PCOSS, Presbyterian Church of South Sudan
The Presbyterian Church of South Sudan (PCOSS) originated from the missionary work initiated in Sudan by Presbyterians from the USA in 1902. Since 1974, relations based on partnership have been in place between the Basel Mission (and subsequently Mission 21) and the PCOSS; these relations have never been interrupted, even during the recent resurgence of the civil war. The church has concentrated its work in South Sudan since the country was divided in July 2011. In 2013, the country was afflicted by a severe conflict which came to a head again in 2016.
In the wake of massive destruction and displacement, the Presbyterian Church of South Sudan (PCOSS) has relocated its activities to the places where the people are now living: in particular, these include the refugee camps in the zones bordering Ethiopia (Nasir) and northern Kenya (Kakuma) as well as Juba, the capital. The PCOSS currently focuses its activities on trauma and reconciliation work. After decades of civil war, the people long for nothing more than the ability to live with one another at last in reconciliation and peace, so they can join together to build up their young country. But since the South Sudanese government is weak and has virtually no financial resources to promote peace at all levels, the church is – and will remain – an important peacemaker. In addition to trauma and reconciliation work, cooperation between the PCOSS and Mission 21 includes work with women and young people, building and developing skills, theological training and educational work.
The PCOSS advocates the development of non-violent and fair relationships across ethnic and religious divides. It backs the continuation of dialogue between the parties, trains pastors as peace ambassadors, and works with the population to develop visions of peace.