By James Dak and Isaac Vuni
December 25, 2008 (JUBA) – Tens of thousands of Christians in Juba, the capital of the semi-autonomous Government of Southern Sudan, today, 25th December, celebrate the birth of Jesus Christ by matching and singing on the streets and preaching and praying in their respective congregations.
On the Christmas Eve, the First Vice President of the Republic and President of the Government of Southern Sudan, General Salva Kiir Mayardit, congratulated the Sudanese people in general and Christians in particular for the celebrations of the birth of Jesus Christ.
In the congratulatory message, President Kiir called on the Sudanese people to embrace peace and warned against those who try to divide the people of Southern Sudan based on regional and tribal lines.
Kiir called on Southern Sudanese voters to elect a right people in the coming forth general election scheduled for next year.
He also thanked Southern Sudanese Churches leaders for their support to liberation struggle d and urged them to continue supporting the southern Sudan government in the implementation of the CPA.
Anne Itto SPLM deputy secretary general for southern sector urged southerners to work to bring peace where there is conflict, unity where there is division, happiness and hopes where there is desperation.
State minister of social and religious affairs urged mothers to seriously educate and advice their children to refrain from "negers" or "dikertimelo" groups practices in Juba especially pastors children misbehaving during big occasions.
Meanwhile the host County Commissioner of Juba, Pius Subek said that GOSS has granted freedom of worship to all people and that every person in southern Sudan particularly in Juba is allowed to practice any faith including Muslims brotherhood with their collaborators from Ugandan Lubwari and Kenyan who decided to fully open their shops on Christmas morning.
Meanwhile the Catholic Archbishop, His Grace Paulion Lukudu Loro appealed to faithful Christians to refrain from evil practices and celebrate Christmas with the spirit of love and forgiveness.
The Prelate emphasized on the need to discourage of ethnical promotion within government of South Sudan and to stop land grabbing by senior officials. He also urged the government to consult with the respective communities to give them land for developmental purposes.
The Episcopal Church of the Sudan (ECS) most Reverend. Daniel Deng Bul urged all political parties in Sudan to work together for implementation of democratic practices for effective development of Sudan.
The message of unity and forgiveness was also echoed by the Vice Moderator General of the Presbyterian Church of the Sudan (PCS), Rev. Paul Bol Kuel.
Preaching the Bible at the Nuer Congregation in Juba while surrounded by thousands of people, Vice Moderator General, Rev. Paul Bol Kuel, urged all the faithful to pray for the sustenance of peace in the Sudan in general and among Southern Sudanese communities in particular.
The Vice Moderator General also urged the Church to pray for the year 2009 to be peaceful and prosperous and for the safety of the armed forces and other organized forces in the South when carrying out their duties.
Rev. Paul Bol called on the residents in Juba to be clean both hygienically and spiritually.
“I urge our Sudanese people in Juba to clean this city of God, not only environmentally but also spiritually in our hearts and minds as well,” he strongly urged.
He called on political and military leaders to work for the interests of the people and to seek consultations with the Church leaders on mutual concerns whenever necessary.
The Sudan People’s Liberation Army (SPLA) Deputy Chief of Staff for Operations, Major General James Garhoth Mai, member of the Presbyterian Church of the Sudan, lauded the spirit of the Congregation and asked the Church to keep on with the preaching and promotion of peace and unity among the people of Southern Sudan.