Much of the ministry of Rooted in Jesus over the last few years has been in South Sudan, the youngest country in the world. The most recent conference was held in the far north of the country, in the Diocese of Maiwut, at the invitation of Bishop Peter Gatbel.
Coordinator John Jamuth explains:
“Gaining independence in 2011 brought more freedom of worship, fellowship and discipleship to entire Christian populations in South Sudan. Maiwut diocese was born as the result of freedom of religious expression and worship. It’s one of the youngest Dioceses in the Province of the Episcopal Church of South Sudan. Because of its location the Diocese has very limited connection with church and international partners to support the ministry and development of the diocese.”
We were therefore delighted to be able to send a Rooted in Jesus team to help the people of Maiwut establish their programme of Christian discipleship. The team was led by Tim Wambunya, formerly bishop of the Diocese of Butere in Kenya, which has been using Rooted in Jesus for some years; Tim now leads the multi-cultural church of St Paul’s, Slough. The conference was opened by the Hon. James Zan Chol, Deputy Commissioner of Maiwut county, and attended by church leaders from every archdeaonry in the two counties which make up the diocese.
The team (Nadeem, Tim, Dave and Andrew), Bishop Peter and Mrs Gatbel, Coordinator John Jamuth
Team Leader Tim Wambunya reports:
“One hundred and five people attended the conference, including about ten from other denominations in Maiwut. They were clergy, evangelists, mothers’ union members and youth. All one hundred and five received certificates and books. In addition, we had about two thousand people attend the Sunday service. This included the government Deputy Commissioner and some denominational leaders.
“The training was very well received. Participants were consistent in attending every day and keen to return to their churches to begin small groups. By the end of the conference, the delegates had nicknamed me ‘mot matut’, which means ‘small groups’ in the Nuer language. There was singing and dancing at the graduation, and the Rooted in Jesus coordinator sent a conference report to the UK team just one week after the conference – a remarkable achievement given the challenges in communication and finding a computer and internet. So it seems the diocese has got off to a great start and a strong foundation laid for Rooted in Jesus.”
Worship and teaching
One month later John Jamuth was able to report that he had been visiting group leaders in their own locations. He writes: “It was a blessing for me as they accepted Rooted in Jesus discipleship training in Maiwut centre, bomas and villages.” John has now told us that seventy-five groups have completed the first book and are moving on to the second book.
We look forward to continuing to support the ministry of Maiwut. “We have achieved very little,” John explained, “because we have no resources, and war and floods have greatly affected the community. The bishop and clergy have no salary and other means of support. We request the Rooted in Jesus team to return to Maiwut, we felt your wisdom, love and discipleship will change our community.”
That is our prayer too.
In Maiwut, Rooted in Jesus is used in the Nuer language.
Can you help?
If you would like to help us provide ongoing support to the Diocese of Maiwut, please make use of the short cuts on the right hand side of this page, or visit our support page where you will find and a gift aid / standing order form and the address to which to return it. We hope to return to Maiwut in 2024.
Photos by David Ridge and John Jamuth.
Rooted in Jesus is published and supported by The Mathetes Trust.