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Wrangle in Church as sacked Bishop maintains status quo

By Manyuon Mayen Manyuon

The Episcopal Church of South Sudan (ECSS) is experiencing crisis as fired Archbishop of the Jonglei Internal Province has rejected his relieve and instead maintained the status quo.

Last Friday, the Primate and Archbishop of the Episcopal Church of South Sudan the Most. Rev’d. Dr. Justin Badi Arama fired Bishop Ruben Akurdid Ngong Akurdid, the Jonglei Internal province Archbishop citing a number of violations in the Church’s Constitution.

These include canonical disobedience, violation of Constitution, standing orders and laws of the Church as well as “misleading and dividing” of Christians according to the Primate’s Provincial order. 

But in response to the order, the Jonglei Internal Archbishop described his dismissal as “misunderstanding” of the Episcopal Church constitution.

“As the Archbishop of Jonglei Internal Province and the Bishop of the Diocese of Bor, from the effect of the 14th August, 2020 using article 55 sub articles (4) of our constitution, His Grace (Most Rev’d Dr. Justin Badi) you have misquoted Article 55 sub article (4) which is the formation of the tribunal,” Rev. Akurdid responded. 

“This article you have based on my dismissal is baseless because I have never been tried and found guilty,” he added.

The Provincial order No. 4/202 comes few days after over a million South Sudanese pounds were stolen from the Bishop’s Office in Bor town when criminals were reportedly said to have broken into the Bishop’s Office last week

Though the Most Rev’d Dr. Justin Badi Arama attributed one of the Bishop’s sacking to division in the Church, Akurdid instead described Primate Arama as a dividing factor in the Church. 

“His grace you said that I have divided the Christians. But you are the one who have divided the Christians by approving the diocese of other people and refused the four dioceses of Bor,” he said.

Although Bishop Akurdid was suspended last year, he did not respect the suspension by his Boss who is the Primate and Archbishop of the Episcopal Church of South Sudan.

In January, Bishop Akurdid declared Jonglei Internal Province as “autonomy” administration after he disowned suspension letters by Bishop Arama.

Akurdid wondered why Primate Arama dismissed him again while he has an independent administration.

“I didn’t know that you (primate) do not understand my declaration of January 13th, 2020 that we are not under your administration because of your negative attitude towards this Internal Province,” he said.

Philip Maluak, the Spokesperson and Secretary of the Jonglei Internal Province told Juba Monitor in an exclusive interview on Sunday that his Boss dismissal was politicized by the ECSS headquarters where Primate sits.  

He said that the gospels of God were not supposed to be controlled by anyone in the World.

He said that even if his Boss has been sacked by Rev’d Arama, he stated that they have not been part of the Arama’s administration since they have independent administration.

“We had earlier on declared that we will be autonomy until the next primate who knows judicial principles come in. This is our statement,” he concluded.

This is the second time Bishop Akurdid Ngong Akurdid, the Jonglei Province Internal Arcbishop is clashing with his Boss over leadership wrangle. 

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