The Bishop Emeritus of Torit in South Sudan, Paride Taban Kenyi, 81 has been honoured by the Anglican Archbishop of Canterbury, Justin Welby with the Hubert Walter Award for Reconciliation and Interfaith Cooperation. South Sudan’s Catholic Radio Network (CRN) reports that Bishop Paride recently wrote to thank Archbishop Welby for the honour. The award was given to Bishop Paride at a Lambeth Palace ceremony recently.
In his letter, Bishop Paride expressed appreciation to Archbishop Welby for the award. The Catholic prelate described the award as a credit to activities of the Holy Trinity Kuron Peace Village and all people of South Sudan. He asked Archbishop Welby to continue praying for South Sudan’s peace.
Bishop Paride is also winner of the 2013 United Nations’ Sergio Vieira de Mello Prize in recognition of his efforts in promoting peace in South Sudan.
It all started in 1999 when Bishop Paride established the Holy Trinity Kuron Peace Village in South Sudan’s Eastern Equatoria state. The project, which initially began as a demonstration farm later expanded in 2004, to become a village where people from different tribes, nations and religions live and work together in peace.
Speaking about his recent award to Mission Aviation Fellowship (MAF), Bishop Paride who has been flying with MAF for more than 30 years, described the Peace Village and surrounding area as uniquely peaceful in spite of South Sudan’s raging conflict.
“It’s a very peaceful area now,” Bishop Taban told MAF. “You can drive 300 km from Boma to Kapoeta. You can travel even at midnight. It’s so peaceful. You can’t believe it. You can live without thinking of any security. At night you can walk through the forest without thinking of any danger. One can’t imagine that there’s such a place in South Sudan,” he said. He said while there were still some incidents of Cattle rustling, the value of peace is always emphasised.
In 2016 the Bishop Emeritus of Torit told Jieng Council of Elders in Juba that South Sudanese needed to learn 20 words and eight phrases if lasting peace is to be restored in the country.
“The words are Love, joy, peace, patience, compassion, sympathy, kindness, truthfulness, gentleness, self-control, humility, poverty, forgiveness, mercy, friendship, trust, unity, purity, faith and hope. These are 20, and the eight phrases are: I love you, I miss you, thank you, I forgive, we forget, together, I am wrong, I am sorry, ” Bishop Paride said in a statement circulated to Radio Vatican. He urged the troubled nation to return to values of the past. He said when he was a youth, various tribes in South Sudan lived in harmony.