"Ethnic-religious conflict and 'people-to-people' dialogue in Sudan : a theological evaluation of Sudan Presbyterian Evangelical church's Mission on reconciliation" : empirical case study

Weran, Aida N. (2017-03)

Thesis (PhD)--Stellenbosch University, 2017.

Thesis

ENGLISH ABSTRACT: This study takes place within the context of Sudan, and aims to understand peace and reconciliation, and what it means to be reconciled to God as constructed daily within ethnic and religious identity frameworks of ‘mission as ministry by the whole people of God’. The research was launched from the perspective of ‘people-to-people’ dialogue with grassroots community movements and investigations into the practices of faith-based organizations. The aim is to find ways of understanding communities, their contribution and application of programmes in the ministry of mediating and communicating peace and reconciliation in Sudan’s diverse context. In multi-ethnic states civil war has affected and devastated political stability and national unity, which has contributed to the loss of lives and human suffering, destruction of the infrastructure of the country and erosion of its economic and socio-cultural resources. The struggle for identity, peace and justice remains a permanent challenge to all believers at various levels of ministry. The main objective of this study is to assess the impact of the Sudan Presbyterian Evangelical Church’s (SPEC) mission and ministry of peace and reconciliation on the ethnic and religious conflict in Sudan. Additionally, the dissertation seeks to investigate, analyse and evaluate the role of leadership and responses of SPEC members to the ethnic and religious challenges of these conflicts. This is primarily an empirical qualitative study, of an institutional case study comprising of literary research and interviews, comprised of interviews and a case study. It was guided by an exploratory research question which was reworked in an open-ended question of semi-structured schedule and review of relevant literature for the individual and focus group interviews. The missiological value lies, amongst others in applying a social scientific methodology to understand and evaluate the ethnic-cultural and religious identity of the groups or communities in order to inform the church as it proclaims Christ and serves these communities. The study revealed that ethnicity and religiosity have a strong influence on the relations between communities in the states in Sudan, like in many other countries in Africa. This indicates the necessity of intervention by key church leaders and the role they play in accessing the spiritual life of people with the aim is to contribute in resolving the problems through human action, decision making and social interventions of securing stability and restoring social harmony. And actively engage in mediating of peace and reconciliation within church institutions and beyond geo-boundaries. The research clearly demonstrates how SPEC is actively involved in supporting, promoting and facilitating peace at various levels. Their participation in peace dialogue initiatives and efforts toward peaceful co-existence is facilitated by enhancing equality and human dialogue. The development programme and activities intended to assist in many social life aspects and improvement of human well-being, including proficient expert roles that lead to grassroots peace-making and building. The study concludes that understanding ‘people-to-people’ dialogue as a practice-based undertaking from the missiological, theological and sociological perspectives can enhance the form and content of the ministry SPEC in Sudan, and that such an exercise is critical in achieving reconciliation and lasting peace. Through inclusive ‘people-to-people’ dialogue ethnic and religious identities in Sudan can be remembered and contextualized. It is the dialogue that narrates and admits past experiences of injustice without creating new exclusive identities and promoting new injustices.

AFRIKAANSE OPSOMMING: Spesifiek in Sudan word 'n begrip van vrede, versoening en wat dit beteken om met God versoen te wees, soos gekonstrueer op 'n daagliks basis binne etniese en religieuse identiteitsraamwerke. Die navorsing neem as basis die perspektief van ‘Aangesig-tot-aangesig’-dialoog met voetsoolvlak-gemeenskapsbewegings, en ondersoek die praktyke van geloofsgebaseerde organisasies. Die doel was om wyses te vind om gemeenskappe te begryp, en hulle bydrae tot en aanwending van bedieningsprogramme van mediasie en die kommunikasie van vrede en versoening in Sudan se diverse konteks, te evalueer. In multi-etniese state het burgeroorlog 'n verwoestende uitwerking op politieke stabiliteit en nasionale eenheid, wat lei tot lewensverlies en menslike lyding, vernietiging van die infrastruktuur in die land en erosie van ekonomiese en sosio-kulturele hulpbronne. Die stryd om identiteit, vrede en geregtigheid bly 'n permanente uitdaging vir alle gelowiges op verskeie vlakke van bediening. Die hoofdoel van hierdie studie is om die impak van die Sudan Presbyterian Evangelical Church se sending en bediening van vrede en versoening op die etniese en religieuse konflik in Sudan, te assesseer. Bykomend poog die dissertasie om die rol van leierskap en die reaksies van lede van die Sudan Presbyterian Evangelical Church op die etniese en religieuse uitdagings van hierdie konflikte, te ondersoek, empiries te toets, krities te analiseer en te evalueer. Die studie is primêr 'n empiriese kwalitatiewe teikengerigte gevallestudie, na aanleiding van 'n verkennende probleemstelling, en gebruik van 'n ongestruktureerde vraelys saam met 'n oorsig van beskikbare literatuur, vir individuele en fokusgroep-onderhoude. Die missiologiese waarde hiervan lê in die toepassing van 'n sosiaalwetenskaplike metodologie op die verstaan en evaluering van die etnies-kulturele en religieuse identiteit van groepe of gemeenskappe, met die oog daarop om aan die kerk riglyne te verskaf in haar roeping om Christus te verkondig en hierdie gemeenskappe te bedien. Die studie het aangetoon dat etnisiteit en godsdienstigheid sterk invloede uitoefen op die verhoudings tussen gemeenskappe in Sudan, soos ook in vele ander Afrika-lande. Dit beklemtoon die wenslikheid van intervensie deur sleutelleiersfigure in die kerk en hulle rol in toegang tot mense se geestelike lewe, met die doel om konflik op te los en aktief te medieer vir vrede en versoening binne kerkinstansies en oor geografiese grense. Daar is gevind dat die SPEC aktief betrokke is in ondersteuning, bevordering en fasilitering vir vrede op verskeie vlakke. Hulle aandeel in vredesdialooginisiatiewe en pogings om vreedsame naasbestaan te fasiliteer vloei voort uit die uitbou van gelykheid en menslike dialoog, ontwikkelingsprogramme en aktiwiteite wat beoog om in verskeie lewensomstandighede te help en menslike welwees te verbeter, en doeltreffend ekspertrolle op 'n voetsoolvlak aan te wend vir vredestigting en -uitbouing. Die studie bevestig dat ‘aangesig-tot-aangesig’-dialoog as 'n praktykgebaseerde onderneming vanuit missiologiese, teologiese en sosiologiese perspektiewe die vorm en inhoud van SPEC se bediening aan die kerk in Sudan kan bevorder, en dat so 'n onderneming kritiek is ter bereiking van versoening en blywende vrede. Deur orale, sosiale en organisasionele geskiedenisoorlewering, en deur inklusiewe ‘aangesig-tot-aangesig’-dialoog, kan etniese en religieuse identiteite in Sudan onthou en gekontekstualiseer word. Dit is die dialoog wat ervarings van ongeregtigheid van die verlede vertel en erken, sonder om nuwe eksklusiewe identiteite te skep en nuwe ongeregtighede te laat ontstaan.

Please refer to this item in SUNScholar by using the following persistent URL: http://hdl.handle.net/10019.1/101175
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