Diocese of Lake Malawi: The Rev’d Dr. Nicholas Henderson calls for support for the Archdeacon of Lilongwe.

‘A voice for the voiceless in the
Church of the Province of Central Africa’

How are we going to get that balloon down? The Rev'd Dr. Nicholas Henderson (right) and the Venerable Francis Kaulanda in Dr Henderson's church of St Martin, West Acton, London

ANGLICAN-INFORMATION reports that The Rev’d Dr. Nicholas Henderson of London, England, bishop-elect of the Diocese of Lake Malawi for the past four years, has written an open letter to the people of the diocese.

observes that in the letter Dr. Henderson thanks the people of the Diocese of Lake Malawi for their ‘courageous stand for justice’ referring to the period following the now notorious Court of Confirmation held in November 2005 that declared him to be of ‘unsound faith’. This was based, apparently, on his one-time membership of a theological society with which at least three of the existing bishops have close connections.

Dr. Henderson also writes, noting the recent election of the Archdeacon of Lilongwe, ‘Now, for the good of the Diocese of Lake Malawi and for the sake of the Gospel of our Lord Jesus Christ, I believe that it is time to support Francis Kaulanda (the newly elected candidate) and ensure that as far as possible the diocese is well-managed, the people are respected and the Gospel is preached’.

says: Dr Henderson’s letter provides a helpful and welcome opportunity for the Diocese of Lake Malawi to move on to the next stage. It is hoped that this will be possible after the many difficulties of the past few years.

However, we must also sadly note from our contacts that there is the potential for a permanent difficulty for the new bishop. In the absence of a resolution of the Court of Confirmation of 2005, Kaulanda’s electoral mandate is seen as being inadequate and almost entirely dependent on the arbitrary patronage of the provincial bishops. Despite frequent calls from the laity the bishops have been unwilling to subject the original Court of Confirmation to an independent Provincial Court for examination and resolution.

Consequently, there is danger that this will manifest itself in any future times of difficulty in the diocese. It could seriously weaken Kaulanda’s episcopate by offering an opportunity for people to challenge his authenticity as bishop. In recent history the salutary example of the dubious election of Nolbert Kunonga in Zimbabwe led inexorably in the same way to a time of great unrest and difficulty.

In this respect a failure on the part of provincial bishops to follow canonical proceedings has once again guaranteed uncertainty in a diocese that deserves better and handicaps an otherwise good candidate in the person of the Archdeacon of Lilongwe.

We applaud therefore Dr. Henderson’s timely and generous letter and encourage him in his efforts to support the Archdeacon of Lilongwe for the good of the people of Lake Malawi.

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  1. There's something wrong here - well, there's always been something wrong in Central Africa. Let me see Henderson is, I believe, in his sixties and would have a only few years as bishop so there's no reason why someone like Francis Kaulanda couldn't have come in after him.

    I guess what's really behind this is a bit of black/white tension on the part of some of the bishops.

  2. Now what's the next stage - a battle for who's to be Archbishop of Central Africa?

  3. This is an extraordinarily altruistic gesture on the part of Revd Dr. Nicholas Henderson, but as I have said on previous blogs, I feel it is a shame that the laity haven't been able to benefit from a few years of being guided by his skill and experience.

    I agree with Penwatch in that there was an element of underhand racism in the previous confirmation process when the then Archbishop Bernard Malango prevented the Bishop-elect from taking up his rightful position in the Diocese of Lake Malawi.