TOPSHAM — A South Sudanese minister will preach in Topsham this weekend, discussing the religious effort to keep the peace in his war-torn home country.
The Rev. Michael Muot will speak at the 10:10 a.m. worship this Sunday at Mid-Coast Presbyterian Church, 84 Main St., Topsham. 

The Rev. Michael Muot Put

“I’m a victim of political and tribal civil war in South Sudan, and due to its insecurity I’m working outside my country,” Put said in a release. “Through international peacemaking I’m hoping to get ideas that promote peace and share those with my fellow citizens so that one day we can live in harmony like brothers and sisters created by one God.”

Put is one of 10 Presbyterian Church International Peacemakers touring the U.S. this fall as part of a program aimed at sharing what life is like for people in war-ravaged areas. Members of the delegation will speak at churches, seminaries and other gatherings in the U.S. from Sept. 21 through Oct. 15. He said he’ll be sharing insight into the work being done to transform the country and ease the tensions.

Founded in 2011, South Sudan is the world’s youngest country. But infighting among its two largest tribal groups — friction that dates back to the 19th century — has plunged the country into civil war and forced many of its young citizens to become soldiers.  Put, from the Nuer tribal community, is working to educate communities about the importance of peace among different ethnic groups and to provide a platform based on peace and unity.

Put uses his training in mediation, reconciliation, trauma and healing to lead workshops within the Presbyterian Church in South Sudan. Despite the obstacles presented by the social and political realities of his country, Put has had success introducing Sudanese youth to each other.

“In 2014 and 2015 many of our young people would not even greet each other,” he said. “We organized regular intercultural events using games and training methods; these created friendships and enhanced harmony and unity amongst the young people of my country.” 

Put is being sponsored by the Sudanese Presbyterian Fellowship of Portland.  In addition to preaching at Mid-Coast Presbyterian Church on Sunday, he will be meeting with other church and non-church groups in the New England area from Sept. 21-27.
The U.S. Presbyterian Church in the U.S.  has had a presence in Sudan for more than a century and has a long-standing relationship with the Presbyterian Church of South Sudan. Put is currently the youth national secretary for the South Sudanese Presbyterian Church, and also has served as pastor in charge of Chotbora Parish in the Eastern Upper Presbytery.

“We have a very strong relationship with [the U.S. Church] as our founder church,” says Put. “Through our affiliation with the Church we get support to facilitate programs in South Sudan. Our main objective is to preach the gospel of Jesus Christ to the people and enhance unity among them.”

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