By John Martin

With the partition of Sudan in 2011 following almost 50 years of continuous civil war between the mainly Muslim north and mainly Christian south, the Anglican church in Sudan will on July 30 become a province of the Anglican Communion in its own right. Sudan has been an internal province of the Anglican Church of South Sudan and Sudan.

The Archbishop of Canterbury will travel to Sudan for the inauguration on July 30.

The new province will be much smaller and must cope with living under a regime that makes life very difficult for religious minorities. This is how the human rights watchdog Open Doors describes it: “Under the authoritarian rule of [Omar] al-Bashir and his party, there is no true rule of law in Sudan; freedom of expression has been almost entirely curtailed.”

The Sudanese church’s application to become an autonomous province was approved following a fact-finding trip led by Archbishop Josiah Idowu-Fearon, secretary general of the Anglican Communion.

“It’s a welcome development that we now have another Anglican province in a predominantly Muslim country,” Idowu-Fearon said. “We hope the province will stand and proclaim Christ in a way that will be meaningful in that context.”

Meanwhile, three years of faction-driven fighting in South Sudan is creating what the relief agency Oxfam calls a manmade tragedy. It reports that the conflict has forced 3 million people to flee their homes and that 7.5 million are likely to suffer famine.

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