A Mission Experience Team Abroad (META) from Connor is planning to visit the Diocese of Yei in southern Sudan in September this year.
The primary objective of the META team is to give more members from Connor the opportunity to experience the vibrant life and witness of the church in Yei Diocese. But Bishop Hilary has also asked members of Connor Diocese to share skills and areas of expertise with the church in Yei.
It is just two years since the Partnership Agreement was signed between the Diocese of Connor and the Diocese of Yei. Since then parishes and individuals across Connor have raised more than £92,000 to build a church primary school for the Archdeaconry of Mongo. This is located at St Thomas’s Parish, Mongo, 15 miles and an hour and a half’s journey from Yei. The first and second classroom blocks have now been completed, and work is underway to complete and furnish the third and final block, with the final sum of 20,000 US Dollars still to raise.
The META team is being organised by the Ven Stephen Forde, Archdeacon of Dalriada, under the auspices of the Diocesan Council for Mission, and working closely with Mr David Gough of CMS Ireland.
Archdeacon Forde said: “A partnership between dioceses must consist of much more than raising money in one place, or constructing buildings in another. Underpinning the partnership must be a sharing of Prayer informed by meaningful contact. And while communication by email between Northern Ireland and southern Sudan is possible, the best communication is when people meet face to face.”
The META team will be looking first for a number of clergy willing to give biblical teaching and share preaching skills with the clergy and lay evangelists of Yei Diocese.
The Team will also include lay people from Connor who might have skills in vocational training (in vehicle mechanics, joinery, building, plumbing or electrical installation) to share training with the tutors at the Yei Vocational Training College. Other skills identified by Bishop Hilary include: office administration and computing (to be shared with the staff of the Diocesan Office), and medical and healthcare skills.
The September META Team may be of eight to 10 people. A further visit to Yei in January 2010 is planned to mark the formal dedication of Mongo Primary School, with the invitation to share teaching skills with teachers in Mongo and Yei.
Clergy and parishioners from Connor Diocese are invited to discover how they could be part of the META team to visit Yei Diocese in September 2009, by coming to the Connor META team launch evening on Monday March 9 starting at 7.30pm at CMSI House, 33 Dargan Road, Belfast, BT3 9JU. Further details from David Gough at CMSI (028 9077 5020) or Archdeacon Stephen Forde (028 2827 2788).