The Diocese of Liwolo launched series of Discipleship trainings to Pastors, Leaders, youth and children which has greatly enriched them with knowledge of the Word of God. The church has grown by about 3% within the refugee settlements and in the IDP areas in South Sudan.
This has been possible through support from our partners; CRESS, Precept and Flame and all other individuals who have made a huge financial and moral support and prayer.
The Discipleship training was done in three areas, namely, Kerwa, Bulomoni & Imvepi refugee settlement where 85 leaders from different churches were trained. Discipleship training booklets were distributed to all the participants.
YOUTHS’ PEACE AND TRAUMA CONFERENCE HELD IN SOKARE, LIWOLO PAYAM ORGANIZED BY THE DIOCESE OF LIWOLO WITH SUPPORT FROM FIN CHURCH AID(FCA) DATES: 25TH – 28TH SEPTEMBER 2023
I am delighted to share my observations about the profoundly transformative workshop I recently witnessed in our region. Those who participated in this event have the potential to become beacons of hope for Liwolo, Kajo-Keji, and South Sudan if we provide them with continued support, nurturing, and empowerment. I see a great deal of hope, and the future appears brighter than ever before. The primary aim of the workshop was to address the security situation and instill hope in the future of the youth in Liwolo Payam, Kajo-Keji County, and South Sudan. The Bishop of the Diocese of Liwolo visited a group of 14 arrested and detained individuals (prisoners) at a military barracks, expressing deep concern about the future of the youth in the community if their issues are not addressed. Supported by Fin Church Aid, South Sudan, this workshop aims to engage the youth in community consultations, allowing them to voice their challenges, pains, dreams, aspirations, and possible solutions, ultimately fostering healing, reconciliation, lasting peace, and youth empowerment in Liwolo and the nation.
Objectives of the Peace Workshop:
The project’s objectives are as follows:
1. Provide a platform for youth to express their concerns, challenges, and aspirations.
2. Identify the root causes of pain, insecurity, and conflicts in the community.
3. Develop strategies and actions to achieve peace, healing, reconciliation, youth empowerment, and community development.
4. Promote social cohesion and trust-building among the youth, community members, and government.
The project involves the following activities:
1. Consultation with community leaders and stakeholders to introduce the project and identify key issues to be addressed.
2. Identification and selection of youth representatives to participate in community consultations.
3. Facilitation of community youth consultations through focus group discussions, interviews, and surveys to identify the challenges and aspirations of the youth.
4. Validation of findings through community feedback and reflection sessions.
5. Development of an action plan and strategies for youth empowerment and lasting peace.
6. Implementation of the action plan through healing and reconciliation workshops, capacity building, training, and support for youth-led initiatives.
Community stakeholders, including the Liwolo Payam director, the head chief of Liwolo Payam, the youth leader of Liwolo Payam, the chair lady of the Women’s Association of Liwolo Payam, and religious leaders, were consulted to introduce the project’s vision. The key issues facing youth in Liwolo Payam were identified. Seventy youths were carefully selected for the peace workshop from various bomas of Liwolo Payam and Logo Internal Displaced Camp: • Ajio Boma: 10 participants (7 boys and 3 girls) • Kala Boma: 6 participants (4 boys and 2 girls) • Kendiri Boma: 10 participants (7 boys and 3 girls) • Keriwa Boma: 10 participants (7 boys and 3 girls) • Logo IDPS: 10 participants (7 boys and 3 girls) • Mangalotore Boma: 10 participants (7 boys and 3 girls) • Sokare Boma: 10 participants (7 boys and 3 girls) • Liwolo Payam youth executive: 4 participants Keriwa Boma had the highest attendance with 13 participants, while Mangalotore Boma had the lowest with 5 participants. The level of participation, in-depth discussion of issues, and the youth’s commitment to peace, reconciliation, and unity were highly satisfying. Facilitation of the workshop involved four facilitators, with Rt Rev Joseph Nicanor Aba, the Bishop of the Episcopal Diocese of Liwolo, leading as the chief facilitator. Rt Rev Amosa Data, the Bishop of the Episcopal Diocese of Morobo, Canon Kenyi Charles Logo, and Canon Abate Joel David assisted with dramatic presentations. The youth workshop took place from Monday, September 25th, 2023, with arrival, and the main workshop occurred from September 26th to 28th. The conference was held at St. Paul Cathedral in Sokare, with People Guest House providing accommodation and services. The “Healing Hearts, Transforming Nations” (HHTN) model of peace and reconciliation consists of 15 topics divided into four sections: Lay Foundation, Building the Walls, Putting on the Ceiling, and Roofing. This model draws parallels with constructing a house to achieve complete healing, forgiveness, and reconciliation. Here is the structure of the training lessons: Section 1: Laying the Foundation • Lesson 1: God’s Original Plan for Relationships • Lesson 2: The Awful Power of Prejudice: Bitter Roots • Lesson 3: A Restored Identity • Lesson 4: The Church as an Agent of Change • Lesson 5: Suffering and a God of Love • Lesson 6: Knowing God as a Loving Father Section 2: Building the Walls • Lesson 7: The Thief • Lesson 8: Wounded Heart • Lesson 9: God’s Response to Human Suffering • Lesson 10: The Cross Workshop Section 3: Putting on the Ceiling • Lesson 11: Forgiving the Offender • Lesson 12: Transforming Power of Repentance and Asking Forgiveness • Lesson 13: Standing in the Gap Section 4: The Roofing • Lesson 14: Pronouncing Blessings • Lesson 15: How a Healed Church Can Be an Agent of Healing and Reconciliation and Impacting the Community This model of peace and reconciliation was developed by Dr. Rhiannon Lloyd with contributions from Pastor Dr. Joseph Nyamutera in the aftermath of Rwanda’s horrific genocide in 1994. The above subjects were successfully and meticulously facilitated. Personal stories and relevant stories from Rwanda were used to illustrate key points, along with dramatic presentations, drawings, group discussions, presentations, sharing, and prayer. The interactive nature of the workshop, including rotating seating partners, facilitated new friendships and relationships among participants.
1. Inadequate Teaching Materials: The HHTN model required extensive teaching materials, which were in short supply, affecting the clarity of the message.
2. Conference Timing: Combining two conferences within one week was cost-effective but put pressure on our partners, who had other activities in different counties. This format required facilitators to speak for nearly the entire day, leaving little time for reflection.
3. Accommodation and Seating: Proper accommodation and seating for the youth workshop were lacking due to procurement procedures not being completed. Carpets had to be borrowed.
4. Lack of Lighting: The venue lacked sufficient lighting, forcing participants to adapt to working, sleeping, and eating in darkness.
5. Water Shortage: The service provider had to travel long distances to fetch water for participants’ bathing, cooking, and laundry.
Impact of the Workshop:
The true impact of this workshop will be seen in the long term as transformed lives become evident through increased peace, security, productivity, and fulfillment, making the participants beacons of hope in their communities and nations. However, immediate impacts were observed through heartfelt confessions, repentance, forgiveness, reconciliation, healed trauma, inner wounds, and physical well-being. Participants reported restful sleep and reduced nightmares, contrasting with their initial distress. For confidentiality and respect for human dignity, participant names cannot be disclosed. Some notable impacts include:
• A gentleman representing his boma experienced a profound transformation. He had harbored hatred, anger, bitterness, and resentment due to a personal grievance. However, during the workshop, he chose to forgive unconditionally, leading to reconciliation with his wife and a powerful confession that inspired others.
• A young lady had held resentment against the head chief of Liwolo Payam since 2014. She bravely approached him during the workshop, confessed her feelings, and forgave him. This act of forgiveness resulted in the chief’s personal confessions and forgiveness seeking from the people of Liwolo.
• Each boma represented at the workshop confessed and sought forgiveness from neighboring bomas and throughout the Payam. A stone symbolizing unity was erected to signify their commitment to remain united.
The vision is to transform the youth of Liwolo Payam/Diocese of Liwolo, one of the most devastated and deserted areas in Kajo-Keji County. The participants strongly recommend the following actions:
1. HHTN Workshop: Organize local HHTN workshops for the 70 youths who attended. This 14-day program includes 5 days of workshops, 5 days of facilitator training, and 4 days of practicum (15 days in total). These youths can then become agents of healing, reconciliation, and rebuilding in each of the 6 bomas and Logo IDPS, reaching villages, households, institutions, and individuals.
2. Armies and Civilian HHTN Confidence Building Workshop: Organize an HHTN workshop for soldiers and civilians to improve relations and transform fear, suspicion, mistrust, and hatred into love, trust, confidence, friendship, and peace.
3. Vocational and Leadership Training: Provide vocational, entrepreneurship, and agricultural training to consolidate peace. Leadership and HHTN training should be integrated into this holistic approach.
4. Livelihood and Agriculture Programs: Implement programs to restore dignity by helping participants rebuild their sources of livelihood, such as cattle, goats, businesses, and houses.
5. Annual Youth Conference: Participants recommend commemorating and celebrating September 28th, 2023, annually as a day of hope, healing, unity, reconciliation, and abundance.
Since the conflict in 2016, the people of Liwolo have endured immense suffering. This workshop marked the first comprehensive effort to address the trauma, bitterness, hatred, and resentment that plagued the community. The participants are immensely grateful to FCA for bringing this peace workshop to the grassroots, where it is needed the most. They see this as just the beginning and hope that Fin Church Aid will continue to support such training, bringing genuine healing, forgiveness, reconciliation, and assistance with livelihood, agriculture, and vocational training to the youth. This is the path to healing historical wounds and fostering true forgiveness and reconciliation in our nation.
RELIGIOUS LEADERS’ PEACE AND TRAUMA CONFERENCE HELD IN SOKARE, LIWOLO PAYAM ORGANIZED BY THE DIOCESE OF LIWOLO WITH SUPPORT FROM FIN CHURCH AID(FCA) DATES: 28TH – 30TH SEPTEMBER 2023
I am immensely pleased to have facilitated an 80-person workshop for religious leaders in the Episcopal Diocese of Liwolo, generously funded by Finn Church Aid, South Sudan. The workshop took place from September 28th to October 1st, 2023. It was a remarkable journey, echoing the words of the Apostle Paul, “And we all, with unveiled face, beholding the glory of the Lord, are being transformed into the same image from one degree of glory to another. For this comes from the Lord who is the Spirit” (2 Corinthians 3:18). I can wholeheartedly affirm the truth of this scripture. From the very moment of our arrival, each day’s lessons revealed the transformative power of the Lord, guiding participants on a journey from one level of glory to another. The workshop delved deep into the soul, exposing long-held wounds, pain, and resentment, and granting the courage to face these afflictions. Participants confessed, forgave, and experienced profound healing and reconciliation. The Sunday following the workshop was indeed a time of celebration, as joy and peace rekindled in people’s hearts. Until the church and religious leaders are healed from the wounds of division, hatred, rivalry, and tribalism, our nation will remain hostage to these afflictions. The mystery and wisdom of God for healing, reconciliation, and peace are concealed within the church (Ephesians 3:10). A healed church has the immense potential to be a true agent of healing and reconciliation, significantly impacting their communities (Matthew 5:13-16). I see great hope for the church, and the future is undoubtedly brighter than ever before. I witnessed a fresh renewal of love, unity, relationships, social cohesion, and togetherness born and firmly re-established. I am greatly encouraged by God’s visitation. Overall Objectives of the Peace Workshop: The primary goal of the workshop was to restore hope, and promote healing, reconciliation, and peace in Liwolo Payam. Our role as facilitators was to lead the workshop towards achieving this overarching objective.
Our facilitation team comprised four individuals, including two facilitators and two assistants:
1. Rt Rev Joseph Nicanor Aba, the Chief facilitator, and the Bishop of the Episcopal Diocese of Liwolo
2. Rt Rev Amosa Data Eluzai, facilitator, and Bishop of the Episcopal Diocese of Morobo
3. The Very Rev Canon Kenyi Charles Logo, the provost of St. Paul, Diocese of Liwolo, who contributed by acting in dramas
4. Canon Abate Joel David, Bishop Chaplain and Discipleship Coordinator,
Diocese of Liwolo also participated in acting dramas Lessons Covered: The “Healing Hearts, Transforming Nations” (HHTN) model of peace and reconciliation consists of 15 topics categorized into four sections: Laying the Foundation, Building the Walls, Putting on the Ceiling, and The Roofing. This model draws parallels with constructing a house to achieve complete healing, forgiveness, and reconciliation. Here is the structure of the training lessons: Section 1: Laying the Foundation • Lesson 1: God’s Original Plan for Relationships • Lesson 2: The Awful Power of Prejudice: Bitter Roots • Lesson 3: A Restored Identity • Lesson 4: The Church as an Agent of Change • Lesson 5: Suffering and a God of Love • Lesson 6: Knowing God as a Loving Father Section 2: Building the Walls • Lesson 7: The Thief • Lesson 8: Wounded Heart • Lesson 9: God’s Response to Human Suffering • Lesson 10: The Cross Workshop Section 3: Putting on the Ceiling • Lesson 11: Forgiving the Offender • Lesson 12: Transforming Power of Repentance and Asking Forgiveness • Lesson 13: Standing in the Gap Section 4: The Roofing • Lesson 14: Pronouncing Blessings • Lesson 15: How a Healed Church Can Be an Agent of Healing and Reconciliation and Impacting the Community This model of peace and reconciliation was developed by Dr. Rhiannon Lloyd with contributions from Pastor Dr. Joseph Nyamutera in the aftermath of Rwanda’s horrific genocide in 1994.
Methods and Techniques of Facilitation: The above subjects were successfully and meticulously facilitated using a variety of methods and techniques, including but not limited to:
• Personal stories or testimonies relevant to the topic, which resonated with the participants’ situations.
• Real human stories from Rwanda, South Sudan, and other parts of the world were used to illustrate key points.
• Dramas played a vital role in painting a vivid picture of the situations and conditions, showcasing healed and transformed lives resulting from forgiveness.
• Group discussions and presentations: Participants were divided into groups according to their locations, such as Juba team, refugee camps (Yei and Morobo), and those living in Liwolo. These groups discussed what “the thief” (Satan) had stolen from the community, nation, region, or continent. This included material losses, inner value losses, and their consequences. These discussions applied to the family and individual levels. Each group presented, highlighting the profound losses caused by war, such as material losses, and the erosion of core values like love, trust, unity, faith, and dignity, along with their consequences. These losses were shown to affect everyone, including the perpetrators.
• Drawings were used to illustrate and create a clear picture.
• Sharing and prayer: Participants were given the opportunity to reflect prayerfully on their pain resulting from losses, some of which required sharing with a trustworthy person who would listen deeply, empathize, and take these pains to God in prayer. This process included carefully grouping participants.
• Seating partners: Participants were encouraged to sit with new individuals they had not met before, fostering new friendships and relationships.
• The CROSS of Jesus Christ: A tangible representation of taking our pain, sins, and community, national, and continental losses to Jesus Christ through papers that were then nailed to the cross. By doing so, we could remember our pain differently, as we had handed it over to Jesus, our pain bearer (Isaiah 53:4), and nailed them to the cross (Colossians 2:14).
• Burning and ashes: All the papers, including the losses of the community, nation, and continent, were taken to the burning site and incinerated. Following this, followers were placed in the ashes to symbolically declare Isaiah 61:3 and to provide for those who grieved in Zion, bestowing a crown of beauty instead of ashes, the oil of joy instead of mourning, and a garment of praise instead of a spirit of despair. These actions were carried out to reflect the promise of restoration.
Impact of the Workshop:
The true impact of this workshop will be witnessed in the long term as the transformed lives of religious leaders manifest in the form of increased peace, security, productivity, and fulfillment. It is anticipated that these leaders will begin to have a positive impact in their homes, churches, and communities. However, the undeniable truth of transformation was evident through the profound experiences during the workshop. This included heartfelt weeping, confessions, repentance, forgiveness, reconciliation, and tangible signs of healed trauma and inner wounds. Participants reported physical well-being, restored restful sleep, and reduced nightmares, which contrasted starkly with their initial distress. Overflowing joy and renewed love among the participants were also notable outcomes.
1. Inadequate Teaching Materials: The HHTN model required extensive teaching materials, which were in short supply, affecting the clarity of the message.
2. Workshop Duration: The conference was scheduled for three days, including the day of arrival. Unfortunately, some delegates arrived late, making it challenging to commence the conference on time. The youth conference extended late into the evening, as participants poured out their deep pain through repentance, confession, forgiveness, and pleas for forgiveness. This was a pivotal moment where true healing and reconciliation occurred. In light of this, the scheduled three-day workshop for the religious leaders needed to be condensed into two days. This led to the exclusion of essential topics, such as “Knowing God as the Loving Father,” “Pronouncing Blessings,” and lesson 15, critical for religious leaders. Discussion opportunities, questions, and testimonies were also reduced.
3. Lack of Lighting: The venue lacked sufficient lighting, forcing participants to adapt to working, sleeping, and eating in darkness.
4. Water Shortage: Service providers had to travel long distances to fetch water for participants’ bathing, cooking, and laundry.
1. HHTN Workshop: The religious leaders expressed a strong desire for more training, recommending at least five days. I also recommend organizing local HHTN workshops or training for facilitators to enable them to teach in their respective churches and communities. This is crucial for achieving an impact in our community and nation, and it can be done efficiently and cost-effectively. Some participants expressed interest in exploring training opportunities in Rwanda, scheduled for January 2024.
2. Extend the Peace Model: The religious leaders suggest that this peace model of training should be extended to other regions of South Sudan. They also recommend the chief facilitator to take this teaching to other parts of our country.
3. Annual Religious Workshops: There is a collective recommendation to hold religious workshops annually. Conclusions: Undoubtedly, since the conflict in 2016, the people of Liwolo have endured immense suffering. This workshop marked the first comprehensive effort to address the trauma, bitterness, hatred, and resentment that plagued the community. The participants express their profound gratitude to Finn Church Aid for bringing this peace workshop to the grassroots, where it is needed the most. They consider this just the beginning and hope that Finn Church Aid will continue to support such training, promoting genuine healing, forgiveness, and reconciliation, and further enhancing this training with livelihood and agricultural components. This is the path to healing historical wounds and fostering true forgiveness and reconciliation in our nation.