ANGLICAN-INFORMATION reports: A new bishop has been consecrated and enthroned for the Diocese of Lake Malawi, Province of Central Africa. The Diocese of Lake Malawi, has been without an incumbent since 2005 when London based Dr. Nicholas Henderson was elected overwhelmingly as bishop in the July but rejected in a highly disputed and suspect Court of Confirmation in November of that year when he was declared inexplicably to be of ‘unsound faith’.
This Sunday 9th May saw the consecration of the Venerable Francis Kaulanda, formerly Archdeacon of Lilongwe. His consecration and enthronement took place at All Saints’ Cathedral, Nkhota-kota, Malawi. Principal bishop was the acting Dean of the Central African Province, the Rt Rev’d Albert Chama. Principal guest was the Speaker of the Malawian Parliament.
Chama, had delayed the ceremony in order that he could attend a ‘Global South’ Conference in Singapore and then spend some time with ‘breakaway’ Anglicans in the United States. This has set him at odds with some of his fellow bishops who are unhappy with the Province being associated with schismatic groups in the Anglican Communion.
Some of the Provincial Bishops were also absent from the ceremony on Sunday which took place in the presence of eleven bishops including an ecumenical guest Roman Catholic prelate.
The ceremony was held in the open air to accommodate the large congregation but was a curiously muted affair. Nine choirs from the various archdeaconries in Lake Malawi sang but there was an absence of traditional joyful African dancing. One observer commented ‘we seemed to be going through the motions of a consecration with only the mechanics of enthusiasm’.
Feelings remain mixed in the Diocese of Lake Malawi about the new bishop. Many still consider that the legitimacy of Francis Kaulanda’s election is questionable following the failure of the Bishops to act canonically and review the much-challenged previous Court of Confirmation.
Kaulanda himself was subject to an unprecedented number of objectors whose claims of academic falsification; name changing and accusations of financial irregularities were never addressed. A feeling remains (as in the other Malawian Dioceses of Upper Shire and North Malawi) that, despite the wishes of the priests and people, the Bishops have forced through their own candidates.
North Malawi is set for another election for a bishop to be held on Saturday 29th May. The bishops’ previous candidate, Fr Leslie Mtekateka, was struck off following accusations of gross misconduct.
ANGLICAN-INFORMATION: comments that a gulf seems to have opened up during the regime of Albert Chama between the episcopal bench and the people. It will be important for the new Bishop of Lake Malawi, Francis Kaulanda, to regain the confidence of the people and to demonstrate that he is not party to such disliked oversight.
Diocese of Harare, Zimbabwe: The sad death of Vice Chancellor Bob Stumbles robs Zimbabwe of an effective legal voice against the machinations of ‘Archbishop’ Nolbert Kunonga. Conflicting reports in the international press describe a ‘victory’ for Kunonga in the Mugabe backed Courts. On 3rd May Zimbabawe’s Supreme Court dismissed an appeal that challenged Kunonga’s legitimacy in the Diocese of Harare (on a technicality about payment of security fees) declaring that Kunonga is the rightful Bishop of Harare and that the Provincial Diocese under Bishop Chad Gandiya no longer has a right to churches or assets.
Unsurprisingly, Bishop Gandiya, who will seek again to challenge Kunonga in the courts, has disputed this interpretation. However, as a mark of the difficulties he and his people face a Zimbabwean Republic Police operational order is reported as instructing police officers “to ensure that only one church service is conducted and that to be led by the Kunonga faction” and that the police “be on standby for reaction purposes”.
ANGLICAN-INFORMATION: Comments that it would be helpful if Acting Dean Chama of the Province urgently addressed himself to the public support of his beleaguered colleague Bishop Gandiya and the people of Harare. This would be better understood by the people of the Province than jetting off to conspire to split the Anglican Communion whilst accommodated in luxurious comfort in South East Asia.
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