From the Dean of the Province on the withdrawal from the Province of Bishops Kunonga and Jakazi
As Dean of the Province of Central Africa I would like to make the following statement on the withdrawal from the Province of Bishop Nolbert Kunonga and Bishop Elson Jakazi and some of their supporters.
We received letters from Bishop Kunonga and Bishop Jakazi on the 21st September 2007 and 23rd September 2007 respectively addressed to the former Archbishop of the Province, the Most Reverend Dr. B. A. Malango advising him of their formal withdrawal of the Diocese of Harare and Diocese of Manicaland from the Church of the Province of Central Africa.
In our response to these letters we advised them that it was impossible for them to withdraw the Dioceses of Harare and Manicaland from the Church of the Province of Central Africa. Because a diocese in accordance with the Constitution of the Church of the Province of Central Africa forms an integral part of the Church of the Province of Central Africa, and therefore any act purporting to withdraw a diocese is unconstitutional and uncanonical as this would alter the very structure and constitution of the Province.
The Constitution and Canons of the Church of the Province of Central Africa specifically stipulate that any alteration of the Province requires the approval of Provincial Synod after the Synod of each Diocese in the Province has also approved. The process then requires that it be confirmed at Provincial Synod by a two-thirds majority of those present. The final process is that this has to be endorsed by the Archbishop of Canterbury as not affecting the terms of Communion between the Church of this Province, the Church of England and the rest of the Anglican Communion.
We therefore advised them that the heading of their letters stating the ‘Formal Withdrawals of the Diocese of Harare and Diocese of Manicaland of the Province of Central Africa’ respectively was unacceptable and misleading.
In our position as the Dean of the Province of Central Africa we accepted and acknowledged that Bishop Nolbert Kunonga and Bishop Elson Jakazi by notice of their letters had severed relationship, in their own private capacity, with the Province of Central Africa and were no longer bishops of the Church of the Province of Central Africa, from the dates on when the letters were written.
We have therefore declared that the Dioceses of Harare and Manicaland are with immediate effect vacant. In accordance with Canon 14 (1) we shall be appointing the Vicar Generals for the two vacant Dioceses to hold office whilst the necessary steps are taken for the holding of an elective assembly to elect the next bishops of the Dioceses of Harare and Manicaland.
Please be assured of our prayers for the Dioceses of Harare and Manicaland and may God strengthen you all as you faithfully witness to His love and service.
The Rt Revd Albert Chama
Dean of the Province of Central Africa and bishop of Northern Zambia