Sudan elects Daniel Deng Bul as Primate
The Episcopal Church of Sudan (ECS) has elected Bishop Daniel Deng Bul of the Diocese of Renk to serve as its next Primate.
Deng will succeed Archbishop Joseph Marona, who retired on December 31, 2007 after serving eight years as Sudan’s Primate.
Deng was elected February 14 on the first ballot out of a field of three nominees during an emergency General Synod at All Saints Cathedral in Juba, Sudan.
“It is a big day filled with exitement in Juba,” said Emmanuel Sserwadda, the Episcopal Church’s partnership officer for Africa who is attending the February 13-15 Synod.
The 75 voting delegates included bishops, clergy and laity, and a two-thirds majority of 50 votes was required to elect the new archbishop. The other candidates were Bishop Ezekiel Kondo of Khartoum and Bishop Francis Loyo of Rokoni.
Deng recieved 39 votes, Loyo 21 and Kondo 15. Kondo was eliminated and before the Synod could proceed to the second ballot, Loyo withdrew and asked all delegates to support Deng.
Deng’s enthronement will be held at All Saints Cathedral in Juba on April 20.
In his farewell address December 29, Marona urged his fellow bishops meeting in Juba to pray for the choice of his successor and regretted that ill health had caused him to reduce by two years his term of office as archbishop. He assured the bishops that in his retirement he would continue to be committed in prayer and, as his health permitted, to be available as an advisor. Following the address, Deng praised Marona’s prayerful and patient ministry.
The Diocese of Renk lies on the border between the mostly Islamic north and the mostly Christian and African Traditionalist south. Deng was appointed in the mid 1990s to establish the new Renk diocese where thousands of internally displaced southern Sudanese had been forced to flee to safety as a result of the 20-year civil war between the southern, non-Arab populations and the northern, Arab-dominated government. The war claimed more than two million lives and displaced four million people.
Despite the signing of the Comprehensive Peace Agreement in January 2005, a separate conflict lingers in the Darfur region of southern Sudan where Arab militias, known as Janjaweed, casually attack civilians and refugee camps.
Current companion diocese relationships between ECS and the U.S.-based Episcopal Church include Bethlehem and Kajo Keji, Chicago and Renk, Indianapolis and Bor, Missouri and Lui. The Diocese of Southwestern Virginia maintains a relationship with the entire province that dates back to 1977. Episcopalians in the Diocese of Virginia have for 11 years supported church initiatives for building infrastructure and improving the daily context for thousands of Sudanese.
According to the Diocese of Chicago’s Commission on Global Ministry, Deng received a Theology Certificate from Virginia Theological Seminary in 1997, and returned to guide the Diocese of Renk in a direction of self-sufficiency by starting schools at all levels, training programs for women, agriculture, fishing, and poultry projects. Archbishop of Canterbury Rowan Williams and several U.S. Episcopalians from Chicago and Virginia traveled to Renk on February 28, 2006 for the historic consecration of the diocese’s new cathedral.
“Archbishop-elect Deng has promised to work with all partners that are willing to support the Episcopal Church of the Sudan,” said Sserwadda.
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