St. Clare’s Church, Mangwende - more details

Posted on Titus Mission

Following is the text of an open letter received today from the Rt. Rev. Chad Gandiya, Bishop of the Anglican Diocese of Harare, Zimbabwe, in the Church of the Province of Central Africa, in connection with the recent incident in which he, clergy and parishioners of St. Clare’s Church, Mangwende, were driven out of the parish church.

Driven out of the Church by the Zimbabwe Republic Police (ZRP)

Dear friends,

We are writing to ask for your continued prayer support for the Anglican Diocese of Harare CPCA.

Yesterday, the dean the very Rev’d. Mutamiri, Rev’d. Matyatya, Rev’d. Mutukwa (priest in-charge of Mangwende Mission district), my wife Faith and I went to St. Clare’s Mission to meet with our members and conduct a Eucharist Service. When we got there groups of people were seated outside the Mission campus because they were afraid of being harassed. The people at St Clare’s were very happy to see us. They had not received communion for a very, very long time. We found that the church was conveniently occupied by pre-school children who were literally locked in. We believed that this was to prevent us from going in. The Kunonga priest Chaparika at this Mission told us we should have given him enough warning so that he could confer with his bishop about our visit. We told him that we were neither answerable to his boss or himself and therefore we did not need to give notice to him. He refused to let us use the church and told us he was going to call his bishop and ask if we could use the building. In the mean time we decided that if we could not use the church building we could have an open air service. But before we started the service I decided that we should just inform the police lest they are told a different story as to what we were doing.

The dean, one of the Church warden and I drove to the police station where we met with the officer in-charge. He told us to go ahead and have our service outside. Just before we started the service the children came out and we decided to move into the church. There was much jubilation as they had not been able to hold services in their church for a very long time. My team of clergy and I took turns to encourage the congregation during the sermon slot. The intercessions were led beautifully by the dean.

As I was doing the thanksgiving prayer the dean noticed the police walking outside and he went out to see them and was not allowed back in the church. He and the churchwarden who had accompanied us to the police were detained in one of the police vehicles. There were about 10 policemen and 6 of Kunonga’s priests.

Just before we distributed the communion elements the police walked in and started driving people out of the building. They also asked us to vacate the building and so we quickly and unceremoniously cleared the altar and went outside. I tried to ask why they were driving the people out of the church but they just kept doing it. It was very humiliating indeed. I remembered the Passion of Christ and in particular his humiliation. I said to myself this is nothing compared to what Jesus went through. They started accusing us of refusing to listen and breaking the law. Even the officer in charge who had told us to go ahead with our service joined in accusing us of not listening to advice. The Kunonga priests who had come from Harare started hurling insults at us and me in particular. The dean and Rev’d. Matyatya advised me not to respond to their insults because they were seeking to provoke me to say something that they could then use against me and perhaps have an excuse to start a riot. The commanding officer continued to accuse us of breaking the law and did not want us to explain anything. He also said he would have tear-gassed us if he had wanted to and that we would not be able to appeal to anyone because the police Commissioner Chihuri was aware of what he was doing. This greatly surprised me. It certainly gave me the impression that he had been sanctioned by higher authority to disturb our service. Equally surprising, as I was getting into my car he called me back and said, “Its politics”. At this point I could not keep quiet any longer and so I asked him to explain what he meant by saying “it’s politics”. He just kept repeating the same thing and I kept asking him to explain. The dean then came and again advised me to just keep quiet and leave, which we did.

Our departure looked and felt very much like a “triumphal exit”. The Mothers’ Union, men and youths were singing “Onward Christian Soldiers” joyfully leading us out of the Mission station and marching on either side of the road with our cars in the middle (as if to protect us from the police) and the police convoy was right at the back. The police wanted to make sure that we had left. Members of the congregation kept telling us not to lose heart because they were not losing theirs over the incident. If anything they were greatly encouraged that we had come and they are prepared to come again if we ask them to. The Mangwende CPCA members converged at the St. Clares’ Turn Off from where they continued with their church administration, thereby exposing themselves to danger of being knocked down by passing vehicles on the busy Harare/Mtoko road. Some of the people had brought a goat to give me after the service and the Kunonga priests and the police wanted the goat for themselves, but the people refused to hand it over to them. They were able to give me the goat at this Turn Off.

Please pray for:
  1. Rev’d. Mutukwa, priest in-charge of the district. He was followed home after we parted and harassed by the Kunonga priests. He is a tough priest operating in a very difficult district.
  2. The Anglican Christians at St. Clare Mangwende who can’t use their church building.
  3. The authorities in Zimbabwe to stop the police from harassing our peaceful people who simply want worship their God without interference from the police.
  4. The clergy of the diocese who are ministering in very difficult conditions.
  5. Our lawyers who are helping us fight our cause in the courts.
  6. Wisdom in all our activities in the diocese.



Church backs Human Rights - unless you're gay

From the Sunday Pepper April 19, 2009

Andrew Brown writes in The Guardian:

A bill currently before the Ugandan parliament proposes seven year prison sentences for discussing homosexuality; life imprisonment for homosexual acts; and death for a second offence. Sober observers believe it will be passed. The Anglican church in Uganda appears to support it, and the Church of England in this country is absolutely silent. The Archbishop of Canterbury and the Bishop of Winchester solemnly denounce violence in the Congo, where they have no influence at all, but on Uganda they maintain a resolute post-colonial silence.
He includes a link to a pdf version of the Bill.

The silence of the archbishops and the complicity of the American Right in the promotion of this Bill we know.

What I tripped over the other day was an extract in Evans and Wright (ed.) The Anglican Tradition.

In 1972, before Uganda became a separate Province in its own right, The Church of the Province of Uganda, Rwanda, Burundi and Boga-Zaire, Provincial Constitution, said:

Article 3: On the dignity and rights of man

In conformity with the established xn doctrine, the Church of the Province shall proclaim and hold that all men have equal value, rights and dignity in the sight of God, and, while mindful to provide for the special needs of different people committed to its charge, shall not allow discrimination in the membership and government of the Church solely on the grounds of colour, race and tribe.

Would any reader know whether this clause survived the division of Provinces? (A very similar clause was in the Kenyan Church's constitution in 1979.)

And why, if 'all men have equal value, rights and dignity in the sight of God', doesn't this mean all men instead of only heterosexuals?

Perhaps a clue has been that the Church has consistently supported human rights with respect to religious freedom and to matters that do not impinge on its jurisdiction but are leery of rights which purport to constrain the 'right' of a Church to discriminate for religious reasons. How churches square the first and last of these is beyond me.

In 1948 the Lambeth Conference had some general - and probably widespread -qualifications for its support of the Human Rights then being debated in the United Nations:

Resolution 6

The Church and the Modern World - Human Rights

The Conference declares that all men, irrespective of race or colour, are equally the objects of God's love and are called to love and serve him. All men are made in his image; for all Christ died; and to all there is made the offer of eternal life. Every individual is therefore bound by duties towards God and towards other men, and has certain rights without the enjoyment of which he cannot freely perform those duties. These rights should be declared by the Church, recognised by the state, and safeguarded by international law.

Resolution 7

The Church and the Modern World - Human Rights

The Conference declares that among such rights are security of life and person; the right to work, to bring up a family, and to possess personal property; the right to freedom of speech, of discussion and association, and to accurate information; and to full freedom of religious life and practice; and that these rights belong to all men irrespective of race or colour.

Resolution 8

The Church and the Modern World - Human Rights

The Conference endorses the proposed Convenant on Human Rights, now before the United Nations, and declares it necessary for full religious freedom that:every person shall have the right to freedom of religion, conscience, and belief, including the right, either alone or in community with other persons of like mind, to hold and manifest any religious or other belief, to change his belief and to practice any form of religious worship and observance, and he shall not be required to do any act that is contrary to such worship and observance; and that every person of full age and sound mind shall be free, either alone or in community with other persons of like mind, to give and receive any form of religious teaching, and in the case of a minor the parent or guardian shall be free to determine what religious teaching he shall receive.

The Conference believes that the above rights should be subject only to such limitations as are internationally recognised as necessary to protect public order, morals, and the rights and freedoms of others. Any such limitations should be clearly defined by law, and there should be appeal concerning them before impartial courts of justice.

'Morals' as a limitation on rights begs a whole number of questions, but even here it only applied to 'internationally recognised' moral constraints.

In 1978, and again in a similar resolution in 1988, the Lambeth Conference resolved:

Resolution 3

Human Rights

The Conference regards the matter of human rights and dignity as of capital and universal importance. We send forth the following message as expressing our convictions in Christ for the human family world-wide.

We deplore and condemn the evils of racism and tribalism, economic exploitation and social injustices, torture, detention without trial and the taking of human lives, as contrary to the teaching and example of our Lord in the Gospel. Man is made in the image of God and must not be exploited.

In many parts of the world these evils are so rampant that they deter the development of a humane society. Therefore,

1. we call on governments to uphold human dignity; to defend human rights, including the exercise of freedom of speech, movement, and worship in accordance with the United Nations Declaration of Human Rights; the right to be housed, freedom to work, the right to eat, the right to be educated; and to give human value and worth precedence over social and ethnic demarcations, regardless of sex, creed, or status;

2. we thank God for those faithful Christians who individually and collectively witness to their faith and convictions in the face of persecution, torture and martyrdom; and for those who work for and advocate human rights and peace among all peoples; and we assure them of our prayers, as in penitence and hope we long to see the whole Church manifesting in its common life a genuine alternative to the acquisitiveness and division which surround it, and indeed penetrate it;

3. we pledge our support for those organisations and agencies which have taken positive stands on human rights, and those which assist with refugee problems;

4. we urge all Anglicans to seek positive ways of educating themselves about the liberation struggle of peoples in many parts of the world;

5. finally we appeal to all Christians to lend their support to those who struggle for human freedom and who press forward in some places at great personal and corporate risk; we should not abandon them even if the struggle becomes violent. We are reminded that the ministry of the Church is to reveal the love of God by faithful proclamation of his Word, by sacrificial service, and by fervent prayers for his rule on earth.

And in 1998:

Resolution I.1

Affirmation and Adoption of the United Nations Universal Declaration of Human Rights

On the fiftieth anniversary of its proclamation in December of 1948, this Conference

(a) resolves that its members urge compliance with the United Nations Universal Declaration of Human Rights by the nations in which our various member Churches are located, and all others over whom we may exercise any influence; and

(b) urges extension of the provisions of the Declaration to refugees, uprooted and displaced persons who may be forced by the circumstances of their lives to live among them.

Only, not when it comes to sexuality.



Bp Gandiya faces new troubles

Bishop Chad Gandiya and his family (New Zimbabwe)

From Titus on Mission:

Physical confrontation has flared up again in the Diocese of Harare as today Bp. Chad Gandiya and the congregation of St. Clare, Mangwende, were driven away from their church building just as church members were about to receive communion, the bishop reported today by telephone.

“We had completed most of the service,” said Bp. Gandiya, “and then the police came in with the priests sent by [breakaway Bp. Nolbert] Kunonga. We were all driven out and threatened by the police.” The bishop had gone to St. Clare’s for a routine pastoral visit. Mangwende is located in the area of Murewa, about an hour’s drive north of Harare, so fairly close to the center of the diocese.

“We were within our rights to hold a service there,” said Gandiya, “for the by the court ruling we [the Diocese of Harare of the Church of the Province of Central Africa] were to have opportunity to use church buildings. This happened in spite of the fact that we had gone to the police in advance and explained to them what we intended to do.

“Yet the people were so encouraging of us,” the bishop continued. “They were singing even as we were marched out and until we left the area of the church entirely. They were so glad we had come.” Gandiya said that tomorrow legal representations will be made on behalf of the diocese to prevent recurrence, and plans will be made to visit the area again soon.

Fullscale violence again Anglicans occurred before, during and after the March presidential election, in which the Mugabe regime saw Anglicans loyal to the CPCA as opposed to the regime because in the politics of the church they were opposed to Kunonga, a Mugabe ally. Many were beaten as they were driven out of churches, and CPCA loyalists had to find alternative sites for worship. Later, however, a court order divided Sundays between the two groups and authorized weekday CPCA events in churches, and fullscale confrontations subsided.

The Mangwende confrontation is a setback and indicates that Kunonga, despite dwindling popular support, continues to try to prevail in the struggle. “It is sad, really,” said Bp. Gandiya.



Bishops of the Central African Province risk clash with State in attempt to force Lake Malawi episcopal confirmation

The Malawi Nation Newspaper

From: ANGLICAN-INFORMATION Acting Dean Bishop of Albert Chama of the Anglican Central African Province with some of his fellow bishops is pursuing a high-risk strategy of forcing the confirmation of the Venerable Francis Kaulanda as Bishop of Lake Malawi. Kaulanda’s recent ‘election’ has divided the diocese and precipitated an unprecedented number of objections including a court injunction. This has all followed the never-resolved four year long case of the previously elected bishop the Rev’d Dr. Nicholas Henderson, a London based priest, where the laity had held out against what they saw as a flawed rejection of Henderson at a Court of Confirmation in 2005.

Reported in the influential Malawi Nation newspaper on 25th September under a headline ‘Anglican bishops defy court order’, journalist Bright Sonani writes of the bishops defying the Court Injunction brought against them, as reported by us recently.
The article continues, ‘the bishops also threatened to commence criminal proceedings against leaders of the group objecting to Kaulanda’s confirmation’.

says, this is a somewhat perverse and excessive response to a legitimate challenge, but interestingly the Malawi nation further reports: ‘Four bishops, led by Dean of the Province Albert Chama observed that the High Court in Malawi has no authority to stop the process as it is a church affair’… ‘the panel of four bishops also comprised Provincial Registrar Bob Stumbles (from Zimbabwe) and James Tengatenga of Southern Malawi’.

Readers can find the full text on our website together with that of the original injunction.

comments that despite being graced by the much-respected figure of Vice Chancellor Bob Stumbles, who has had many legal run-ins with the civil authorities in Zimbabwe and in particular with renegade ‘Archbishop’ Nolbert Kunonga of Harare; Bishop Albert Chama and his fellow bishops are treading in a legal minefield. If they attempt to bypass the Injunction they run the risk of exposing the Province to a legal confrontation under a ‘contempt of court’. This is an uncharted area of legal opinion and it is not possible, despite the bishops’ statement of defiance, to be sure that they are not acting ultra vires.

considers that the Province of Central Africa has repeatedly, under Albert Chama’s oversight, been subject to forced episcopal authority, a cavalier interpretation of the Provincial canons and a reluctance to consult properly with the laity.

This state of affairs has undermined confidence in the Province to a serious extent. It is hardly surprising therefore that matters have been made worse by the still ‘lost file’ referring to the Lilongwe High Court injunction brought by lay leader Charles Wemba and his colleagues and reported by us in our last release. Priests and people in the Diocese of Lake Malawi are now openly questioning whether the Provincial Bishops, who would inevitably benefit from a suspension of the case due to a missing file, are in any way implicated in the ‘lost’ documentation. In the absence of any comment or explanation from Albert Chama and the bishops it is inevitable that more suspicions will be aroused, including those of the civil authorities whose jurisdiction the bishops have denied.

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Globalizing the Culture Wars

Now we have a better picture of what we have previously seen in glimpses: the systematic use of African Christians to serve the agenda of the American Right.

In my opinion the choice of homosexuality was tactically superb for the strategists of the religious culture war.
It brought together almost all evangelicals who had been deeply divided on the issue of the ordination of women. It brought them together with the socially conservative churches in Africa, the Caribbean, the middle east and the far east on an issue which was of concern but peripheral to the many much more pressing concerns they faced.

Homosexuality gave conservative Christians an enemy which couldn’t fight back. A shibboleth to divide friend from foe. A clear focus to bring all the divided conservative groups into a single battle formation. Even those bishops who did not want to be part of the war shied away from standing up for the rights of gay people in the church. And the (largely unspoken) emotional punch of homophobia helped sustain the battle over many years.
It was also utterly immoral.

It was immoral to use people as though they were tools, to use those who are often marginal to the church to enhance the power of the few, to not care (at the very best) about the individuals who would be hurt and whose faith would be damaged as a secondary but inevitable consequence.

Now Kapya Kaoma, An Anglican Priest from Zambia, has systematically studied the presence of the American religious right in Nigeria, Kenyan and Uganda and their use of those churches to bolster their own, American, agenda.

Press Release follows:

Groundbreaking PRA Investigation Exposes Influence of U.S. Religious Conservatives in Promoting Homophobia in Africa

Webpage ~ Full report (.pdf) ~ Executive summary (.pdf)

U.S. Christian Right also mobilizes African clerics in U.S. “culture war” over ordination of LGBT clergy

Sexual minorities in Africa have become collateral damage to our domestic conflicts and culture wars as U.S. conservative evangelicals and those opposing gay pastors and bishops within mainline Protestant denominations woo Africans in their American fight, a groundbreaking investigation by Political Research Associates (PRA) has discovered.

Globalizing the Culture Wars: U.S. Conservatives, African Churches, and Homophobia, a new report by the Reverend Kapya Kaoma, PRA Project Director, exposes the U.S. Right’s promotion of an agenda in Africa that aims to criminalize homosexuality and otherwise infringe upon the human rights of LGBT people while also mobilizing African clerics in U.S. culture war battles. U.S. social conservatives, who are in the minority in mainline churches, depend on African religious leaders to legitimize their positions as their growing numbers makes African Christians more influential globally. These partnerships have succeeded in slowing the mainline Protestant churches’ recognition of the full equality of LGBT people. It’s working despite the real movement toward full equality within denominations, because of the sensitivity of liberals to the question of colonialism. Are we being insensitive to the realities of Africa? But, Kaoma argues, although U.S. conservatives have organized African religious leaders as a visible force opposing LGBT equality, it is not true that all of Africa takes this stand.

In the United States, Kaoma focuses on “renewal” groups in The Episcopal Church, United Methodist Church USA, and Presbyterian Church USA; U.S conservative evangelicals; and the Institute on Religion and Democracy, a neoconservative think tank that has sought to undermine Protestant denominations’ tradition of progressive social justice work for decades.

In Africa, Kaoma investigates ties U.S. conservatives have established with religious leaders in Nigeria, Uganda, and Kenya and the impact of homophobia exported from the United States to these Anglophone countries.

As Kaoma argues, the U.S. Right – once isolated in Africa for supporting pro-apartheid, White supremacist regimes – has successfully reinvented itself as the mainstream of U.S. evangelicalism. Through their extensive communications networks in Africa, social welfare projects, Bible schools, and educational materials, U.S. religious conservatives warn of the dangers of homosexuals and present themselves as the true representatives of U.S. evangelicalism, so helping to marginalize Africans’ relationships with mainline Protestant churches.

The investigation’s release could not be timelier, as the Ugandan parliament considers the Anti-Homosexuality Bill of 2009. Language in that bill echoes the false and malicious charges made in Uganda by U.S antigay activist and Holocaust revisionist Scott Lively that western gays are conspiring to take over Uganda and even the world.

"We need to stand up against the U.S. Christian Right peddling homophobia in Africa," said Kaoma, who in recent weeks asked U.S. evangelist Rick Warren to denounce the bill and distance himself from its supporters. "I heard church people in Uganda say they would go door to door to root out LGBT people and now our brothers and sisters are being further targeted by proposed legislation criminalizing them and threatening them with death. The scapegoating must stop."

While the American side of the story is known to LGBT activists and their allies witnessing struggles over LGBT clergy within Protestant denominations in the United States, what’s been missing has been the effect of the Right’s proxy wars on Africa itself. Kaoma’s report finally brings this larger, truly global picture into focus.

“Just as the United States and other northern societies routinely dump our outlawed or expired chemicals, pharmaceuticals, machinery, and cultural detritus on African and other Third World countries, we now export a political discourse and public policies our own society has discarded as outdated and dangerous,” writes PRA executive director Tarso Luís Ramos in the report’s foreword. “Africa’s antigay campaigns are to a substantial degree made in the U.S.A.”

Leaders within mainline Protestant denominations hailed the report.

"The exploitation of African Christians by right-wing organizations in the United States is reprehensible. Where were these individuals and organizations and their leaders during the struggles against colonialism and apartheid? They certainly were not standing in solidarity with the people of Africa. Today, they use a variety of corrupt practices and methods in a vain attempt to turn back the tide of history. This report reveals the truth about what is going on and should be required reading for American church leaders," said Jim Winkler, the general secretary of the international public policy and social justice agency of The United Methodist Church.

For his 16-month investigation, Kaoma, an Anglican priest from Zambia, traveled in the United States and Uganda, Kenya, and Nigeria, attended the notorious antigay conference of Uganda’s Family Life Network in March, and documented concerns among the region’s clergy that U.S. conservatives are contributing to corruption among bishops with their lax requirements for donated funds.

Although written primarily for a U.S. audience, Globalizing the Culture Wars is certain to cause a stir in English-speaking Africa, where conservative U.S. evangelicals have for too long escaped the close scrutiny of African social justice activists and movements.

Kapya John Kaoma
Project Director Kapya John Kaoma is an Anglican priest from Zambia now leading churches in the Episcopal Diocese of Massachusetts. A doctoral candidate at Boston University School of Theology, he has studied in evangelical schools in Zambia and the United Kingdom. From 1998 to 2001, he served as dean of St. John’s Cathedral in Mutare, Zimbabwe and lecturer at Africa University, where he coauthored a text in ethics, Unity in Diversity. From 2001 to 2002, he was academic dean of St. John’s Anglican Seminary in Kitwe, Zambia, where he launched its women’s studies and church school training programs. An active campaigner for women’s reproductive rights, Kaoma is a passionate activist for social witness in the world.

Political Research Associates
Political Research Associates (PRA) is a progressive think tank devoted to supporting movements that are building a more just and inclusive democratic society. We expose movements, institutions, and ideologies that undermine human rights, with a focus on the U.S. political Right. Political Research Associates seeks to advance progressive thinking and action by providing accurate, research-based, information, analysis, and referrals.


Diocese of Lake Malawi - Central African Province accused of bribing Court official

High Court Buildings, Lilongwe (Photo Daily Mail)

Diocese of Lake Malawi - Central African Province accused
of bribing Court official

reports that an inter-party court hearing to have been held in the High Court of Malawi, Lilongwe on Monday 9th November seems to have run into trouble. An unprecedented 150 laity of the Diocese of Lake Malawi had petitioned for an injunction against the confirmation of the Archdeacon of Lilongwe, the Venerable Francis Kaulanda as the next Bishop of Lake Malawi. The Diocese is currently divided in opinion whether to accept Kaulanda who has been accused of financial mismanagement.

At the same time the Central African Bishops have planned to conduct a ‘Court of Confirmation’ to confirm Kaulanda and the newly elected Bishop of Northern Malawi Fr Leslie Mtekateka on Saturday 14th November. This they are keen, almost desperate it seems, to complete. A successful court case brought against the Bishops would stop the Court of Confirmation although a recent release from the Bishops makes the implausible claim that they are not subject to civil court jurisdiction.

It now appears that on arriving at the Central Court for the ‘inter-party hearing’ on Monday representatives of the laity were told that the file relating to their case ‘has gone missing’. In Malawi two conclusions only can be drawn in such circumstances either the file has genuinely been lost or bribery or lobbying of court officials has taken place. The latter is the opinion of those representing the laity.

We publish below a communication received from the chief petitioner on behalf of the laity, Charles Wemba:

‘The 9th Nov 2009 was the date that the High Court in Lilongwe scheduled an ‘inter-party hearing’ between the Court of Confirmation officials (the bishops) and the Objectors. On that day, we, the Objectors, reported at the Court at 8am, as the hearing was to commence at 8.30am. After waiting for two hours, the Court Clerk told us that the hearing had been adjourned until further notice because “the case file has gone missing”. When we asked the whereabouts of the other party; the Court Clerk told us that he had phoned them, through their Lawyer, not to come.

Before we dispersed for our respective homes, we thought of collecting a document that would act as an evidence of our presence at the High Court and a reason why we were sent back unheard. Unexpectedly, the Court Clerk was in Court for another case. We were then informed by other officials of the High Court that it was outside the High Court’s procedures for a Court Clerk on his/her own to send back parties, and remain silent without informing his/her superiors. They were alarmed to hear that the other party (the bishops) has been informed by phone.

By 3pm, we approached the Court Registrar, who was still not aware of the development. He called the Court Clerk for questioning. This time the Court Clerk changed his statement. He claimed to have told the other party in person and not on phone. Now we wonder if this was the case how we the Objectors did not come across the other party between 8am to 3pm?

We consider that this is evident enough that the Anglican Church is controlling the Courts through bribery or some other way. Have the bishops or the diocese connived with the Court Clerk? By the look of things it was agreed that they (Diocese side) should never come to Court and then let us the Objectors be sent away unnoticed. In the end the Judge would then have removed the Injunction on the basis of the Objectors not coming to Court to be heard, hence Francis Kuyacha (his original name)/Kaulanda would be confirmed unopposed as per Bishops Chama/Mchombo/Tengatenga’s wishes.

I understand some people went to Anti-Corruption Bureau (ACB) to seek advice on the Court Clerks Issue.’

On behalf of the petitioners:
Charles Wemba

states that something is clearly very wrong concerning this case and requests that an explanation should be forthcoming from the Central African Bishops about what looks like interference of a serious nature in a Civil Court.


Diocese of Upper Shire, Malawi – time flies
On a lighter note the debate rages as to the correct age of the world’s youngest bishop Brighton Malasa? Priests and people of the diocese claim he was 30 years of age when elected and is now 31. He has himself claimed in Malawi to be 34 years of age and during a recent visit to the parish of St Alban, North Harrow, London U.K., stated that he is 39 years of age. Any advance on this?


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Neo-colonial homophobia?

UGANDA: Helping Hand For Homophobia From U.S. Christians
By Christi van der Westhuizen
CAPE TOWN, Nov 11 (IPS) -

The Anti-Homosexuality Bill under consideration in Uganda was sparked by a conference in Kampala earlier this year at which fundamentalist Christians from the U.S. identified homosexuality as a threat to "family values".

The draconian law will institute the death penalty for "aggravated homosexuality" and criminalise human rights work.

Christopher Senyonjo, a retired Anglican bishop from Uganda, and Reverend Jide Macauley, from Nigeria's House of Rainbow church, told IPS that a conference took place on March 5-7 this year, arranged by Stephen Langa, the director of a Ugandan fundamentalist Christian grouping called Family Life Network (FLN).

The FLN invited speakers attached to U.S.-based religious and "educational" organisations that propagate the idea that homosexuality is an "illness" that can be "cured".


Senyonjo's position is that even if the Bible is interpreted as against homosexuality - which he adds is not necessarily the correct interpretation - the church should provide pastoral care rather than punishment. He was excluded from further participation at the conference when his position became known. It is suspected that Lively, whose "Defend the Family" website promotes several homophobic books, also met with a number of Ugandan parliamentarians.


Senyonjo and Macauley were in South Africa to attend the first African dialogue on Nov 2-5 between clergy and activists working for LGBTI rights. It was co-hosted by the South Africa-based Inclusive and Affirming Ministries (IAM), a Christian organisation which promotes the full participation of LGBTI people in religious communities, and Namibia’s Rainbow Project, a non-governmental organisation working to safeguard sexual diversity.

More here


Fair comment on BNP leader

The Sunday Sun isn't my usual reading, nor swearing customary here, but as we're all grown ups ...

Nov 8 2009 by Michael Kelly, Sunday Sun

ONE of the funniest stories of the week involved Tauriq Khalid, who was charged with using racially abusive threatening behaviour to BNP leader Nick Griffin.

Griffin claimed Mr Khalid called him a “white b******” in his home town of Burnley, Lancashire, in November last year.

However, the defendant insisted he called him a “f****** w*****”.

After a three-day trial at Preston Court, the jury took just 45 minutes to agree with Mr Khalid that he had called Griffin a “f****** w*****”, decided it was fair comment, and cleared him.

It restores your faith in the system of justice in Britain.


Small victory at Durham

Jonathan Clatworthy (General Secretary of the MCU) and I spoke in a debate at Durham University's Union Society on Friday October 30th.

The motion was:
This House would consecrate gay bishops.

Opposing us was Bishop Wallace Benn (Lewis) and Phelim

The debating chamber was full (I was told to expect 300, but I'm not sure it was that many).

Anyway voting was by acclamation (shouting) - and, to my surprise, when they shouted it was at least 2 to 1 in favour of the motion.

A small and pyrrhic victory and, at least in retrospect, most enjoyable.

Paul Bagshaw

Speak out against Uganda’s proposed “Anti-Homosexuality” Bill

Image from Gays without Borders

Lesbian and Gay Christians speak out against Uganda’s proposed “Anti-Homosexuality” Bill

The Lesbian and Gay Christian Movement joins with people around the world in condemning a proposed Bill before the Ugandan parliament which could lead, in some cases, to the death penalty for homosexual acts.

A Private Member’s Bill being proposed in Uganda is among the world’s most draconian legislation against lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgendered (LGBT) people. The Bill which aims to “deal with emerging internal and external threats to the traditional heterosexual family” has widespread support from a number of Ugandan MPs, and it, would seem, considerable government support.

The planned Bill would legislate against responsible education and information about homosexuality, and support for homosexuals. Punishments could range from 3 years imprisonment to the death sentence. A catch all clause in the Bill even covers any Ugandan homosexuals who might break the law while abroad. Clause 17 of the Bill also makes anyone charged under the Act liable to extradition.

The Bill would also hold responsible for illegal activities those who are in positions of trust, from Church leaders to organisations aimed at helping people living with HIV/AIDS. The Bill says that all people in positions of trust are obligated to aid in enforcing the law. This means anyone with “power and control over other people because of your knowledge and official position”, and includes anyone who ”exercises religious, political, economic or social authority“.

Homosexuality is already illegal in Uganda and can be punished with life imprisonment. But the anti-homosexuality legislation, proposed by ruling party MP David Bahati on October 14th 2009, was designed to "fill the gaps" in the provisions of existing laws.

A coalition of human rights and civil society groups led by Human Rights Watch have blasted the measure for attacking human rights protections and placing "everybody" at risk – including parents, teachers, landlords, doctors, media and religious leaders and those who provide counselling to anyone struggling with their sexuality or work with those infected with HIV/AIDS. Anyone who does not report an offence within 24 hours of their gaining knowledge of such is liable to prosecution.

Rev. Sharon Ferguson, Chief Executive of LGCM, said: “I am horrified at the possibility that this law might be passed. It is entirely unjust, cruel and can only strike terror in the hearts of LGBT people, their families, friends and supporters. I am particularly distressed that many Christian groups including Churches in the Anglican Communion in Uganda appear to be supporting the proposals.

“The Lesbian and Gay Christian Movement appeal to all people of faith regardless of their views on homosexuality to roundly condemn this Bill. The discussion we need to have right now is not about the morality of homosexuality but the morality of this law. We are grateful that Rick Warren, pastor of Saddleback Church, the largest evangelical church in the US, has spoken out clearly against this Bill but too many other Christian leaders are woefully silent. Christians of all backgrounds must unite in taking action against this Bill."


Bishops in Central Africa - court case in Malawi - continuing trouble in Zimbabwe and who is to be the next Central African Archbishop?

Who will get to be the next Archbishop of Central Africa?

thanks those readers who have written in wondering what has happened to our newscasts. Some of you had feared that we had closed down – an answer to prayer for some of the provincial bishops perhaps!

The truth is simpler, not much has been going on in the Central African Province recently. However, we do now have some news updates as follows:

Zambia and Botswana:
Remain two countries of the four in the Province where ecclesiastical matters are proceeding normally.

However, in: -

A newly deteriorating political situation continues to frustrate progress in the Anglican Church most particularly in the Diocese of Harare. Self-proclaimed ‘Archbishop of Zimbabwe’ and one time Unification Church (Moonie) lecturer Nolbert Kunonga is proving as obdurate as his friend and mentor President Robert Mugabe. Prayers please, for Dr Chad Gandiya the new Bishop of Harare who is deliberately playing a lower key role than his immediate predecessor Bishop Sebastian Bakare. This does not make Bishop Gandiya’s task any easier or less dangerous.

After Zimbabwe the most damaged part of the Province, caused almost entirely by the actions of the provincial bishops and their predilection for ‘command style’ management riding roughshod over the will and needs of the people.

Diocese of Upper Shire:
There has been a surprise development where the Anglican Communion’s youngest bishop Brighton Malasa was eventually consecrated earlier this year. The original court injunction brought by three priests against Malasa’s selection by the provincial bishops, which had been lifted, has now been allowed on appeal.

This presents an interesting conundrum. If the case is pursued and is successful Malasa, although remaining a bishop, would probably have his tenure of the diocese nullified as being in contempt of a civil court. Opinion is divided in the diocese whether the court case should be continued or not. We will report on developments.

Diocese of Lake Malawi:
Acting Dean Albert Chama is quoted as saying recently “I am prepared to leave the Diocese of Lake Malawi without a bishop for twenty years if I have to” this sounds like and has been taken as a threat.

Nevertheless, the provincial bishops have asked the High Court in Lilongwe to call for an ‘inter-party hearing’ on Monday 9th November in order to try and “talk the laity out” of their objections to the Venerable Francis Kaulanda’s confirmation as Bishop of Lake Malawi. If this were to be successful and the lay-called court injunction were to be lifted, Kaulanda and
Northern Malawi
provincial bishops’ candidate Leslie Mtekateka would be confirmed at a Court of Confirmation to be held by the provincial bishops on Saturday 14th November.

The next Archbishop of Central Africa:
If acting Dean Albert Chama is eventually able to overcome resistance to his episcopal choices and all vacancies are filled the next critical stage for the Province of Central Africa will be the ‘election’of a new Archbishop. As in African ecclesiastical politics the Archbishop has much more direct power than his counterparts in the Anglican Communion whoever succeeds the previous regime of Archbishop Bernard Malango will have the opportunity to pull the Province out of its current malaise or push it in ever deeper.

We will be reporting comparatively on the potential frontrunners in a future edition.

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