But, in the US

Presbyterians reject gay clergy, but vote closer

Efforts to allow gays and lesbians to serve as clergy in the Presbyterian Church (U.S.A.) have been defeated again, sealed by votes Saturday.

But the margin of defeat _ the final tally has yet to be determined _ is already guaranteed to be much closer than in previous years. That is encouraging for gay clergy supporters and concerning to opponents, with both sides expecting the issue to be revisited in the future.

Last summer, the 2.3 million-member denomination's General Assembly voted to drop a constitutional requirement that would-be ministers, deacons and elders live in "fidelity within the covenant of marriage between and a man and a woman, or chastity in singleness."


"The tide is turning before our very eyes in understanding that GLBT men and women are loved by God and called to ministry," said the Rev. Janet Edwards, co-moderator of More Light Presbyterians, which supports changing the ordination standards. "The church is catching up with the love Jesus has for all God's children."

Like many mainline Protestant denominations, the Presbyterian Church (U.S.A.) has been fighting for years over Biblical authority and the place of gays and lesbians in the church.

From PA via Washington Post

Meanwhile, in Scotland

Rev Scott Rennie

The Church of Scotland prepares to ordain an partnered gay man.

There is, of course, opposition, and here. Nonetheless Rev Rennie has strong support from his prospective congregation - more than 80% of whom voted for him - and from the presbytery in Aberdeen.

The Aberdeen case requires a decision. The big problem for the Kirk is how to deal with this matter justly, without provoking a damaging split. I think it can be done. Here's how. The congregation of Queen's Cross want Scott Rennie as their minister, backed by the Presbytery of Aberdeen. The General Assembly should support them. The Assembly should also promote a process of further study, dialogue and discernment.

In the midst of all the current problems of the world, the sight of the Church of Scotland getting its theological knickers in a twist over a couple of people in a committed relationship is not a pretty one. Scott Rennie is a fine minister, and a good and brave man. Future Kirk generations will look back on this - as this generation does with regard to the abolition of slavery and the ordination of women - and wonder what the fuss was all about.

And behind the reckless talk about a new Disruption, there lies a profound irony. Why did the ministers walk out of the Auld Kirk? It was because they wanted congregations to have the right to choose their own ministers.

(Last January the Scottish Sun's headline read: Churchmen fight to dump gay Rev)

New man, no change

Eliud Wabukala of Bungoma, Archbishop of the Anglican Church of Kenya from July

From Ecumenical News International

New Kenyan archbishop will 'keep stand' against same-sex unions

"We know there are challenges of building bridges among our communities, reconciling and healing the people. That's basically what I will do," said Wabukala, adding he would ensure that God's word is preached, taught and lived out. "I want to thank the electoral college for a very peaceful election and for maintaining the dignity of this church," he told journalists after his election.

In an interview with Canada's Anglican Journal on 26 April, Nzimbi had said, "When we talk about same-sex unions, it is to us a big challenge because missionaries, when they came here, taught us that we can't change the word of God … We never knew that something that we're hearing now would happen."

Bishop Bill Atwood of the All Saints Diocese, Nairobi, said, "The new archbishop is faithful to word of God. I am sure he will continue to be faithful to the world of God."

All here.


What now?

No election – no result in the Anglican Diocese of Harare, Zimbabwe

ANGLICAN-INFORMATION reports the ‘result’ of the election for a new Anglican Bishop of Harare, Zimbabwe.

and the result is ....... that no election has taken place, as a correspondent writes:
‘I am not sure if you are aware that the elections for Harare have since been postponed at the last minute for no reason explained to the members of the Electoral College of the Diocese of Harare. Again Chama's tactics seem to be evident in this election. More information as it comes’.


Change at the top in Kenya

Eliud Wabukala, the new Archbishop of the Anglican Church of Kenya.

The 58 year old Wabukala who has been serving as the Bungoma Bishop was elected by a simple majority in the fourth round, after the contesting clerics failed to secure the compulsory two thirds majority in the first three rounds.
Details here.
The outgoing Anglican Archbishop of Kenya Benjamin Nzimbi tops the list of possible members of the proposed Truth Justice and Reconciliation Commission (TJRC) which is intended to investigate human rights violations since independence.

Battle continues in Manicaland

From The Manica Post

Anglican Church saga turns ugly
By Cletus Mushanawani

THE battle to control the Anglican Church in Manicaland turned bloody on Sunday with a priest stationed at St Agnes Church in Chikanga, Reverend Basil Matikiti, being severely assaulted by thugs believed to have been hired by a rival faction.

Police confirmed the violence and said nine people from among those who were believed to have been bused from Bonda, Chirarwe in Chief Mutasa's area, Zimunya as well Dewedzo in Makoni were arrested in connection with the violence and were released on summons.The two factions are battling to gain control of the church's properties, mainly churches. The issue is pending in court, but this has not stopped the two now-bitter rivals from slugging it out openly.

Manicaland provincial police spokesman, Inspector Brian Makomeke, said: "Rev Matikiti from the Bishop Jakazi faction, who is staying at St Agnes Church in Chikanga high-density suburb, was assaulted by a mob at the church on Sunday. The incident happened at about 7am when a group of about 100 people drawn from Bonda Mission, Zimunya and Sakubva, who were being led by Rev Chawarika, went to the church wanting to have a church service there.

A misunderstanding ensued between the two factions, resulting in Rev Matikiti being assaulted. Rev Matikiti sustained swollen eyes. His reverend's collar and shirt were torn to pieces. His wife, Mrs Delight Matikiti (33), was also assaulted when she tried to stop the mob from assaulting her husband. She also sustained a swollen right eye.

"Nine people were arrested in connection with the violence and were charged with public violence. I do not have their names right now, but I understand that they were released on summons."

Insp Makomeke said the police, through the officer commanding Mutare Urban District, Chief Superintendent Mbeko Kunene, were trying to find a lasting solution to the feud.

Chief Supt Kunene said they had managed to pick up possible leads that would lead to more arrests of the culprits, who were involved in the Sunday incident."Some of the suspects have since been identified and we hope that more arrests will be made in the next few days. We want to ensure that normalcy returns to the church," he said.

On allegations that the police were partial in their handling of the matter, the officer commanding crime in Manicaland, Assistant Commissioner Charles Chagonda said the police were doing their best to ensure that peace prevailed in the church and were not taking sides in the feud.

"What you should understand is that there are accusations and counter-accusations between the two factions. We cannot just rush to arrest someone without enough evidence because that person will be expected to appear before the courts. The courts will only prosecute a person when there are reasonable suspicions that a person would have committed an offence. If the victims have the actual names of their assailants, they should not hesitate to approach their nearest police station. We are aware of cases that have happened at Bonda Mission and Rusape and they are before the courts. Remember that the courts are under the Ministry of Justice and Legal Affairs, while us, we are under the Ministry of Home Affairs and we cannot tell them how to execute their duties.

"People should also know that only individuals are arrested and not factions. I believe in justice and if anyone has the evidence that the police are being corrupt, they should approach us with the necessary evidence," he said.

The feud over the control of the Anglican Church in Manicaland pits Bishop Elson Jakazi against Bishop Peter Hatendi and has been raging since last year when the latter was enthroned as a caretaker bishop of the diocese by the dean of the Church of Central Africa, Bishop Albert Chama of Zambia.

This followed events of September 23, 2007, when Bishop Jakazi wrote to the then Archbishop of the Church of the Province of Central Africa, Dr Bernard Amos Malango, notifying of the diocese's withdrawal from the Central Africa with effect from September 21, 2007. The decision to withdraw from the province came after the Diocese of Manicaland refused to acknowledge gay bishops in the church.

The province of Central Africa was not clear on its position regarding the issue of gay bishops in the church, with some sections of the church saying the province was in support of the gay bishops because of the money they were receiving from Western countries in favour of the appointment of gays as bishops.

However, on October 31, 2007, Bishop Jakazi retracted the withdrawal after consulting with the Diocesan Registrar of Manicaland, Mr Peter Makombe, a decision which the province of Central Africa refused to accept.

Bishop Jakazi has since defiantly clung on to the post, claiming to be the bona fide bishop, while the rival faction has refused to acknowledge him as such, swearing their allegiance to Bishop Hatendi as the legitimate bishop.

The rivalry has been intensifying with each passing day with violent clashes now common in the church. In an interview at St Agnes Church on Wednesday morning, Rev Matikiti, who is recuperating at home, was at a loss for words to describe the incident, which he said was barbaric.

He said: "It was around 7am and I was preparing for a service at the church since our bishop, Bishop Jakazi, was to attend when my wife came and told me that a concerned church member had come to inform her that she had noticed a number of people gathered at the home of a member from the rival faction (name supplied). I instructed her to lock the gates since we did not want any noise at the church. At that moment, a truck belonging to one of the prominent persons in the faction (name supplied) came loaded with people and they forcibly opened the locked gate. I was in the church at that moment when the group stormed the church. All hell broke loose with the hired people taking turns to assault me. I tried to defend myself with a bench, but I was overpowered.

"The group tried to remove the bishop's chair from the altar and I rushed to the altar to stop them. They continued assaulting me at the altar and I told them that I was prepared to die at the altar. The thugs grabbed me and carried me outside the church where they continued to assault me."

The Manica Post has a list of some of the people implicated in the assault of Rev Matikiti.

He said at one time, he managed to break away from his assailants and rushed back into the church where they followed and dragged him outside and continued assaulting him."They carried me outside the church premises where they continued with their assault. Some of them were kicking me in the head. They also turned their anger on my wife who was trying to stop them from assaulting me. I was bleeding from the nose when Bishop Jakazi's car came. I jumped into the car and one of the thugs tried to grab the car keys, but failed. We managed to drive off and proceeded to Mutare Central Police Station where we made a report. We drove back to the church in the company of the police and the presence of the police forced my assailants to speed off," he said.

Rev Matikiti said he was now living in fear as he had received a threatening call later that night.

Approached for a comment, a bitter Bishop Jakazi said the issue was now bigger than what most people perceived.

"This is no longer anything to do with the church. To say the least, this is Satanism at its worst. It is a shame that people are no longer respecting the church. I know that there is money at play, but can we forsake our Christian values for the love of money?

"Our rivals are no longer preaching the gospel of Jesus Christ, but the anti-Jakazi gospel. They should know that I am the legitimate bishop of the Diocese of Manicaland and all what they are using are guerrilla warfare tactics, which will not yield anything. I was elected by two-thirds of the electoral college, which is made up of 12 members from the Diocese of Manicaland and nine members from the Province of Central Africa. We said we do not want dirty money from homosexuals and that is why they are now crucifying us," he said.

Bishop Jakazi said the issue of the church property was still pending in the courts and that they had attended a pre-trial at the High Court in Harare last Tuesday.

"I do not know why they are pushing for us to share our churches with them when the issue is still pending in the courts. They should allow the law to take its course."

The Manica Post managed to trek Bishop Hatendi at his Yeovil home where he has just moved in and he narrated the events leading to the current problems rocking the church.

He said he was called from retirement to be the caretaker bishop of the Diocese of Manicaland until a new bishop was elected to replace Bishop Jakazi.

"Firstly you should know that I don't lead a faction. I am the rightful bishop of Manicaland who is recognised by the Church of the Province of Central Africa. I had retired in 1995 and I was only appointed on 16 May last year to call all pastoral and administrative work in the Diocese of Manicaland in the Church of the Province of Central Africa until a new bishop is elected. The problems in the church are stemming from the fact that the Jakazi faction are holding on to the church's property following their pulling out from the Province of Central Africa. My members are just claiming their property back," he said.

When pressed to shade more light on accusations that members from his faction were fanning violence, Bishop Hatendi said:

"As a grandfather or father I don't know everything that my children and grandchildren will be doing. If they are doing that I condemn violence and urge them to stop. I am here in Manicaland to bring order to the church and I am not a violent person. I am a grown up person and I no longer have any strength to fight. I cannot start fighting people now, something which I failed to do when I was young.

"My message to my followers is that of peace. Let peace reign until we achieve our goal of retaining our property. We believe we have the right of our property, which belongs to the Church of the Province of Central Africa. That is the right we will continue fighting for in the courts of law and not physically."


Malasa appointed

The official Press Release from ACNS
The Church of the Province of Central Africa (which is the Anglican Church in Malawi, Zambia, Zimbabwe and Botswana) announces that the Court of Confirmation of the new bishop of the Anglican Diocese of Upper Shire met on 16th April, 2009 at Chilema Conference Centre Chapel at Malosa.

After six successive ballots for the nominated candidates failed to achieve the required two thirds of the votes cast on 16 February 2008, the election of the bishop was referred to the Episcopal Synod, which is the house of Bishops, in accordance with Canos and Constitution of the Church of the Province of Central Africa.

The Vicar General of the Diocese, Fr Brighton Malasa, was duly elected at the Episcopal Synod that was held in Lusaka on 16 December 2008.

We would therefore like to announce to all and sundry that Fr Brighton Malasa’s election as Bishop of the Diocese of Upper Shire in the Church of the Province of Central Africa was confirmed by the Court of Confirmation comprising the Dean of the Province, Bishop Albert Chama, Bishop Derek Kamukwamba – Central Zambia, Bishop Ishmael Mukuwanda – Central Zimbabwe, Bishop Robert Mumbi – Luapula, Bishop Trevor Musonda Mwamba- Botswana, Bishop David Njovu – Lusaka, Bishop James Tengatenga – Southern Malawi, Bishop Godfrey Tawonezvi – Masvingo, Very Revd Canon Michael Mkoko – Lake Malawi, Revd Dennis Milanzi – Commissary for Northern Malawi, Ven Revd Justice Msini – Commissary for Matabeleland, and Bishop William Mchombo – Eastern Zambia.

The court sat under the legal guidance and watchful eye of the Provincial Registrar, Canon Justice James Kalaile.


What is to become of the Anglican Church in Zimbabwe?

Worship in a Zimbabwe Church

From Anglican Information

A lay view from the Anglican Diocese of Harare, Zimbabwe - the forthcoming election of a new bishop.

ANGLICAN-INFORMATION says: Following the terrible ‘Nolbert Kunonga’ era in Zimababwe where renegade former Bishop of Harare, Nolbert Kunonga has used the Mugabe state apparatus to intimidate and control the diocese (something which still continues despite political power sharing) the Central African Province is engaged in arranging an election for a successor to caretaker Bishop Sebastian Bakare. The election will take place on 26th April.

Unsurprisingly, it is not a straightforward matter and various parties and interests are competing for influence. We have been asked to publish a very long letter from a parishioner at St Luke’s, Greendale, Harare. It represents one point of view in a complex situation.

This is a time that requires wise and steady leadership on the part of those charged with the conduct of the election in one of the most difficult situations in Africa. It is essential that the election be seen to be fair and properly representative and that the new bishop is able to command the full allegiance and authority that comes from a free democratic election.

We will bring news of the result to you as soon as we receive it.

From: Mafirakurewa Kubvoruno
Parishioner St Luke’s Greendale, Harare

Flagrant ecclesiastical vote rigging in the Diocese of Harare CPCA on the eve of the election of its next Bishop PreambleFollowing its worst experience in its history when the chief shepherd – Nolbert Kunonga tried without success to withdraw the Diocese of Harare CPCA, from the Anglican Communion, Bp. Sebastian Bakare was brought in as a Caretaker Bishop with a specific mandate to set up the structures of the Diocese that had been destroyed.

The mandate was very clear and needed no explanation. This mandate also had a time frame which we hoped would be respected. A lot has happened since he came into that office, including a synod held in 2008. A time has now come for the Diocese of Harare to choose its next shepherd and yet, it appears history is repeating itself.

Reports from those with inside knowledge already reveal that this election will not the choice of the people of the Diocese of Harare but, that of the so called “Search Committee”, [an animal which is not canonical, hence its recommendations do not hold any water].

I will try to put the people of the Diocese of Harare into the picture of what is happening, from the point of view of someone who is a faithful lay member of this Diocese. As I write this email my heart bleeds on the goings on in the Diocese and the Province at large. Where is God in all this? If Bishops show clearly that they are good at rigging elections what should we do as the laity? Where do these people want us to belong, when we have been born in this church and grown up therein?

1. The Fall of Kunonga and the coming of Bakare
The fall of Kunonga needs no comment for it is public knowledge that he fell out of grace and found himself forming his own church – which has bishops and clergy without any following. The province did well quickly to jump in and appoint someone with experience to come to the rescue of the Diocese of Harare CPCA, and protect God’s church from this ravenous lion that had come to it in sheep’s clothing and attacked it from within. The love for power for Kunonga led him into forming his own church and his continued harassment of the Anglican Diocese of Harare is a concern to everyone in the Anglican Communion. We are all aware that this prelate enjoys political support from ZANU PF as such the judgement to decide who owns the Church properties in the Diocese of Harare is expected to take much longer than expected.

2. Persecution of the Anglican Believers
Kunonga’s departure ushered in a protracted persecution of the Anglican members in the Diocese of Harare. This persecution took the form of the historical persecutions protracted under the Roman Emperors. Many clergy and the faithful Christians were beaten, motor vehicle accidents were created for some, and others were put behind bars for what they believed.

At the beginning Bakare seemed to work together with the clergy as such we saw a good rapport in the diocese. However once he settled in his new office and started to enjoy the accolades of the international community, flooding him with prizes for his so called ‘stands for democracy’, we began to see him fall into the power trap and adopting the same style of leadership which Kunonga was known of – dictatorship and autocracy.

One interesting thing was the announcement at the Synod of 2008, that the money which he had received from some dioceses in UK was personal donations to him and his wife as such when they purchase a vehicle which was meant for the Bishop, upon retirement, he would take that vehicle with him. I am not sure if this was the intention of those dioceses that donated this money in the first place. This is exactly what Kunonga was known for – diverting donations meant for the diocese for his personal use. What it means basically is that the next Bishop of Harare will have to fund raise also for his motor vehicle from his friends. Such a thing confused me then and still does today even more now because many other things have happened since then.

In the same vein although accolades were sung for Bakare for being the champion of democracy through fighting Kunonga and his surrogates, the actual fact is that he never tested the beatings of those who persecuted the church, neither did he spend time in jail even a single day. Sadly those people who supported him and were jailed for the truth they stood for, their love for their diocese, and their Church have been removed from their parishes and sent to work in places which are known to be dangerous for political reasons.

Fr. Thomas Madei is a good case in point. Just before Bakare came to Harare, Fr. Thomas was one of those vigilant clergy in the Diocese who withstood kunonga’s shenanigans and opposed him in his face at the risk of their ministry. When he came, Fr. Thomas actually went out of his way to invite Bp Bakare to have an office at Greendale Parish. A thing which was dangerous at that stage and a sign of the zeal and support he had for the new Bishop.

At the same time Fr. Thomas was rector at St Luke’s Greendale Parish, and he suffered immense persecution under the Kunonga people and was jailed for some days, and yet the prize he received for all that was redeployment to Bindura a hot seat for ZANU PF, thugs. Upon his arrival there he was threatened and when he reported this to Bakare, there was no help forthcoming.

As I write this communiqué, Fr. Thomas is back in his rural village Tandi in Rusape – sad thing indeed for a Bishop who promised to hold the diocese together for the short time he was given. As if that was not enough, Bakare fell out with a number of dedicated clergy in the Diocese of Harare who stood with him during this trying time.

These clergy include people such as Fr. Christopher Tapera, who is the Diocesan Secretary. Whereas he was the spokesperson of the diocese during those hot days, when he tried to advise Bakare, all he received was a cold shoulder with Bakare opting instead to align himself with those who sang his song all the time. Fr. Christopher actually warned Bakare at one stage that he should concentrate on holding the Diocese together as opposed to redeploying clergy at a time when he was just left with a few months to leave office. This advice fell on deaf ears. Instead he was told in plain terms that “I am preparing the way for the next Bishop”. One wonders why an outgoing Caretaker Bishop needed to prepare for an incoming Bishop as if that incoming Bishop was so naïve as to fail to work form the diocese into what he considers proper.

We have witnessed some wanton and careless transfer of clergy left right and centre, at the most conspicuous time when children are in the middle of their school terms. I wonder why Bakare did not learn from Kunonga’s mistakes. We have also witnessed how Bishop Bakare has repeatedly done what he used to do from Manicaland – that is poaching clergy from other diocese, even those clergy who were on disciplinary suspension and those whom he considered his colleagues. We have seen the Diocese of Harare being flooded by clergy from Manicaland, and these are the priests who currently are in charge of all the good parishes. Just to name a few, Mandirahwe has replaced Madei at Greendale; Marandu replaced Zimbudzana at Mount Pleasant.

The Diocese of Central Zimbabwe also lost 6 clergy to Harare despite spending so much money to train them, most of these clergy have been supported by their diocese up to University level and upon completion, without serving their sponsoring diocese for even one day, they were taken by Bakare, without realising the damage that he was doing to his fellow bishops. In the same vein the Diocese of Masvingo which is also in a desperate need for clergy lost about four clergy to the Diocese of Harare. It must be known that the Anglican Church in Zimbabwe is not in competition to see which diocese has the best clergy instead the Anglican Church in Zimbabwe should work together. But Bakare deliberately decided to do his own thing and has caused too much strife, not only in Harare but in the whole country.

As if that was not enough, at Bishop Gaul College, a seminary co-owned by the Anglican Church in Zimbabwe, suddenly became Bakare’s baby upon his assumption of power. Decisions of who becomes principal there should actually be made by the Trustees of the College who are the Bishops of the Anglican Church is Zimbabwe. Sadly and in the same footsteps of Kunonga’s leadership style, Bakare took to firing and hiring principals without consulting. We suddenly heard of the removal of Fr. Julius Zimbudzana from being the principal of that college and the unilateral appointment of Fr. Fundira, a person who is in retirement from government, and whose theological educational credentials are questionable. This decision was made unilaterally without any consultation of the other trustees - typical of Kunonga’s style. As if that was not enough, the other diocese found themselves wondering what was happening in Harare as such they have now resorted to finding their own means of training their clergy, a thing which must not happen especially in this country where unity is the buzzing word these days.

It was in the context of all these wrong doings on the part of Bp Bakare that, the Diocesan Synod of 2008, was highjacked to endorse Bakare’s wish to stay at the helm of the Diocese of Harare CPCA, “for another two years” so that he would prepare the way for his choice of the next Bishop of Harare CPCA. To this effect he chose a few of his colleagues to push this suggestion so that it would not sound as if it was out of his love for power, but for it to sound as the diocesan request to have him stay. No one had been consulted in the Diocese about the extension of Bakare’s term of office. It was his desire to remain in office, and get the international attention which he has been getting and prepare the way for his chosen successor. In fact when the current Electoral College was chosen, he is understood to have publicly expressed a view that, this group of men and women would not fool themselves thinking that they will elect the next Bishop of Harare. This was so because the people he wanted to be in that committee were not chosen. How could the sane clergy and laity of the Diocese of Harare choose people who have recently joined the Diocese of Harare from Manicaland most of whom they do not know. It was therefore a shock for Bakare that his desire to get an extension was refused flatly by the Provincial Bishops although he wanted to criticise Bps Ishmael Mukuwanda and Godfrey Tawonezvi as the people who costed him his desired stay in the Diocese of Harare.

In fact according to the Provincial Diary of the Church of the Province of Central Africa 2009, it is on record that after the agreed retirement of Bakare by the end of February, the elections for the next Bishop of Harare were to take place on the 14th March 2009.

The acting Dean of the Province was instructed to communicate this to Harare, but upon his arrival he was welcomed by his long time seminary friend – Fr. Eric Ruwona and whisked to the Diocesan Offices where he, Fr. Eric and Bp Bakare locked each other for some time before meeting the Diocesan Officials and telling them openly that he – [Chama] was changing what the Provincial Bishops had suggested that Bakare should retire by the end of February. He went on to insinuate that he suddenly realised that the Diocese “would be left fatherless”. What a surprise! One would question the motives behind Chama’s actions here and especially that this came out after his meeting with Bakare and Eric his teacher in seminary and his friend respectively. Since his time as Bishop of Manicaland, Bp. Bakare has always taken Fr. Eric as his heir apparent.

It is clear that Bakare wanted to buy time and ensure that he prepares the way for his self-appointed successor as Bishop of Harare. Why the acting Dean of the Province would be allowed to change what other Bishops decided upon as colleagues, and make his own decision if there was transparency in the whole thing leaves much to be desired.

Some of us are not surprised because we have watched Bp Albert Chama’s trend of leadership with great interest and laughter. One thing that had come out very clearly since he took up the office of Dean and became the acting leader of the Province of Central Africa following the retirement of that erstwhile Archbishop Bernard Malango, we have seen the highest levels of cronyism as he has shown clearly that he wants to put his friends into the positions of Bishops in this Province so that when all is set they in turn will vote him Archbishop. This is clear vote rigging par excellence.

Chama should not think that we are not aware of his whims, we are watching carefully how he is flouting the Canons and we are very concerned hence my decision to write this communiqué so as to warn the people of this diocese that Chama and Bakare do not have the good of this diocese at heart. For them this is an opportunity to reward their friends with Bishopric and the electors of the Diocese of Harare should be warned before they cast their vote this coming Sunday.

If the original arrangement according to the Provincial Diary of the CPCA 2009 was followed, then the next Bishop of Harare should have already been confirmed on the 18th April 2009 and Bakare should have retired by the end of June assuming that the new Bishop would have been consecrated in May.

All these plans were put aside because the situation was not yet ready to produce what Bakare and Chama wanted as the next Bishop of Harare. On one hand Bakare knew that the members of the Electoral College in Harare would not vote for his choice of candidate for Bishop of Harare, as such he now undertook to appoint his own using different methods. For instance out of nowhere he decided that he needed to force Canon Nhema into retirement before the election of the next Bishop of Harare, knowing fully well that as a member of the Elective Assembly, who was not likely to vote for his chosen candidate, he would then replace him with his own chosen Alternate – Fr. Ruwona.

We should thank Canon Nhema for standing his ground and refusing to go, because the almighty God had revealed Bakare’s evil intentions to him. With that having failed he now went on to replace three other clergy, by alternates of his own choice a thing that raises questions on the authenticity of the outcome of this election.

People need to be reminded that as similar thing happened in the Diocese of Manicaland, when the previous elections were held after Bakare’s retirement. Bakare and his cohorts tried to replace the primary members of the electoral College of the Diocese of Manicaland and when this was exposed the Archbishop had to intervene and correct the situation. I wonder if the same will be done by Chama who seems to be pursuing an agenda to bring his colleagues in so as to get the top post of Archbishop of the CPCA eventually.

Having said that let me turn to the Electoral process itself. It is only less than three days before the election takes place in Harare and up to this time, Bakare had never officially summoned the elective assembly to prepare them on the procedures of the election of the next Bishop of Harare. Instead he spend his time working with his created grouping called a “search committee”. This animal has no provision in the Canons of the province of central Africa. This is Bakare’s creation. The canons [Canon 6], provides that a bishop shall be chosen by the elective assembly and NOT THE SEARCH COMMITTEE. This elective assembly is made up of 6 clergy and 6 laity of the vacant diocese and 3 Bishops and three clergy and three laity, “chosen after due consultation and consideration and national and geographical factors…”. In total there are 22 members of the Elective Assembly inclusive of the Chairperson. The rigging of this election therefore has to be looked at in this context. The following points should be taken into consideration;

  • Bakare has not prepared the Diocese of Harare Electors on what is expected of them on the voting day. Instead he has spent his energy and time on the Search Committee, which is a useless organisation canonically. In fact it should be noted that members of this Search Committee are Bakare’s personal choice as such one should not expect anything against Bakare to come out of that. Bakare has basically told this group the person he wants to succeed him. It is a surprise actually to note that Mr. Bob Stumbles (who is considered highly as someone who has a good experience in church matters) actually acceded to the formation of this animal called “search committee” which has no legal standing, and he also participated in its many meetings.
  • Secondly Chama has played his cards very close to his chest in this matter, fearing that the people of Harare will quickly spoil his broth. He has therefore not send any official invitations to the members of the Diocese of Harare Electoral College neither has he communicated the dioceses outside of Harare which were going to participate in the elections until quite recently. If he communicated this information to Bakare, his teacher in Seminary, then Bakare has denied people information so that they get confused and restive and eventually play to his choice of the next Bishop of Harare. Canon 6 of the Canons and Constitutions of the CPCA, clearly states that due consideration and consultation should be done in choosing the diocese that participate in any election from outside the vacant See. This has not been done unfortunately. There is no indication that Chama has consulted any of his fellow Bishops in this matter or is there any sign that geographic considerations have been made. I say this considering the following;

3) The information at hand which has now surfaced is that Chama has single headedly picked up the following Dioceses to participate in this election – Matebeleland, Lusaka and Southern Malawi.

This raises eyebrows to anyone who knows the connection between Chama and the Bishops of these Dioceses’s especially the first two. Chama, Lunga and Njovu were Classmates at Bishop Gaul Theological Seminary. Chama and Tengatenga (Southern Malawi) are also close friends. Given this scenario any reasoning person will realise that this vote is already rigged. There is no way that friends will not help their fellow friends to ascend to positions of authority where they are themselves.

One would question the wisdom of choosing Lunga – Matebeleland to be part of this election, a Bishop who is barely two months in office. He is still having to learn what his new office is about. He is still to hold a synod in his Diocese and yet Chama picks him up to be one of the Diocese’s to participate in this election. If this is not a clear sign of rigging the outcome of this election what else should we call it. We are aware that Njovu was the preacher at Lunga’s consecration again as a friend – now he comes back as a member of the elective Assembly.

There are five Dioceses in Zambia, five in Zimbabwe, one in Botswana and three in Malawi and yet Chama continues to involve Njovu in two successive elections in Zimbabwe. One would ask what “Geographic" consideration was done if any in this case if it’s not all to do with ensuring that the Anglican Church becomes a Church in which friends are at its helm. In short what I am saying here is that the members of the elective assembly from the Diocese of Harare should realise the way in which this election is already manipulated by Bakare and Chama to have a person of their choice to succeed Bakare. If that approach fail they aim to have this election failed so that they can then manipulate the other Bishops to vote for their choice.

Thirdly, if Chama had done his consultation well he would be able to realise that his choice of the Dioceses to participate in this election leaves a lot of questions on the authenticity of the results. It seems Chama is not learning from his experiences of elections in Malawi. Whereas that situation was being brought under control by the able leadership of Bp Mwamba of Botswana, Chama took over and spoiled the whole thing. If he is not careful he will cause more problems in this province - a thing that will spoil his ambitious plans to be the next Archbishop of this Province. By this time he should have learned that Malango is not a good teacher to emulate – a thing which he seems to be doing. He should have learned that the Canons should be followed and ensure that the correct thing is done to avoid problems in the province.

Chama seems to be oblivious of the situation in the Diocese of Harare. This is a Diocese that has gone through a lot of pain and suffering. It is a Diocese that is in need of leadership that surpasses personal ergo, cronyism and nepotism and all the other isms that we know of. The Diocese of Harare should be allowed to choose a leader of its choice, without collusion from Bakare, the “search committee” or Chama.

We have now heard that the “Search Committee” has now provided the Electoral College of the Diocese of Harare, with a fait accompli – that their choice of the next Bishop is Chad Gandiya. This is a clear travesty of the Canons which we have in the province of Central Africa. As far as we are aware, there were several candidates whose names were proposed by the parishes and that was right. The need for these candidates to produce their CV’s was in order, but the removal of some of those names from the list by the so called “search Committee" was unconstitutional. There is nowhere in the Acts where such is stated.

We learn that at the previous meeting held by Bakare at which the so called “search committee” and the Electoral College met last week, in Harare, it was made clear that the Choice of the “Search Committee” was Chad Gandiya. In essence what was being said here was that the Electoral College of the Diocese of Harare was simply expected to rubber stamp what the “Search Committee” has decided.

This should be rejected by all members of the Electoral College because it makes a mockery of their role as mandated to them constitutionally by the Synod of the Diocese of Harare 2008. I repeat that it is the role of the Elective Assembly to elect the next bishop of Harare, after prayerfully considering the needs of the Diocese of Harare and not the needs of the Search Committee, Chama or Bakare. In this regard let me bring out certain facts that the electors need to know on what has happened before in this Diocese of Harare;

a. The Diocese of Harare has always had problems at choosing Bishops. After the retirement of Bp Hatendi, the Elective Assembly failed to choose a Bishop for Harare, again because there were people who tried to impose their choices without considering the needs of the Diocese at that time and also those who tried to manipulate the process. After failing to choose a Bishop, the Bishops of the province chose the late Bishop Clement Shaba of Central Zambia and he turned this down. It was then that the Bishops settled on Bishop Jonathan Siyachitema who accepted the challenge. When Bishop Siyachitema retired, the Diocese went for elections again and this is the election which as we know was stolen by Kunonga.

Because things of God are Holy and those who desire to serve as Bishops should be people who meet the dictates of 1Tim 3: 1-7, and Titus 1: 5-9, Kunonga fell by the wayside because what he wanted was title and not service. Now the time has come to replace him and this is the time when there should be cohesion amongst the electors in Harare, disregarding Bakare’s, Chama’s and the so called ‘search committees’ choices. It is the Elective Assembly including the Electoral College of the Diocese of Harare that has the responsibility of choosing the next Bishop of Harare.

b. It seems there was spread some lies to the “search committee” that all the financial help that the diocese of Harare has received from UK was mobilised by Chad Gandiya a thing which explains why they settled on him. Let me explain, that help came from the concerned faithfuls in England and Chad’s role was simply to send it through. If someone else was in the office where Chad is currently serving – USPG, they would have done the same. So people should not make decisions on wrong premises. If the electors settle for Chad let it be on honest facts. If people want to help the Diocese of Harare they do so, not because of whether or not they know a particular Bishop.

This is the reason why there is need for electors to elect someone who understands the context of the Diocese of Harare as of now, and the country of Zimbabwe at large. I raise these facts so that those in the Elective Assembly, most of whom do not even know the candidates should know what they will be throwing the Diocese into when they cast their votes.

I do not deny that Chad Gandiya is a good person with no criminal record, with a basic knowledge of the Acts of the Diocese of Harare and the Canons of the Province of Central Africa, he is also mentally stable with high educational qualifications which includes tertiary education and a sound spiritual life. However the person needed in Harare also needs to have a sound parish experience as well as a collegial working relationship with this fellow clergy brothers, in a collegial manner and not as the Father of them all who will be domineering and dictating what they should and should not do.

On the other hand disqualifying people chosen by the parishes without giving any reasonable causes as stipulated by the Canons like what we hear was done by Mr. Stumbles that Fr. Lameck Mutete was disqualified because he had not submitted enough documentation, when we know that he did send in his CV, is nothing but a clear sign of trying to sway the vote Chad’s way.

It must be known that the next Bishop of Harare should be someone who understands what the Diocese has gone through and someone who is bold enough to stand to the whims of kunonga because that war is not yet over. It should be someone whose parish and Educational qualification, spiritual maturity and leadership qualities are traceable. This is not the time for a Bishop who is always flying around the globe to attend all sorts of meetings because one has such links. The next Bishop of Harare should be where the flock is, at the time when the flock is being persecuted by kunonga. Such a person must not just earn popularity from the arm chair, but must be someone who will be able to work with every priest in the Diocese.

I have tried to show you all why I feel strongly that the forth-coming election in the Diocese of Harare on Sunday 26th April 2009, is already rigged. My appeal to Bakare as well as the so called “Search Committee” is to allow the spirit of God to lead in this election. Please spare us another kunonga fiasco. We do not want these people who will come in sheep’s clothing simply to adorn themselves in purple and perpetuate further oppression of the already oppressed clergy and faithful believers in the Diocese of Harare.

As a faithful lay member of the Diocese of Harare it really pains me that the Anglican Church which I have always believed to be a place of worship is now being turned into a denomination where cronyism nepotism are used to propel its leaders. We need leaders who are visionary, prayerful, faithful, communicate effectively, with a good track record and experience of successful parish ministry.

We need a leader who is confident, inspirational, empathetic, a gatherer, conscious of the needs of all people and someone who is a prophet a team builder, someone who is not a tribalist, and above all someone who loves his ministry and not money and fame. So to all the people who will read this communiqué please sound this bell to all those who will be electing our next Bishop in Harare this coming Sunday.

Mafirakurewa Kubvoruno
Parishioner St Luke’s Greendale, Harare

Additional paragraph breaks added


Another straw in the wind?

Bob Duncan in the Church Times

Paul Handley's Church Times report of the GAFCON press conference tells us very little.

Jim Naughton, however, picked up the most significant point: Paul Handley was the only journalist present and the conservatives need press coverage to survive.

In media terms, the American branch of the schism is entirely parasitical. As soon as Martyn Minns, Robert Duncan, etc, are no longer the scourges of the Episcopal Church, they are nothing more than the leaders of a very small American denomination that may have more bishops per square congregant than any church in Christendom. What then? The same may hold true for Peter Akinola and Henry Orombi. If they aren't fighting the western dragon, the media will ignore them, they will become less useful to the Western conservatives who now support them, and that support will gradually dry up.

To pick up another comment in Handley's report:

As well as being united, Bishop Duncan had told the Primates, his Church was “ready”, having prepared a constitution and canons “that look recognisably Anglican” and which he had amended after consultation with the Archbishop of Canterbury.

Presumably the earlier draft had not been recognisably Anglican, or at least not sufficiently. But what is the Archbishop of Canterbury playing at? Is he really assisting and supporting ACNA? Claims have been made and denied before now for the level of endorsement which the ABC has given to Bob Duncan and his acolytes. But nonetheless to step from siding consisently with the conservatives to giving active support and encouragement to a minority schismatic group is quite out of order. So much for the ABC acting as a focus for global unity.

But perhaps it's too little too late for the conservatives. The absence of journalists is another straw in the wind: the seccession has happened; the secessession has run out of steam.

And maybe the last ditch game plan is this - to sneak ACNA back into the Anglican Communion through an ambiguity of language in the Covenant.

Ephraim Radner, a member of the Covenant Design Group, has suggested that the word "Church" was used in the Ridley Cambridge Draft of the Anglican Covenant rather than the word "province" to provide for the possibility that schismatic churches and individual dioceses could "request recognition and participation" in the covenant.

That would, of course, provide a template for any dissentient faction in any province, and on any grounds, to hive themself off from their parent body and to call themselves a 'Church'. Why should any province vote to adopt the Covenant to give any internal minority such a big lever over it (the threat of departure and return in another guise)?

If this little scheme to reincorporate ACNA is the case then, as I have argued earlier but without this degree of precision, this Covenant is not designed to unify the Communion but to divide it up far more extensively than merely expelling TEC and ACoC.

But I prefer to hope, and increasingly to believe, that the tide has turned and the beach belongs again to the moderate minded majority.



More on Anglican 'power sharing' in Zimbabwe

The Financial Gazette has an account of the meeting of Anglicans with Ministers with a different emphasis:

Sources said the ministers told the clergy, in the presence of their respective legal advisors, that the government was miffed by the disturbances in the church and ordered the equitable use of the premises.

“It’s more of a directive than an agreement,” added a source.


“We will give a statement later which will reflect the agreement,” said Chikumbirike. “The Ministers helped in reaching a resolution over the matter,” he said, refusing to disclose finer details of the agreement.

Michael Chigore, Bakare’s legal representative, said: “The differences remain, but there is an agreement. A joint statement by lawyers will be issued later.”

And it was obviously Konunga who was directed since Bakare has all along been looking for the court deal to be implemented.


Malasa elected

The Rt. Rev Albert Chama, Bishop of Northern Zambia and Dean of the Church of the Province of Central Africa.

From Anglican Information

Youngest bishop in history confirmed for the diocese of Upper Shire, Malawi

Former Archbishop Bernard Malango’s one time chaplain, thirty year old Brighton Malasa has been confirmed as the choice of the bishops of the Anglican Central African Province, to be the next Bishop of Upper Shire diocese.

This announcement follows a day-long Court of Confirmation held by the Provincial Bishops in Malosa, Zomba, yesterday, Thursday 16th April. The announcement comes as no surprise as Malasa was the Provincial Bishops own choice of candidate after his rejection by the electors of the Diocese of Upper Shire.

Malasa’s candidacy has been mired in resistance and controversy throughout with strong objections to his appointment and accusations of financial, and moral misconduct from petitioners in the diocese. These petitions failed to change the Provincial Bishops decision but for credibility’s sake acting Provincial Dean Albert Chama of Northern Zambia, who has been a strong advocate of Malasa, should now issue a comprehensive statement explaining how the bishops arrived at their decision after so much opposition.

Comments coming in from the diocese in the last few hours:

‘The people are very confused’.

‘It’s a tragedy’.

‘The news is being telephoned around with great sadness’.

‘I know this will anger quite a lot of members in the diocese but we have to abide by what has been given to us by those who opted to choose him (Malasa) for us’.

‘How can donors trust us in future, with this man and his record’.

‘Remember, not all leaders are chosen by God. Those chosen by HIM are identified by their conduct and character, so let's wait and see the conduct and character of the chosen one’.

‘We’ve got him for the next 35 years’.

Why should they set the agenda?

Mark Harris, at Preludium, has his usual careful and well informed evaluation of what is going on amongst the separating fleet of conservatives both in the US and across the world.

He also reports that Bob Duncan, recently departed this fellowship, is now talking about 5 'protectorates' of conservative Anglican groupings. (Bob might have talked about the evident fact that those separating from TEC couldn't even agree amongst themselves, but that's another matter.)

Well, I think it's time they got along without the rest of the Anglican world if they don't want to party together. Why should the rest of the communion bow to their agenda? Why should they set the terms of debate?

They are inherently a negative phenomenon, grounded in their opposition to, rejection of, fear of progressive change. Hence the language of 'protectorate'.

I think it's time the rest of the Anglican world should acknowledge their need to be protected and try to accommodate them by not attacking at all - just leaving them to their own devices. Let them go and play in their own sandpit safe from rabid liberals and fenced off from dangerous ideas and experimentation.

Meanwhile the rest of the Anglican communion might start to focus on a new life, freed from the incubus of such negativity, open to the wafting spirit of God in which conservatism is necessary and constructive and a proper challenge to all innovators to justify their actions within the Christian narrative.

There will need to be a time of healing, of readustment and of coming to terms with the (relatively) sudden loss of a lot of unnecessary weight that we were hauling with us. And, to be fair, there will also need to be a time of sorrow and contrition for our part in further dividing the body of Christ. The Anglican Communion will be smaller and some Provinces (perhaps including England) will see further successions. In itself this may lead to a certain humility and also to a burst of creativity as new opportunities present themselves (though neither last for long).

Schism, like death, is not good. But it may have some earthly redemption if good can come from it.

In Mark Harris' more measured words:

Wait...perhaps this is a good thing. So, go ahead GAFCON / FOCA. Maybe there will be eight or ten Provinces that go all the way with you on this and join in church warfare against TEC and the ACoC. Then the rest of us can get on with our work, FOCA can become the World Wide Anglican Communion , Inc, with offices in Egypt. They can become distant ecumenical partners in good works and we can all think back about paths not taken. "Ah," we will say, "too bad we couldn't make it work." They will cease to be sister churches and become distant cousins.

But meanwhile, dear friends, remember the thought police, the patrols of the orthodox squads, the push to end the creative life in tension with modernity, the hope for a church that lives beyond church. This gang will return us to an incurable romanticism about the good life fulfilled in a language not even spoken outside church circles in England anymore. Those who want a confessing church of is sort are welcome to go.

It is time to be awake and aware.


Schism deepened

A GAFCON too far

The headline was:
GAFCON Communiqué issued - ACNA recognized
Which begs the obvious question: by what authority?

On the GAFCON site a communiqué has been issued which, amongst other things, declares
The GAFCON Primates’ Council has the responsibility of recognizing and authenticating orthodox Anglicans especially those who are alienated by their original Provinces.
Strictly, of course, the sentence should add, after the word 'has' - accorded itself ...

The 6 men who comprise this Council, as self-appointed guardians of orthodoxy, are a fine group telling one another how righteous they are and therefore how heterodox and unrighteous are all the rest of the Anglican world. That they may do to their hearts content. It's annoying but it's harmless.

But to claim the right to determine orthodoxy, and to claim the capacity to 'recognize' another body, is simply schismatic. It is taking themselves outside the rules and structures of the Anglican Communion. In the word of the St Andrew's Draft Covenant they have excluded themselves from communion.
This is what the ACC should be dealing with. Of course we have been shuffling one foot after another to this point since Rwanda and South East Asia first consecrated Anglican 'missionaries' to intrude into the jurisdiction of TEC. But this is a qualitatively different step howsoever small it seems - it changes the whole politics of Anglicanism.

The reason this hasn't been obvious to date has been Archbishop Rowan's mistaken tactics. By siding consistently with the conservatives against TEC (I believe on ecclesiological grounds rather than those of sexual politics) he has permitted, glossed over and covered up the schismatic actions of the conservatives (presumably in direct contradiction of those same ecclesiological principles).

So I, in my small corner, say: enough is enough. Let them recognize who they like. Let them recognize and state openly that they have excluded themselves from the Anglican Communion in doing so.


Choosing the wrong man in Upper Shire?

From Anglican Information:
ANGLICAN-INFORMATION has reported in previous editions the impasse in Upper Shire Diocese over the election of a new bishop. Unable to secure a majority at the original elections and against the wishes of the diocese, the Provincial Bishops have sought to appoint their own candidate, the Rev’d Brighton Malasa.

Malasa was originally scheduled to be approved at a Court of Confirmation to be held in Zimbabwe but this was cancelled after strong objections to the candidate and the holding of a Court outside Malawi. Now Malasa, is to be considered at a new Court of Confirmation to be held at the Diocesan headquarters in Malosa, Zomba on Thursday 16th April.

This second attempt represents an improvement in that priests and parishioners will be able to attend. Nevertheless, it also represents a serious conflict of interests for the Provincial Bishops in that they will be judging their own preferred candidate.
Serious objections continue regarding the extreme youth and inexperience of Malasa who at 30 years of age will become the youngest bishop in the entire Anglican Communion and possibly, we believe, in the world. Further, complaints about his financial dealings and personal life have been lodged with the Diocesan Registrar Justice James Kalaile who has significantly also been newly appointed to the Court of Appeal in Gambia.

ANGLICAN-INFORMATION has been asked to publish the following objections from members of Brighton Malasa’s own parish – originally in the national language of Chichewa they translate into English as follows:

From: Members of SS Peter and Paul Cathedral
Mponda Parish
P.O. Box 54

To: The Returning Officer
P/Bag 1
Cc Diocesan Secretary and Archdeacon of Mangochi West


The Christians of the above named Church regarding the appointment of Rev. B. Malasa as Bishop of Upper – Shire by Provincial Bishops in Zambia on 17th December, 2008.

1. Rev. B. Malasa has not reached age to become bishop and doing so is making this diocese a playground and laughing stock.

2. He has no spirit of calling that is why he was not nominated (by the diocese of Upper Shire) when the nomination period came. He made a grave mistake by erasing the chosen names and writing in his own instead but still he did not survive the short listing.

3. He has no experience because he has served very few years, and that is why Anglican rites/traditions at the Cathedral have died completely since he was posted here.

4. He does not like to pray and no wonder on 24th December, 2008 at Midnight Mass he chased away Christians and there was no Mass.

5. Mattins and Evensong ended since he came, in fact the cathedral is not any longer a living church.

6. There is no cooperation between him and Executive and Church elders which is why the entire Executive resigned.

7. He does not account church property and finances. Many things at the Cathedral have disappeared since his coming here. He has wasted church funds.

8. Rev. B. Malasa drinks, without respecting himself, carelessly and shamefully and is an adulterer.

9. Previously, he announced here at Mpondasi Cathedral Church that he did not aspire for the bishopric because he is was young. Today we are surprised that is he has suddenly grown-up or become an adult now?

10. He will not co-operate with his fellow priests. How is the diocese going to function when there are divisions caused by him.

Therefore, it has shown already that while he has been Vicar General he has already, completely failed and he cannot manage the diocese because he is spiritually very poor.

With what we have written we at the Cathedral feel Rev. B. Malasa is not fit for this top-sacred position.

Signatories lodged with the Diocesan Registrar.

I am aware that some of these statements may be libellous. Nonetheless I reprint them as in the public domain and in an official document, but with no personal knowledge of the people concerned.

Yet the fact that they are libellous in itself is significant: no-one against whom such allegations are made publicly should be appointed bishop (or, for that matter, to any other position of public leadership) unless the allegations are publicly and sufficiently rebutted. These allegations are serious and question Mr Malasa'a faith and integrity.

If Brighton Malasa is appointed, and that appointment ratified without further enquiry and, in this case, the results of that enquiry being made public, then those who appoint him and those who ratify that appointment will, at the very least, be complicit in appointing a man in whom many people have no confidence and, at worse, are knowingly appointing a man wholly unsuited for the position.

It is not enough to receive sufficient votes, it is also important to be above reproach. It is not enough to have the support of other bishops, it is also essential to have sufficient goodwill from the laity, otherwise the work of being bishop can scarcely be done.

It is also an indictment of church order that our worship of bishops means that, once appointed, there is almost no means to critique or to constrain a bishop whose actions are inappropriate, ineffective, or plain wrong.

Becoming a bishop is like joining a gentlemen's club in Pall Mall - the only possible sanction is to be shunned by club members. The people over whom you have oversight are utterly irrelevant and powerless. And once in the episcopal club you can't be voted out.


Choosing Bakare's successor

From George Congar (Church of England Newspaper)

The Diocese of Harare has set April 25 as the date of the election for a successor to its interim bishop Dr. Sebastian Bakare. Three of the four candidates come from outside the country, driven from Zimbabwe by its former bishop Dr. Nolbert Kunonga.
The Archdeacon of Northern Botswana, Dr. Archford Musodza; the priest-in-charge of St Alban’s Church in Tattenhall, Cheshire, Fr. Lameck Mutate; the Africa Desk Officer for the USPG, Canon Chad Gandiya; and the rector of Mbare parish, Harare, Canon David Manyau have been nominated to stand for election.


The slate of four candidates includes the former Dean of Bishop Gaul Theological College in Harare, Dr. Archford Musodza, who also served as a Lecturer at the College of the Transfiguration in South Africa. Driven from the diocese by Dr. Kunonga, the government backed Harare Herald last year denounced Dr. Musodza, saying he was a tool of foreign interests that sought to bring down the regime.

The former Archdeacon of Harare East and vicar of St Paul’s in Highfield, Harare, Fr. Mutate also ran afoul of Dr. Kunonga and the regime, and was granted asylum in the UK in 2005 where he serves as a vicar in the Diocese of Chester.

A former Dean of Bishop Gaul Theological College, Canon Gandiya oversees the USPG’s Africa operations, and last month was appointed by Dr. Rowan Williams to the Archbishop of Canterbury’s Pastoral Visitor team.

A seminary classmate of former bishop Nolbert Kunonga, Canon Manyau worked with the bishop until Dr. Kunonga’s break with the Province of Central Africa. A canon of the Cathedral of St. Mary and All Saints in Harare, he serves as rector of Mbare within the diocese.

All here

Resurrection hope

No more $Zimbillions

Pastoral letter from Bishop Bakare

Easter 2009

“On the first day of the week, very early in the morning, the women took the spices they had prepared and went to the tomb. They found the stone rolled away from the tomb, but when they entered they could not find the body of the Lord Jesus.

While they were wondering about this, suddenly two men in clothes that gleamed like lightning stood beside them. In their fright the women bowed down with their faces to the ground, but the men said to them, “Why do you look for the living among the dead? He is not here; he has risen!

Remember how he told you, while he was still in Galilee: The Son of Man must be delivered into the hands of sinful men, be crucified and on the third day be raised again.”

Then they remembered his words. When they came back from the tomb, they told all these things to the Eleven and to all the others. It was Mary Magdalene, Joanna, Mary the mother of James, and the others with them who told this to the apostles.

But they did not believe the women, because their words seemed to them like nonsense.

Peter, however, got up and ran to the tomb. Bending over, he saw the strips of linen lying by themselves, and he went away, wondering to himself what had happened.” (Luke 24:1-12)

The resurrection of Christ- a fairy tale, bluff or reality!

The breaking of the news of the resurrection of Christ sounded like a fairy tale especially from the lips of the women (who according to the Jewish tradition were not considered credible). For Peter the story was a bluff, absolutely incredible. He ran to the tomb disbelieving, going away from the tomb wondering what had happened. Peter and his brothers were confused and mesmerised about the resurrection of Christ. It was something they did not expect, although Jesus had on several occasions talked about it. (Mark 14:57-58) In the midst of this confusion the resurrection of Jesus had opened a new chapter in their life and in the life of the entire humanity. His resurrection was a hope-filled event.

Since November, when we were denied access to our Cathedral followed by a massive action by ZRP refusing us entry into our church buildings, we felt,
“…hard pressed on every side but not crushed;
Perplexed, but not abandoned;

Struck down but not destroyed; we always carry around in our body the death of Jesus, so that the life of Jesus may also be revealed in our body.” (2 Corinthians 4:8-10). He is risen indeed Halleluiah!

Persecutions of the CPCA continue but the faithful remain resolute and committed to their conviction. Those who do not have the courage have gone into a spiritual diaspora. We do not know whether they will come back and leave their newly founded homes in the diaspora.

The events of the week before Palm Sunday with tear gas and live bullets was for us a taste of what Jesus went through during his entire ministry ending with his crucifixion. Arrest of innocent Clergy and lay persons from their church service and using live bullets was an experience one does not want to go through again. On this 5th Sunday of Lent, our CPCA’s world was crushed, leaving us with very little hope to regain our right to worship in freedom but all we knew was that God was being persecuted and tear-gassed with us. When the word went around in the Diocese and in the community, everything inside us was gone. We were left empty like the tomb of Jesus on Easter Morning. Empty as we might have felt, it was God’s plan for us to go through this experience. If God did not spare his Son from torture who are we to question and doubt His plan?

On the 5th Sunday of Lent, we thought that our congregations were going to dwindle but instead, even those who had been shying away from our church services, turned up in their numbers to everyone’s surprise. Inside us we knew that somehow things were going to be alright. Suffering? Yes. We know about it but we do not have to despair, my dear brothers and sisters. Those who take the resurrection of Jesus Christ as a bluff, distance themselves from their commitment in the living God when faced with challenges; those who believe in the resurrection are always ready to stand up for what they believe is the ultimate end. The resurrection of Christ is an inspiration and a source of hope to those called to true discipleship.

The message from the women: “…Christ is risen…” is not a fairy tale and is not a myth but a reality even to us today in our situation and context. It is a reality that creates in us a deep source of God’s plan that leads us to a profound faith in Him as one who is in control of His creation. The emptiness of our life is filled with hope about who God the Almighty is. As we celebrate the resurrection of Christ, we would like to recommend that you all pray for the Elective Assembly, that God may send us a faithful shepherd to take care of his flock.

My wife and I wish you a blessed and joyous Easter.

Your Bishop

+ Sebastian Harare

Almighty God, on this day of the resurrection of your Son our Saviour Jesus Christ, Emmanuel, we thank you that you are always with us,
in bad times as well as the good times, the sad as well as the joyous occasions.
We thank you that you have kept our hope alive
even when we were uncertain
and in despair you have given us guidance at a time we felt so discouraged.
The resurrection of your Son has given us fresh hope.
We thank you for this Great Day which brings to us your steadfast love that is always there.
Give us confidence in the days ahead of us,
so that whatever difficulties we may face,
whatever disappointments we may experience,
whatever sorrows may come to us,
help us always to look to the future in the hope created for us
by the resurrection of your Son Jesus Christ. Amen.

From Avondate Parish


Covenant, again

The new, revised, updated, souped-up Covenant will just have to wait until after Easter and a little time to digest the eggs.

In the meantime, try MadPriest, as always, and keep an eye on Pluralist and Gay Religion. (That sentence may be worth repeated in other settings, Mothers' Union, perhaps.)

Cholera: slow improvement

From the United Nations Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs,

Cholera Situation Report:
The cholera epidemic that has affected Zimbabwe since August 2008 is on a steady decline. The number of cholera cases and deaths being reported between January and March 2009 has reduced in all districts, except Harare and Chitungwiza. The decrease is a result of the coordinated cholera response, including better case management, increased water and sanitation activities, greater social mobilization, enhanced logistics, improved environmental health and more vigilant surveillance at both national and provincial level. The increase in cases and deaths in Harare and Chitungwiza has been attributed to interruptions in water supply, chronic water shortages and poor waste disposal. There is need for continued surveillance and verification of reports throughout the country despite the decline.
01 Apr 2009 Cummulative Cholera Cases and Deaths From 1 to 31 March 2009 (pdf map - web page)


Somalia: peace? or more war?

My eye was caught by the headline 'Talks open' between Govt, Hizbul Islam faction and the possibility of peace in a country that has suffered 18 years of war. That report, and a subsequent one: Somali Peace Negotiations Continue With Hard Line Islamic Insurgents, focused on the difficulties: engrained conflict, personal rivalry, some factions outside the discussions, and the weakness of the Somali government.

The position is at least as complex as, and seems superficially similar to, the conflict in Southern Sudan with multiple armed groups, fighting one another as well as the national government, with more or less legitimate sub-regions within Somalia resisting central control, and interference from external powers.

At the start of any negotiation the impossibility of success is always uppermost. The differences are well known. Possible starting points for discussion, never mind areas of co-operation, are unknown and seem insubstantial. An assassination attempt against the interior minister won't help.

But two things in particular leapt out as warnings. First, Sheikh Sharif Ahmed, Somalia's new president was told to enter talks as a condition of the African Union's $18million grant towards rebuilding the country. In itself this is not enough for failure: to have to do something can be useful within your own faction to enable you to do something unpalatable but necessary.
What's more worrying is Kenya's engagement in Somalia. It has apparently taken over tax collection for the Somali government nominally to prevent Islamist warlords profiting.

... This categorization of "warlords" implies that every political entity outside President Sheikh Sharif's camp is considered a warlord by the Kenyan government. Unfortunately, the reality in Somalia is that there are long-established and functioning sub-states – i.e. Somaliland and Puntland – as well as vast territories controlled by Islamist factions, who are overtly anti-President Sheikh Sharif.

If the original intention was to cut off financial support from Islamist rebels, then unfortunately the opposite might become true with Kenya' s tax collection scheme. The number one product airlifted from Kenya to Somali airports is the leafy narcotic drug khat, which is consumed widely across Somalia. If khat traders are taxed by Kenyan authorities, then it is likely that they will be taxed for a second time by authorities in Somaliland or Puntland, or Islamist groups in major cities like Kismayo.

For the Islamists, it will become a win-win situation – because they despise khat and have banned its sale inside major towns. For political realities, like Somaliland and Puntland, regions which are considered part of Somalia under international law, then it is another reminder that the international community does not value the "building blocks" strategy that has thus far saved northern Somalia from the political anarchy and self-destruction of the south-central regions.

The Ethopians were forced to leave by violent opposition. The AU, despite a natural reluctance, say they will put in more troops to guard key installations (from Uganda and Burundi) - notably ports and airports where taxes can easily be levied. The Kenyans, whether in their own right or badged as an AU force, will need to put troops on their neighbour's ground if they are to be tax-collectors.

The Kenyans also seem to be making a grab for some of Somalia's territorial waters by an agreement which will allow it greater area than a stronger neighbour would permit under the current UN Commission on the limits of the Continental shelf process.

The Americans will also be faced with a series of challenges. They regard some of Somalia's armed groups as Islamicist terrorists, sources of training and supporters of international terrorism, and not without reason. But they may have to balance the need for national stability - achieved (if it can be achieved at all) through acceptance of the politicial reality of Islamic building blocks - against their desire to crush the threat from terrorism.


Bakare speaks his mind

Bishop Sebastian Bakare

Interview broadcast 02 April 2009 on SW Radio Africa - full transcript here.

I'd advise you to read the whole interview. Bishop Bakare gives his account of how the meeting with both government Home Affairs Ministers came about, he addresses the role of the police and the courts, and sets out how he sees the Kunonga 'church'.

From the interview:

Lance: Is the big problem Bishop Bakare, not the fact that he (Kunonga) is somebody who has pledged his support for Zanu PF and despite not having any followers is getting tacit support from the powers that be to continue doing what he is doing?

Bishop Bakare: Yah, I don’t think that we care about politics. This is church business. If people bring in politics into church life then we say no, because when people come to our churches on Sunday, to our services, we don’t ask for their political affiliation and we don’t want to promote any party politics in our church services. We have people who come to pray from different political parties but for any political person to try and hijack our mission, that is proclaim the gospel, we are not prepared to listen to that and even whether it’s the president of the state, or anybody we cannot abandon our mission. Our mission is to preach the gospel justice and peace.


Lance: Now for some of the Anglican parishioners listening to this programme. We had disturbances in Highfield, Glen View, Budiriro, Kambuzuma, Warren Park, Kuwadzana, Glen Norah and Mufakose and I’m sure a lot of the parishioners are wondering what’s in store this Sunday. What would you advise them to do?

Bishop Bakare: My advise to my people is that we don’t have to hesitate to go to our church services, unless somebody proves us wrong. But we are doing it because we are law abiding citizens following Makarau’s judgment and I would say we have reached this far and there is no time for us to withdraw. We have to go to our church bearing in mind that this coming week from Sunday, its Palm Sunday, it’s a very serious time for us, holy week up to Easter. I would advise our people to go and if it means to be arrested, let it be. But we cannot give in for something that we know is wrong.

All here

Civil groups slammed for silence over violence against Anglicans

So it's a little ironic that this broadside on SW Radio Africa Zimbabwe news should come just at the point when a truce has been arranged:
Civil society groups have been slammed for their silence over the state sponsored violence rocking the Anglican Church. Thugs aligned to ex-communicated Bishop Nolbert Kunonga, with the help of a partisan police force, have for months been blocking genuine parishioners from using their church premises. This is despite the High Court ordering a sharing of the churches until such time as the dispute over property is resolved. Human rights academic Pedzisai Ruhanya criticized civil society groups saying they have not spoken out in defence of the religious rights of parishioners who are loyal to Bishop Sebastian Bakare, the man now recognized as Harare’s Bishop by the Anglican Church worldwide.

Ruhanya said; ‘The state has been interfering and protecting someone who was lawfully expelled from the church. Any society that does not respect religious freedoms is not a democratic society.’ He said civil society should have been conducting advocacy work and pressuring the coalition government to respect the legitimate group of Anglicans led by Bakare. Instead he said the groups have a tendency to react to issues, instead of formulating agenda’s and policies themselves. He gave the example of the SABC film highlighting the terrible conditions in the prisons saying; ‘The civil society groups already knew about these conditions from their visits to political prisoners, but they waited for an SABC film to jump into action.’

Ruhanya remains puzzled by the lack of action to help the Anglicans and said; ‘Civil society has not put this issue at the forefront and yet the state is violating a fundamental human right, the right to freedom of religion and consequently the right to freedom of expression.’

Meanwhile Bishop Bakare this week told Newsreel that Sunday’s church services were peaceful with no disruptions. Previous Sundays have seen riot police using tear gas against his followers and arresting priests, church wardens and youths. All this has been done to protect services led by ousted Bishop Kunonga, a long time Mugabe supporter who grabbed a farm from one of his parishioners.

Prayers in peace

From The Herald, via All Africa news,

Harare — The two Anglican factions fighting for control of the church's properties on Sunday gave each other chances to worship.

Worshippers from Bishops Nolbert Kunonga and Sebastian Bakare's factions shared timeslots for services on Sunday.

Since May last year when the Kunonga faction appealed to the Supreme Court against a High Court order compelling the factions to share church premises, the Bakare faction had not been allowed to worship in Anglican church premises.

Police on Sunday reportedly explained to the church leaders that they had instructions to ensure the factions gave each other a chance to worship.

The Herald caught up with Bishop Bakare at St Paul's parish in Highfield and he confirmed receipt of the instruction from higher offices to share the church building adding that the Kunonga faction would be the first to conduct its services before making way for his faction.

Bishop Bakare hailed the latest development saying it had brought back sanity and peace to the parishes throughout the city.

"Today we are happy that we have been allowed to use our buildings.

"I believe this has happened to all our churches. So far we have received confirmation from leaders at the Cathedral and St Andrews in Glen View that they had worshipped peacefully," he said.

Efforts to contact Bishop Kunonga were fruitless as his mobile phone was not reachable.

But Reverend Teddy Mukariri of St Phillips Parish in Tafara, who is aligned to the Kunonga faction confirmed receiving communication from the police although he was not shown the actual document.

"The police came to us later, well after we had conducted our service and locked up the doors as usual.

"They informed us that there were papers allowing the other member (faction) to use the church.

"If we see the papers, we will just comply with the instruction.

"We only do what is in line with the law.

"What we know is that we appealed to the Supreme Court against the Makarau judgment and it was accepted, but I am surprised to learn that we are to revert to that earlier ruling," said Rev Mukariri.

The development came after Co-Home Affairs Ministers Kembo Mohadi and Giles Mutsekwa summoned Bishops Bakare and Kunonga over the long-running feud between the two factions.

The Bishops presented their cases and the matter was referred to Attorney General Johannes Tomana for proper interpretation of the rulings and appeals.

At St Andrews parish in Glen View, the Bishop Bakare faction members marched around the church carrying the cross in jubilation as they had been accorded a chance to use the building for the first time in 11 months.

The rivals have clashed several times at Harare parishes following Bishop Kunonga's withdrawal from the Church of the Province of Central Africa to form the Province of Zimbabwe on January 12 last year, citing the former's alleged tolerance of homosexuality.

The Province then deemed him as having left the Anglican Church and appointed Bishop Bakare, a retired cleric, to head the Harare Diocese in his place.


Well, I shouldn't have been so cynical. This is no long term solution but if it enables people to worship without the threat and fact of violence then it must be welcomed.

And if the law of the courts, rather than the law of Zanu-PF is to return, then we can all applaud as well.

It's just a straw in the wind, but there is a sense with Zimbabwe that any hint for the better is to be grabbed eagerly and seen as an omen for a brighter future - just as the continuing bad news is grabbed as an omen for continued unrelenting depression. I guess that on the ground most people are just managing as best they can in the mess they've been landed in.

But now, as long as this detente continues, the prayers of the people may be spoken in peace.


No money, no takeover

Rev. J. Philip Ashey
It seems that the departed Anglican Church of North America is coming to terms with the fact that it won't be recognised as part of the Anglican Communion.

“We do not believe that Canterbury will recognize us, at least while the current archbishop is still in office,” said the Rev. J. Philip Ashey, the AAC’s chief operating officer and chaplain, in a brief speech in the suburbs of Richmond, Va.

On the other hand that may not matter too much. There is always the second best:
Echoing the sentiments of the Jerusalem Declaration, Fr. Ashey suggested that Canterbury’s recognition will be less important as various provinces in the Global South recognize the ACNA. He said representatives from Kenya, Rwanda, the Southern Cone of South America, and Uganda are expected to attend a provincial assembly in Texas in June, where the ACNA will vote on a proposed constitution and canons.

The Three Legged Stool writes that 'the schismatics' are running out of money and, except in Virginia, are consistently losing legal battles over property.

It is, as TTLS observes, a long way from the high hopes of the Chapman Memo which outlined the battleplan of the conservatives in 2003.

Instead of replacing TEC leadership and direction they have mostly left and gone their own way. The consequent decimation of the conservative voice within TEC has left the liberals stronger.

The conservatives will now have to put a lot of time and energy into rebuilding their own structures, finances and planning for a longer term future as an autonomous denomination. This in itself will help bind them together.

They will have to do this on a different basis from the things which held them together as a protest group. Without TEC, and specifically the central leadership and bureaucracy of TEC, as their unifying enemy they will need some other internal bones on which to build some flesh. As they rebuild so they will reshape themselves.

Both processes will set them further apart from broader Anglicanism. In the land where private enterprise is still (notwithstanding the present blip) a central creed one more denomionation is scarecly going to ruffle the ecumenical waters.

In the Anglican Communion there will be a bounce, though a small one and probably not till long after the coming ACC meeting. If money is tight and no longer supporting conservative programmes in other parts of the Anglican world (not just Africa), and if the voice of those demanding division and a 'biblical' denunciation of inclusive attitudes is muted, then there will be no shift to global liberalism. There may well be a shift back to business as usual, and no bad thing.

In the mean time we await the latest version of the Anglican Covenant. Will it be soft and cuddly, all amigos together? Or will it still be a policeman with slightly concealed truncheon in the name of global unity and order? My money, such as it is, is on the latter.