ANGLICAN-INFORMATION reports: In what is effectively a calculated snub to his fellow bishops and in particular Bishop James Tengatenga of the Diocese of Southern Malawi, the acting Dean of the Anglican Central African Province, the Rt Rev’d Albert Chama has been flown out to the Fourth Global South Encounter in Singapore.
Albert Chama is accompanied by Bishops William Mchamba of Eastern Zambia and Godfrey Tawonzvi of Masvingo, Zimbabwe. Also in the party is Fr Christopher Mwawa formerly Dean of the College of Christian Ministries, Diocese of Lake Malawi.
The latest Global South Encounter Meeting is a gathering of 130 delegates and observers who represent the schismatic grouping in the Anglican Communion that is currently supporting breakaway parishes in the United States, fostering division and challenging the authority of the Archbishop of Canterbury.
Of particular concern in the Central African Province is how potentially divisive Chama’s attendance will become amongst the bishops. The Archbishop of the Indian Ocean the Most Rev’d Ian Earnest, a principal player at the Global South Encounter Meeting, wrote to the Archbishop of Canterbury on 13th April insisting that at further meetings of Anglican Primates the North Americans should specifically not be invited. This specifically catches Bishop James Tengatenga who is currently on sabbatical study leave in the United States with the Episcopal Church. Tengatenga is also the newly elected chairperson of the Anglican Consultative Council, which is one of the Instruments of the Anglican Communion, and which has also come in for severe criticism from the Global South members.
For those labouring in parish vineyards and simply getting on with the Gospel this is a complicated scenario but Albert Chama in his attendance at the meeting in Singapore is following directly in the footsteps of his mentor former Archbishop Bernard Malango. He is thereby snubbing other bishops in the Central African Province as well as the Archbishop of Canterbury. In the Central African Province those bishops who will have reason to feel aggrieved with Chama’s actions include James Tengatenga, Bishop Trevor Mwamba of Botswana and Bishop Chad Gandiya of Harare, all of who have been closely associated with the North American Churches and openly remained loyal to Canterbury. Ironically, Chama himself has been hosted by the Episcopal Church and even preached in Grace Cathedral, San Francisco.
Whilst priests go unpaid in Malawi, acting Dean Chama and the others are enjoying an all expenses paid (by whom?) trip to South East Asia, but it will come at a longer term high cost - that of the unity of the Province for which he still has at least temporary oversight.
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