I first met the Rt. Reverend Ezekiel Kondo, Bishop of Khartoum, far from his diocese. He was in Ambridge, Pennsylvania for the ordination of my friend the Rev. Michael Yemba as a priest of his diocese. It just may have been the first time, too, that I had ever seen a bishop who could dance quite like Bishop Kondo!
On April 4, 2014, the Episcopal Church of South Sudan and Sudan elected Bishop Kondo as the first Archbishop for Sudan (north). Kondo will serve as Archbishop of the Internal Province of the Episcopal Church of the Sudan and also continue as the Bishop of Khartoum.
The Church had responded to the independence of South Sudan by changing the official name from the Province of the Episcopal Church of Sudan (ECS) to the Province of the Episcopal Church of South Sudan and Sudan (ECSSS). In November 2013, when all of the bishops met, they were determined to keep the unity of the Province, and not to divide on national lines.
But within this province that consists of these two nations, a strong leader is needed for the churches and dioceses that lie with the Islamic Republic of Sudan. The Church has chosen well in Bishop Kondo. Kondo has served the Diocese of Khartoum (not an easy place!) as its bishop since 2003. He has defended the people and property of the diocese against the Islamist regime when it was possible, and stood as a bold witness in the rubble of bull-dozed churches and refugee settlements when it was not.
Kondo and his wife, Mama Surya, are from the Nuba Mountains of South Kordofan. The Khartoum government has been perpetrating genocidal attacks on the civilians of this region since June 2011. This jihad against Christian and Muslim Nuba by the Islamist regime is a repeat of the genocide waged against the Nuba Mountains as part of the North/South war that ended with the signing of the Comprehensive Peace Agreement in 2005. In addition, the Sudanese government has continued to increase the pressure on all Christians in the north, reasoning that there should only be Muslims in Sudan, now that the Republic of South Sudan has been formed.
The truth is that the churches of all denominations in Sudan continue to grow in spite of harassment and persecution. In the Internal Province of the Episcopal Church of the Sudan, there are five dioceses over which Kondo will act as Archbishop: Khartoum, Port Sudan, Wad Medani, Kadugli, and El Obeid.
The Institute on Religion and Democracy and its Church Alliance for a New Sudan congratulate our dear friend Archbishop Kondo. Please join us in praying for the new Archbishop and for the Province of the Sudan.