ACROSS History

ACROSS Timeline

A vision

In April 1972, Dr. Tracey met with Geof Dearsley field superintendent of SUM and Keith Black in Jos Nigeria to share his vision. He also met with leaders of other missions. Interested parties also met in Geneva and talked with Sudanese Government officials. The four interdenominational missions which had previously worked in Sudan accepted the challenge and backed Dr. Tracey.

Meetings between mission organizations (SUM, SIM, AIM and MAF)

In June 1972 Dr. Tracey visited Khartoum and Juba with several mission leaders – incl. D. Wellings SIM. Sudan Government Vice President and Minister of Health warmly welcomed them and gave permission for surveys and immediate bringing of supplies from Uganda. Ministries of Health, Agriculture and Forestry, Education and Housing all needing help. Sudan Government was clearly told that in comparison to others their (CROSS) efforts would be small but that they would go where and do what others wouldn’t. At that time other organisations had offered help but little action as yet. The program was to have a clear…Read More

founding of ACROSS
vintage sign

Executive Committee formed – first meeting 7th August, 1972 in Nairobi Kenya. Committee for the Rehabilitation of Southern Sudan (CROSS). Name changed to ACROSS soon after adding an A for Africa.

By November, 1972

While refugees had returned large number expected in December – January. building team assembling – will start soon. OK from Government for blacksmithing and wood carving project. Tailoring ready to start in Juba – later more to dispensary areas. Money coming for agricultural implements. Medical – tent compound at Cweibet – building started. Miss Erika Waser (Swiss Evangelical Nile Mission) was flown alone by plane to a point approximately 30 miles from Cweibet and left in the hands of several Government officials who took her by Landrover to her destination. She was later joined by Mr and Mrs Radach. Leprosy…Read More

By end of 1972

19 workers had either arrived or were due soon. Base well established in Juba. Help coming from WVI, World Relief Commission, TEAR FUND, DMG (Germany) ABWAID (Aust) CIDA (Canada Govt.). Coordinating Committees in USA, Canada, UK, Australia and N.Z.


2nd centre opened at Akot – 4 workers Enoch & Phyllis Hansen (SIM) Ray Lee – builder, Muriel Pickworth (SUM) nurse. Team lived in school classrooms with little furniture until “tent city” erected. – boxes + tins to sit on. Building supplies and medicines delayed. Locals had lots of medical problems. Leopards, Baboons, Ostrich, Scorpions, Elephants & Lions One ACROSS worker bitten by rabid dog. 3rd centre opened at Rumbek

By the end of 1973

36 expatriate workers from NZ, USA, AUST, UK, Germany, Canada, Sweden, Switzerland. (SIM, SUM, AIM, CBM, DMG, Swiss Ev. Nile Mission). 18 other staff had left during the year having served from 2 weeks to 6 months. 15 new workers expected early 1974. Cessna 402 being used – Very expensive to run


27th March, 1974 – Dispensary opened at Mvolo – main concern was research project into River Blindness. But curative care needed as Govt. dispensary 3 miles away had few drugs.

End of 1974

Review – decision to continue. Old Board held final meeting on 23rd January, 1975. Norman Thomas – Chairman (AIM), John Cumbers (SIM), P. Empson (MAF) F. Frew (AIM) S. Kendall – (Acting Director) Dr. A. Atkins (Dep. Director), Becky Wellings (Secretary for meeting)

Beginning of ACROSS – Stage II

New Board – appointed 1975 – First meeting Nairobi 20-21 Feb. AIM, SUM, MAF continuing plus Swedish Free Mission, TEAR (UK) Christoffel Blinden Mission (for several years) Deutsche Missions Gemeinscheft (DMG) Medical Assistant Program (MAP) and World Vision International. SIM withdrew, saying their priority was Mission and not Relief and Development. Dr. Ken Tracey and Dr. Tony Atkins wished to continue in ACROSS so resigned from SIM and joined WVI so they could continue with ACROSS. Within a year or so SIM rejoined the Board. Subsequently C.M.S. (UK), World Concern and Church of Christ in Nigeria (1978) joined the Board.…Read More

1975 ACROSS was registered in Kenya.

Up until that time all ACROSS workers were given work permits under AIM.

Base in Mundri opened
Base in Mundri opened

Around 1975 ACROSS opened a base in Mundri which became the centre for activities in West Equatoria.


By the end of 1976 ACROSS had constructed and was supervising 10 rural dispensaries. Houses had been constructed for Medical Assistants adjacent to dispensaries. Drugs, vaccines, medical instruments and equipment supplied. Nursing staff had been seconded to MOH for training and supervision and funds for reconstruction of Rumbek Hospital. 1 – 2 Doctors seconded for Rumbek Hospital and a District M.O. ACROSS doctors staffed Govt. hospitals at Lui for several years and Leer (1978 to March 1981). Maternal and children’s program (incl. vaccination) coordinated – 2 areas. Donated more than US$25,000 to MOH for surgical and general hospital equipment and…Read More

Juba Model School opened

In 1977 ACROSS helped establish Juba Model School – directed by Board of Governors – parents & community leaders.


In 1979 South Regional Government warmly endorsed ACROSS decision to become more involved with the National Church in church planting, evangelisation and related ministries.


In 1980 Pibor (a former American Pres. Mission hospital) reopened after a 1979 start was abandoned due to lack of staff. Dr. Sam Canata used one room of former mission hospital – now a mess!!

New Settlements in Yei River and Dororolilli

During 1983 ACROSS set up 4 new settlements – Total now 11 – Adio in Yei River and Dororolilli (3650), Mambe (3158) and Zesi (2536) south of Maridi. 36,000 Ugandans were now under ACROSS care. Two years later (1985) there were 9 settlements in Yei River district and 7 in Maridi district = 16 settlements and 60,000 people under ACROSS care. In this program there was good co-operation between Ugandans and Sudanese with the latter generally able to benefit from services set up for the refugees.


In November 1984 the ACROSS Board accepted the following VISION STATEMENT “ACROSS and its agencies have reviewed their involvement with the church and the people of Sudan and commit themselves and such resources as are available and appropriate to their strategies, to work with the church and the peoples of Sudan to achieve their full God given potential. Our vision of ‘potential’ embraces the economic, social and spiritual status of the people and a church no longer dependent on others for survival and development but only for that enrichment which comes from the interchange of ideas and thought across the…Read More

Expulsion — the end of ACROSS?

On September 17, 1987 a message was received from Khartoum Government indicating that ACROSS, World Vision Int., Lutheran World Aid and Swedish Free Mission had 3 weeks to leave Sudan. A press release said – “their operations threatened national security.” The expulsion letter said there was no further need for relief and that the current need was development!!


An extra-ordinary meeting of the Board was held in UK in March 1988. ACROSS had been expelled from Sudan. Security in South Sudan was deteriorating – but: Southern politicians had appealed to ACROSS not to be too hasty in dissolving the organisation. Sudanese church leaders had given suggestions as to how ACROSS could continue to serve South Sudan. Chairman Dr. Dick Anderson spoke on Mary’s anointing of Jesus Mark 14:4, Matt 26:8 – “Why this waste?” After much discussion a motion to liquidate ACROSS would have been passed unanimously. It was however decided to sleep on it. Next morning it…Read More

Evacuation complete by 15 April 1988

Thus ended stage II It had been a time of development. Refugee involvement – Ugandans and Tchadians. Some agencies in ACROSS had now re-established or established their own independent work. Most had resisted the temptation to use ACROSS as an umbrella for their own individual work. Was this the end?

Sudan Literature Centre (SLC) project started
Sudan Literature Centre (SLC) project started

Sudan Literature Centre (SLC) project started in former guesthouse, Lenana Road, Nairobi, Kenya. Became the main publisher of primary school text books, and teacher guides for the Southern Sudan curriculum until early 2000s. Also S. Sudan’s main producer of Christian literature. Nairobi/Karen offices closed by 2013 but branches continued in other locations – currently Arua.

November, 1988

In November, 1988 the ACROSS Board decided to explore the possibility of initiating an integrated program – (Agriculture, Livestock, Education, Health and Water Development) in areas of Sudan under the control of SPLA (80% of South). It was a difficult decision. At previous Board, the subject was rejected as a discussion item. The church had been consulted and approved. There was no question of supporting SPLA – any agreement would be with Sudan Releif and Rehabilitation Association (SRRA). ACROSS would operate under the umbrella of UN’s Operation Lifeline Sudan. A lot of opposition to the decision – CMS (UK) withdrew.…Read More

ACROSS Radio project’s first broadcast

ACROSS Radio project’s first broadcast using VOL transmitter in Arua, Uganda. Offices later started in Yei and Juba with over 20,000 broadcasts using 17 transmitters of other organizations by 2016. Nowadays mainly use solar powered players and battery-powered speakers supplied to refugees in NW Uganda from Arua office.

ACROSS 50 Year anniversary
ACROSS 50 Year anniversary

ACROSS 50 Year anniversary