Churches attack new lockdown worship ban
A number of churchmen from a variety of denominations have spoken out against new lockdown restrictions which ban public worship.
Urging the government to rethink its decision to place restrictions on communal worship, letters have been written and signed by the South Sudan Council of Churches, Episcopal Church of South Sudan, South Sudan Presbyterian Church, South Sudan Pentecostal Church and a number of Catholic Bishops from across the country.
Writing from Western Equatoria, Bishop Barani Eduwardo Hiiboro Kussala of Tombura-Yambio diocese has argued that the Church is fundamental to the morale of the nation, and that there is no evidence suggesting a ban on public worship will stop the disease.
'At a time like this, the Church is here to offer comfort and spiritual support to everyone. We have a duty to care for each other, but particularly those who are vulnerable...benefits of public worship are huge - especially as most of my Faithful have poor or no access to technology', he wrote.
The South Sudan Council of Churches argued a similar point, appealing to the government to allow some public worship under controlled conditions.
'Banning of Sunday Church services seems to be rather harsh for church institutions and we appeal that such restrictions be sealed for the activities of the church to operate at half of normal capacity while adhering to the standard operating procedures and protocols', they announced.
Despite calls to change government policy, both Bishop Barani and the Council of Churches acknowledged the severity of the virus and encouraged worshippers to follow the rules.
'I would urge everyone in our churches, Mosques, State and entire nation to pray for those on the front line in our public services...There is hope. As Christians, we have deeper hope in God that comforts us beyond fear itself' were Bishop Barani's closing words.