Africa Inland Church
Although there are many NGOÕs (Non Government Organizations) and churches providing support services and relief efforts in Sudan, one of the most effective and courageous groups is the Africa Inland Church. The World Council of ChurchesÕ Central Committee, Potsdam, Germany, gave this brief bio of the AIC in 2001;
Africa Inland Church - Sudan The Africa Inland Mission moved into the southern Sudan from what is now the Democratic Republic of Congo. The Mission was established in 1949 in good understanding with the Anglican Church which existed already in the area. It was expelled only 15 years later when all foreign missionaries had to leave the southern Sudan. In the meantime the Africa Inland Church came into being. The church became autonomous in 1972, when it had about 1000 members and a few Sudanese pastors. Under indigenous leadership the church began to grow steadily and to expand to other parts of the country. To date it has 70 000 baptized believers, 154 congregations and 320 pastors (including 6 women trained in pastoral work but not yet ordained). The church is Trinitarian, confesses the divinity of Christ and accepts the Scriptures of the Old and New Testament as the absolute and final authority in all matters of faith and conduct. The Central Church Council declared its agreement with the WCC Basis on May 23rd, 1997.
The African Inland Church wishes to join the WCC to break out of its isolation, share a common ecumenical vision, enjoy the fellowship of worship and prayer, build capacity and develop human resources through exchange, exposure and formation. Together with the other churches in Sudan, the AIC is deeply involved in bringing relief to the displaced persons and other victims of the war in Sudan and in the efforts to bring peace and reconciliation. The church was visited by Rev. Yadessa Daba, President of the Ethiopian Evangelical Church Mekane Yesus and member of the Executive Committee, and Rev. Enock Tombe, General Secretary of the Sudan Council of Churches. They recommend that the church be received into membership. Since the time of this writing in early 2001, the Africa Inland Church has faced some of its most challenging days; losing members to war, disease and famine. Nevertheless its clergy and constituency have continued in their efforts to bring both physical and spiritual relief to the beleaguered people of Sudan. The AIC has take to task some of the most dangerous and difficult challenges in the war torn regions, including;
Digging new fresh water community wells
Developing, irrigating and planting new farmlands in remote regions where food sources are scarce and food supply lines are sporadic and unreliable
Bringing medical supplies and expertise to areas where it is needed most
Providing food, shelter and education to many of the countless children orphaned by the war and famine
Providing mine abatement services and training in mine rich zones where landmines kill and maim the civilians on a daily basis.
Notice that the AIC focuses on increasing local reliance, not encouraging local dependence upon charities. Often well meaning charities and service organizations cause more problems than they solve by providing irresponsible help without teaching and facilitating independence thus weakening those people most in need. All of these efforts are making a very real difference in the lives of men, women, and children who have heretofore lived without hope dignity, or the chance for a better life. In the land that the United Nations has declared ÒThe most Dangerous Place on Earth,Ó real solutions and real progress only come from caring, dedicated and courageous people of vision, on the ground and in the trenches, helping one suffering soul at a time. But it also requires something more. Your prayers and financial support are what fuel the engine that keeps these efforts moving forward. If you would like to get involved, Partners International is an organization that has a proven track record of helping to support the African Inland Church: http://www.aimeurope.net/index.php