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Cross of bullets

22 August 2014

THE longest-serving bishop still in office in the Anglican Communion, the Rt Revd Dinis Sengulane, was recently in the UK to celebrate his retirement as Bishop of Mozambique (Real Life, 8 August). On his visit to Salisbury, where he trained in the 1970s, he presented the Bishop of Salisbury, the Rt Revd Nicholas Holtam, with a pectoral cross made from two bullets and the firing bolt of a rifle - deadly souvenirs of Mozambique's 15-year civil war, which are now turned into a symbol of peace.

The cross is a product of Bishop Sengulane's "Swords into Ploughshares" initiative. When the war in Mozambique ended in 1992, the country was awash with weapons. Much of the farmland was strewn with mines, and the younger generation had grown up knowing nothing but war. So Bishop Sengulane created a scheme whereby more than 600,000 weapons were exchanged for items useful to civilian life, such as books, bicycles, building materials, and sewing machines.

Some weapons were turned into scrap metal, but others were recycled as pieces of art, some of which have been displayed internationally, in the British Museum and elsewhere.

During his 38 years as Bishop, the Anglican Church grew enormously in Mozambique, and he was instrumental in bringing the civil war to an end. The Bishop led an ecumenical group of church leaders, who brought representatives of the parties to the civil war together, to agree a set of principles by which the war could be ended. This has led to a durable peace.

Correction. The photo with the Salisbury story "Golden celebrations" last week showed the Bishop with Canon John Townroe, Warden of St Boniface's College, Warminster, 1962-63, who saw about 1000 students through their final year before ordination between 1948 and 1969. "He is a figure of huge importance in the Church of England, not only as a former Warden at St Boniface, but also as a leading spiritual director for many of us over many years," says the Revd John Willard. Our apologies for the error.

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