Archbishop Welby admits 'I don't know' about South Sudan peace – but commits to prayer, strengthening the Church
The Archbishop of Canterbury has admitted he questions whether peace is possible in South Sudan after he visited the country last week.
Justin Welby arrived back in the UK on Sunday after a week in South Sudan and then Uganda, meeting with leaders and visiting refugee camps in both countries.
Reflecting on his trip and highlighting the more than 1 million South Sudanese people displaced in Uganda after fleeing violence, Justin Welby confessed he was 'left wondering whether the cause of this crisis can be resolved'.
Writing on Facebook he said: 'Is it possible for peace to be achieved in South Sudan?'
However, he continued: 'Truthfully I don't know the answer but we are disciples of Jesus Christ, the resurrected one, the Lord of hope and reconciliation.'
Following the visit Welby said he had committed to pray and advocate for a resolution and also 'strengthen the church as a force for reconciliation in South Sudan'.
Women are crucial to bringing communities back together, he said, adding his wife Caroline and adviser for reconciliation Sarah Snyder hoped to return in the autumn.
'Please join me in praying for an end to suffering,' he concluded. 'Pray that the efforts of the international community, the leaders of neighbouring African countries and the African Union find a way to bring about peace. And pray for the Spirit of God to be healing those who suffer the most.'
During the trip Welby also consecrated Sudan's first archbishop and primate, forming the 39th global Anglican province.
Justin Welby hailed the ceremony in Khartoum a 'new beginning' for Christians in Sudan who have been severely repressed, with dozens of churches destroyed and permission for new buildings refused.
He went on to visit refugee camps in South Sudan and in the northern Ugandan region of Moyo.
'The Bible tells us that the refugee is specially loved by God,' Welby said as he joined in prayers in a camp.
'Which means you who are refugees are specially loved by God, that Jesus himself was a refugee and he loves you and he stands with you and the suffering that you have is the suffering that he knows. So I pray for you, I will advocate for you.'