ECSS saga: Akurdid threatens Bishop Moses Anur Ayom, declaring he is not welcome to Bor by the five dioceses.
In a position paper seen by NCMP, Archbishop of Jonglei internal Province and bishop of the Diocese of Bor declared that Bishop Moses Anur Ayom and his team are not welcome to Bor by the five dioceses.
The position paper states
“With Divine powers, the leadership of the Church in Bor is informing Jonglei government that Bishop Moses Anur Ayom and his team are not welcome to Bor by the five dioceses until our crisis before the court of the law is settled.
There is no reassessments for the five dioceses of Bor, Malek, Anyidi Mnkuach, and Chucikecr
This is to make the people of Bor save from the confusion sent to us by Archbishop and Primate Justin Badi Arama.
Our people arc not happy to hear Moses Anur Ayom coming to Bor on 24/11/2021. Any violation of this document and its repercussions will not be our responsibility.”
The leadership of Reuben Akurdid Ngong barred the newly enthroned Archbishop of Jonglei Internal Province from assuming office in Bor Diocese claiming that this would only be possible after the final verdict.
The Most Rev. Reuben Akurdid Ngong and His Grace Justin Badi Arama, the Archbishop and Primate of the ECSS and the Metropolitan Bishop of Juba Diocese started knocking horns when Reuben Akurdid approved by himself 3 Dioceses of Anyidi, Makuach and Chueikeer in Jonglei Internal Province.
He enthroned Bishops of these Dioceses; a move Justin Badi claimed was done without his consent.
In a letter dated 14th August, 2020, His Grace Justin Badi defrocked His Grace Reuben Akurdid citing article 55 (4) of the Episcopal Church of South Sudan Constitution 2016 AD accusing Reuben Akurdid guilty of Canonical disobedience, Violation of the Constitution, standing orders and bylaws of the Church and Misleading and dividing Christians.
“After nine months of prayers and other approaches of helping him failed. We do hereby issue this Standing Order Defrocking you Reuben Akurdid from the Episcopacy and declaring the Diocese of Bor vacant,” the letter read.
In response to this letter, Bor Diocese dismissed the defrocking in a separate letter addressed to the office of the Archbishop and Primate Justin Badi Arama on the same day, the 14th August, 2020. Reuben Akurdid and his team accused Justin Badi of misquoting Article 55 (4) of the ECSS Constitution. They claimed that Archbishop Badi was supposed to appoint 4 Internal Archbishops, the Chancellor and Most senior Internal Archbishop as the Chairperson to investigate the case of enthroning new bishops illegally.
“This article you have based on my dismissal is baseless because I have never been tried and found guilty.Therefore, my dismissal is null and void because it is unconstitutional,” the letter from Akurdid read in part.
Since then, there had been confusion in the ECSS between the divided congregation supporting Akurdid and the latter Badi. Bor Diocese became inaccessible to most of the Bishops of the Jonglei Internal Province who were confronted and forced to return to Juba almost at gun point.
Some of the Bishops of JIP remained loyal to Justin Badi while others claimed to be neutral blaming both sides of having been wrong. The major points raised were that Justin Badi had first amalgamated the two Dioceses of Magwi and Ayachi without the consent of the General Synod while Reuben Akurdid enthroned Bishops without consulting the highest authority of Badi. The he turned down his defrocking out of discipline as acceptable in the ECSS canon yet he had been suspending pastors and they didn’t dishonor his authority
“To avoid this eventuality his graces and my colleague bishops, I suggest the followings to remedy the standoff:
1) Dioceses are accepted like other illegal Dioceses from 2016-2018 which have not been approved by the General Synod if the issue is not politicized
2) Consecrate and enthroned the bishops of those area as required by the ECSS Constitution and Canons;
3) Archbishop Reuben to accept suspension
4) And three proposed Dioceses write an apology letter to the Primate,” Rt. Rev. Dr. Jooh Mayom Ajuong, Bishop of Malek Diocese.
Since then, the two parties started trading accusations against each other. On May 30th, 2021 Dr. Justin Badi enthroned the Bishop of Twic East Diocese Rt. Rev Jaccob Deng Garang as well as the New Archbishop of Jonglei Internal Province, The Most Rev. Moses Anur Ayom.
Since his enthronement, Moses Anur has no access to Bor Diocese where he should work. Juba court had urged the ECSS to remain calm till the final verdict on 5th January 2020 in order to appoint new Bishops.