In early 2001, a large number of Sudanese refugees known as the Lost Boys of Sudan arrived in the United States, resettled from a United Nations refugee camp in Kenya. Several dozen Sudanese were resettled in Central Pennsylvania. Most of these were sponsored by local churches including Tree of Life. By now, ten years later, the Sudanese community in Greater Harrisburg numbers over 100 and includes many women and children. More Sudanese refugees are expected to arrive late this year from a refugee camp in Chad.

Sudan Church

The Sudanese community gathers for worship at Tree of Life on Sunday afternoons at 2 PM with the exception of the first Sunday of the month when they worship in Lancaster. They use a Dinka language version of the Book of Common Prayer and most of the service is spoken or sung in Dinka. The primary worship leader is Del Akech Del, a second year seminarian at the Lutheran Theological Seminary in Gettysburg. Holy Communion is offered occasionally and baptisms are scheduled as needed and as a pastor is available. Sometimes, the community gathers for a fellowship meal following the service. All are invited to worship with the community and to experience this spirit filled, growing community of faith. This summer the congregation was approved as a Synodically Authorized Worshiping Community (SAWC) by the Lower Susquehanna Synod of the ELCA.