Christmas in the Diocese of Upper Shire

ANGLICAN-INFORMATION reports that on Christmas Eve 2008, just like the original nativity story, Christians in Central Africa are marking this time as one of great uncertainty with humble people in fear of the religious authorities, with a tyrant on the throne and with God’s start of hope still defiantly shining.

UPPER SHIRE DIOCESE, Malawi: People and priests are planning New Year meetings to discuss and consider their response to the strange announcement from the Central African Provincial Bishops that Brighton Malasa, a junior priest of only five years in holy orders is to be the next bishop of Upper Shire diocese.

If he is consecrated it will make him the youngest bishop in the entire Anglican Communion* with the prospect of 35 years in charge of Upper Shire ahead of him. Understandably, in a culture that respects wisdom, experience and age there is fear that this appointment is verging on foolishness.

* In 1950 the Rt Rev’d David Hand was elected aged 32 as an assistant
bishop in New Guinea.
Michael Nazir-Ali now of Rochester, England was first ordained bishop aged
35 to be Assistant Bishop of Southwark.
Bob Anderson was 42 when he was elected bishop of Minnesota, USA and
Paul Williams the new Area Bishop of Kensington, London who will be
consecrated early next year is 40.
In 2002 the Rt Revd Andodo Elneel of Kadugli, Sudan was 33 when elected.

We cannot find any examples in the last 100 years of a 30 year old bishop, not least one who is to be a diocesan. Either the Central African Provincial Anglican bishops are divinely inspired in their choice or they are being extremely irresponsible.

From Anglican Information.

Bishop Bakare's Christmas Pastoral letter

Church of the Province of Central Africa

The Diocese of Harare

Pastoral Letter
Christmas 2008: Message of Hope and God's Assurance

My dear sisters and brothers

It is not so easy to write an intelligent pastoral letter to you at this time when we are faced with so many problems in our church and in our nation. We have a litany of challenges that are so destructive and devastating: Cholera, hunger, HIV/AIDs, lack of health care, homelessness, unemployment, poverty, corruption, kidnappings, callousness, harassment, you name it – that is a tall order indeed.

All these challenges rob us of an opportunity to have a meaningful and purposeful life. As I write, some families are nursing their relatives who are suffering from the effects of Cholera expecting them to die any time, others stay indoors unable to come out from their houses because of the unbearable stench of sewage flowing in front of their doorsteps, while still others are burying their dead. We hear of a horrific case where one family lost 5 children in 36 hours.

Indeed this will be a Christmas with a difference never before experienced by our people. This is a very sad state of affairs indeed. Faced with such an ugly and horrendous situation, we hear the faithful in our congregations reciting the words of Ps.10 vv. 1-7:

"Why stand so far off, O Lord? Why hide yourself in time of trouble?
The wicked in their pride persecute the poor; let them be caught in
the schemes they have devised. The wicked boast of their heart's
desire; the covetous curse and revile the Lord. The wicked in their
arrogance say, 'God will not avenge it'; in all their scheming God
counts for nothing. They are stubborn in all their ways, for your
judgements are far above out of their sight; they scoff at all their
adversaries. They say in their heart, 'I shall not be shaken; no harm
shall ever happen to me.' Their mouth is full of cursing, deceit and
fraud; under their tongue lie mischief and wrong."

The mood of this psalm is one of a high level of desperation and hopelessness, of being powerless and feeling dejected. Such feelings of hopelessness, powerlessness and dejection can indeed challenge our faith in God. But they can also lead us to deeper understanding of the helplessness, powerlessness, dejection and pain that Jesus had to bear on our behalf. In the middle of suffering, pain and destruction we are reminded of a God who suffers with his people saying to Moses:

"And now the cry of the Israelites has reached me, and I have seen the
way the Egyptians are oppressing them. So now, go. I am sending you
to Pharaoh to bring my people the Israelites out of Egypt… I will be
with you" (Ex 3 vv.9ff)

In Isaiah we hear the same words of comfort and assurance given to a people who were at a crossroad as far as their identity and nationhood were concerned: "Comfort, comfort my people, says your God" (Isa 40 v.1).

It has become a common expression in Zimbabwe to hear people say: God has abandoned us. The devil is in charge. He uses instruments which disregard human rights. Disrespect of the law by those who are supposed to enforce it is rampant. But the Lord does not fail his chosen –

"Arise, o Lord God, and lift up your hand; forget not the poor. Why
should the wicked be scornful of God? Why should they say in their
hearts, 'You will not avenge it'? Surely, you behold trouble and
misery; you see it and take it into your own hand. The helpless commit
themselves to you, for you are the helper of the orphans. Break the
power of the wicked and malicious. Search out their wickedness until
you find none. The Lord shall reign for ever and ever; the nations
shall perish from his land. Lord, you hear the desire of the people.
You will incline your ear to the fullness of their heart to give
justice to the orphans and oppressed, so that people are no longer
driven in terror from the land." (Ps10 vv12-19)

Although Christmas festivities will be a non-event for many Zimbabweans, Christians in our various congregations will celebrate it with a different perspective, considering the challenges we Anglicans in this diocese are facing. We may find ourselves very close to the events surrounding the birth of Jesus where we hear the innkeeper say: There is no room for you in this inn, and Jesus was therefore born in a place where animals were normally kept – not unlike many of you celebrating the nativity of Christ in an awkward place otherwise used by vendors. But it is through this Christ-child born in a manger that our hope for a redeemer was fulfilled. There in the manger and beyond we see the Prince of Peace bringing about justice and peace to an unjust world.

Therefore in spite of all the hardships we are going through, I invite you to join the rest of the household of God throughout the world to celebrate the birth of our Saviour, the King of Peace with joy and hope.

A very Blessed Christmas to you all!

Your Bishop

+Sebastian Harare


1. It is now more than a year that our cathedral and church buildings have remained closed. We ask you to remain patient and pray that this upper hand of the blasphemous beast we read about in Revelation 13-14 will be overcome. We will be there at God's own time.

2. The Dean of the Cathedral, The Very Rev. F. Mutamiri and Mrs. M. Machiha have been invited by our link Diocese to attend a conference in Rochester from 16th -30th January. They will convey our greetings to our partners. We are asking those parishes who would like to be linked to parishes in Rochester to submit the name of their parish.

To be linked you have to tell us more about your congregation:
- Name of the parish
- Number of members
- Number of children in Sunday School, MU, youth, guilds, Men's Fellowship etc. as well as the number of house church groups.
If you established a link with Rochester long ago and the link is still alive, do let us know with whom you are linked.

3. We ask you to pray for the following:
- our seminarians: Biggie Gwashero, Noel Magaya, Alpha John, Tindale
Kahombe, Kudakwashe Madzime, Moses Mugariri, Mahomad Edwin Selemani,
Naboth Manzongo
- the Acting Gaul House Principal, Rev. Fundira
- those in the Diaspora
- the displaced within our communities without shelter
- for an amicable solution to the political impasse in our nation

4. We have been devastated by the outbreak of Cholera in our city. We would like you to hold memorial services in your congregations on any day during the week to remember those who have succumbed to the pandemic and to pray for the bereaved families.


I invite you pray with me:

Lord Jesus, we thank you for your love.
You obediently accepted to come to this godless world in order to redeem us;
We thank you.
Born in a manger, you confronted us with your humility.
You experienced the power and pain caused by sin;
We adore you
Ultimately when they crucified you, you did not become a victim but a victor
We praise you.
Emmanuel – God with us -, help us to be aware of your presence even
when things are hard and when we feel powerless and defenceless like
you did in the confinement of a manger.
Lord Jesus, may we be born anew and grow with you.


Still crumbling, still too slow

In Khami prison

From The Times

December 22, 2008

Zimbabwe's inflation means jail wardens steal from prisoners to stay alive

Times' reporter Martin Fletcher described negotiating roadblocks in Zimbabwe where mostly what was wanted was bribes - a kind of local road tax.


More alarming was when I was flagged down by two police officers near
Bulawayo, prompting visions of Christmas in a lice-infested Zimbabwean prison.
But they just wanted a lift.

In the car they raged against President Mugabe's regime. The senior one, a
sergeant of five years' standing, claimed that his monthly salary did not buy
even a litre of cooking oil. His work was merely “community service”. He said
that he felt sympathy for the suffering of ordinary people, and that if they
rebelled he would not fire on them.

Another passenger was a warden at Bulawayo's infamous Khami prison. The
previous month he had earned 200 million Zimbabwean dollars - less than US$1 at
today's rate. Of that sum he could withdraw only a fraction after queueing for
four hours at the bank each morning. Every day and a bit, its value halved.

He said that he had five children to support and had not eaten bread for a
year. He survived by stealing the prisoners' sadza - a porridge that is now a
luxury for most - or by trading favours for food brought in by families.
“There's no discipline ... We depend on the prisoners to stay alive.”

All here.

The regime can't last.


n. An alternative to the crass commercialization of Christmas, typically
celebrated on December 23. It involves The Airing of Grievances (telling your
family and friends all the ways they have disappointed you during the year) and
does not end until the Feats of Strength (pinning the head of the family) are
accomplished. A plain, metal pole is used in lieu of a Christmas tree, because
decorations (such as tinsel) is distracting from the true meaning of the

A Festivus for the rest of us! -George Costanza

Courtesy of the Urban Dictionary


All Africa Conference of Churches

Archbishop Valentine Mokiwa

Nairobi — The head of the Anglican Church of Tanzania, Archbishop Valentine Mokiwa, is the new President of the All Africa Conference of Churches.

Archbishop Mokiwa was elected at the just concluded AACC 9th General Assembly held in Maputo, Mozambique, December 7-12.


A statement from the organisation said Archbishop Mokiwa joins the AACC
leadership at a time when the Church in Africa is faced with a lot of critical
challenges, among them the crisis of governance such as in Zimbabwe, wars and
insecurity especially in the Great Lakes region and in the Horn of Africa, and
widespread poverty.

The AACC is a pan-African Christian organisation founded
in 1963 in Kampala, Uganda. It brings together in fellowship 173 churches and
Christian councils from 40 African countries.


Archbishop Mokiwa is not amongst the more liberal of African church leaders. When the Windsor Report was published he was quoted as saying "We are calling on homosexuals in the church to stop what they are doing, it's unbecoming and it is sin."


The peace of God

Archbishop Peter Akinola and Bishop Martyn Minns
of The Anglican Church of Nigeria

Eruptions at the Foot of the Volcano (Leonardo Ricardo) has a long piece which celebrates a UN decision on the 60th anniversary of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights and attacks the attitudes of conservative Anglicans:

(New York, December 18, 2008) – ¨In a powerful victory for the principles of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights, 66 nations at the UN General Assembly today supported a groundbreaking statement confirming that international human
rights protections include sexual orientation and gender identity. It is the first time that a statement condemning rights abuses against lesbian, gay, bisexual, and transgender people has been presented in the General Assembly.¨

Human rights are incommensurable with the hierarchical structuring of religion and the absolute legitimation of ecclesiastical authority as God given.

Therefore human rights should be of the deepest concern to all faithful people: how have we built a church, any church, that is capable of acting against people because they do not fit an expected mould? How can we belong to a church which does not regard every person as of equal value before God and, therefore, of equal value in our own eyes? How can we support a church which does not actively oppose all violence against God's children?

There is something rotten in our relationship with God.


Subsequent note: the Vatican signed up to the statement, the US refused to. Is this perhaps because the US might have to do something about it while the Vatican never would?


Boy Bishop for Upper Shire?


In a surprise move the current Vicar General Brighton Malasa of Upper Shire diocese, Malawi, has been appointed bishop of Upper Shire.

The Provincial Bishops of the Central African Province meeting in Lusaka, Zambia (well away from Malawi) have apparently heeded objections to their previous favoured candidate Alinafe Kalemba but instead produced an unexpected and questionable alternative.

No support for Malasa’s candidacy from the diocese had emerged at the original elections for a bishop in February this year.

Malasa is said to be only 30 years old the minimum canonical age for a bishop. His main qualification seems to be that he is a strong supporter of acting Provincial Dean Albert Chama of Northern Zambia.

Our correspondents have said:
‘But there is tension due to his age. It means he will be bishop for 35 years when he reaches 65 years as retirement is required. People have started meetings so that they voice out their observations. This has never happened in this Province and if not careful it will divide the Church in Upper Shire. Since this news has come out currently nobody has applauded but there have only been question marks.’



And quite right too

Welsh Refugee Council

Archbishop of Wales blasts policy towards refugees
Dec 18 2008 by David Williamson, Western Mail

ARCHBISHOP of Wales Barry Morgan last night warned that the nation would be
judged by its attitude to the poorest members of society.

He said he was alarmed at the plight of refugees and asylum-seekers in
Wales who are in abject poverty. The Anglican leader is concerned by the effects
of 2002 legislation, which withdrew social support for rejected asylum seekers.

Tomorrow, the Welsh Refugee Council will relaunch its hardship fund to
provide blankets for newborn babies, a winter coat for a newly-arrived refugee,
and food parcels for destitute families.

Nearly half (47%) of all people using the UK’s main refugee advice
services this year were destitute – of these 56% were from Iran, Iraq, Eritrea
or Zimbabwe.

Questioning whether it was realistic to expect people to return to
countries defined by danger, Dr Morgan said: “Very often their countries are
unsafe and unstable. Are you going to send people back to Zimbabwe or the

Describing his shock at learning of the Congo’s mortality rate, he
said: “I heard 20% of children under five die either as a result of disease or
war, but the thing is there is a child at the heart of Christmas. God reveals
himself as a child.” Dr Morgan said that in the Christmas story Jesus was
revealed as the child of refugees.

He believes the Nativity story should inspire society to protect the
most vulnerable children.

He said: “It is interesting. According to the Christmas story Jesus was a kind of refugee, having to flee to Egypt.

“If you believe that God reveals himself in Jesus then he reveals
himself as a refugee and he reveals himself as a child. What does that tell you
about the value of a child?”

Adamant such modern-day families should not live in destitution, he
said: “A country is ultimately judged by what it does with its poorest people.”

The policy of cutting off support to failed asylum seekers who could
not return to their home nation and banning them from working was earlier this
month condemned in a report from a think-tank founded by former Conservative
leader Iain Duncan Smith.

At least 26,000 failed asylum seekers in the UK survive on Red Cross
food parcels.

For more information about the Welsh Refugee Council’s hardship fund, click
onto http://www.welshrefugeecouncil.org/


Zanu-PF dividing?

Armed police in Zimbabwe

Well, the Harare government's line is that the MDC assassins trained in Botswana tried to assassinate Perence Shiri, head of the Zimbabwe air force. Or, perhaps, that it's related to a violent struggle to control diamond fields - a struggle that has already seen many deaths. The Guardian. Maybe, too, that struggle is contributing to splits in Zanu-PF.

Furthermore, Zimbabwe National Liberation War Veterans’ Association vice president Cde Joseph Chinotimba, who was involved in a car accident last week, is still in a local private hospital. ZWNews. By a curious coincidence Elliot Manyika, the Zanu PF political commissar died on Saturday following a road accident along the Zvishavane-Mbalabala road. ZWNews.

In Harare Police use teargas to disperse fighting ZANU PF factions (as Intra-party violence rocks Zanu-PF) - 17 December 2008 Riot police had to use teargas and water cannons yesterday to quell violence at the ruling ZANU PF party headquarters in Harare as rival camps clashed before an internal election to choose an executive for the party’s Harare province. The Zimbabwean.

The MDC says it's all a battle over succession:

In short, it is the unresolved issue of succession in Zanu PF that is at the root cause of the violence against Perence Shiri and the dislocation in Zanu PF. We saw this dislocation in November 2004 when wix provinc chairpersons were expelled after the failure of the Jonathan Moyo and Patrick Chinamasa failed debacle. That same crisis gave birth to Simba Makoni and the Mavambo/Kusile experiment and only this weekend, we saw the revival of Zapu and the election of Dumiso Dabengwa as national chairman.

In our view, there are so many individuals and factions vying to succeed the aged Mugabe. However, each of those factions has a control and influence on members of the army. Therefore, Zanu PF factionalism and unresolved succession battles are also being played out in the military junta. The arsenal used against Shiri could only have been owned and possessed by members of the Zimbabwe National Army.

And the result can only be the implosion of Zanu-PF - and the sooner it comes the less the suffering that will accompany it.

And control over the army is looking weaker and weaker:

'Just like everyone else, we have stomachs and families to feed. We are
suffering, just like most citizens in this country,' one junior officer Ola (not
his real name) tells Deutsche Presse-Agentur dpa.

Sitting in a house in Mbare township south-west of Harare in worn boots and faded fatigues, Ola, a 27-year-old father of two and Duke (not his real name), 29, tell of the
frustration that provoked their outburst.

'There is no junior army officer that still supports Mugabe. We are tired, we are suffering,' says Duke. 'If a foreign army comes to fight us, we will join them or flee to a neighbouring country.' The Zimbabwean

Of course, I am looking for anything that suggests the imminent end of the regime so these are deliberately tendentious clippings. Cholera continues to spread and claim lives. The war on the MDC continues unabated: News24. And ordinary life in Zimbabwe is hell for many people.


Nets for Life

From The Daily Times, Malawi

When a net save life

It is both stinking and excruciatingly hot in the Lower Shire, more so during the rainy season, with the perennial floods that provide an environment
conducive for mosquitoes to thrive making malaria a common occurrence to an extent of becoming epidemic to the area.

Although the hype and attention directed towards the HIV/Aids pandemic is so enormous when compared to equally devastating killer diseases, it is still unfathomable that malaria still remains the number one cause of deaths in the world with an under five child succumbing to the disease every 30 seconds.

Anglican Church Diocese of Southern Malawi Vicar General Charles Saleya Masina, who was guest of honour at the function, thanked other faith based organisations for collaborating with NetsForLife in its endeavour to assist government fight malaria. He disclosed that during the second Phase, at least 3 nets will be distributed per family to cater for large families. The second phase has been funded by Episcopal Relief and Development (ERD), a church organisation based in New York to the tune of $300,000.

NetsForLife is a collaborative partnership of several foundations and NGOs and it implements integrated malaria prevention through a network of local faith based organisations and NGOs and is currently in 18 countries including Malawi. In Malawi, NetsForLife works with Anglican Church that is made up of four dioceses which are Upper Shire, Lake Malawi, Southern Malawi and North Malawi. The church was registered in 1974 and has been providing health and education services since the early 1900 as part of their mission in serving communities.

Further troubles in Avondale Parish

But probably not for much longer

From Anglican Information and Avondale Parish, combined.

Another disturbing report is carried below from Avondale Parish where Bishop Sebastian Bakare is bravely trying to oversee his diocese in the face of violence from dissident ‘Archbishop’ Nolbert Kunonga. Nolbert Kungona is a protégé of former Archbishop Bernard Malango who remains silent about the growing level of atrocities committed by his friend.

In the tangled web that is the Central African Anglican Province the bishops are also largely silent but they are gathering today in Lusaka, Zambia for their last meeting of the year. Here they are safely away from Zimbabwe and (from their point of view) the ever-troublesome Malawi.

High on their agenda is the intention to force acting Provincial Dean Albert Chama’s favoured candidate Alinafe Kalemba upon Bernard Malango’s former diocese of Upper Shire in Malawi. Readers will recall that this candidate was decisively rejected by diocesan representatives on 16th February earlier this year. Priests and people continue to assert that they will not accept any imposed bishop.

Instead of addressing the real issues of Zimbabwe and speaking out publicly against the state-sponsored violence and now alarming development of cholera*, sadly the bishops continue to indulge in their own internal political purposes and remain at odds with the people and priests they are supposed to serve. Funding agencies have largely stopped supporting diocesan initiatives in Zimbabwe and Malawi due to a growing lack of trust of episcopal oversight and management.

*Cholera has now appeared in Malawi carried by fleeing refugees from Zimbabwe.

From Avondale Parish, Harare, Zimbabwe:
Update on the events that have occurred at St Mary Magdalene, Avondale Parish, Harare this week.

On Monday 8th December Kunonga requested the use of the parish ostensibly for a Retreat for approximately 45 of his clergy prior to an ordination in the Cathedral on Sunday 14th December. They occupied the Hall, Youth Room and prevented our staff from using the kitchen to prepare their lunch. They also barred people from using the car park when they came to the office and the use of the chapel and church. On Wednesday they demanded to use the Reception Area of the office. Then on Thursday when the diocesan effects were being moved out they grabbed the master key from the Verger and have been using the offices to sleep in. The equipment from the reception was locked in the Administrator's office and lock blocks inserted.

On Saturday 13 December at about 9:45pm about eight men hired apparently by Kunonga demanded the bunch of keys from the staff. They beat up all the staff on the property but did not manage to get the keys. In a rare bit of good news, one of the thugs was apprehended by the police and is in custody and they have since arrested two more.

A meeting was held with Munyanyi one of Kunonga's bishops and representatives from the Church Council and parishioners this evening (14th December) at the Avondale Police Station.
They are adamant that they will remain on the church property and claim this is political and they really are wanting Bishop Bakare. They demanded the three to be released but the police have remained firm and they will be taken to court on Monday 15th December 2009 on a charge of assault.

Bishop Bakare moved from the office at Avondale on Monday 8th December and is now occupying offices at in Milton Park. As this is not church property we trust that Kunonga will not attempt to interfere with his activities.

This may only be the beginning of another round of attempts by Kunonga to gain hold of the diocesan property especially as he has ordained more priests. In September he occupied the Curate's House at Avondale when it was temporarily vacant.

Please pray for the eviction of the occupants at Avondale Church and the safety of the staff. The work by the parish staff has been halted as a result of the illegal occupation of the property at a time when we are preparing for our Carol Service on Sunday 21st December 2008 and Christmas Day services.

Despite everything the light of Christ cannot be extinguished and the Carol Service will now be held at Arundel School Chapel at 6.30pm.


ex-bishop Kunonga plans ahead

ex-bishop Kunonga

From the pro-Government Herald

THE Anglican Province of Zimbabwe yesterday ordained 33 bishops and deacons to serve in its dioceses.

The province is made up of dioceses that broke from the Church of the
Province of Central Africa early this year following disagreements over

Of those ordained, 23 were serving deacons with the remainder being new

Archbishop Nolbert Kunonga said the deacons and bishops should
truthfully serve the province and not tolerate homosexuality within the church.

"This is confirmation that we are going ahead with the building of the
new province after breaking away from the Province of Central Africa.

"As the Anglican Province of Zimbabwe, we stand guided by the
scriptures and will not sympathise with homosexuals.


On the property wrangle between his followers and those led by Retired
Bishop Sebastian Bakare, Archbishop Kunonga said they were waiting for the
determination of the Supreme Court following an appeal against a High Court
order instructing them to share church property.
The Anglican Province of
Zimbabwe is made up of the dioceses of Harare, Mashonaland East, Mashonaland
West, Mashonaland Central and Chitungwiza.

I suppose anyone can call themselves Archbishop if they want. This step is an attempt to secure the future of Kunonga's church by broadening and reinforcing its leadership. To the rest of the world, fed on the problems of the regime, this suggests that the view from within Zanu-PF is still optimistic, at least in some quarters.

But I speculate (having no evidence) that the quality of leadership may be open to question and I am confident that all are aligned with the regime.

What is interesting is the stress being put on homosexuality. It was always there in the rhetoric but now it seems, at least in this Herald report, to stand alone.

The predictable result will be that Konunga's church will collapse when the regime collapses. Weak leadership, no formal relationship with the wider Anglican Church, reliance on political support that will, one day, be held against them, and excessive reliance on one point of difference with the rest of the community, all suggest a very fragile structure.

And the alternative is a strong if beleaguered continuing Anglican Church led by Bishop Bakare, a man of considerable moral stature. As I have said before I long for and I fear what will happen when Zanu-PF lose power. I guess and hope that the experience and enmity Bishop Bakare has gained with the regime in power will be sufficient for his continued moral leadership when they lose it. He will need all the prayers possible and all the help that's practical.


Courage and violence

Email from Avondale Parish, Zimbabwe

Two weeks ago riot police blocked worshippers from using their church at St Stephen's, Zengeza. Some, including elderly women, were 'thrashed', one suffering a broken arm. Some were arrested and held in police cells for two nights.

But Henry Musikavanhu was determined: "If they arrest me, I'll be back next Sunday. The only way they'll stop me is to shoot me." He was back at church a week later and confronted the riot police again. Journalists had been alerted so they could film police obstructing church services: they remained outside while the service proceeded. What an example of courage in the face of violent opposition.

As reported previously, last week the Kunonga faction have occupied the church hall and facilities at Avondale church for a clergy "retreat". On Thursday they blocked the church office and used it for sleeping accommodation.

On the evening of Saturday 13 December several thugs raided the quarters of the church staff and beat up Josiah C, Timothy Z and Richard N while demanding the keys to the church. In this they were unsuccessful, and three of the attackers were caught and have been arrested. One of the church wardens, Trish M, spent until 2:00 am at Avondale Police station to deal with the incident. Fortunately the injuries sustained are not severe, but the staff are understandably frightened. There is a report that others attacked some of the workers' children yesterday (Sunday 14 December).

Yesterday Rev Hugh W, Gordon G, Fred J and Douglas M spent several hours at Avondale Police station trying to negotiate that the Kunonga people illegally occupying the curate's house be evicted from the property forthwith. Legal representations through the Diocesan lawyer, Mr Mike Chingore, are continuing. Meanwhile one of the Kunonga 'bishops' was trying to secure the release of the three arrested attackers.

Bp Sebastian Bakare has been kept informed and is deeply disturbed.

The Diocesan Offices have already been relocated away from Avondale and necessary office equipment is being sought.

Please continue to join us in prayer for this difficult situation.

(For some reason the All-Night prayer meeting scheduled to take place at St Luke's, Greendale last Fri/Sat did not happen. Those that went found no cars and the church locked. But in recent weeks a number of churches in high density areas have held All-Night prayer vigils which have been well attended.)


Cholera in Zimbabwe

Waiting for water at an Unicef water point in Harare (Huffington Post article)

From Anglican Information

Whilst the situation deteriorates even further in Zimbabwe there remain few African voices raised against the brutal Mugabe regime. An exception has been the Most Rev’d Thabo Makgoba the Archbishop of Capetown.

Ironically, it is now the spectre of the cholera that is becoming rampant in Zimbabwe that may speak loudest.

The disease is spreading across borders into neighbouring countries as people flee its effects.
Cholera is a water borne bacterial killer causing severe and terminal dehydration. It is entirely preventable by the maintenance of good infrastructure and clean water supplies. It can be treated by re-hydration therapy and hospitalisation. None of these basic amenities are available so in the sewage filled streets the beginnings of a final catastrophe are evident.

President Mugabe has today publicly announced that the cholera epidemic is over .........................................

In the meantime the Anglican mouthpiece of the Mugabe government in the person of self-styled Archbishop Nolbert Kunonga is also on the rampage. His future and that of the Central African Anglican Province hinges on the fate of Robert Mugabe.......and the cholera.

We publish below a mailing from Avondale Church, Harare, currently occupied by Kunonga.

Date: Thursday, December 11, 2008 09:13
From: Avondale Parish

Nolbert Kunonga has invaded Avondale church, ostensibly for a retreat for approximately 45 of his "clergy", some of whom are sleeping on mattresses in the Youth Room. The Youth Room had been booked for a meeting of Diocesan Readers on Saturday afternoon - the organisers have been told that it will now not be available, as the the retreat goes on until Saturday; on Sunday Kunonga is ordaining more "clergy"*in the Cathedral.

He has also taken over the hall, kitchen, parking and now the reception area so that the Avondale and Diocesan office staff have not been able to work since yesterday (Wednesday).

There is currently no working landline at the office where Bishop Bakare is now working from; the Diocesan computers and files are still at Avondale.

The Healing Communion Service could also not be held yesterday.

Please pray for the eviction of Kunonga and his cohorts. We are trying to get an urgent Court Order to evict them.

There will be an all night vigil at St Luke's Greendale on Friday 12 December 2008 at 8:00 pm to pray for the church and diocese concluding with Communion on Saturday morning.

If you cannot be there please also pray for the amelioration of the situation.

If you wish to join our mailing list, simply sendyour request to: avondaleparish.cpca@gmail.com

* NB Kunonga is busy ordaining untrained men of dubious background, more akin to thugs.



The crumbling state

From the Daily Telegraph via zwnews (my emphasis)

The Zimbabwean government has put the country's army on alert to deal with potential civil unrest, it was revealed yesterday.

Soldiers have been told to prepare to quell any outbreaks of disorder amid a worsening cholera outbreak. But troops are not being issued with firearms as senior officers are no longer sure who they can trust.

Low-ranking soldiers have rioted in the streets of Harare on several recent occasions after being unable to obtain cash.
Officially the Zimbabwe National Army is 40,000-strong, but informed estimates put its real numbers at a maximum of 30,000, with its ranks thinning dramatically due to desertion by soldiers and officers up to the level of captain.
Desertions from the army began two years ago, but are now accelerating as one of the main incentives for staying in uniform - a gratuity paid after 10 years service - has been rendered irrelevant by the country's hyperinflation. "That is now worth nothing, so they are just not going back," said a source. "We don't know how many as the numbers are being replaced with new recruits with hardly any training, youngsters who have never even fired a gun."
All here
And the models for a crumbling state: Somalia, Yugoslavia, Soviet Union, Chechenya?
Perhaps naively I don't think any of these are a good example. I think Zimbabwe has still the remnants of civil society (courts and lawyers, trades unions, local government) which will be a basis on which to rebuild. But when there is no police and no authority there will almost certainly be revenge and violent anger. Perhaps the model is India at partition - an outburst of violence followed by a stable government?
Or, perhaps, a transitional government will be brought in from outside, like the ANC's return from exile, with sufficient international help to provide stability. Of course, Zimbabwe will then be in hock to the West (who will have to fund it) for decades to come - oligarchic capitalism, and land-ownership, will be restored. And the rhetoric and facts of land-redistribution will also have left a legacy of resentment against the West.
We'll see.


Desparate email from Zimbabwe

Letter from Zimbabwe sent in by John Winter

I reckon that these are the last days of TKM and ZPF. The darkest hour is always before dawn.

We are all terrified at what they are going to destroy next........I mean they are actually ploughing down brick and mortar houses and one family with twin boys of 10 had no chance of salvaging anything when 100 riot police came in with AK47's and bulldozers and demolished their beautiful house - 5 bedrooms and pine ceilings - because it was 'too close to the airport', so we are feeling extremely insecure right now.

You know - I am aware that this does not help you sleep at night, but if you do not know - how can you help? Even if you put us in your own mental ring of light and send your guardian angels to be with us - that is a help -but I feel so cut off from you all knowing I cannot tell you what's going on here simply because you will feel uncomfortable. There is no ways we can leave here so that is not an option.

I ask that you all pray for us in the way that you know how, and let me know that you are thinking of us and sending out positive vibes... that's all. You can't just be in denial and pretend/believe it's not going on.

To be frank with you, it's genocide in the making and if you do not believe me, read the Genocide Report by Amnesty International which says we are - IN level 7 - (level 8 is after it's happened and everyone is in denial). [2007 Report - I can't immediately see which report is referred to here. PB]

If you don't want me to tell you these things-how bad it is-then it means you have not dealt with your own fear, but it does not help me to think you are turning your back on our situation. We need you, please, to get the news OUT that we are all in a fearfully dangerous situation here. Too many people turn their backs and say - oh well, that's what happens in Africa

This Government has GONE MAD and you need to help us publicize our plight---or how can we be rescued? It's a reality! The petrol queues are a reality, the pall of smoke all around our city is a reality, the thousands of homeless people sleeping outside in 0 Celsius with no food, water, shelter and bedding are a reality. Today a family approached me, brother of the gardener's wife with two small children. Their home was trashed and they will have to sleep outside. We already support 8 adult people and a child on this property, and electricity is going up next month by 250% as is water.

How can I take on another family of 4 -----and yet how can I turn them away to sleep out in the open?

I am not asking you for money or a ticket out of here - I am asking you to FACE the fact that we are in deep and terrible danger and want you please to pass on our news and pictures. So PLEASE don't just press the delete button! Help best in the way that you know how.

Do face the reality of what is going on here and help us SEND OUT THE WORD.. The more people who know about it, the more chance we have of the United Nations coming to our aid. Please don't ignore or deny what's happening.Some would like to be protected from the truth BUT then, if we are eliminated, how would you feel? 'If only we knew how bad it really was we could have helped in some way'.

[I know we chose to stay here and that some feel we deserve what's coming to us]

For now,--- we ourselves have food, shelter, a little fuel and a bit of money for the next meal - but what is going to happen next? Will they start on our houses? All property is going to belong to the State now. I want to send out my Title Deeds to one of you because if they get a hold of those, I can't fight for my rights.

Censorship!----We no longer have SW radio [which told us everything that was happening] because the Government jammed it out of existence - we don't have any reporters, and no one is allowed to photograph. If we had reporters here, they would have an absolute field day. Even the pro-Government Herald has written that people are shocked, stunned, bewildered and blown mindless by the wanton destruction of many folks homes, which are supposed to be 'illegal' but for which a huge percentage actually do have licenses.

Please! - do have some compassion and HELP by sending out the articles and personal reports so that something can/may be done.

'I am one. I cannot do everything, ---but I can do something.. And because I cannot do everything, I will not refuse to do the something that I can do. What I can do, I should do. And what I should do, by the grace of God, I will do.'


Please send this on to everyone in your address book. We send jokes outwithout blinking an eyelid. We don't get told this on the news in South Africa , we only get told what they want us to hear. We all have a chance to do something, even though the something is by pressing forward to as many people as possible. Let's stop talking and let's start doing! There is power in prayer, there is also power in more people knowing about this than you in my address book. This is going to America , Dubai , Australia , France , South Africans all over South Africa , the UK . By forwarding this to all in my address book I have done something. The world needs to know what is going on.


Restoring the Church in Zambia

Rt. Revd David Njovu, Bishop of Lusaka

A major fund raising campaign is underway in Lusaka to refurbish the Anglican Cathedral of the Holy Cross, built in 1958.

A Cathedral Corporate Partnership ball with the theme ‘ Restoring a National Spiritual Heritage through Partnership’ was attended by President Banda and Bank of Zambia Corporate Affairs Manager Danny Kalyalya.

Zambia is constitutionally a Christian country. One expression of this is a government commitment to the refurbishment of the Cathedral which has had a key role in many important national occasions.

And speaking earlier Anglican Bishop of the Diocese of Lusaka The Right Reverend
David Njovu said the Cathedral of the Holy Cross has continued to play a central
role in Zambia’s spiritual affairs and in guiding the nation.

Rev. Njovu said the Cathedral was therefore a symbol of Christ’s Lordship over Zambia which has now become even more significant with the declaration of Zambia as a Christian nation.

He noted that the church is humbled and inspired by the wisdom in the
leaders to declare Zambia a Christian nation.

Fuller accounts here and here.

The Anglican Communion may be under strain in these post-colonial and globalising days. But one element of the genetic code of Anglicanism (on it's mother's side) that is still strong is the capacity to work in a close and subordinate relationship with the state.

And, just to reinforce the point, just after I'd posted this I saw: Barack Obama accepts Episcopal Church offer to host a prayer service in honor of his inauguration on Wednesday morning January 21,


Adding to the voices

Most Revd Thabo Makgoba, Archbishop of Cape Town

Statement by the Most Revd Thabo Makgoba, Archbishop of Cape Town (here)

I am deeply pained by the terrible deterioration, disease and despair we are seeing in Zimbabwe.

I welcome yesterday's signs that the South African government is alive to the implications of the total collapse of governance in Zimbabwe, of which we see new evidence daily.

But the silence of SADC leaders in general is disgraceful. Why throughout this crisis have we seen no evidence of public leadership from King Mswati III, chairperson of SADC Organ on Politics, Defence and Security Co-operation? He should not only be taking high-profile action on Zimbabwe, but needs to show that peace and democracy are possible in his own country.

Are SADC's leaders not moved by the terrible human suffering in Zimbabwe? Where is their ubuntu? Must people be massacred in Zimbabwe's streets before SADC will take firm, decisive and public action? Will they even then?

No, SADC has failed and is morally bankrupt. President Mugabe has demonstrated again and again that he will not share power. He is no longer fit to rule. I appeal to the chair of the African Union, President Jakaya Kikwete of Tanzania to step in and declare publicly that Mugabe's rule is now illegitimate and that he must step aside, and for the AU to work speedily with the United Nations to set up a transitional government to take control.

A couple of books

I have recently found two books on Google Books which may be of interest (previews available).

James Tengatenga,

African Books Collective, 2006

ISBN 9990876517, 9789990876512

223 pages

Missionary history in Africa asserts that political history on the continent
cannot be understood without an in depth understanding of the workings of the
missions: missionary activities and ideologies were central to political
consciousness. The Anglican Church was involved in society, education, health
and politics right from its first foray into Malawi. This study considers the
nature of the involvement of that Church in society, and how it engaged with the
State from its genesis in the colonial period through the post-independence
period to the new post-Banda political dispensation in 1994. It illustrates how
the Church was involved on both sides of the independence struggle; and
interrogates why it fell conspicuously silent thereafter.

The Steamer Parish: The Rise and Fall of Missionary Medicine on an African Frontier

Charles M. Good

University of Chicago Press, 2004

ISBN 0226302814, 9780226302812

487 pages

In the mid-1800s, a group of High Anglicans formed the Universities' Mission to
Central Africa (UMCA). Inspired by Dr. David Livingstone, they felt a special
calling to bring the Church, education, and medical care to rural Africans. To
deliver services across a huge, remote area, the UMCA relied on steamer ships
that were sent from England and then reassembled on Lake Malawi. By the
mid-1920s, the UMCA had built a chain of mission stations that spread across
four hundred miles. In The Steamer Parish, Charles M. Good Jr. traces the
Mission's history and its lasting impact on public health care in south-central
Africa-and shows how steam and medicine, together with theology, allowed the
Mission to impose its will, indelibly, on hundreds of thousands of people.
What's more, many of the issues he discusses-rural development, the ecological
history of disease, and competition between western and traditional medicine-are
as relevant today as they were 100 years ago.

And if you buy them from Amazon via the MCU Bookshop the MCU will receive a small percentage of the price.

Update on Upper Shire

From Anglican Information

The Anglican Provincial Bishops under the oversight of acting Dean Albert Chama of Northern Zambia are, it seems, still determined to impose their candidate Alinafe Kalemba, currently dean of Leonard Kamunga Theological College, Zomba, as bishop of the Diocese of Upper Shire. Confirmation of the imposition is scheduled to take place in Lusaka, Zambia (well hidden from Malawi) at the Bishops meeting on Tuesday, 16th December.

In a tacit acknowledgment that their action is of dubious legal validity and will be undertaken in the face of overwhelming opposition in the diocese of Upper Shire, James Tengatenga, Bishop of South Malawi, has met recently with representatives of the diocese.

Four members of the House of Laity together with Frs Joel Malanda and Roy Makope with their representative lawyer met with Tengatenga who declared that he was in turn representing the Episcopal Synod, which rather grand title simply means that he was probably speaking for the other bishops.

James Tengatenga is known to have a very high doctrine of the episcopate more akin to the authoritarian Roman than the conciliar Anglican model. This will have been enhanced from his point of view by the recent award of the Lambeth Cross of St Augustine given to him on 5th November as a member of the 2008 Lambeth Conference Design Group. Tengatenga is a frequent traveller to various corners of the Anglican Communion.

The hotly debated issue for the Upper Shire meeting was that of the lack of mandate given to the Central African Provincial Bishops to appoint their choice in Alinafe Kalemba. The elective assembly did not grant such a mandate to the bishops. Asked by the mediator at the meeting to to bring proof that there was no such declaration (it’s an odd thing having to prove a negative) the members of the Upper Shire Diocesan Elective assembly have all signed a resolution to the effect that the bishops do not have their consent to proceed.

From Anglican Information



It's just a matter of time

or, perhaps, Providence.
The Archbishop of Wales with the Bishop of New Hampshire
In a TV documentary to be broadcast on BBC One Wales on Wednesday, the Archbishop of Wales reveals, amongst other things, that

Describing the circumstances in which he would consecrate a bishop in a gay relationship, he said: “Personally, I have absolutely no problem at all with the full acceptance of gay and lesbian people into the church of God because they are made in God’s image. It’s not a matter of choice and therefore if the church of God
cannot welcome these people then I don’t think it’s being a ‘church’ at
all and it’s not being true to the gospel and the values of Jesus.”

He continued: “If the electoral college went ahead and if then the bench of bishops
endorsed the nomination – so there are a couple of big ifs there – then I as
Archbishop would have to decide to do one of two things: Go ahead and risk the
ire of the Communion or refuse to consecrate and then possibly be taken to the
provincial court of the Church in Wales for refusing to carry out what I’m
canonically sort of mandated to do.”

If such a moment was reached, he said: “I feel that I would have no choice at that
juncture but to consecrate.”

Not tomorrow, nor the next day. But one day.
Dr Williams did not invite the openly gay Bishop of New Hampshire Gene Robinson
to the Lambeth Conference this summer. However, Dr Morgan chaired a pre-Lambeth gathering of liberal Anglicans at which the bishop was present.