South Malawi: Clergy in the Diocese of South Malawi have protested against Bishop James Tengatenga’s requirement for Malawi Kwacha 7,000,000.00 ($48,000.00 - £30,000.00 - €34,000.00). This is for sabbatical study leave in the United States.
Tengatenga who is a frequent visitor to North America and who often travels worldwide in his role as Chair of the Anglican Consultative Council has challenged his clergy that he should be given his allowances or he will resign.
The clergy have responded with their intention to consult with the laity of the diocese.
Tengatenga has a history of conflict over funding having threatened previously to withhold sacramental rites such as confirmation if parishes do not meet their diocesan payments.
ANGLICAN-INFORMATION observes that the laity in the Central African Province have developed an increasingly powerful voice in recent years. This has resulted in a number of protracted struggles with their traditionalist command structure bishops. The growth of easy access to communications such as mobile telephony and the internet is slowly democratising Church governance. We believe that this is a positive development.
Lake Malawi: Laity protesting against the election of the Venerable Francis Kaulanda as bishop have brought a Court Injunction preventing the bishops from ‘confirming’ Kaulanda’s position. This case was revisited in court on 21st January. Charles Wemba, lay spokesman, reports that he and others have been threatened with excommunication by the bishops. A ruling of the court is expected soon.
ANGLICAN-INFORMATION observes that in the long-running saga of the Diocese of Lake Malawi the bishops have consistently attempted to bypass and overrule the laity. The only exception to this policy came in June 2007 when Bishop Trevor Mwamba of Botswana came close to bringing the parties together before himself being sacked as Dean of the Province by the then Archbishop Bernard Malango.
Acting Dean Albert Chama: African blogsite activity and comment shows increasing discontent with the provincial oversight of Bishop Albert Chama of Northern Zambia. Complaints and comments include:
- Lack of consultation with the laity
- An authoritarian and detached style of leadership
- Lack of personal and visible ‘on the ground’ involvement in Zimbabwe, especially in defence of and in solidarity with Bishop Chad Gandiya as he struggles to defend his diocese of Harare against renegade ‘Archbishop’ Nolbert Kunonga
- Allegations of ‘closeness’ to Nolbert Kunonga through his mentor and friend former Archbishop Bernard Malango
ANGLICAN-INFORMATION observes that the blogosphere is an unmonitored and unaccountable medium but Chama is inevitably vulnerable to such criticisms. They are likely to weigh against him when eventually all the diocesan sees are filled and an election takes place for the post of Archbishop of Central Africa. The future of this much-troubled Province will be determined by the style of whoever leads the Province. Albert Chama’s acting tenure as Dean over four years has been at best patchy and change may be preferable to ‘more of the same’.
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