Christmas in the Diocese of Upper Shire

ANGLICAN-INFORMATION reports that on Christmas Eve 2008, just like the original nativity story, Christians in Central Africa are marking this time as one of great uncertainty with humble people in fear of the religious authorities, with a tyrant on the throne and with God’s start of hope still defiantly shining.

UPPER SHIRE DIOCESE, Malawi: People and priests are planning New Year meetings to discuss and consider their response to the strange announcement from the Central African Provincial Bishops that Brighton Malasa, a junior priest of only five years in holy orders is to be the next bishop of Upper Shire diocese.

If he is consecrated it will make him the youngest bishop in the entire Anglican Communion* with the prospect of 35 years in charge of Upper Shire ahead of him. Understandably, in a culture that respects wisdom, experience and age there is fear that this appointment is verging on foolishness.

* In 1950 the Rt Rev’d David Hand was elected aged 32 as an assistant
bishop in New Guinea.
Michael Nazir-Ali now of Rochester, England was first ordained bishop aged
35 to be Assistant Bishop of Southwark.
Bob Anderson was 42 when he was elected bishop of Minnesota, USA and
Paul Williams the new Area Bishop of Kensington, London who will be
consecrated early next year is 40.
In 2002 the Rt Revd Andodo Elneel of Kadugli, Sudan was 33 when elected.

We cannot find any examples in the last 100 years of a 30 year old bishop, not least one who is to be a diocesan. Either the Central African Provincial Anglican bishops are divinely inspired in their choice or they are being extremely irresponsible.

From Anglican Information.

Bishop Bakare's Christmas Pastoral letter

Church of the Province of Central Africa

The Diocese of Harare

Pastoral Letter
Christmas 2008: Message of Hope and God's Assurance

My dear sisters and brothers

It is not so easy to write an intelligent pastoral letter to you at this time when we are faced with so many problems in our church and in our nation. We have a litany of challenges that are so destructive and devastating: Cholera, hunger, HIV/AIDs, lack of health care, homelessness, unemployment, poverty, corruption, kidnappings, callousness, harassment, you name it – that is a tall order indeed.

All these challenges rob us of an opportunity to have a meaningful and purposeful life. As I write, some families are nursing their relatives who are suffering from the effects of Cholera expecting them to die any time, others stay indoors unable to come out from their houses because of the unbearable stench of sewage flowing in front of their doorsteps, while still others are burying their dead. We hear of a horrific case where one family lost 5 children in 36 hours.

Indeed this will be a Christmas with a difference never before experienced by our people. This is a very sad state of affairs indeed. Faced with such an ugly and horrendous situation, we hear the faithful in our congregations reciting the words of Ps.10 vv. 1-7:

"Why stand so far off, O Lord? Why hide yourself in time of trouble?
The wicked in their pride persecute the poor; let them be caught in
the schemes they have devised. The wicked boast of their heart's
desire; the covetous curse and revile the Lord. The wicked in their
arrogance say, 'God will not avenge it'; in all their scheming God
counts for nothing. They are stubborn in all their ways, for your
judgements are far above out of their sight; they scoff at all their
adversaries. They say in their heart, 'I shall not be shaken; no harm
shall ever happen to me.' Their mouth is full of cursing, deceit and
fraud; under their tongue lie mischief and wrong."

The mood of this psalm is one of a high level of desperation and hopelessness, of being powerless and feeling dejected. Such feelings of hopelessness, powerlessness and dejection can indeed challenge our faith in God. But they can also lead us to deeper understanding of the helplessness, powerlessness, dejection and pain that Jesus had to bear on our behalf. In the middle of suffering, pain and destruction we are reminded of a God who suffers with his people saying to Moses:

"And now the cry of the Israelites has reached me, and I have seen the
way the Egyptians are oppressing them. So now, go. I am sending you
to Pharaoh to bring my people the Israelites out of Egypt… I will be
with you" (Ex 3 vv.9ff)

In Isaiah we hear the same words of comfort and assurance given to a people who were at a crossroad as far as their identity and nationhood were concerned: "Comfort, comfort my people, says your God" (Isa 40 v.1).

It has become a common expression in Zimbabwe to hear people say: God has abandoned us. The devil is in charge. He uses instruments which disregard human rights. Disrespect of the law by those who are supposed to enforce it is rampant. But the Lord does not fail his chosen –

"Arise, o Lord God, and lift up your hand; forget not the poor. Why
should the wicked be scornful of God? Why should they say in their
hearts, 'You will not avenge it'? Surely, you behold trouble and
misery; you see it and take it into your own hand. The helpless commit
themselves to you, for you are the helper of the orphans. Break the
power of the wicked and malicious. Search out their wickedness until
you find none. The Lord shall reign for ever and ever; the nations
shall perish from his land. Lord, you hear the desire of the people.
You will incline your ear to the fullness of their heart to give
justice to the orphans and oppressed, so that people are no longer
driven in terror from the land." (Ps10 vv12-19)

Although Christmas festivities will be a non-event for many Zimbabweans, Christians in our various congregations will celebrate it with a different perspective, considering the challenges we Anglicans in this diocese are facing. We may find ourselves very close to the events surrounding the birth of Jesus where we hear the innkeeper say: There is no room for you in this inn, and Jesus was therefore born in a place where animals were normally kept – not unlike many of you celebrating the nativity of Christ in an awkward place otherwise used by vendors. But it is through this Christ-child born in a manger that our hope for a redeemer was fulfilled. There in the manger and beyond we see the Prince of Peace bringing about justice and peace to an unjust world.

Therefore in spite of all the hardships we are going through, I invite you to join the rest of the household of God throughout the world to celebrate the birth of our Saviour, the King of Peace with joy and hope.

A very Blessed Christmas to you all!

Your Bishop

+Sebastian Harare


1. It is now more than a year that our cathedral and church buildings have remained closed. We ask you to remain patient and pray that this upper hand of the blasphemous beast we read about in Revelation 13-14 will be overcome. We will be there at God's own time.

2. The Dean of the Cathedral, The Very Rev. F. Mutamiri and Mrs. M. Machiha have been invited by our link Diocese to attend a conference in Rochester from 16th -30th January. They will convey our greetings to our partners. We are asking those parishes who would like to be linked to parishes in Rochester to submit the name of their parish.

To be linked you have to tell us more about your congregation:
- Name of the parish
- Number of members
- Number of children in Sunday School, MU, youth, guilds, Men's Fellowship etc. as well as the number of house church groups.
If you established a link with Rochester long ago and the link is still alive, do let us know with whom you are linked.

3. We ask you to pray for the following:
- our seminarians: Biggie Gwashero, Noel Magaya, Alpha John, Tindale
Kahombe, Kudakwashe Madzime, Moses Mugariri, Mahomad Edwin Selemani,
Naboth Manzongo
- the Acting Gaul House Principal, Rev. Fundira
- those in the Diaspora
- the displaced within our communities without shelter
- for an amicable solution to the political impasse in our nation

4. We have been devastated by the outbreak of Cholera in our city. We would like you to hold memorial services in your congregations on any day during the week to remember those who have succumbed to the pandemic and to pray for the bereaved families.


I invite you pray with me:

Lord Jesus, we thank you for your love.
You obediently accepted to come to this godless world in order to redeem us;
We thank you.
Born in a manger, you confronted us with your humility.
You experienced the power and pain caused by sin;
We adore you
Ultimately when they crucified you, you did not become a victim but a victor
We praise you.
Emmanuel – God with us -, help us to be aware of your presence even
when things are hard and when we feel powerless and defenceless like
you did in the confinement of a manger.
Lord Jesus, may we be born anew and grow with you.


Still crumbling, still too slow

In Khami prison

From The Times

December 22, 2008

Zimbabwe's inflation means jail wardens steal from prisoners to stay alive

Times' reporter Martin Fletcher described negotiating roadblocks in Zimbabwe where mostly what was wanted was bribes - a kind of local road tax.


More alarming was when I was flagged down by two police officers near
Bulawayo, prompting visions of Christmas in a lice-infested Zimbabwean prison.
But they just wanted a lift.

In the car they raged against President Mugabe's regime. The senior one, a
sergeant of five years' standing, claimed that his monthly salary did not buy
even a litre of cooking oil. His work was merely “community service”. He said
that he felt sympathy for the suffering of ordinary people, and that if they
rebelled he would not fire on them.

Another passenger was a warden at Bulawayo's infamous Khami prison. The
previous month he had earned 200 million Zimbabwean dollars - less than US$1 at
today's rate. Of that sum he could withdraw only a fraction after queueing for
four hours at the bank each morning. Every day and a bit, its value halved.

He said that he had five children to support and had not eaten bread for a
year. He survived by stealing the prisoners' sadza - a porridge that is now a
luxury for most - or by trading favours for food brought in by families.
“There's no discipline ... We depend on the prisoners to stay alive.”

All here.

The regime can't last.


n. An alternative to the crass commercialization of Christmas, typically
celebrated on December 23. It involves The Airing of Grievances (telling your
family and friends all the ways they have disappointed you during the year) and
does not end until the Feats of Strength (pinning the head of the family) are
accomplished. A plain, metal pole is used in lieu of a Christmas tree, because
decorations (such as tinsel) is distracting from the true meaning of the

A Festivus for the rest of us! -George Costanza

Courtesy of the Urban Dictionary


All Africa Conference of Churches

Archbishop Valentine Mokiwa

Nairobi — The head of the Anglican Church of Tanzania, Archbishop Valentine Mokiwa, is the new President of the All Africa Conference of Churches.

Archbishop Mokiwa was elected at the just concluded AACC 9th General Assembly held in Maputo, Mozambique, December 7-12.


A statement from the organisation said Archbishop Mokiwa joins the AACC
leadership at a time when the Church in Africa is faced with a lot of critical
challenges, among them the crisis of governance such as in Zimbabwe, wars and
insecurity especially in the Great Lakes region and in the Horn of Africa, and
widespread poverty.

The AACC is a pan-African Christian organisation founded
in 1963 in Kampala, Uganda. It brings together in fellowship 173 churches and
Christian councils from 40 African countries.


Archbishop Mokiwa is not amongst the more liberal of African church leaders. When the Windsor Report was published he was quoted as saying "We are calling on homosexuals in the church to stop what they are doing, it's unbecoming and it is sin."


The peace of God

Archbishop Peter Akinola and Bishop Martyn Minns
of The Anglican Church of Nigeria

Eruptions at the Foot of the Volcano (Leonardo Ricardo) has a long piece which celebrates a UN decision on the 60th anniversary of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights and attacks the attitudes of conservative Anglicans:

(New York, December 18, 2008) – ¨In a powerful victory for the principles of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights, 66 nations at the UN General Assembly today supported a groundbreaking statement confirming that international human
rights protections include sexual orientation and gender identity. It is the first time that a statement condemning rights abuses against lesbian, gay, bisexual, and transgender people has been presented in the General Assembly.¨

Human rights are incommensurable with the hierarchical structuring of religion and the absolute legitimation of ecclesiastical authority as God given.

Therefore human rights should be of the deepest concern to all faithful people: how have we built a church, any church, that is capable of acting against people because they do not fit an expected mould? How can we belong to a church which does not regard every person as of equal value before God and, therefore, of equal value in our own eyes? How can we support a church which does not actively oppose all violence against God's children?

There is something rotten in our relationship with God.


Subsequent note: the Vatican signed up to the statement, the US refused to. Is this perhaps because the US might have to do something about it while the Vatican never would?


Boy Bishop for Upper Shire?


In a surprise move the current Vicar General Brighton Malasa of Upper Shire diocese, Malawi, has been appointed bishop of Upper Shire.

The Provincial Bishops of the Central African Province meeting in Lusaka, Zambia (well away from Malawi) have apparently heeded objections to their previous favoured candidate Alinafe Kalemba but instead produced an unexpected and questionable alternative.

No support for Malasa’s candidacy from the diocese had emerged at the original elections for a bishop in February this year.

Malasa is said to be only 30 years old the minimum canonical age for a bishop. His main qualification seems to be that he is a strong supporter of acting Provincial Dean Albert Chama of Northern Zambia.

Our correspondents have said:
‘But there is tension due to his age. It means he will be bishop for 35 years when he reaches 65 years as retirement is required. People have started meetings so that they voice out their observations. This has never happened in this Province and if not careful it will divide the Church in Upper Shire. Since this news has come out currently nobody has applauded but there have only been question marks.’



And quite right too

Welsh Refugee Council

Archbishop of Wales blasts policy towards refugees
Dec 18 2008 by David Williamson, Western Mail

ARCHBISHOP of Wales Barry Morgan last night warned that the nation would be
judged by its attitude to the poorest members of society.

He said he was alarmed at the plight of refugees and asylum-seekers in
Wales who are in abject poverty. The Anglican leader is concerned by the effects
of 2002 legislation, which withdrew social support for rejected asylum seekers.

Tomorrow, the Welsh Refugee Council will relaunch its hardship fund to
provide blankets for newborn babies, a winter coat for a newly-arrived refugee,
and food parcels for destitute families.

Nearly half (47%) of all people using the UK’s main refugee advice
services this year were destitute – of these 56% were from Iran, Iraq, Eritrea
or Zimbabwe.

Questioning whether it was realistic to expect people to return to
countries defined by danger, Dr Morgan said: “Very often their countries are
unsafe and unstable. Are you going to send people back to Zimbabwe or the

Describing his shock at learning of the Congo’s mortality rate, he
said: “I heard 20% of children under five die either as a result of disease or
war, but the thing is there is a child at the heart of Christmas. God reveals
himself as a child.” Dr Morgan said that in the Christmas story Jesus was
revealed as the child of refugees.

He believes the Nativity story should inspire society to protect the
most vulnerable children.

He said: “It is interesting. According to the Christmas story Jesus was a kind of refugee, having to flee to Egypt.

“If you believe that God reveals himself in Jesus then he reveals
himself as a refugee and he reveals himself as a child. What does that tell you
about the value of a child?”

Adamant such modern-day families should not live in destitution, he
said: “A country is ultimately judged by what it does with its poorest people.”

The policy of cutting off support to failed asylum seekers who could
not return to their home nation and banning them from working was earlier this
month condemned in a report from a think-tank founded by former Conservative
leader Iain Duncan Smith.

At least 26,000 failed asylum seekers in the UK survive on Red Cross
food parcels.

For more information about the Welsh Refugee Council’s hardship fund, click
onto http://www.welshrefugeecouncil.org/


Zanu-PF dividing?

Armed police in Zimbabwe

Well, the Harare government's line is that the MDC assassins trained in Botswana tried to assassinate Perence Shiri, head of the Zimbabwe air force. Or, perhaps, that it's related to a violent struggle to control diamond fields - a struggle that has already seen many deaths. The Guardian. Maybe, too, that struggle is contributing to splits in Zanu-PF.

Furthermore, Zimbabwe National Liberation War Veterans’ Association vice president Cde Joseph Chinotimba, who was involved in a car accident last week, is still in a local private hospital. ZWNews. By a curious coincidence Elliot Manyika, the Zanu PF political commissar died on Saturday following a road accident along the Zvishavane-Mbalabala road. ZWNews.

In Harare Police use teargas to disperse fighting ZANU PF factions (as Intra-party violence rocks Zanu-PF) - 17 December 2008 Riot police had to use teargas and water cannons yesterday to quell violence at the ruling ZANU PF party headquarters in Harare as rival camps clashed before an internal election to choose an executive for the party’s Harare province. The Zimbabwean.

The MDC says it's all a battle over succession:

In short, it is the unresolved issue of succession in Zanu PF that is at the root cause of the violence against Perence Shiri and the dislocation in Zanu PF. We saw this dislocation in November 2004 when wix provinc chairpersons were expelled after the failure of the Jonathan Moyo and Patrick Chinamasa failed debacle. That same crisis gave birth to Simba Makoni and the Mavambo/Kusile experiment and only this weekend, we saw the revival of Zapu and the election of Dumiso Dabengwa as national chairman.

In our view, there are so many individuals and factions vying to succeed the aged Mugabe. However, each of those factions has a control and influence on members of the army. Therefore, Zanu PF factionalism and unresolved succession battles are also being played out in the military junta. The arsenal used against Shiri could only have been owned and possessed by members of the Zimbabwe National Army.

And the result can only be the implosion of Zanu-PF - and the sooner it comes the less the suffering that will accompany it.

And control over the army is looking weaker and weaker:

'Just like everyone else, we have stomachs and families to feed. We are
suffering, just like most citizens in this country,' one junior officer Ola (not
his real name) tells Deutsche Presse-Agentur dpa.

Sitting in a house in Mbare township south-west of Harare in worn boots and faded fatigues, Ola, a 27-year-old father of two and Duke (not his real name), 29, tell of the
frustration that provoked their outburst.

'There is no junior army officer that still supports Mugabe. We are tired, we are suffering,' says Duke. 'If a foreign army comes to fight us, we will join them or flee to a neighbouring country.' The Zimbabwean

Of course, I am looking for anything that suggests the imminent end of the regime so these are deliberately tendentious clippings. Cholera continues to spread and claim lives. The war on the MDC continues unabated: News24. And ordinary life in Zimbabwe is hell for many people.


Nets for Life

From The Daily Times, Malawi

When a net save life

It is both stinking and excruciatingly hot in the Lower Shire, more so during the rainy season, with the perennial floods that provide an environment
conducive for mosquitoes to thrive making malaria a common occurrence to an extent of becoming epidemic to the area.

Although the hype and attention directed towards the HIV/Aids pandemic is so enormous when compared to equally devastating killer diseases, it is still unfathomable that malaria still remains the number one cause of deaths in the world with an under five child succumbing to the disease every 30 seconds.

Anglican Church Diocese of Southern Malawi Vicar General Charles Saleya Masina, who was guest of honour at the function, thanked other faith based organisations for collaborating with NetsForLife in its endeavour to assist government fight malaria. He disclosed that during the second Phase, at least 3 nets will be distributed per family to cater for large families. The second phase has been funded by Episcopal Relief and Development (ERD), a church organisation based in New York to the tune of $300,000.

NetsForLife is a collaborative partnership of several foundations and NGOs and it implements integrated malaria prevention through a network of local faith based organisations and NGOs and is currently in 18 countries including Malawi. In Malawi, NetsForLife works with Anglican Church that is made up of four dioceses which are Upper Shire, Lake Malawi, Southern Malawi and North Malawi. The church was registered in 1974 and has been providing health and education services since the early 1900 as part of their mission in serving communities.

Further troubles in Avondale Parish

But probably not for much longer

From Anglican Information and Avondale Parish, combined.

Another disturbing report is carried below from Avondale Parish where Bishop Sebastian Bakare is bravely trying to oversee his diocese in the face of violence from dissident ‘Archbishop’ Nolbert Kunonga. Nolbert Kungona is a protégé of former Archbishop Bernard Malango who remains silent about the growing level of atrocities committed by his friend.

In the tangled web that is the Central African Anglican Province the bishops are also largely silent but they are gathering today in Lusaka, Zambia for their last meeting of the year. Here they are safely away from Zimbabwe and (from their point of view) the ever-troublesome Malawi.

High on their agenda is the intention to force acting Provincial Dean Albert Chama’s favoured candidate Alinafe Kalemba upon Bernard Malango’s former diocese of Upper Shire in Malawi. Readers will recall that this candidate was decisively rejected by diocesan representatives on 16th February earlier this year. Priests and people continue to assert that they will not accept any imposed bishop.

Instead of addressing the real issues of Zimbabwe and speaking out publicly against the state-sponsored violence and now alarming development of cholera*, sadly the bishops continue to indulge in their own internal political purposes and remain at odds with the people and priests they are supposed to serve. Funding agencies have largely stopped supporting diocesan initiatives in Zimbabwe and Malawi due to a growing lack of trust of episcopal oversight and management.

*Cholera has now appeared in Malawi carried by fleeing refugees from Zimbabwe.

From Avondale Parish, Harare, Zimbabwe:
Update on the events that have occurred at St Mary Magdalene, Avondale Parish, Harare this week.

On Monday 8th December Kunonga requested the use of the parish ostensibly for a Retreat for approximately 45 of his clergy prior to an ordination in the Cathedral on Sunday 14th December. They occupied the Hall, Youth Room and prevented our staff from using the kitchen to prepare their lunch. They also barred people from using the car park when they came to the office and the use of the chapel and church. On Wednesday they demanded to use the Reception Area of the office. Then on Thursday when the diocesan effects were being moved out they grabbed the master key from the Verger and have been using the offices to sleep in. The equipment from the reception was locked in the Administrator's office and lock blocks inserted.

On Saturday 13 December at about 9:45pm about eight men hired apparently by Kunonga demanded the bunch of keys from the staff. They beat up all the staff on the property but did not manage to get the keys. In a rare bit of good news, one of the thugs was apprehended by the police and is in custody and they have since arrested two more.

A meeting was held with Munyanyi one of Kunonga's bishops and representatives from the Church Council and parishioners this evening (14th December) at the Avondale Police Station.
They are adamant that they will remain on the church property and claim this is political and they really are wanting Bishop Bakare. They demanded the three to be released but the police have remained firm and they will be taken to court on Monday 15th December 2009 on a charge of assault.

Bishop Bakare moved from the office at Avondale on Monday 8th December and is now occupying offices at in Milton Park. As this is not church property we trust that Kunonga will not attempt to interfere with his activities.

This may only be the beginning of another round of attempts by Kunonga to gain hold of the diocesan property especially as he has ordained more priests. In September he occupied the Curate's House at Avondale when it was temporarily vacant.

Please pray for the eviction of the occupants at Avondale Church and the safety of the staff. The work by the parish staff has been halted as a result of the illegal occupation of the property at a time when we are preparing for our Carol Service on Sunday 21st December 2008 and Christmas Day services.

Despite everything the light of Christ cannot be extinguished and the Carol Service will now be held at Arundel School Chapel at 6.30pm.


ex-bishop Kunonga plans ahead

ex-bishop Kunonga

From the pro-Government Herald

THE Anglican Province of Zimbabwe yesterday ordained 33 bishops and deacons to serve in its dioceses.

The province is made up of dioceses that broke from the Church of the
Province of Central Africa early this year following disagreements over

Of those ordained, 23 were serving deacons with the remainder being new

Archbishop Nolbert Kunonga said the deacons and bishops should
truthfully serve the province and not tolerate homosexuality within the church.

"This is confirmation that we are going ahead with the building of the
new province after breaking away from the Province of Central Africa.

"As the Anglican Province of Zimbabwe, we stand guided by the
scriptures and will not sympathise with homosexuals.


On the property wrangle between his followers and those led by Retired
Bishop Sebastian Bakare, Archbishop Kunonga said they were waiting for the
determination of the Supreme Court following an appeal against a High Court
order instructing them to share church property.
The Anglican Province of
Zimbabwe is made up of the dioceses of Harare, Mashonaland East, Mashonaland
West, Mashonaland Central and Chitungwiza.

I suppose anyone can call themselves Archbishop if they want. This step is an attempt to secure the future of Kunonga's church by broadening and reinforcing its leadership. To the rest of the world, fed on the problems of the regime, this suggests that the view from within Zanu-PF is still optimistic, at least in some quarters.

But I speculate (having no evidence) that the quality of leadership may be open to question and I am confident that all are aligned with the regime.

What is interesting is the stress being put on homosexuality. It was always there in the rhetoric but now it seems, at least in this Herald report, to stand alone.

The predictable result will be that Konunga's church will collapse when the regime collapses. Weak leadership, no formal relationship with the wider Anglican Church, reliance on political support that will, one day, be held against them, and excessive reliance on one point of difference with the rest of the community, all suggest a very fragile structure.

And the alternative is a strong if beleaguered continuing Anglican Church led by Bishop Bakare, a man of considerable moral stature. As I have said before I long for and I fear what will happen when Zanu-PF lose power. I guess and hope that the experience and enmity Bishop Bakare has gained with the regime in power will be sufficient for his continued moral leadership when they lose it. He will need all the prayers possible and all the help that's practical.


Courage and violence

Email from Avondale Parish, Zimbabwe

Two weeks ago riot police blocked worshippers from using their church at St Stephen's, Zengeza. Some, including elderly women, were 'thrashed', one suffering a broken arm. Some were arrested and held in police cells for two nights.

But Henry Musikavanhu was determined: "If they arrest me, I'll be back next Sunday. The only way they'll stop me is to shoot me." He was back at church a week later and confronted the riot police again. Journalists had been alerted so they could film police obstructing church services: they remained outside while the service proceeded. What an example of courage in the face of violent opposition.

As reported previously, last week the Kunonga faction have occupied the church hall and facilities at Avondale church for a clergy "retreat". On Thursday they blocked the church office and used it for sleeping accommodation.

On the evening of Saturday 13 December several thugs raided the quarters of the church staff and beat up Josiah C, Timothy Z and Richard N while demanding the keys to the church. In this they were unsuccessful, and three of the attackers were caught and have been arrested. One of the church wardens, Trish M, spent until 2:00 am at Avondale Police station to deal with the incident. Fortunately the injuries sustained are not severe, but the staff are understandably frightened. There is a report that others attacked some of the workers' children yesterday (Sunday 14 December).

Yesterday Rev Hugh W, Gordon G, Fred J and Douglas M spent several hours at Avondale Police station trying to negotiate that the Kunonga people illegally occupying the curate's house be evicted from the property forthwith. Legal representations through the Diocesan lawyer, Mr Mike Chingore, are continuing. Meanwhile one of the Kunonga 'bishops' was trying to secure the release of the three arrested attackers.

Bp Sebastian Bakare has been kept informed and is deeply disturbed.

The Diocesan Offices have already been relocated away from Avondale and necessary office equipment is being sought.

Please continue to join us in prayer for this difficult situation.

(For some reason the All-Night prayer meeting scheduled to take place at St Luke's, Greendale last Fri/Sat did not happen. Those that went found no cars and the church locked. But in recent weeks a number of churches in high density areas have held All-Night prayer vigils which have been well attended.)


Cholera in Zimbabwe

Waiting for water at an Unicef water point in Harare (Huffington Post article)

From Anglican Information

Whilst the situation deteriorates even further in Zimbabwe there remain few African voices raised against the brutal Mugabe regime. An exception has been the Most Rev’d Thabo Makgoba the Archbishop of Capetown.

Ironically, it is now the spectre of the cholera that is becoming rampant in Zimbabwe that may speak loudest.

The disease is spreading across borders into neighbouring countries as people flee its effects.
Cholera is a water borne bacterial killer causing severe and terminal dehydration. It is entirely preventable by the maintenance of good infrastructure and clean water supplies. It can be treated by re-hydration therapy and hospitalisation. None of these basic amenities are available so in the sewage filled streets the beginnings of a final catastrophe are evident.

President Mugabe has today publicly announced that the cholera epidemic is over .........................................

In the meantime the Anglican mouthpiece of the Mugabe government in the person of self-styled Archbishop Nolbert Kunonga is also on the rampage. His future and that of the Central African Anglican Province hinges on the fate of Robert Mugabe.......and the cholera.

We publish below a mailing from Avondale Church, Harare, currently occupied by Kunonga.

Date: Thursday, December 11, 2008 09:13
From: Avondale Parish

Nolbert Kunonga has invaded Avondale church, ostensibly for a retreat for approximately 45 of his "clergy", some of whom are sleeping on mattresses in the Youth Room. The Youth Room had been booked for a meeting of Diocesan Readers on Saturday afternoon - the organisers have been told that it will now not be available, as the the retreat goes on until Saturday; on Sunday Kunonga is ordaining more "clergy"*in the Cathedral.

He has also taken over the hall, kitchen, parking and now the reception area so that the Avondale and Diocesan office staff have not been able to work since yesterday (Wednesday).

There is currently no working landline at the office where Bishop Bakare is now working from; the Diocesan computers and files are still at Avondale.

The Healing Communion Service could also not be held yesterday.

Please pray for the eviction of Kunonga and his cohorts. We are trying to get an urgent Court Order to evict them.

There will be an all night vigil at St Luke's Greendale on Friday 12 December 2008 at 8:00 pm to pray for the church and diocese concluding with Communion on Saturday morning.

If you cannot be there please also pray for the amelioration of the situation.

If you wish to join our mailing list, simply sendyour request to: avondaleparish.cpca@gmail.com

* NB Kunonga is busy ordaining untrained men of dubious background, more akin to thugs.



The crumbling state

From the Daily Telegraph via zwnews (my emphasis)

The Zimbabwean government has put the country's army on alert to deal with potential civil unrest, it was revealed yesterday.

Soldiers have been told to prepare to quell any outbreaks of disorder amid a worsening cholera outbreak. But troops are not being issued with firearms as senior officers are no longer sure who they can trust.

Low-ranking soldiers have rioted in the streets of Harare on several recent occasions after being unable to obtain cash.
Officially the Zimbabwe National Army is 40,000-strong, but informed estimates put its real numbers at a maximum of 30,000, with its ranks thinning dramatically due to desertion by soldiers and officers up to the level of captain.
Desertions from the army began two years ago, but are now accelerating as one of the main incentives for staying in uniform - a gratuity paid after 10 years service - has been rendered irrelevant by the country's hyperinflation. "That is now worth nothing, so they are just not going back," said a source. "We don't know how many as the numbers are being replaced with new recruits with hardly any training, youngsters who have never even fired a gun."
All here
And the models for a crumbling state: Somalia, Yugoslavia, Soviet Union, Chechenya?
Perhaps naively I don't think any of these are a good example. I think Zimbabwe has still the remnants of civil society (courts and lawyers, trades unions, local government) which will be a basis on which to rebuild. But when there is no police and no authority there will almost certainly be revenge and violent anger. Perhaps the model is India at partition - an outburst of violence followed by a stable government?
Or, perhaps, a transitional government will be brought in from outside, like the ANC's return from exile, with sufficient international help to provide stability. Of course, Zimbabwe will then be in hock to the West (who will have to fund it) for decades to come - oligarchic capitalism, and land-ownership, will be restored. And the rhetoric and facts of land-redistribution will also have left a legacy of resentment against the West.
We'll see.


Desparate email from Zimbabwe

Letter from Zimbabwe sent in by John Winter

I reckon that these are the last days of TKM and ZPF. The darkest hour is always before dawn.

We are all terrified at what they are going to destroy next........I mean they are actually ploughing down brick and mortar houses and one family with twin boys of 10 had no chance of salvaging anything when 100 riot police came in with AK47's and bulldozers and demolished their beautiful house - 5 bedrooms and pine ceilings - because it was 'too close to the airport', so we are feeling extremely insecure right now.

You know - I am aware that this does not help you sleep at night, but if you do not know - how can you help? Even if you put us in your own mental ring of light and send your guardian angels to be with us - that is a help -but I feel so cut off from you all knowing I cannot tell you what's going on here simply because you will feel uncomfortable. There is no ways we can leave here so that is not an option.

I ask that you all pray for us in the way that you know how, and let me know that you are thinking of us and sending out positive vibes... that's all. You can't just be in denial and pretend/believe it's not going on.

To be frank with you, it's genocide in the making and if you do not believe me, read the Genocide Report by Amnesty International which says we are - IN level 7 - (level 8 is after it's happened and everyone is in denial). [2007 Report - I can't immediately see which report is referred to here. PB]

If you don't want me to tell you these things-how bad it is-then it means you have not dealt with your own fear, but it does not help me to think you are turning your back on our situation. We need you, please, to get the news OUT that we are all in a fearfully dangerous situation here. Too many people turn their backs and say - oh well, that's what happens in Africa

This Government has GONE MAD and you need to help us publicize our plight---or how can we be rescued? It's a reality! The petrol queues are a reality, the pall of smoke all around our city is a reality, the thousands of homeless people sleeping outside in 0 Celsius with no food, water, shelter and bedding are a reality. Today a family approached me, brother of the gardener's wife with two small children. Their home was trashed and they will have to sleep outside. We already support 8 adult people and a child on this property, and electricity is going up next month by 250% as is water.

How can I take on another family of 4 -----and yet how can I turn them away to sleep out in the open?

I am not asking you for money or a ticket out of here - I am asking you to FACE the fact that we are in deep and terrible danger and want you please to pass on our news and pictures. So PLEASE don't just press the delete button! Help best in the way that you know how.

Do face the reality of what is going on here and help us SEND OUT THE WORD.. The more people who know about it, the more chance we have of the United Nations coming to our aid. Please don't ignore or deny what's happening.Some would like to be protected from the truth BUT then, if we are eliminated, how would you feel? 'If only we knew how bad it really was we could have helped in some way'.

[I know we chose to stay here and that some feel we deserve what's coming to us]

For now,--- we ourselves have food, shelter, a little fuel and a bit of money for the next meal - but what is going to happen next? Will they start on our houses? All property is going to belong to the State now. I want to send out my Title Deeds to one of you because if they get a hold of those, I can't fight for my rights.

Censorship!----We no longer have SW radio [which told us everything that was happening] because the Government jammed it out of existence - we don't have any reporters, and no one is allowed to photograph. If we had reporters here, they would have an absolute field day. Even the pro-Government Herald has written that people are shocked, stunned, bewildered and blown mindless by the wanton destruction of many folks homes, which are supposed to be 'illegal' but for which a huge percentage actually do have licenses.

Please! - do have some compassion and HELP by sending out the articles and personal reports so that something can/may be done.

'I am one. I cannot do everything, ---but I can do something.. And because I cannot do everything, I will not refuse to do the something that I can do. What I can do, I should do. And what I should do, by the grace of God, I will do.'


Please send this on to everyone in your address book. We send jokes outwithout blinking an eyelid. We don't get told this on the news in South Africa , we only get told what they want us to hear. We all have a chance to do something, even though the something is by pressing forward to as many people as possible. Let's stop talking and let's start doing! There is power in prayer, there is also power in more people knowing about this than you in my address book. This is going to America , Dubai , Australia , France , South Africans all over South Africa , the UK . By forwarding this to all in my address book I have done something. The world needs to know what is going on.


Restoring the Church in Zambia

Rt. Revd David Njovu, Bishop of Lusaka

A major fund raising campaign is underway in Lusaka to refurbish the Anglican Cathedral of the Holy Cross, built in 1958.

A Cathedral Corporate Partnership ball with the theme ‘ Restoring a National Spiritual Heritage through Partnership’ was attended by President Banda and Bank of Zambia Corporate Affairs Manager Danny Kalyalya.

Zambia is constitutionally a Christian country. One expression of this is a government commitment to the refurbishment of the Cathedral which has had a key role in many important national occasions.

And speaking earlier Anglican Bishop of the Diocese of Lusaka The Right Reverend
David Njovu said the Cathedral of the Holy Cross has continued to play a central
role in Zambia’s spiritual affairs and in guiding the nation.

Rev. Njovu said the Cathedral was therefore a symbol of Christ’s Lordship over Zambia which has now become even more significant with the declaration of Zambia as a Christian nation.

He noted that the church is humbled and inspired by the wisdom in the
leaders to declare Zambia a Christian nation.

Fuller accounts here and here.

The Anglican Communion may be under strain in these post-colonial and globalising days. But one element of the genetic code of Anglicanism (on it's mother's side) that is still strong is the capacity to work in a close and subordinate relationship with the state.

And, just to reinforce the point, just after I'd posted this I saw: Barack Obama accepts Episcopal Church offer to host a prayer service in honor of his inauguration on Wednesday morning January 21,


Adding to the voices

Most Revd Thabo Makgoba, Archbishop of Cape Town

Statement by the Most Revd Thabo Makgoba, Archbishop of Cape Town (here)

I am deeply pained by the terrible deterioration, disease and despair we are seeing in Zimbabwe.

I welcome yesterday's signs that the South African government is alive to the implications of the total collapse of governance in Zimbabwe, of which we see new evidence daily.

But the silence of SADC leaders in general is disgraceful. Why throughout this crisis have we seen no evidence of public leadership from King Mswati III, chairperson of SADC Organ on Politics, Defence and Security Co-operation? He should not only be taking high-profile action on Zimbabwe, but needs to show that peace and democracy are possible in his own country.

Are SADC's leaders not moved by the terrible human suffering in Zimbabwe? Where is their ubuntu? Must people be massacred in Zimbabwe's streets before SADC will take firm, decisive and public action? Will they even then?

No, SADC has failed and is morally bankrupt. President Mugabe has demonstrated again and again that he will not share power. He is no longer fit to rule. I appeal to the chair of the African Union, President Jakaya Kikwete of Tanzania to step in and declare publicly that Mugabe's rule is now illegitimate and that he must step aside, and for the AU to work speedily with the United Nations to set up a transitional government to take control.

A couple of books

I have recently found two books on Google Books which may be of interest (previews available).

James Tengatenga,

African Books Collective, 2006

ISBN 9990876517, 9789990876512

223 pages

Missionary history in Africa asserts that political history on the continent
cannot be understood without an in depth understanding of the workings of the
missions: missionary activities and ideologies were central to political
consciousness. The Anglican Church was involved in society, education, health
and politics right from its first foray into Malawi. This study considers the
nature of the involvement of that Church in society, and how it engaged with the
State from its genesis in the colonial period through the post-independence
period to the new post-Banda political dispensation in 1994. It illustrates how
the Church was involved on both sides of the independence struggle; and
interrogates why it fell conspicuously silent thereafter.

The Steamer Parish: The Rise and Fall of Missionary Medicine on an African Frontier

Charles M. Good

University of Chicago Press, 2004

ISBN 0226302814, 9780226302812

487 pages

In the mid-1800s, a group of High Anglicans formed the Universities' Mission to
Central Africa (UMCA). Inspired by Dr. David Livingstone, they felt a special
calling to bring the Church, education, and medical care to rural Africans. To
deliver services across a huge, remote area, the UMCA relied on steamer ships
that were sent from England and then reassembled on Lake Malawi. By the
mid-1920s, the UMCA had built a chain of mission stations that spread across
four hundred miles. In The Steamer Parish, Charles M. Good Jr. traces the
Mission's history and its lasting impact on public health care in south-central
Africa-and shows how steam and medicine, together with theology, allowed the
Mission to impose its will, indelibly, on hundreds of thousands of people.
What's more, many of the issues he discusses-rural development, the ecological
history of disease, and competition between western and traditional medicine-are
as relevant today as they were 100 years ago.

And if you buy them from Amazon via the MCU Bookshop the MCU will receive a small percentage of the price.

Update on Upper Shire

From Anglican Information

The Anglican Provincial Bishops under the oversight of acting Dean Albert Chama of Northern Zambia are, it seems, still determined to impose their candidate Alinafe Kalemba, currently dean of Leonard Kamunga Theological College, Zomba, as bishop of the Diocese of Upper Shire. Confirmation of the imposition is scheduled to take place in Lusaka, Zambia (well hidden from Malawi) at the Bishops meeting on Tuesday, 16th December.

In a tacit acknowledgment that their action is of dubious legal validity and will be undertaken in the face of overwhelming opposition in the diocese of Upper Shire, James Tengatenga, Bishop of South Malawi, has met recently with representatives of the diocese.

Four members of the House of Laity together with Frs Joel Malanda and Roy Makope with their representative lawyer met with Tengatenga who declared that he was in turn representing the Episcopal Synod, which rather grand title simply means that he was probably speaking for the other bishops.

James Tengatenga is known to have a very high doctrine of the episcopate more akin to the authoritarian Roman than the conciliar Anglican model. This will have been enhanced from his point of view by the recent award of the Lambeth Cross of St Augustine given to him on 5th November as a member of the 2008 Lambeth Conference Design Group. Tengatenga is a frequent traveller to various corners of the Anglican Communion.

The hotly debated issue for the Upper Shire meeting was that of the lack of mandate given to the Central African Provincial Bishops to appoint their choice in Alinafe Kalemba. The elective assembly did not grant such a mandate to the bishops. Asked by the mediator at the meeting to to bring proof that there was no such declaration (it’s an odd thing having to prove a negative) the members of the Upper Shire Diocesan Elective assembly have all signed a resolution to the effect that the bishops do not have their consent to proceed.

From Anglican Information



It's just a matter of time

or, perhaps, Providence.
The Archbishop of Wales with the Bishop of New Hampshire
In a TV documentary to be broadcast on BBC One Wales on Wednesday, the Archbishop of Wales reveals, amongst other things, that

Describing the circumstances in which he would consecrate a bishop in a gay relationship, he said: “Personally, I have absolutely no problem at all with the full acceptance of gay and lesbian people into the church of God because they are made in God’s image. It’s not a matter of choice and therefore if the church of God
cannot welcome these people then I don’t think it’s being a ‘church’ at
all and it’s not being true to the gospel and the values of Jesus.”

He continued: “If the electoral college went ahead and if then the bench of bishops
endorsed the nomination – so there are a couple of big ifs there – then I as
Archbishop would have to decide to do one of two things: Go ahead and risk the
ire of the Communion or refuse to consecrate and then possibly be taken to the
provincial court of the Church in Wales for refusing to carry out what I’m
canonically sort of mandated to do.”

If such a moment was reached, he said: “I feel that I would have no choice at that
juncture but to consecrate.”

Not tomorrow, nor the next day. But one day.
Dr Williams did not invite the openly gay Bishop of New Hampshire Gene Robinson
to the Lambeth Conference this summer. However, Dr Morgan chaired a pre-Lambeth gathering of liberal Anglicans at which the bishop was present.


Anglican Covenant still on track

There have been two flurries around the Covenant recently. One was the notion that the C of E could not sign up to any Covenant with teeth. Although this was widely reported it was a misreading of the comment (see my earlier comment and Martin Reynold's comments on Thinking Anglicans here.)

More recently the Joint Standing Committee of the Primates and Anglican Consultative Council met to discuss the forthcoming ACC meeting in May.

Episcopallife online said,

At its 2009 meeting, the ACC is expected to review a yet-unreleased final draft
of the proposed Anglican covenant, a set of principles intended to bind the
Anglican Communion amid differing viewpoints on human sexuality and biblical

The Rev. Canon Gregory Cameron, deputy secretary general of
the Anglican Communion, addressed the committee on what he expects in the next
version of the covenant. "The first two sections will be relatively unchanged,"
said Jefferts Schori, "but he's expecting some significant changes in the third
section and an almost completely new [appendix]."

The first two sections of
the second version, known as the St. Andrew's Draft, are called "Our Inheritance
of Faith" and "The Life We Share with Others: Anglican Vocation." The third
section, "Our Unity and Common Life," contains a series of affirmations about
how Anglican provinces operate within their own boundaries and commitments about taking actions that might impact the larger communion. The appendix suggests a
procedure for churches that breach the covenant.

Anglican Communion provinces
have until the end of March 2009 to respond to the St. Andrew's Draft. The
Covenant Design Group will next meet in London in April 2009 and is expected to
issue another draft which will be reviewed by the ACC during its May meeting.
The ACC could decide to release that version to the provinces for their adoption.

The idea that changes to section 3 and the appendix are good news for those who dislike the idea of a Covenant with sanctions are premature and almost certainly misplaced. I anticipate that the criticism directed at this crucial section has been taken seriously - and the response has been to refine the procedure and tighten the legalities to make sanctions a stronger part of the Covenant and better disguised.

The comments also means that the timetable the Design Group set itself in the beginning has not wavered. A Covenant will (I predict) be remitted from the ACC to Provinces for ratification. Provinces will be expected to find ways to grant their Primate the right to sign the Covenant in order to avoid lengthy debate in each Provinces' governing body (and also the possibility of amendment).

And those who point out how little support the current draft Covenant, or any such Covenant has, are right. But they should not draw the conclusion that without such support the Covenant is dead. Not until it is nailed into its coffin.


The Role Of The Church And Its Voice In Zim Today

A woman begs in Harare, Daily Telegraph
The article spoke of the coming anarchy - August 2007

An edited version of Bishop Bakare's speech to a Human Rights Conference in Lulea, Sweden, on being awarded the Per Anger prize for Human rights.
I AM someone who was very much involved in the liberation of our country of
Zimbabwe from colonial rule.

In 1980 when we became independent, we were convinced that the process to become a democratic state had already started but we have since become known as a nation that denies basic democratic principles and human rights.

For more than 20 years, Zimbabwe’s main challenges have been economic and political, and especially the abuse of power by those in political leadership positions.

There is a school of thought which argues that such challenges are technical and all that is needed are technical experts to fix Zimbabwe’s social and political systems.
Indeed technical experts are needed and can help find solutions to salvage our
nation from this chronic mismanagement of our national resources.

But a serious observer of the situation in Zimbabwe will soon find
out that the social, economic and political challenges we have today are only
the tip of the iceberg. We have a very deep spiritual and moral crisis in
Zimbabwe which explains why our nation has become so corrupt and thrives on
political patronage. This has resulted in a society marred by all forms of
injustice without due regard for human dignity. We have:
  • A society whose political system promotes lawlessness, violence, harassment and denial of food to the hungry;
  • A nation with many displaced persons –– now around 500 000 in number;
  • A political system that has total disregard for democratic principles as became obvious in the recent elections and
  • in short: a system that has robbed its people of their human rights.

    Christians understand human rights as a God-given gift. Every person has a right
    to live a meaningful and purposeful life including the right to food, shelter,
    healthcare, employment and education –– all these rights are being violated in
    Zimbabwe. Here lies the basis of our challenge –– it is both spiritual and


The voice of the church appears to be submerged by other noises which include violence, intimidation, arrests and other forms of harassment. The voice of the church has not been loud enough to condemn such behaviour.

Some clergy who have tried to speak out against the unjust political system have been seriously warned and often silenced. The church runs 80% of the schools in the nation. But of late children have not been going to school or teachers have refused to teach them because of poor wages paid by the government, and again the church has remained silent where it had the right to speak out as a partner in education.

Similarly the church has traditionally had a strong commitment to health but has not condemned the total collapse of the health sector with major hospitals being closed down. Should we in the church turn a blind eye to such an appalling state of affairs? Indeed many people begin to ask: What is the role of the church? Is it to support the government regardless of bad governance and economic mismanagement? Certainly not!

The church has a prophetic ministry to offer, and this is not usually popular with those in power.


All here.

Is this the end of Zanu-PF?

No Food, no medication, ZNnews

I have not blogged much about Zimbabwe recently (or about very much at all, to be honest). The news from that country has seemed unremittingly bleak: we are watching a country crumble into dust - and the poorest pay the most, their lives.

There are empty hospitals, the fire service has no money, the state utilities will no longer accept cheques in Zimbabwean Dollars.

Cholera is affecting tens of thousands - and has spread into South Africa and Botswana. Harare city council has responded by waiving fees for burials - free graves for victims.

But the one piece of bad news which I have seen recently is the growing dissent in the police and armed services. This from IRIN on ZWNews:

Uniformed Zimbabwean soldiers raided one of the capital's money-changing
haunts after becoming frustrated with queuing to withdraw cash at a Harare bank,
according to an IRIN correspondent who witnessed the event. The soldiers
descended on foreign currency dealers in "Roadport" in central Harare on 27
November, where they assaulted money dealers and robbed them, an indication of
the low morale among Zimbabwe's rank and file soldiers. A soldier, who declined
to be identified, told IRIN that there were increasing levels of despondency
among soldiers deployed by President Robert Mugabe's Zanu PF government to
suppress unrest and protest. "We have no food in the barracks. There is no
medication in military hospitals, while we can not access our money in the
banks. The general attitude is that even if people are to riot, there would be
no enthusiasm to stop them. After all, we are all suffering, and the irony is
that we have done our own rioting," the soldier said.

Zimbabwe's official inflation annual rate is estimated at 231 million
percent, but independent economists cite the inflation rate in the billions of
percent; hyperinflation is causing widespread cash shortages. Banks have set a
maximum daily limit of Z$500,000, creating long queues at banks each day, with
no guarantee there will be any money to withdraw. Soldiers and police officers
are paid in local Zimbabwean dollars, and although in theory they are granted
preferential treatment, in practice this is not occurring.

These are not the only forces at the state's disposal - the intelligence services and the Youth Militia are still potent - but a state that cannot enforce its will through its army and police is no state at all.

I hope that someone is waiting and planning, putting in place all the necessary means of rescue against the day that the state finally gives way - food aid, clean water, fuel, medical supplies and personnel, a financial rescue package, new military and police command, and political structures which can command such loyalty as to wholly marginalise the remaining Zanu-PF loyalists. There will be no time to start planning when the state implodes - and those who have suffered turn violently on those they see as its cause.


A response to dissident priests in Botswana

Bishop Mwamba of Botswana

A long letter in Mmegi

I am writing this letter to refute some misinformation that appeared in the letter entitled "Who shall save the Anglicans?" which appeared in Mmegi of the 20th November 2008.

The long and short of what I can say is that this particular clergy was an embarrassment to all of us. We were actually relieved when the Bishop transferred him to Tonota. It should be understood by all and sundry that real Anglicans who are aware of how the Anglican Church is administered and its relations with the Anglican Communion, have never suffered under all the previous Bishops who were non-locals and are not suffering at all under Bishop Trevor Mwamba who is also not a local.

The unanimous vote for him to become Bishop a few years ago is a clear sign that he is loved by most people in this diocese and that he is of the calibre that people want. This new onslaught on his person is a deliberate attempt by a few disgruntled clergy especially the so called "concerned clergy" who thought that Bishop Trevor Mwamba would play to their tune.

More so to suggest that "there is no transparency in the diocese of Botswana, more especially with the use of our money. "We pour hordes of money to the diosces [sic] and we never get feedback" can only be said by someone who does not understand how the Anglican Church functions.

The Diocese as, we know it, has a Treasurer who makes public the financial situation of the diocese every time the Diocesan Standing Committee meets. In fact what we hear from the Standing committee is that many parishes are lagging behind in their assessments including the parish where the writer worships - Tonota.

That in itself makes one wonder where the "hordes of money" are coming from. No wonder there is this rumour that Trevor has stolen P8.8 million. This is a piece of untruth which no sane person should ever take seriously.
I also need to reiterate what have been said before, that it is false to suggest that the Bishop is "always flying overseas [sic], but he does not visit local parishes". Please note that I speak for our parish here in Francistown.

We have had the Bishop's visitation more than three times this year, and in those visits he has also had time to visit outstations such as Moroka village and Makaleng village. In any case when the Bishop flies out of the Diocese we understand that he will be fulfilling his international responsibilities as a Bishop not only of the Diocese of Botswana but of the Church worldwide.
As a Motswana, I am not ashamed to inform the nation that the foreign clergy work hard and seem to understand what ministry constitutes as opposed to our own clergy who seem to think that they will suddenly turn to be good clergy when they pull the nationalistic card.

Most of these local clergy are not wanted at all in the places where they are serving because of the despicable things that they have done there. So to cry about the foreign clergy as if Bishop Trevor is the first Bishop to hire foreign clergy is a high sounding nothing to me.

In my view, none of these local clergy qualifies for the high offices which they are clamouring for since most of these are barely three years in ministry, the others have vacillated between the Anglican Church and other churches which makes them armateurs in the Anglican ethos.

More so the others have received no theological training at all, which makes us wonder in this day and age when every Motswana child is going to school and the Government is awarding scholarships to many Batswana to be educated. How will such clergy minister to these children of ours when they return, let alone being their Bishops? To cap it all, people must never be fooled that these clergy told any truth. In fact no matter how we lie, the truth will always come out, even those like the writer of the letter in Mmegi of the 20th November 2008, will realise that s/he has been fooled by these people.

Let me end by saying that Bishop Mwamba is an astute Bishop, who is articulate, honest and hardworking. He is not doing any harm to the Diocese of Botswana. He has never gone to the press to spread lies, he has never gone to the civil court to solve Church matters.
Faithful Motswana Parishioner

All Here


It is good that Mmegi has published something other than the account of the dissidents. It still seems to me a shame that there has been no official response.


Botswana: We will comply, but...

From Mmegi
Bame Piet (19/11/08)

The leadership of the Anglican Diocese of Botswana has failed to make a commitment to comply with the 16 October High Court judgment ordering that it reinstate the seven priests who had their licenses revoked by Bishop Mwamba last year.

At a press briefing yesterday, Bishop Theophelus Naledi, Father Andrew
Mudereri, Maleho Mothibatsela, and Pako Keokilwe said the Anglican Diocese of
Botswana is complying with the judgment but it can't do so without following
church rules and procedures. "We are complying, but we can't do that in
isolation from our structures, rules and procedures," Bishop Naledi said.
The four said that they had no intention of appealing the court ruling and
they are in the process of complying with it. They also said they knew nothing
about allegations of misappropriation of funds insisting that "there are
structures in the church" which should be followed.

The four also downplayed
a recent petition from some church members calling on Bishop Mwamba to step
down. The petitioners called on Minister of Labour and Home affairs, Peter Siele
to intervene.

"We have structures that should be followed. This is not an
industrial action," the four said in response to questions on the petition.
Asked whether Bishop Mwamba is agreeable to permitting homosexuals into the
priesthood, Father Mudereri responded: "As far as I know, Bishop Mwamba has
never announced that he is pro-homosexual. But, homosexuals are there. We must
accept them as children of God. We must help them".

Meanwhile, some of the
suspended priests say they have not been paid. Mothibatsela said "we are working
on that problem and they will be paid".

The seven priests who successfully challenged their suspension are Aubrey Molatlhwe, Botshabelo Beleme, Moreri Leteemane, Mooketsi Mokgatlhe, Paul Beleme, Essau Mosima (deceased), and Patrick Ncaagae for the congregations of Lobatse, Molepolole, Mahalapye, Broadhurst, Mogoditshane, Selibe-Phikwe and Tonota. They argued that their suspension was to give way for expatriate priests.

Mudereri said yesterday that the church needs more priests.

DRC: Silent Genocide

Angola to send troops into the Congo

Disasters Emergency Committee Appeal
Amnesty International Action

The Catholic Bishops of the Congo have published a statement on the conflict:

2. We are living through a genuine human tragedy that, as a silent genocide, is being carried out under everyone's eyes. The large-scale massacres of the civil population, the selective extermination of young people, the systematic violations carried out as a weapon of war, have again been unleashed with
unthinkable cruelty and virulence against the local population that has never
asked for more than a tranquil and dignified life in their lands. Who is
interested in such a tragedy?

4. It is obvious that the natural resources of the D.R. of Congo fuel the greed
of certain powers that are not foreign to the violence imposed on the
population. Indeed, all the conflicts take place on the economic routes and
around mineral deposits.


What Do We Request?
6. We ask for the immediate cessation of
hostilities and that conditions of security be guaranteed for the return of all
the displaced to their lands.

7. We appeal with greatest urgency for national and international
solidarity, so that humanitarian aid is increased in favor of the thousands of
men, women and children crowding the camps.

8. We invite the whole Cong olese population to a national awakening to
live as brothers and sisters, in solidarity and national cohesion, so that the
D.R. of Congo will not be carried away by violence and divisions.

9. We exhort the Congolese government to make all the necessary efforts to
re-establish peace throughout the national territory. It is the sacred duty of
our political leaders to exercise their functions of government to protect the
people and guarantee the security of the borders. No one ignores the fact that
the lack of a republican army is harmful to peace in the country.

10. We appeal to the international community to be sincerely committed to
respect for international law. We consider it an imperative need to send a force
of pacification and stabilization to re-establish rights in our country. The
whole world will gain more with a Congo in peace than a Congo at war.

All here.


Wanted: Compassion and Justice

Irony is not a strong suit in the Home Office

Ekklesia reports that

Three of Britain's leading Free Church denominations have called for
justice and compassion for asylum seekers, following a statement from immigration Minister Phil Woolas criticising human rights groups and lawyers for assisting the vulnerable.

Speaking on behalf of The Baptist Church, The Methodist Church and The
URC, the Rev Dr Rosemary Kidd said: “Genuine asylum seekers are frequently
escaping from persecution and torture. They often arrive in the UK, speaking no
English and with no identifying documents.

They are vulnerable, deeply traumatised people, seeking sanctuary and human

“There are inevitably some ‘false’ claimants who should, of
course, be efficiently identified through proper legal processes, and then
deported to their country of origin. The view of the Joint Public Issues Team,
however, is twofold – and quite the reverse of the concerns of Mr Woolas.

“Firstly, the asylum appeals system places these already abused people
under further intense suspicion, and the onus is on the individual to explain
his or her circumstances under repeated investigation. Secondly, the recent
introduction of the Immigration Points System is likely to make it increasingly
hard for genuine asylum seekers to enter the UK legally, and thus to claim
sanctuary within these shores at all.

“The Joint Public Issues Team calls on the minister to ensure that all
claimants are treated with dignity at every stage of the asylum process, and to
ensure that people who have already suffered greatly in their country of origin
are not further damaged by unsympathetic treatment or rejection by the

Yesterday Ekklesia also reported reactions to Woolas' comments here. Comments included:

Vaughan Jones, director of the agency Praxis, which works with displaced people
across London, who is also a United Reformed Church minister, described the
statement from the new Immigration Minister as "a disturbing

"Asylum seekers and migrants are human beings with rights and
it is quite proper and legitimate for the law to defend those rights and for
people of good will to advocate for and support people in need, vulnerable to
exploitation and potential victims of miscarriages of justice," said Mr

He continued: "Attacking the defenders of human rights is not the most
edifying of stands, although it is regrettably not without precedent.


The Law Society, the governing body for solicitors, has accused the
minister of running "against the rule of law" and making "unacceptable"

Paul Marsh, President of the Law Society, said: "The issue of
immigration is one for the politicians to debate, but central to that debate
must be the fact that those seeking asylum can do so in a legal system that
operates under the rule of law.

He continued: "There is no reason why anyone should be denied access to justice on the basis that they are from another country and seeking asylum, which is what the minister seems to suggest."



Purporting to split hairs

I really must read Thinking Anglicans more carefully. I would have missed this but for Mark Harris.

In questions from members of the C of E's General Synod to Church bodies:

Mr Justin Brett (Oxford) to ask the Secretary General:

Q2. What research has been undertaken to establish the effect of the Church of
England’s participation in an Anglican Communion Covenant upon the relationship
between the Church of England and the Crown, given the Queen’s position as
Supreme Governor of the Church of England, and the consequent tension between
her prerogative and the potential demands of a disciplinary process within the
proposed Covenant?

Mr William Fittall to reply as Secretary General:

A. The Church of England response of 19 December 2007 to the initial draft
Covenant noted on page 13 that ‘it would be unlawful for the General Synod to
delegate its decision making powers to the primates, and that this therefore
means that it could not sign up to a Covenant which purported to give the
primates of the Communion the ability to give ‘direction’ about the course of
action that the Church of England should take.’ The same would be true in
relation to delegation to any other body of the Anglican Communion. Since as a
matter of law the Church of England could not submit itself to any such external
power of direction, any separate possible difficulties in relation to the Royal
Prerogative could not in practice arise.

Of course, and I think Norman Doe has pre-empted this, if the Communion body concerned doesn't make a direction but issues a Request (the wording of the St Andrew's Draft) then the Church of England might be able to sign without giving up any of its powers and privileges.

But then the question moves to what you mean by 'purport'. I would argue that a Request backed by sanctions is a direction by any other name. Others may say that a church was not being directed in the least, it would merely be voluntarily resigning from a voluntarily chosen covenanted partnership should it choose, of its own free will, not to follow the terms of the Request.

In fact I suspect a lot more legal and political work has gone on since the SAD covenant was written in part to cut this distinction even finer. On it rests the whole question of autonomy and intercommunion. If this legal question survives the politics at all my guess is that it will have to be so finely balanced that it will be doubtful whether it could carry the weight of relationship between the Provinces.


Game playing: everyone loses

I don't remember church notices being received quite like this in any church I've been in.

Though I note a slight difference in terminology between the speakers: the Anglican Church or a new Anglican church?

I'm sure they'll all be on message soon enough.

I think several games are being played at once:
  1. Bids continue to be made for the Anglican brand. Yet it is clear that the TEC official structures will remain the Anglican Church in the USA - irrespective or 'traditional' or 'continuing' or 'Jerusalem' or any other version. Just like baked beans really.
  2. The numbers game: 100,000 disaffected Anglicans? Certainly not - Mark Harris is a much better guide to the real numbers, and to the whole affair.
  3. The legitimacy game. Will the new Province be recognised by the rest of the Anglican Communion? Not unless the deal has already been struck and no-one's leaked it. So that's a 'No'.
  4. The legitimacy game II. But it doesn't matter whether they are recognised by the Communion - they are the future anyway. They are the new reformation (and the only way to reform the church is to say you want to move backwards, so that bit at least they've got right).
  5. The property game. It is, after all, important when you know you are (a) going to be recognised as legitimate anyway, or (b) the future, or (c) following God's will (delete as applicable) to take as much real and movable property with you as you can. Shame about Fort Worth but as I understand it the law varies State by State so some place will do better than others. (As in, Q: what do you call homelessness in Florida? A: the sign of a bad divorce lawyer.)
  6. The game to bend the Anglican Communion to the conservative will. They lost. Or there would be no need for a new province.
Who loses? Pretty well everyone not on a power trip (note the nodding heads in the video clip). But, and I'm genuinely sad to say this, I think now that the rest of us will be better off without the conservatives.

There's a story I heard long ago about a hapless member of the Archbishop's staff during the last interregnum laughing on the phone to someone that Michael Nazir-Ali was so certain the job of ABC was his that he was already measuring up for curtains and carpets when, just as the man was speaking, the Bishop himself appeared through the door.

Then imagine if (perhaps with a different Prime Minister) Rochester had got the job.


Another year, no progress

Forwards and backwards to nowhere in the Anglican Central African Province - an early ‘end of year’ report.

As we come towards the end of another year it is difficult to ascertain any improvement or progress in the Central African Province, over all things are worse.

In Malawi - priests and people remain without their bishop in the Diocese of Lake Malawi as the Bishops refuse to follow proper constitutional and canonical procedures to resolve the long-running impasse over the farcical ‘Court of Confirmation’ after the election of the new bishop in 2005.

In the Diocese of Upper Shire the bishops are still intending to force their preferred candidate on an unwilling diocese at their pre-Christmas meeting in Lusaka, Zambia to be held on 16th December (incorrectly reported by us previously as 21st December). The proposed imposition will take place there well away from the people of Malawi but will probably conflict with legal action being taken against the bishops. Reports are reaching us of sorely neglected diocese and there is still no resolution of the case of theft and sale of engineering machinery perpetrated by Archdeacon Thom Mpinga of Mangochi East.

In both dioceses the bishops have suggested that the plaintiffs remove their Court injunctions and ‘trust them’ – which proposal has been understandably greeted with derision by priests and people who have no confidence whatsoever that trickery, fast dealing and general duplicity will not be the result. Rarely in the Anglican Communion has there been such a wide-scale pastoral breakdown of trust and oversight between bishops and their clergy and people. Acting Dean Albert Chama of Northern Zambia must bear the responsibility and his current policy of force majeure will not work.

In Zimbabwe matters are worsening again and dangerously so with an effective failure of the political power sharing agreement. The only bright spot has been a well-deserved international award presented to Bishop Sebastian Bakare caretaker Bishop of Harare in the front line against the notorious ‘Archbishop’ Nolbert Kunonga. On 10th November in Stockholm Sweden, Bishop Bakare received the highly respected ‘Per Anger’ human rights award. ‘I am humbled by the award’, said Bakare ‘It amply demonstrates that good will always reign over evil.’

This is true but in Zimbabwe the finality of the sentiment still seems some way off as our reporter says in a message received today:

We have had a slight move on the question of who owns the churches in the Diocese of Harare, but whether it is forwards or backwards who can say.

A week or two ago there was a move to return to using the church buildings.This in three or four places resulted in violence and arrests by the police. The riot squad were brought out in at least one church. So the Diocesan Registrar went to the police to point out that the judgement had been, in the interim (Justice Rita Makarau) judgement that church buildings should be shared (between Kunonga’s few supporters and the real diocese under Bishop Bakare).

However, the Members in Charge at the various police sub stations had all had letters signed by theChief of Police, Chihuri, telling them that CPCA worshippers were not to beallowed into the churches. When Chihuri himself was approached he is reported to have said that the order had 'come from above'. So our lawyers are now taking Chihuri to court on a charge of contempt of court for which the penalty is 30 days without the option. It is hoped that the order will be withdrawn.

Meantime we accept that we will not be 'home' for Christmas.

In Botswana the subliminal tentacles of Kunonga’s influence are increasingly troubling Bishop Trevor Mwamba who is facing a group of six dissident priests out to make political and legal trouble. Press coverage from the Mmegi newspaper and the Botswana Gazette have gleefully covered ridiculous calls from the troublemaking Kunonga supporters for Bishop Mwamba’s resignation. The Diocese of Botswana has issued a strong riposte available at Google search: Mmegi online, 10th November 2008.

No news at the moment from Zambia.
ANGLICAN-INFORMATION observes that this ‘end of year’ article is a little early but we have issued it now as we can see no sign of any improvement in the Central African Province or change amongst the bishops. It’s all in the hands of God but at least everyone is united in praying that the rainy season, due to start soon will be a good one otherwise the big problem will be starvation.