Bishop Grant said that local churches in Tiergol, Matar and Pagak were able to purchase food for refugees awaiting ration cards thanks to funds from the Church.
The refugees in the three areas are being moved to a new camp – called Pinyudu 2 because Pinyudu 1 is an old camp of nearly 70,000 “permanent refugees” – along with refugees from two other camps which suffered severe flooding last year. The Church is in contact with South Sudanese clergy among the refugees to establish congregations in the new camp, he said.
Bishop Grant also reported that the Gambella town congregation had distributed used clothing at the nearby, recently established Jewi camp. He anticipated further clothing distributions by churches in the camps following a donation from St Matthew’s Church in Addis Ababa.
The Area Bishop noted that there were many unregistered refugees in Gambella town, which has doubled in size since the conflict began in South Sudan. He said that St Luke’s congregation was organizing food distribution for refugee families that have contact with the church.
The churches are also providing psychological support. A five-day workshop on “Healing from Trauma” was held at the Gambella Anglican Centre to equip theological students, clergy and lay people to minister to those traumatised by experience of conflict.
The training occured in a tragic context following a lethal outbreak of violence involving families of Anglican theological students. Bishop Grant reported that the workshop participants were able to take steps towards healing of these new wounds, as well as those from less recent traumatic experiences.
Bishop Grant asked for prayers for continued healing of such wounds of the heart in Gambella and South Sudan. “We have really only begun to scratch the surface here,” he said, noting that the Anglican Church in Ethiopia will host another transformational healing event in October.
“Please pray that our church here can be a place of healing, reconciliation and peace,” he added.
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Photo: Church in Pinyoudou 2 refugee camp. Credit: Anglican Church in Ethiopia