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Tanzanian bishop dies suddenly at a funeral

09 September 2022

Anglican News Service

The Bishop of Mpwapa, the Rt Revd George Chiteto

The Bishop of Mpwapa, the Rt Revd George Chiteto

THE newly installed Bishop of Mpwapwa, in Tanzania, the Rt Revd George Chiteto, died on Saturday, aged 59, just six days after being consecrated.

Bishop Chiteto went into cardiac arrest when he sat down after preaching at the funeral of Mama Hilda Lugendo, the late wife of the Bishop of the Southern Highlands, the Rt Revd Julius Lugendo, at Christ Church, Muheza.

In his sermon, Bishop Chiteto had commented on the peaceful nature of Mrs Lugendo’s death. “I would love, when my time comes, that it should be similar to Mrs Lugendo’s death. It was a very soft one and with no pain.”

He had urged the congregation to live by Christian values, and, speaking of heaven, had said: “The place is ready prepared. Let’s go.” He then sat down and died almost instantly.

The details were reported by the Archbishop of Tanzania, the Most Revd Maimbo Mndolwa, who told the newspaper The Citizen that the Bishop, who had suffered from high blood pressure, had collapsed, and been rushed to hospital, where he was pronounced dead on arrival.

The diocese of Mpwapwa is linked with the diocese of Rochester. The Bishop of Tonbridge, the Rt Revd Simon Burton-Jones, who is Acting Bishop of Rochester until later this month, said: “It’s hard enough trying to process this from the UK; to do so in Mpwapwa, and especially in Bishop George’s household, is unimaginable.

“Our hearts go out to them in feeling, and our prayers in faith, that God will make good his promise to draw near to the broken-hearted, to wrap Bishop George’s family, and the family of God, in everlasting love. May Bishop George rest in peace and rise in glory.”

Bishop Chiteto is survived by his wife, Monica, and their six children. The funeral was due to take place on Wednesday.

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