Security forces disrupt Anglican school construction

( [email protected] ) Mar 19, 2004 08:12 AM EST

SUDAN - Last week, security forces in the government-controlled state of Upper Nile in southern Sudan disrupted the construction of an Anglican church school in Renk halting the builders and detaining the diocesan building supervisor for four days.

Claiming that the Episcopal Church of Sudan (ECS) school site had been reserved for use by an Islamic non-governmental organization, members of the security forces came to the site on March 10 and forced the builders to stop work.

It was the second time in less than three weeks that local security forces had interfered in the rebuilding of the ECS school A similar attempt occurred on February 21, when the Khartoum-appointed commissioner in the region took action to restrain security forces trying to stop the construction.

“Essentially,” Bishop of Renk Daniel Deng stated, “some people are not happy with the way the church is progressing.”

With the next school year starting in July, the church expects to finish the new school in May, “provided security forces stop interfering,” an ECS source said. The estimated cost of replacing the school building is 300 million Sudanese dinars, equivalent to $115,000.

In a December interview with “Christianity Today” magazine, Bishop Daniel Deng had declared the ECS the “fastest growing church in the Anglican world.” In terms of numbers, he said there were 3,500 priests now serving Sudan’s five million Anglican parishioners, with the Catholic, Presbyterian and Pentecostal churches also growing “at an astonishing rate.”