Bishop Adwok in London
Our main Mass today was celebrated by Bishop Daniel Adwok, Auxiliary Bishop of Khartoum in the Sudan, who has been visiting Great Britain thanks to that excellent charity, Aid to the Church in Need (ACN). His presence amongst us made today's Global Day for Darfur particularly pertinent. It was interesting to hear of his experiences over lunch: many of the Christians in the country (making up about 16% of the population) are persecuted by the Government's Shari'a law or are affected by the war in Darfur. According to ACN literature, the Vicar General of Khartoum was arrested two years ago under the pretext of paying for a car with an unsecured cheque, though he was released. Such harassment is common. There is a shortage of priests and religious (in contrast to other parts of Africa) and the parishes cover vast areas that are more like dioceses. What I hadn't realised before was the antiquity of the Sudanese Church, going back to at least the sixth century and forming for many centuries an effective Christian barrier to the spread of Islam. We remember our persecuted brothers and sisters in our prayers.