LAY PEOPLE in Lake Malawi diocese have warned the Archbishop of Central
Africa, the Most Revd Bernard Malango, that if he attempts to force his choice
of bishop on them, they are prepared to be adopted by other provinces. They
have also declared the parishes' intention to stop paying their financial share
if the issue is not properly addressed.
The warnings were given to a meeting requested by the diocesan pastoral
committee last Saturday. A spokeswoman for the lay people, Jean Msosa-Maganga,
has also made public a letter to the provincial secretary, Fr Eston Dickson
Pembamayo, in which she put development concerns at the centre of the dispute
about the rejection of the Revd Nicholas Henderson as Bishop (
News, 3 March).
The Anglican Church was once looked on with "highest esteem" in the land,
she writes. She laments the loss of or failure to manage "good hospitals,
schools, beautiful churches and a lot of social amenities which were the pride
of the community".
Mrs Msosa-Maganga concludes: "My understanding of Church is the
congregation. One can not call [oneself] a Bishop without congregants. That is
the more reason why we should listen to what the congregants want. There will
be peace in this Church only when you will be listening leaders. Times have
changed where people just accept what leaders want, not what the people they
Fr Pembamayo, whom Mrs Mtosa-Maganga addresses as Bishop, has accused the
two newspapers in Malawi that first reported Archbishop Malango's refusal to
confront angry lay people in Lilonge, of "deliberate misrepresentation" and
"deliberate distortion" of facts."
Issues coming out of the "Nick Henderson saga" were sensitive, and should
not be argued through the press, "to maintain the integrity of the Church,"
said the statement, issued on 25 February. Fr Pembamayo declares the decision
to reject Mr Henderson as the "collective decision" of 15 bishops, and
describes it as "a closed chapter in the Anglican Church of the province of
He advises Anglicans in the country "never to be swayed by any financial or
material inducements", and concludes: "Finally, we would like to pledge that we
remain committed to the propagation of the true gospel and we will stand firm
against all foreign non-biblical teachings that are creeping in in the name of
civilisation or modernism."