Bracing beach stroll for African Bishop

Taking a stroll on Portstewart Strand Beach over the weekend is Bishop Hilary Adeba from Yea in South Sudan. Bishop Hilary was a guest of Agherton parish Church in Portstewart were he addresed parishoners. He is accompanied on his walk with church members Beryl and Frank Dobbs.PICTURE MARK JAMIESON.

Taking a stroll on Portstewart Strand Beach over the weekend is Bishop Hilary Adeba from Yea in South Sudan. Bishop Hilary was a guest of Agherton parish Church in Portstewart were he addresed parishoners. He is accompanied on his walk with church members Beryl and Frank Dobbs.PICTURE MARK JAMIESON.

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BISHOP Hilary of Yei in South Sudan exchanged the hot dusty climate of his home diocese for the bracing north coast winds at the weekend.

BISHOP Hilary of Yei in South Sudan exchanged the hot dusty climate of his home diocese for the bracing north coast winds at the weekend.

The Bishop was visiting parishioners in Agherton who had helped fund the building of a primary school in Mongo village where he grew up.

He is in Ireland and the UK meeting with dioceses and parishes who have partnered and supported the church in Yei, including Agherton Parish and the Diocese of Connor.

Bishop Hilary arrived in Agherton on Friday afternoon and held a meeting with parishioners that evening, updating them on the challenges facing the new country of South Sudan which achieved independence in 2011, and sharing his thoughts on how the church there is changing lives.

On Saturday his host Dr Frank Dobbs, a parishioner of Agherton and a local GP, guided the Bishop around some of the north coast’s best known sites, including Portstewart Strand and the Giant’s Causeway.

Bishop Hilary expressed his delight at being by the sea. “Sudan is landlocked and we don’t have any big bodies of water near us except for the Yei River.

“When my wife Mama Joyce was in Northern Ireland for the first time and we visited the north coast she was fascinated by the size of the waves and to make it even more amazing there was someone out surfing!

“Experiences like this are among the great pleasures of our partnership with Connor Diocese!”

On Sunday Bishop Hilary’s travels continued when he left Agherton for Ballymoney where he was taking part in an interview conducted by the rector, the Rev Andrew Sweeney, during the Sunday service.

Connor Diocese has had a link with Yei since 2006, and that partnership was extended for a further five years when Bishop Hilary and the Bishop of Connor, the Rt Rev Alan Abernethy, signed an Agreement when Bishop Alan and a team visited Yei in January.

Dr Dobbs was a member of that team, and during the week in Yei he delivered health training to staff at Yei Hospital and also at the church-run Martha Primary Health Care Clinic. Frank also preached in a thatched church on the outskirts of Yei town on the Sunday of the visit.

In Mongo village he had the opportunity to meet Issac, a young teacher at the school whose training at Yei Teacher Training College was funded by Agherton Parish.

Prior to arriving in Portstewart, Bishop Hilary had visited parishes in Dublin, and was guest speaker at a Sudan Focus Evening organised in Belfast by CMS Ireland. He also spent time in Broughshane and Larne parishes, and after his stay in Ballymoney, he travelled to England to meet partners there.