January 17, 2014
Since December 15 last year, when fighting first erupted around Juba, the capital of South Sudan, people have been asking about the situation in the Diocese of Lui. Early on I could respond with confidence that violence was contained around Juba, the capital city some 100 miles east of Lui.
Alas, the violence has spread into other parts of the country, mostly to the states north and east of Juba, but also into Moruland, the tribal region in which Lui lies. Indeed, there has been fighting in the town of Lui itself, bringing disruption to the lives of our friends, loss of property, and (yes) the threat of injury or death.
Conditions are in flux, and whatever news I can report to you will likely be out of date when you read this. At present, I can say that Bishop Stephen is safe and taking precautions to remain so.
Electronic communications are sporadic but consistent in their reports of violence. There are also internally displaced persons (IDPs) fleeing from Juba and elsewhere and coming to Lui Diocese. with the added population stresses an already overtaxed infrastructure.
The best way to keep current is to follow the Lui Network on the Diocese of Missouri website.
These our Christian brothers and sisters so far away need and deserve our prayers, and our willingness to stand with them. Through this next stretch of time both dioceses, Lui and Missouri, may learn more deeply what it means to be in partnership.
--The Rt. Rev. Wayne Smith
Bishop of Missouri