Among the many refugee and immigrant groups in the Portland area are the Sudanese, immigrants from South Sudan and their children and grandchildren who were born here. They emigrated from the eastern part of Sudan where 19th century Presbyterian missionaries brought them into the Christian faith, and from refugee camps in neighboring countries. Once in Portland, they sought a church home. They were hosted by local congregations of other Protestant denominations, while yearning for connection to their Presbyterian heritage. In 2004 they approached Mid-Coast Presbyterian Church in Topsham, and Sudanese Presbyterian Fellowship of Portland came into being. Mid-Coast Presbyterian Church continues to work with and support the Fellowship, along with other churches in PNNE.
The Sudanese experience in Maine is like that of immigrant groups throughout America. They are strongly connected to their wider families in Africa, where the new nation of South Sudan has emerged and then fallen into strife. What financial resources that can be raised are sent home. Leadership in the Fellowship has shifted as members returned to Africa, moved to find employment elsewhere, or left Maine for educational opportunities. New immigrants take their places.
We pray for this Fellowship to continue to grow in numbers, finance, and leadership, as well as continue to do God’s work for the Sudanese population in the area.