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Malawi plea

22 November 2007

by Pat Ashworth

LAY people in the diocese of Lake Malawi have appealed to the Archbishop of Canterbury to intervene personally in the impasse over the appointment of a bishop (News, 16 November).

They write “in desperation”, they say in an open letter, and accuse bishops in Central Africa of “playing the game of divide and rule to destabilise the unity in the diocese”. They are pleading for a review of the decision of the Court of Confirmation, which overturned the election as Bishop of the Revd Nick Henderson — a process they say was “characterised by lies, shady deals, and fraudulent schemes”.

A provincial synod was all set to review the matter, having been put in train by the Bishop of Botswana, the Rt Revd Trevor Mwamba, as the newly appointed Dean. His tenure was short-lived, as he was sacked by the Archbishop of Central Africa, the Most Revd Bernard Malango, in a final act before retirement.

The letter, signed by the chairman of the House of Laity, James Kapala, says the diocese has received “a strong threat from the provincial administration that it will be evicted” from the province. It begs for Dr Williams’s “personal intervention on this long-standing issue”.

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