The link was forged when Bishop Harold and his wife visited the Diocese of Maridi in 1999 with Canon Cecil Wilson, the former CMSI Director of Mission, and saw at first hand the struggles of the people who were at that time just beginning to return from exile. A number of parishes in the diocese of Down and Dromore were identified and approached about developing a Mission Link with Maridi Diocese and the diocese of Albany also requested to join in this Partnership.
Both Albany and Down and Dromore have responded very generously in practical terms to the very genuine needs that exist in Southern Sudan. Chaima Bible School, founded in 1990 operating under trees, was the inspiration for Bishop Miller to begin the partnership and it moved into new buildings funded by Holywood Parish. The first phase of this new development, opened by Bishop Miller in January 2005, offered Clergy training. As the Province prioritised its Provincial Bible Colleges Chaima was relaunched as Chaima Christian Institute, Maridi, in 2009. Now it provides tertiary training, offering Certificate and Diploma courses in English, management, entrepreneurship, information communication technology, development studies and Business and Administration.
Bicycles for clergy, a vehicle for the bishop, new primary schools, a new health clinic and medicines and a refurbished Guest House have also been provided through the partnership.
The link, however, is primarily about people and building relationships. Over the years joint mission teams from Albany and Ireland have visited Maridi to engage in practical mission and the former Bishop of Maridi, the Rt Revd Justin Badi Arama visited both Albany and Ireland. Very strong links have been forged between all partners as a result and we look forward to building on that with Bishop Moses.