Many petition against election of another Bishop of Lake Malawi – bullying in Upper Shire Diocese

ANGLICAN-INFORMATION reports that objections to the election of the Archdeacon of Lilongwe, the Venerable Francis Kaulanda as Bishop of Lake Malawi have been lodged with the Registrar of the Central African Province, Bob Stumbles

Storms over Lake Malawi?

In a sworn affidavit presented on behalf of 150 named laity of the Diocese of Lake Malawi, representing 19 of the 33 parishes, grounds of objection have been lodged prior to the Court of Confirmation to be held next month.

On behalf of the objectors, Solsten Kalize of Salima Parish, Mabel Ngoma of Lingadzi Parish and Charles Wemba also of Lingadzi Parish have offered
‘Grounds of objection to the election of the Venerable Francis Frank Kaulanda as Bishop of Lake Malawi’
. There follows a notice ‘pursuant to Canon 7:4’ of the Canons of the Province allowing for objections. The affidavit contains a list of the 150 petitioners and their addresses and parishes.

This unprecedented large petition from over half the parishes of the diocese represents a serious expression of division in the Diocese of Lake Malawi about what many see as an imposed candidate. All elections produce objections there were five objectors for example from one parish when the Rev'd Dr. Nicholas Henderson was previously elected but this petition dwarfs all others.

The petition ends with six points asking that the Bishops should not confirm the election of Kaulanda. Further there is a request (denied in the November 2005 Court of Confirmation) that the Court be properly open to the public and held (a reference to previous examples of holding elections and confirmations outside the home diocese) in a place accessible to the people.

observes that root of what is now a serious problem can be traced back to the failure of the Provincial Bishops to ensure that the Court of Confirmation following the election of the previous candidate in the person of the Rev’d Dr. Nicholas Henderson of London was properly concluded. This is despite four years of struggle by the people of the Diocese of Lake Malawi to get the now infamous Court of November 2005 which declared Dr. Henderson to be of ‘unsound faith’ properly assessed in an independent Provincial Court. All parties, under the then Deanship of Bishop Trevor Mwamba of Botswana, had previously agreed an independent examination of the conduct of the Court of Confirmation. However, Mwamba was sacked by the then Archbishop Bernard Malango who was reluctant to have the Court examined.

However, under Mwamba’s replacement, the current acting Dean Albert Chama of Northern Zambia, in what looks like an autocratic style of leadership, has effectively forced a new election bypassing any independent investigations. A powerful laity, as the latest petition indicates, are unhappy with the situation and inevitably the legitimacy of Francis Kaulanda’s election remains questionable in their eyes.

The petitioners object to Kaulanda’s election on grounds of incompetence and immorality the latter referring to a failure to account for monies meant for Church projects as part of a USPG Project Fund between 2000 and 2001 whilst Kaulanda was Archdeacon of Nkhota-kota.

considers that the Bishops will eventually dismiss the petition but they will do so at great cost to the Diocese of Lake Malawi. The unprecedented large number of objectors, avoidance of the accountability of the House of Bishops and an unresolved previous election do not make for a well-ordered and accountable Province management. Calls to end the long-running saga are heartfelt and many but unless the Bishops act in a way that is seen as legitimate, fair and just, trouble will continue indefinitely and the Diocese will remain divided.

The full petition is available on Anglican Information's website: www.anglican-information-archive.org - navigate to:
‘The inside view – letters and articles and items’

Upper Shire Diocese, Malawi – recriminations:
Reports are reaching us of ‘bullying and intimidation’ by the new young Bishop of Upper Shire, Brighton Malasa. This is of some of the older priests who did not support his election. He has been visiting them to ‘sort them out’ and complain, which is a strange way of conducting episcopal oversight.

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‘A voice for the voiceless in the Anglican Central African Province’

ANGLICAN-INFORMATION are pleased to publish the response below from Deputy Chancellor Bob Stumbles of the Central African Province, which comes by way of some clarification regarding the current situation and the renegade, self-styled and trouble-making, ‘Archbishop of Zimbabwe’, Nolbert Kunonga

Well whose is it? The Anglican Cathedral of St Mary & All Saints, Harare, Zimbabwe

Readers will recall our previous release voicing concerns that Kunonga is somehow in negotiation with some of the bishops of the Province of Central Africa in order to regain a foothold in the official Diocese of Harare. Unfortunately, however surreal and unwelcome the prospect of a re-incorporation of Kunonga and Elson Jakazi of Manicaland may seem, there are still legitimate doubts as follows:

  • Kunonga has been indisputably very close to some of the bishops notably former Archbishop Bernard Malango. No public statement about his continuing relationship with Kunonga has ever been forthcoming from Malango who is still thought to be influential.
  • There is a precedent in the state machinery for a ‘power-sharing’ arrangement between politically opposed leaders.
  • Legal judgement regarding the Diocese of Harare and the Kunonga faction has ordered that churches be ‘shared’ producing de facto two parallel Anglican churches.

says: The letter below from Deputy Chancellor Bib Stumbles is welcome but there needs to be a further definitive and binding declaration from the acting Dean of the Province, Bishop Albert Chama (himself close to Malango) that no deals or arrangements will be struck with Kunonga at any time in the future – in the absence of this and given recent traumatic history doubts will inevitably persist. The problem (and solution) lies with the bishops in their relationships with Kunonga and the perceived autocratic tendencies of their episcopal bench rather than with the people or diocesan officials.

An election for Archbishop of the Province looms in the near future and of the of the three realistically potential candidates, Albert Chama of Northern Zambia, James Tengatenga of Southern Malawi and Trevor Mwamba of Botswana, only Mwamba has spoken following our last report. In the U.K. published
Church Times
Friday 21st August he is quoted as responding to the claims that a ‘power-sharing’ deal might be in the offing that they are “totally absurd” and “[Kunonga] was told in no uncertain terms that he was excommunicated and not one of us.”
This latter refers to a paragraph in the same report that ‘Nolbert Kunonga is known to have approached retiring Bishop Dr. Sebastian Bakare, before the consecration of Chad Gandiya as his successor, to claim legitimacy and to get back into the Anglican fold. Elson Jakazi also tried to claim legitimacy.”

This tangled web inevitably invites confusion about who is speaking authoritatively regarding the long-term future of this much troubled Province of Central Africa.

From the Deputy Chancellor of the Province of Central Africa and Chancellor of the Diocese of Harare (CPCA)


Dr Nolbert Kunonga has placed a half-page advertisement in the Zimbabwe Sunday Mail, August 16-22, 2009. In it he states, quite incorrectly, that he is the incumbent bishop of the Anglican Diocese of Harare, and he and the persons named as members of his Board of Trustees, have the right to the possession and control of the movable and immovable property of the Diocese. He refers to the two Court Orders of Justice Hlatshwayo which appear in the advertisement.

It is not proposed to deal with the two Zimbabwe Court Orders except to record that an appeal against them was filed by the Anglican Church of the Province of Central Africa (CPCA) and awaits a hearing. Also, an appeal was lodged against the decision of the honourable judge not to recuse himself on the grounds of perceived partiality before hearing the application which led to the orders in the advertisement.

The position set out below reflects that of the CPCA as well as the ecclesiastical law governing Botswana, Malawi, Zambia and Zimbabwe. The Church of the Province of Central Africa is a multinational body whose laws are transnationally binding upon its members. Internationally, it is recognized and accepted that these laws are applicable to the Diocese of Harare which forms an integral and undivided part of the CPCA.

1. August 2007. Dr Kunonga writes a long letter severely castigating certain aspects of the CPCA and indicates he will no longer have anything to do with this body. He states he is formally withdrawing from the CPCA with immediate effect and that he is withdrawing the Diocese of Harare as well. Infact, the Diocese of Harare gave him no such mandate and, in any event, the ecclesiastical laws do not allow the withdrawal of the Diocese.
(Dr Kunonga in June or July 2009 eventually admitted he had been wrong in trying to withdraw the Diocese from the CPCA.)
2. The CPCA notes Dr Kunonga's concern and the disapproval expressed in his letter and his decision to remove himself from the CPCA and that he has broken his sacred canonical oath. The CPCA accepts his removal from the organisation and notes he has ceased, by his own deliberate action, to be a bishop and an Anglican.
3. The CPCA and Anglican Communion worldwide acknowledges thyself-banishment of Dr Kunonga as a Bishop and Anglican. His departure brings a close to the matter. Now a new bishop is required to replace him.
4. However, Dr Kunonga defies letters to him to hand over movable and immovable property held by the Diocese on behalf of the CPCA. Instead, he now becomes an unlawful occupier or trespasser on the property and uses Diocesan funds. He and a few of his sympathizers even resort directly or indirectly to intimidation and violence in their attempt to frustrate and prevent thousands of parishioners loyal to the CPCA from using its churches and other buildings in the Diocese. In this he is assisted by the Zimbabwe Police on occasions.
5. As there is now no Anglican Bishop in the Diocese, the CPCA appoints Bishop Sebastian Bakare to be Vicar-General and Acting Bishop of the Diocese from November 2007. Interim office bearers are duly appointed to office to replace those few persons who have defected to Dr Kunonga and are, through allegiance to him, deemed no longer to be Anglicans nor office bearers in the Diocese.
6. To emphasise publicly his severance from the CPCA, Dr Kunonga, on the 15th March 2008, forms his own ecclesiastical (?) organisation and proclaims himself to be an Archbishop. The establishment of his new group is publicized prominently in the Zimbabwe Herald. Beyond all doubt, Dr Kunonga signals he has cut all ties with, and disassociates himself from, the CPCA and the Diocese of Harare and the worldwide Anglican Communion.
7. On the 12th May 2008, to stress the situation, the CPCA lets it be known that the status of Dr Kunonga is that of a person excommunicated from the CPCA and the Anglican Communion worldwide.
8. In August 2009, the Diocesan Synod is convened with Bishop Bakare presiding. All parishes in the Diocese of Harare and the various other institutions and organisations are represented. Elections are held including those for Standing Committee and the Board of Trustees. This Board does not have amongst its members Dr Kunonga nor any of the Trustees referred to by Dr Kunonga in his court applications. The reason for this is that neither he nor the persons he refers to are, in fact, members of the Board of Trustees of the Diocese of Harare and do not represent the Diocese. If they represent any organisation, it must be as members of the Board of Trustees of Kunonga’s self-proclaimed church or group formed on the 15th March 2008.
9. Bishop Bakare carries out his duties from November 2007 to July 2009 as acting Bishop in charge of the Diocese of Harare. Dr Kunonga is not in lawful control contrary to the inference in his advertisement in the Zimbabwe Sunday Mail.
10. Indeed, in February 2009, the Council of Anglican Provinces in Africa (CAPA) meeting in Alexandria, Egypt, voices its astonishment at the games Dr Kunonga seems to be playing. The Council states as representatives of the Anglican Communion we re-iterate that we do not recognise the status of Bishop Norbert (sic) Kunonga and Bishop Elson Jakazi. (Excommunicated Bishop of the Diocese of Manicaland) as bishops within the Anglican Communion and call for the full restoration of Anglican property within Zimbabwe to the Church of the Province of Central Africa. This reflects the true, lawful position, contrary to what is stated in Dr Kunonga's advertisement.
11. On the 26th July 2009, to international acclamation Dr Chad Nicholas Gandiya is consecrated and ordained within the CPCA as an Anglican bishop and enthroned in the cathedral of St Mary and All Saints as bishop of the Diocese of Harare, witnessed by numerous bishops and well over 10,000 others present at the National Sports Stadium and perhaps as many as 2,000 at the Cathedral.
12. It is Bishop Gandiya, elected in accordance with the CPCA and other ecclesiastical laws who is the incumbent bishop of the Diocese of Harare; not Dr Kunonga, the self-proclaimed archbishop of a non-Anglican organisation.

Deputy Chancellor of the Anglican
Church of the Province of Central Africa

20th August 2009.

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Covenant still waiting

Logo from Lionel Deimel

At what point will the C of E send the Covenant to Dioceses for their views? My guess is - not till everything looks like a done deal so as to minimise oppostion and make the 'consultation' as irrelevant as possible.

In Scotland, where there has already been a fair amount of debate on the covenant - and a fair amount of scepticism, they do things differently.

From the Summary of the 2009 General Synod of the Scottish Episcopal Church:

Mr Stuart spoke about the latest draft of the Anglican Communion Covenant – the Ridley Cambridge draft. Prior to this being remitted to provinces for adoption, ACC-14 felt that it would be appropriate for further consultation to take place. Mr Stuart confirmed that the Ridley Cambridge draft would be sent to dioceses for their consideration and comment by mid-October so that those comments could be considered by the Provincial Faith & Order Board in late October to allow them time to submit a response on behalf of the Scottish Episcopal Church by 13 November – the date set by the Anglican Communion Office.


Nolbert Kunonga of Zimbabwe to be forgiven and reinstated?

‘A voice for the voiceless in the Anglican Central African Province’

Something to smile about? Nolbert Kunonga, self-styled 'Archbishop of Zimbabwe'

ANGLICAN-INFORMATION reports from Zimbabwe that now Dr Chad Gandiya has been safely installed as the new Bishop of Harare, and Julius Makomi elected Bishop of Manicaland, stories are emerging of how some of their fellow bishops in the Province of Central Africa might deal with the seemingly intractable problem of renegade former bishops Nolbert Kunonga of Harare and Elson Jakazi of Manicaland.

One option supposedly being considered is modelled on the ‘power sharing’ agreement in place politically between President Robert Mugabe and Prime Minister Morgan Tsvangirai. This would involve an eventual rehabilitation of Kunonga and Jakazi and some kind of reincorporation together with their priests into the Provincial structure.

observes that this idea is not only unwise, the fact that it is possible that it has even been considered borders on the insane. It also lacks any integrity and recognition of the struggle on the part of faithful and loyal priests and people in the dioceses of Harare and Manicaland. It would be hard to reconcile such a policy with the history of violence and intimidation that has come from the Kunonga camp towards faithful Christians in the past few years.

The background to this extraordinary story does however shed some light and explain how it has gained provenance. The current acting Dean of the Province, Bishop Albert Chama of Northern Zambia (who is a prospective candidate amongst at least three of the bishops for the position of next Archbishop of the Province) was appointed after the sacking of Bishop Trevor Mwamba of Botswana by the then outgoing Archbishop Bernard Malango in September 2007. Chama has always been close to Malango and Malango in turn was indisputably a benefactor and patron of Nolbert Kunonga whom he infamously absolved without trial for accusations brought against Kunonga, including incitement to murder, in late 2005.

Here is the link in that it is supposed that Malango is still influential, still has connections with Kunonga and would like to see his old friend reinstated in some way.

On the other hand speaking on SW Africa Radio on 15th August, Bishop Trevor Mwamba stated clearly that Kunonga is neither part of the Central African Province nor is he in communion with the Archbishop of Canterbury (a definition of Anglican orthodoxy).

says that it is essential that the Central African bishops clarify definitively their future plans for the dioceses of Harare and Manicaland and their bishops. That they publicly distance themselves from the rumours of longer-term potential collaboration with the Kunonga faction and that there is a clear statement from former Archbishop Bernard Malango about what exactly constitutes his on-going relationship with Nolbert Kunonga? In the absence of such clarifications people will inevitably assume the worst.

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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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Election hype already

Ruth Gledhill

In a typical piece of over-writing Ruth Gledhill declares that liberals have "declared war" of conservatives in the C of E.


She's reporting pre-planning for the synodical elections. To the best of my knowledge this has happened at every synodical election amongst every group which wants to be effectively represented on Synod.

Of course it's a struggle, engaged in by every side, to get a majority on Synod. Not because Synod holds power (though it still has significant powers) but because it is the route to the Archbishops' Council and other bodies which do have power. Though the battle for 'the soul of the established church' will be won in the House of Bishops, not Synod - which is why getting the right (or liberal) bishops is far more important that electing a liberal Synod.

But, if these subversive liberals get in, then in the Gospel according to Ruth dire consequences will follow:

If they take enough of the 400-plus seats in the houses of clergy and laity, the liberals will attempt to bring in total acceptance of homosexuals, overturning all restrictions on their ministry and approving same-sex blessings for civil partnerships and gay ordinations and consecrations.

Which I'm sure is intended to rally the conservatives. Though it also betrays a high degree of insecurity or fear at the damage liberals could do simply by recognising gay people as full members of the church.

If a majority of the Synod were liberal (and for any constitutional change it would have to be a majority of two-thirds plus 1 in both elected houses) then they would still have to contend with the House of Bishops who are notoriously reluctant to rock any boat.

So support the liberal cause by all means. Maybe one day it will be victorious. But that will merely set the stage for the next battles to come. The Church, I contend, is shaped in its battles, made real in its conflicts and energised by the desire to assert one manner of believing (with its social consequences) over the alternatives.

But the cause of change in the Church (in a strong sense of causation) is social and political change in the culture and community in which the Church is set. In England civil weddings are officially recognised, the civil rights of people irrespective of sexual orientation are both recognised and upheld as desireable social values, and the Church will inevitably follow. The Church consistently follows social change while giving a platform to those who fear and oppose it - in divorce, for example.

It won't be the liberals wot won it, but the liberal cause will win - unless, of course, society and political leadership become more reactionary again.


Anglican Information gets noticed

Anglican Information continues to be noticed more widely.

Damian Thompson 'Blogs editor of the Daily Telegraph', under the ironic (or sarcastic) title of News from the thriving Anglican Communion, used quotes from a recent AI post about Lake Malawi. His goal seems to be to ridicule the Communion.

The substance of the AI post was taken up by George Conger who has a wide readership. In the Church of England Newspaper (describing AI as 'a pressure group associated with the one-time bishop-elect of Lake Malawi, Ealing vicar the Rev. Nicholas Henderson.') he asserts that Scott Wilson withdrew his candidature for the See of Lake Malawi for reasons entirely unconnected with his membership of the schismatic ACNA. And it may well be so. (The article was reposted on Gonger's Religious Intelligence site.)

Conger also has a long piece on the legal battle surrounding the election of Chad Gandiya in Zimbabwe. Comger has his own sources and has often reported on the Church in Zimbabwe, though it is to be hoped that AI also contributes to his understanding of the situation.


New bishops for Northern Malawi and Lake Malawi dioceses

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

The Ven Francis Kaulanda (on the right of picture) and Bishop James Tengatenga of South Malawi in the Rev'd Dr. Nicholas Henderson's Church of All Saints, Ealing

Saturday 1st August:
The election took place today for a new bishop of the Diocese of North Malawi vacant since the resignation of Bishop Christopher Boyle now working as an Assistant Bishop in the Diocese of Leicester, U.K.

The elected candidate was the Rev’d Fr Leslie Mtekateka of St Timothy’s, Chitipa.

Previously, the then only candidate, the Rev’d J. Scott Wilson, SSC, formerly of the Diocese of Fort Worth in the United States had withdrawn his candidacy. His active membership of a breakaway faction from the Episcopal Church known as the Anglican Church of North America (A.C.N.A) had ensured that even if elected he could not become a bishop in the Central African Province because he does not belong to a province in communion with the Archbishop of Canterbury.

The divisions in the Anglican Communion which have so plagued North America in particular and which have insidiously damaged parts of the Anglican Communion in Africa have had their logical outworking in this manifestation of schism.

The proceedings of the electoral process for the position in Northern Malawi were marred by the unseemly haranguing of North Malawi representatives by acting Dean Albert Chama who embarrassed those present by shouting out at them angrily ‘Why are you choosing white people?’.

In Lake Malawi
, where the House of Laity have held out for four years for their elected bishop, the Rev’d Dr. Nicholas Henderson of London, U.K. the successful candidate, at elections also held today, was the Venerable Francis Kaulanda, Archdeacon of Lilongwe. The other candidates were the Rev’d Joseph Kaswanyano and the Rev’d Paul Banda.

Francis Kaulanda has been a study leave student of Dr. Henderson in London and has been Archdeacon of Lilongwe for some years. Kaulanda will now have to work hard to regain the confidence of priests and people of the Diocese of Lake Malawi given the strong feelings of injustice that have resulted from the original flawed Court of Confirmation that unfairly condemned Henderson as being ‘of unsound faith’ following his election.

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