By Ron VandenBoom
Father Thandi Magadla once worked as a police officer and Father David Kiviet worked in hotel management in South Africa before receiving God's call and finding new lives as priests in the Anglican Church.
Both men will be visiting Havre to share their message of faith at 11 a.m. Sunday at Marden's Campground in Beaver Creek Park.
The Rev. Kenn Green of St. Mark's Episcopal Church said the public is welcome to attend the service and participate in a barbecue following the message. Anyone wishing to attend should bring their own utensils, whatever meat they want to cook, something to drink and something to share.
Magadla and Kiviet are spending four months in Montana visiting congregations and developing what the Rev. John Naumann, rector of St. Stephen's Episcopal Church in Billings, calls "a companion link" with the South African Diocese of Umzimvubu.
Naumann said establishing links is encouraged by the national Episcopal organization. Naumann last year traveled to South Africa on sabbatical where he established the contacts that brought Magadla and Kiviet to the United States.
"They are here as part of a initial personal link of that relationship," Naumann said.
On Sept. 17, Naumann said, the Montana Diocese will send about 10 people for two weeks to South Africa a delegation Naumann expects to lead.
Since arriving in April, the two priests have traveled from Glendive to Libby and from Havre to Hamilton, Naumann said.
"And they still think it's rather flat," he said.
Magadla graduated in 1979 from St. Bede's College in Umtata and was ordained in 1980. He oversees 17 congregations in St. George's Parish. He is married with three children and two grandchildren. Magdla serves one of the poorer districts in South Africa.
Kiviet graduated in 1995 from the College of the Transfiguration and was ordained in 1996. As a youth he served as an altar boy, but today serves a parish of 2,500 people who make up 48 congregations, also in one of the poorest dioceses in South Africa. Kiviet is also an archdeacon who oversees three parish districts. He is married and has three children.
Kiviet and Magadla have lived through years of apartheid, Naumann said, adding that this was a conflict they refer to as "the silent war."
Since coming to Montana, Naumann said, Magadla and Kiviet have found Montanans to be warm and welcoming and they have received a wonderful reception.
Naumann said it has been an extraordinary blessing to the diocese having Magdla and Kiviet here and promised the two priests would talk about their lives in South Africa and share "a very profound proof" with those who attend.