Building Hope

Church Buildings that Lift Up Communities

In South Sudan, churches serve many purposes to a community. In some areas with little infrastructure, the church is the central location of the entire community. Besides being a place of prayer and worship, it is where children come to receive schooling, where leaders of the community gather for meetings, where relief supplies are passed out to families in need, and where people join in community activities.

Sometimes church buildings house visiting clergy. They may be used to teach aspiring young people on the path to priesthood. They are instrumental in promoting the values of peace and reconciliation to future generations. Accordingly, churches are considered one of the foundational pillars of a civil society.

In South Sudan, the church is also seen as a place of refuge. In times of violence and conflict, people flee to its grounds as a safe haven, feeling protected within its walls. When natural disaster strikes, displaced families are often temporarily housed within the church. It is viewed as a place of hope for communities who have endured many hardships. A symbol that they, like their church building, are still standing. And that they, too, will persevere.

Sudan Relief Fund is proud to partner in building or restoring churches throughout South Sudan. Extreme weather or random violence by rogue militias may damage these venerable buildings. Restoring them brings restoration to a community on many levels.

In the leper colony of Malou, hope has been restored in many ways to a formerly desolate, dying community of people. Months ago, hundreds of victims of leprosy were homeless, starving, utterly impoverished, and waiting to die. Today their community is experiencing vibrant transformation.

They have clean water, agricultural projects, new clothes and housing, a small health clinic to treat and eventually cure their illness. And the opportunity to do something they could never do before. They have their own community church where they can gather to praise and worship.

Despite enduring grueling hardship, it is a joyous event to see the residents of the Malou leper colony come together at their new church to give thanks for their blessings, to see their sense of community and hope restored.

At St. Mary’s Church of Malakal, congregants have been meeting in a building with no roof. Malakal sustained the greatest damage in civil violence that destroyed buildings and looted interiors. Malakal was also one of the hardest hit areas by record flooding that decimated farmlands and structures in parts of South Sudan. Malakal is now host to refugees pouring in from the war in Sudan, many who are sheltering within the framework of these damaged buildings.

If you would like to help rebuild a church for struggling communities in South Sudan, reach out to Matt Smith, Vice President of Strategic Partnerships and Development, at You will help build much more than a structure, you will give a symbol of lasting hope.

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