Disagreements in Bor diocese after the declaration of Kongor Diocese

Category: Commentary
Published on Wednesday, 29 April 2009 01:44
Written by Sirocco Mayom Biar Atem, The New Sudan Vision (NSV), www.newsudanvision.com
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BOR - Kongor has declared a diocese unilaterally accusing the archbishop of delaying to give them a committee of eight members, acting on behalf of Kongor Area and in a letter addressed to Rt. Rev. Nathaniel Garang Anyieth on April 4th 2009 declared Kongor as a full Diocese.  

 

The committee, led by Hon. Chol Biowei, made the declaration after numerous attempts to make Kongor Diocese a reality went through, the requirements were met while the inauguration was not forthcoming. To them, the Archbishop has a lot to explain. Their letter reads as follows:] April 4, 2009:

 

The Rt. Reverend Nathaniel Garang Anyieth

ECS Dean of Province & Bishop of Bor Diocese

 

Your Lordship,

 

Subject: Declaration of Kongor Diocese

At the onset, the authors of this letter, acting on behalf of Kongor Area (Kongor Diocese), would like to acknowledge and appreciate your personal efforts and unwavering stance towards the creation of Kongor Diocese. Equally resolute in support of your stance,   have been the greater Bor community, laity, Clergy, Diocesan Synod of Bor, Former  ECS Archbishop of Sudan, Dr Joseph Marona and ultimately the  recent decision of  the provincial Emergency Synod  in Juba in 2008 .

 

 Despite of all these meaningful attempts to finalize the declaration leading into the inauguration of Kongor Diocese, the believers are still wondering as to the source and reasons of this unfounded delay. This long process has caused great confusion and frustration among   the community of believers. This state of affairs is likely to lead into the disintegration of the ECS and Anglican Communion in the area.

 

In order to arrest this unfortunate decline and uncertainty in the church, the community of believers in the area is left with no choice except to avert this unfortunate state of despondency.

The community of believers is convinced that the conditions required for the establishment of a diocese had already been met.   For instance,

1)      In 1988, in northern Sudan, kongor Area was promoted as a diocese and the present Archbishop, the Most Rev Daniel Deng Bul was subsequently consecrated as the first Bishop of Kongor Diocese;

2)      In Ame IDP camp, Eastern Equatoria,  in 1993, the RT Rev Bishop Nathaniel Garang Anyieth announced to the IDPs and ECS congregation the creation of kongor Area;

3)      In 2004 in Panyagor , Vicar General , Rev Ezekiel Diing Ajang was appointed as  Assistant Bishop of Bor Diocese ,based in Kongor Area,

4)      Again in Panyagor in 2004, the greater Bor community chaired by HE Michael Makuei Lueth, confirmed the upgrading of Kongor area to a full Diocese

5)      In 2006, the Diocesan Synod of Bor confirmed upgrading of Kongor Area to a full diocese ;

6)      The same year ( 2006), provincial Synod sent an assessment team under the current  ECS Archbishop to the Area  to establish the viability of kongor area as a diocese and the team  confirmed the same;

7)      On April 25, 2007, the former ECS Archbishop through the provincial Secretary, Rev Canon Eng. Enoch Tombe, confirmed the upgrading of kongor Area to a full diocese, which was blessed by the provincial Emergency Synod in Juba in 2008.

8)       Kongor Area has practically fulfilled the other requirements for subsistence of a diocese such as the building of two Cathedrals at Panyagor and Kongor towns, house for the Diocesan Bishop and a Vehicle.

 

Given these brief historical facts, which would have normally led into a smooth declaration and inauguration of Kongor diocese, however wanton political interference in the church affairs in 2008 obstructed the process. This interference forced the community of believers to petition the current Archbishop, to proceed with the declaration and inauguration of the diocese, But the Archbishop for reason known only to His lordship, chose to take no action to correct this anomaly.

 

As late as of the first week of April instant, the community of believers was surprised of an Archbishop’s Easter Programme in the Area, which did not include the inauguration of Kongor Diocese. The community of believers thinks that this is adding insult to the injury. Adding insult to injury, coupled with   inaction, the community is left with no option except to declare Kongor Area as a full Diocese.

However, His Grace the Archbishop is welcomed during his Easter program (April13, 2009) to the Area, to confirm the declaration and inaugurate the new Diocese of Kongor.

 

Now that Kongor has become a full diocese the community of Believers, the congregations, elders, youth, mother union and the clergy are requested to celebrate and pray for the peaceful passage of the diocese. The ECS and Anglican community in Diaspora are duly informed to celebrate in the same manner.

Signed;

  1. Hon Philip Chol Biowei
  2. Eng Bior Ajang Duot
  3. Dr Akol Diing Duot
  4. Eng. Manyuon Deng Mayen
  5. Mr. Gabriel Alaak Garang
  6. Mr. Moses Mabior Deu
  7. Dr William Kon Bior
  8. Mr. Isaiah Chol Aruai

On behalf of Kongor Diocese

 

[Below was a letter written in 2007 by the ECS Provincial Secretary Rev. Canon Eng. Enock Tombe telling ECS Dean and Bishop of Bor Diocese, Rt Rev. Canon Nathaniel Garang Anyieth, to “prepare plans for the creation of the new Diocese,” the Diocese of Kongor.  It is 2 years down the road since this directive was issued, but Kongor Diocese is yet to be created!]   25th April 2007 from: Rev. Canon Eng. Enock Tombe Provincial Secretary ECS/Juba

 

To: The Rt. Rev. Nathaniel Garang

       Dean of the Province and Diocesan Bishop

       ECS Bor Diocese

 

Subject: CREATION OF KONGOR DIOCESE

 

Greetings and best wishes in the Name of our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ.

You have presented a request for creation of Kongor under the Diocese of Bor as a Diocese during the Provincial Synod held in Juba in January, 2006. The Assessment Committee for Creation of New Dioceses and appointment of Assistant Bishops has visited Kongor and carried out assessment based on the criteria laid down by the Provincial Synod. However, the Assessment Committee in its report dated March 2007 has recommended the upgrading of Kongor Archdeaconry to a full Diocese as it has fulfilled the criteria. The House of Bishops in its meeting held in Juba from 27th-28th March 2007 has endorsed the recommendation of the Assessment Committee and agreed to forward the same to the emergency Provincial Synod that will be held in Juba in February 2008.

 

In the light of the above, I have been directed by the Archbishop in consultation with the dean of the Province and 3 other Senior Bishops in their consultation meeting held on 23rd April 2007 in Juba to inform you about the recommendation for upgrading Kongor Archdeaconry into a full Diocese subject to the approval by the Emergency Provincial Synod in February 2008.

It is expected that this letter will enable you to inform the Clergy and Laity under Kongor Archdeaconry to prepare plans for creation of the New Diocese

 

Yours Faithfully,

(Signed and stamped)Rev. Canon Eng. Enock Tombe Provincial Secretaries/Juba

 

Due to unwarranted and unnecessary delay in the inauguration of Kongor Diocese, leaders of Twic and Duk Community Councils wrote a letter to Bishop Nathaniel Garang, seeking clarification as to why Kongor Diocese hasn’t been made a full Diocese despite the fact that he had been directed to prepare for the inauguration of the New Diocese.

 

Below was the response from Bishop Nathaniel Garang Anyieth [Date 28th September 2007] 

 

 From: The Rt. Rev. Nathaniel Garang Dean of the Province and Diocesan Bishop ECS Bor Diocese

 

 

To: Chairpersons of Duk and Twic Community Councils

Dear Brothers,

Re: Question for an advice on the complaint raised by ECS group of Kongor Area

 

Reference to your letter dated 21 September 2007 addressed to the Chancellor of the Province of ECS and I. The best advice I can give you is for us to be faithful to God and to ourselves.

 

The issue was discussed and resolved twice by Bor Community in Panyagor and all of us were present. In the resolution of Community meeting in Panyagor dated 8-14 February 2004, the name Kongor was resolved to remain as the area of Kongor and shall become a full Diocese in the future. This is resolution number 10 as per the attached.

 

Again in Synod of Bor Diocese held on 27th November to 1st December 2006, all Pastors and Laity passed the resolution to promote Kongor Area to a full Diocese and Venerable Mark Atem donated his vehicle for the Diocese of Kongor. After the Diocesan Synod, this resolution was sent to the Provincial Synod in Juba, and then the Synod formed a committee to go on assessment of Kongor Area and others.

 

In May the same year 2007, the Committee led by Bishop Daniel Deng Bul was sent to assess the area and they were received by Area Council and Clergy together with us in Panyagor. They filled the form in the same name of Kongor Area when the Committee were finding whether they were capable to run the Diocese and there were asked what was the name of the Diocese by the Committee and they disclosed that it was Kongor Area.

 

All these evidences made the House of Bishops to promote and endorse the Diocese of Kongor and others in Juba. The letter of endorsement of Kongor Area to full Diocese is hereby attached. But we were resisted not to enter Wangulei, Paliau and Mar putting red flags on the road and seventy guns around Wangulei waiting to fight us if we entered there.

                          

The Governor of Jonglei advised us not to risk ourselves to go to Wangulei saying this is a security issue and the government is going to deal with it. But now I am still waiting on the government solution to the problem that is why I did not enter Wangulei because the name of Kongor has become a tribal and political issue and not a spiritual affair….

 

Thank you so much brothers

(Signed) Rt. Rev. Canon Nathaniel Garang Anyieth

Acting Archbishop, Dean and Bishop of Bor Diocese

 

 

[In September 2008, a representative of Kongor Archdeaconry wrote a petition to Archbishop and Primate of ECS, The Most Rev. Dr. Daniel Deng Bul reminding the Archbishop that the inauguration of Kongor Area into a full Diocese is long overdue. In a bizarre twist of turns, the Archbishop, who, ironically, was the leader of the Assessment Team sent to Kongor Area and whose findings recommended that Kongor Area should be upgraded into a full Diocese, wrote in his reply to the petition that the issue be restarted from the scratch, forfeiting his initial findings and recommendations. Below was his response:]

 

To: Representative of Kongor Archdeaconry in Juba

 

Dear Representative of Kongor,

 

Greetings to you in Christ’s name

 

My office received your letter on the 15th September 2008 and due to my absence and busy schedules I could not have time to reply you and I am very sorry for that.

 

Concerning your petition about upgrading of Kongor Area into a full Diocese, it is not the responsibility of my office. It is what you as the communities think and if the Diocese of Bor and your cluster agree on is what my office is concerned. My office will then present it to the House of Bishops or the Standing Committee.

 

Coming to details as you stated in your petition, it is not me to respond to that. Could you please send this petition to our cluster or Diocesan Synod of Bor and below mentioned bodies will know how to deal with that.

 

God bless you

(Signed and stamped)

The Most Rev. Dr. Daniel Deng Bul Archbishop and Primate of ECS

The letter was copied to Bishop of Bor, Bishop Council Secretary & Provincial Secretary

It was the Archbishop’s response above, which essentially meant that the entire process should be started all over again, that, prompted the declaration of Kongor Diocese as detailed in the first letter above.