are 46 dioceses under the province of the Episcopal Church of South Sudan and Sudan – forty-one (41) dioceses in South Sudan and five (5) in the Sudan. The five (5) remaining dioceses in the Republic of the Sudan are: the Diocese of Khartoum, the Diocese of Port Sudan, the Diocese of El Obeid, the Diocese of Wad Medani and the Diocese of Kadugli.

Bishop of the ECSS

Members of the Provincial Synod. The Episcopal Church elects Bishop Justin Badi Arama of the Diocese of Maridi to replace Archbishop Dr. Daniel Deng Bul as Primate and Archbishop of South Sudan; All Saints Cathedral, photo by Simon Yak Deng

The 41 dioceses in South Sudan are: the Diocese of Juba; the Diocese of Maridi; the Diocese of Mundri; the Diocese of Nzara; the Diocese of Olo; the Diocese of Wernyol; the Diocese of Pacong; the Diocese of Rejaf; the Diocese of Renk; the Diocese of Rokon; the Diocese of Aweil; the Diocese of Awerial; the Diocese of Bor; the Diocese of Akot; the Diocese of Duk; the Diocese of Ezo; the Diocese of Ibba; the Diocese of Kajo Keji; the Diocese of Kongor; the Diocese of Lainya; the Diocese of Bentiu; the Diocese of Terekeka; the Diocese of Torit; the Diocese of Twic East; the Diocese of Wau; the Diocese of Wanglei; the Diocese of Cueibet; the Diocese of Athooch; the Diocese of Lomega; the Diocese of Lui; the Diocese of Akobo; the Diocese of Malakal; the Diocese of Malek; the Diocese of Malek Rup; the Diocese of Rumbek; the Diocese of Wonduruba; the Diocese of Yambio; the Diocese of Yei; the Diocese of Yeri, the Diocese of Ayod, and the Diocese of Yirol.

In November 2013, during a Provincial Synod meeting in Bor, Jonglei state, the Episcopal Church of the Sudan unanimously decided to rename itself as Province of the Episcopal Church of South Sudan and Sudan, further divided into eight internal provinces. In April 2014, Ezekiel Kondo, the bishop of Khartoum Diocese, was elected as the first Archbishop of the internal province of the Sudan under the oversight of Dr. Daniel Deng Bul, the Archbishop and Primate of the Province of the Episcopal Church of South Sudan and Sudan.

election of Archbishop of RSS1

Members of the Provincial Synod. The Episcopal Church elects Bishop Justin Badi Arama of the Diocese of Maridi to replace Archbishop Dr. Daniel Deng Bul as Primate and Archbishop of South Sudan; All Saints Cathedral, photo by Simon Yak Deng

However, in March 2017, the Archbishop of Canterbury announced that the internal province of the Sudan would become the 39th province of the worldwide Anglican Communion, with Ezekiel Kondo, the Archbishop of Khartoum, as the first Archbishop and Primate of the Province of the Episcopal Church of the Sudan. There are about one million Episcopalians in the Sudan and 3.5 millions more in South Sudan – comprising around 42% of the total population of the Republic of South Sudan.

In the Republic of South Sudan, the Episcopal Church is predominantly the main Christian denomination in the current Jonglei state, former Lakes State, and former Central and Western Equatorian States. Like the Episcopal Church of the USA, the Episcopal Church of South Sudan has produced some of the best and most famous political leaders of South Sudan: Lt. Gen. Joseph Lagu Yanga, Justice Abel Alier Kwai and Dr. John Garang, among numerous others.

election of Archbishop of RSS2

Members of the Provincial Synod. The Episcopal Church elects Bishop Justin Badi Arama of the Diocese of Maridi to replace Archbishop Dr. Daniel Deng Bul as Primate and Archbishop of South Sudan; All Saints Cathedral, photo by Simon Yak Deng

PaanLuel Wël, the managing editor of PaanLuel Wël: South Sudanese Bloggers (SSB), graduated with a double major in Economics and Philosophy from The George Washington University, Washington D.C, USA. He is the author of Who Killed Dr. John Garang, the editor of the essential speeches and writings of the late SPLM/A leader, Dr. John Garang, published as The Genius of Dr. John Garang, vol. 1-3, as well as a co-editor (with Simon Yel Yel) of President Salva Kiir’s speeches before and after independence: Salva Kiir Mayaardit: The Joshua of South Sudan. You can reach him through his email: paanluel2011@gmail.com; Facebook page: PaanLuel Wël; or Twitter account: PaanLuelWel2011

The opinion expressed here is solely the view of the writer. The veracity of any claim made is the responsibility of the author, not PaanLuel Wël: South Sudanese Bloggers (SSB) website. If you want to submit an opinion article, commentary or news analysis, please email it to paanluel2011@gmail.com. PaanLuel Wël website (SSB) do reserve the right to edit or reject material before publication. Please include your full name, a short biography, email address, city and the country you are writing from.

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  1. […] their report about the election of Bishop Arama, South Sudanese blog Paanluelwel.com remembered that the Comprehensive Peace Agreement between Khartoum and South Sudan’s SPLA took […]

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