Transition to South Sudan

by Jeff Ritchie

Our journey in Ethiopia is almost complete. We flew back to Addis Ababa today in preparation for our entry into South Sudan tomorrow. We begin the second phase of our trip in Juba, the capital city of South Sudan.

Two new participants will be joining us. They are the Rev. Hani Jack, pictured on the left in this photo, and Mr. Hany Bareh, representatives of the Evangelical Presbyterian Church of Egypt. The Egyptian Church has had a mission to Sudan for over a hundred years. In the 1950s the church sent a couple to what is now South Sudan. The Rev. and Mrs. Swailem Hennein worked alongside American Presbyterian missionaries as they served the Shilluk and other peoples of South Sudan. After missionary service in South Sudan and Kenya, the couple emigrated to the United States and followed careers in education and social service. 

Dr. Swailem picked up his missionary calling again in 2000 when he was called by the Evangelical Theological Seminary in Cairo to develop a mission curriculum for the school. He mentored a young scholar, the Rev. Dr. Tharwat Wahba, to take his place.

Dr. Tharwat

Dr. Tharwat

Not only is Dr. Tharwat professor of mission; he is also Chair of the Egyptian Church’s Outreach Council. In this role he has made great strides in reviving the legacy of Egyptian Church’s commitment to cross-cultural mission. Because of the long relationship The Outreach Foundation has with Dr. Tharwat, we invited him to accompany us on this trip and renew ties with the church that his mentor, Dr. Swailem, served 60 years ago.

Dr. Tharwat could not join us, but he is sending his associate in the Outreach Council, the Rev. Hani Jack, who has been to Sudan and South Sudan numerous times. Hany Bareh, a part-time student at the Cairo Seminary, has also been to South Sudan and is exploring a missionary call there.

So our team will take on a new dimension. We will be introducing the Egyptian brothers to the leadership of our two partners in South Sudan, the Presbyterian Church of South Sudan and the South Sudan Presbyterian Evangelical Church. At the same time we who are from the U.S. will be getting the big picture of the situation of the Church in South Sudan after having focused intensively on the Church in one region.

The journey continues!

Jeff Ritchie
Associate Director for Mission