The Donegal Parish Grouping’s friendship with a diocese in East Africa has been rekindled this week with a visit by the Bishop of Yei in South Sudan, the Rt Revd Levi Marandulu, and his wife Agnes.

The couple were in Laghey Parish Church on Tuesday evening to meet members of the Donegal, Killymard, Lough Eske and Laghey parishes. The visitors joined the local Rector, Venerable David Huss, for an evening of worship and hymn singing, and Bishop Levi gave a talk and slide presentation to update the congregation on the work being done by his clergy to spread God’s word in one of Africa’s newest sovereign states.

The Donegal parishes have had links with the Diocese of Yei since 2005 when a group travelled to Africa to visit churches and schools in the region. One of the people on that visit, Killymard parishioner Robert Ellis, shared his memories of the trip during Tuesday’s service.

Since then, the region they visited has gained independence (from Sudan) and experienced a brutal civil war, with ongoing violence by armed groups within its borders. Bishop Levi, who was ordained last year, said caring for displaced people was one of the many big challenges facing his diocese.

Despite the financial challenges which also confront them, Bishop Levi and his pastors have been busy spreading the Word, developing youth and family ministry, building churches and schools, and providing health care. He recalled one recent service at which he confirmed more than 600 young people, and praised the work being done by Mothers’ Union in Yei.   

The Marandulus’ visit is part of a post-Lambeth Conference visit to link churches which has been arranged with the help of Church Mission Society Ireland. The couple called in to the Mustard Seed Project in Donegal Town to see the outreach work being done there and also called to Glebe Primary School to meet its newly-appointed principal.Bishop Levi and Mama Agnes said they enjoyed meeting people during their walkabouts in the town with Archdeacon Huss and his wife, Bev. The Bishop said his two most immediate impressions of Ireland were of how green the country was and of how friendly its “smiling” people were.