Roman Catholic missionaries began work in Sudan in 1842. Today the Catholic church is the largest church in Sudan. The Anglicans (Church Missionary Society) entered in 1899. From 1916 onward, tens of thousands were converted. Presently the Anglican Church is the second largest church in Sudan. In 1900 the United Presbyterians initiated work in both the north and the south. From their work, the Presbyterian Church in the Sudan emerged in the south, and the Evangelical Church of the Sudan (which was linked with the Egyptian Coptic Evangelical Church) emerged in the north. Sudan United Mission (SUM) opened work early in the 20th century, founding the Sudanese Church of Christ. The Africa Inland Mission entered in 1949, forming the Africa Inland Church.
With the independence of Sudan from the Anglo-Egyptian condominium rule in 1956, the two distinct communities of northern and southern Sudan were put together as one nation against the wishes of the vast majority of the southern Sudanese, who were never given a choice in the matter. This resulted in successive civil wars between the south and the northern Sudan government soon after independence. These wars destroyed southern Sudan beyond imagination.
In 1964, however, missionaries of all agencies were expelled from the south as the civil war escalated.
In 1983, Sudan was declared an Islamic state governed bySharia (Islamic) law. Southerners “rebelled.” The Muslim government in the north proclaimed a jihad, or holy war, against the south, the home of the majority of Sudanese Christians and African Traditional Religion adherents.
South Sudan was to remain part of the larger Sudan or whether it was to secede. Southern Sudanese voted overwhelmingly for cessation and on July 9, 2011 became the world’s newest country.