At a speech in Cathedral of the Holy Cross in Lusaka on Sunday (31 October) Presiding Bishop of the Zambian Anglican Council William Mchombo marked the occasion of the Anglican Church in Zambia by celebrating its Anglican heritage, communion, impact on society and ethical standars.
Speaking a gathering that including the President of Zambia, Mr Rupia Bwezani Banda, and his wife, Bp Mchombo said the theme of the centenary celebration was "Arise, Build and Grow."
"We are glad to recall that our Zambian Church enjoys both an English and African heritage," he said referring to historical links with USPG and Fr Leonard Mattiya Kamungu who established the Anglican Church in Msoro in 1910. He also pointed to the church's existance as one of part of the Province of Central Africa along with Botswana, Malawi, and Zimbabwe.
"We are bound by a shared Constitution of the Church which reflects our English and African heritage," he said of these churches. "This impels us to support each other in times of hardship and conflict, such as this time of brutal treatment by State agents against our Anglican brothers and sisters in the Anglican Diocese of Harare and to some extent in the Diocese of Manicaland."
Bp Mchombo referred to the message of congratulations and support from the Archbishop of Canterbury saying: "This reflects that we are loyal members of the world-wide Anglican Communion, held together by the four pillars of Holy Scripture as the rule and ultimate standard of our faith, the historic Creeds, the two Sacraments of Baptism and the Eucharist, and the Episcopate going back to the Apostles and our Lord himself. Our Anglican Communion holds together by bonds of mutual affection, despite conflicts caused by a diverse approach to Scripture, and historic and cultural differences especially regarding human sexuality."
He went on to highlight the "fruit" of Anglican Church life in Zambia, both seen and unseen. This included such social projects as schools, hospitals, anti-malaria projects and HIV and AIDS prevention work. An outstanding contribution to the health service of this country is St Francis Hospital and Nurses’ Training School at Katete, in the Eastern Province. It is the largest church hospital in Zambia founded 62 years ago, with 350 beds, bringing quality health care at an affordable cost to people, many of them very poor, in the Eastern Province and far beyond. We are glad to share management with the Roman Catholic Diocese of Chipata, which strengthens the hospital’s capacity as a second level referral hospital, and helps to bring our two Churches closer together."
The Bishop also took the opportunity to commend the Government for national development that had improved the lives of the people, but also he called for the Government to protect workers' rights and not to sign the removal of the Abuse of Office Clause Bill.
In conclusion Bp Mchombo reminded listeners that the "core business of the Church is mission".
"We need to encourage and support one another in the realization of a transformed community. As we set out on the journey of the next 100 years we should strive for self reliance, though self reliance does not necessarily mean self sufficiency. For the church will always have to rely on the grace of our Lord Jesus Christ, and therefore can never be fully sufficient. We should with openness receive and share, in a spirit of interdependence and solidarity. Therefore it is not a call to cutting off missionary assistance but to enhance participation in the growth and development of the church locally and globally.
We need to come up with a strategy to identify, harness and manage efficiently the human, spiritual and material resources within the church. So let us give to God what is right and not what is left’."
Read the full text of the speech below.
Speech of the Presiding Bishop for the Centenary Service, 31st October 2010 at the Cathedral of the Holy Cross, Lusaka.
YOUR EXCELLENCY THE PRESIDENT OF THE REPUBLIC OF ZAMBIA, MR RUPIA BWEZANI BANDA
THE FIRST LADY, MADAM THANDIWE BANDA
THE DEAN OF THE CHURCH OF THE PRONVINCE OF CENTRAL AFRICA, THE RIGHT REVEREND ALBERT CHAMA
YOUR EXCELLENCY THE FIRST REPUBLICAN PRESIDENT
YOUR EXCELLENCY THE SECOND REPUBLICAN PRESIDENT
ALL BISHOPS AND CLERGY PRESENT
HONORABLE CABINET MINISTERS
HONORABLE DEPUTY MINISTERS
LEADERS OF ALL POLITICAL PARTIES
HONORABLE MEMBERS OF PARLIAMENT
YOUR EXCELLENCIES AMBASSADORS AND HIGH COMMISSIONERS
SENIOR GOVERNMENT OFFICIALS
DISTINGUISHED INVITED GUESTS
LADIES AND GENTLEMEN
Your Excellency, allow me to express my profound gratitude to you, on behalf of the Anglican Church, for accepting our invitation to join us at this historical Church Service at which we are commemorating and celebrating one hundred years of the Anglican Church’s Christian witness and service soon after commemorating and giving thanks for our national independence and the peace that we have enjoyed for the past 46 years. We know how busy you are with national and international duties but you have found time in your busy schedule to be with us. We warmly WELCOME you.
This morning Your Excellency, ladies and gentlemen, we celebrate 100 years of the Anglican Church’s holistic mission in Zambia; under the theme ARISE, BUILD AND GROW and we are glad to recall that our Zambian Church enjoys both an English and African heritage.
The presence at this Centenary Service of the Revd Canon Edgar Ruddock, and the Revd Dr Ashford Musodza from the United Society for the Propagation of the Gospel, reminds us that our Anglican Church in this land began through the mission outreach of the English Church. It began through the loyal and sacrificial service of missionaries, women and men, of the Universities’ Mission to Central Africa, from the arrival of Bishop Hine in 1910 onwards. They established four Missions in Mapanza, Msoro, Fiwila and Chipili, which were the beginnings of the Anglican Church in this land.
Bishop James Tengatenga of Southern Malawi, Bishop Brighton Malasa of Upper Shire and Bishop Francis Kaulanda of Lake Malawi and their entourage are here from Malawi. This reminds us that our Church in Zambia also has African beginnings. Fr Leonard Mattiya Kamungu left his church and home in 1910 at Nkhotakota in Nyasaland, now Malawi, at the invitation of Bishop Hine, to establish the Anglican Church in Msoro, in the Eastern Province. Fr Kamungu lived only three years, but in that short time established a small but strong Anglican Christian community. This would flower into the large Anglican family of the Eastern Province, eventually spreading to many parts of this country.
The five Zambian Anglican bishops who are with you here this morning from Central, Eastern, Luapula, Lusaka and Northern dioceses, testify to a Church today rooted and growing in the lives of Anglican Church members in all regions of the country. We live by our Christian faith which is based on the Holy Scriptures, nurtured by the Sacraments of the Church, and which urges us to Christian witness and service in our daily lives wherever we may be.
Bishop Albert Chama, the Bishop of Northern Zambia, is here also as the Dean of the Province of Central Africa together with Bishop Trevor Mwamba of Botswana. This reminds us that we belong to the wider family of the Church in Central Africa, comprising Botswana, Malawi, Zambia and Zimbabwe with its diverse cultures and traditions. We are bound by a shared Constitution of the Church which reflects our English and African heritage. This impels us to support each other in times of hardship and conflict, such as this time of brutal treatment by State agents against our Anglican brothers and sisters in the Anglican Diocese of Harare and to some extent in the Diocese of Manicaland. It is our earnest prayer that this does not happen in our beloved country, Zambia.
This morning we heard a message of congratulations and support from the Archbishop of Canterbury. This reflects that we are loyal members of the world-wide Anglican Communion, held together by the four pillars of Holy Scripture as the rule and ultimate standard of our faith, the historic Creeds, the two Sacraments of Baptism and the Eucharist, and the Episcopate going back to the Apostles and our Lord himself. Our Anglican Communion holds together by bonds of mutual affection, despite conflicts caused by a diverse approach to Scripture, and historic and cultural differences especially regarding human sexuality.
Our membership to the world-wide Anglican Communion is further exhibited by the presence of Bishop Dean Wolfe who is representing the Presiding Bishop of TEC Katherine Jefferts Schori, and the Revd Canon Petero Sabone and also the presence of Gill and Jack Wardell from the Episcopal Church of Scotland.
Within the Anglican Communion we rejoice in our link with the diocese of Bath and Wells in the UK, now 33 years old, represented by Bishop Peter Maurice, our preacher this morning. This is one of the most dynamic diocesan links in the Anglican Communion, built on 72 links between parishes and congregations and many schools, and links of personal friendship fortified by prayer and mutual visits.
Today we give thanks for 100 years of our Anglican Church life in Zambia, for our membership of the wider fellowship of the Anglican Province of Central Africa, and the world wide Anglican Communion.
The main fruit of our Anglican Church life over the past 100 years is the unseen effect of the Christian faith in the lives of countless people of all ages, bringing them God’s salvation. Unseen like the seed growing in the ground, yet bringing fruit of holy lives offered to God for his service as in the words of the conclusion to our Eucharist, people “offered to God as a living sacrifice, sent out into the world, in the power the Holy Spirit, to live and work to God’s praise and glory.”
Some fruit of our Anglican Church life lies hidden. Other fruit is very noticeable. From the very beginning our Church established schools and clinics to serve local communities, because our understanding of our Christian faith and mission is a holistic one, impacting on the whole of life, including our physical welfare. An outstanding contribution to the health service of this country is St Francis Hospital and Nurses’ Training School at Katete, in the Eastern Province. It is the largest church hospital in Zambia founded 62 years ago, with 350 beds, bringing quality health care at an affordable cost to people, many of them very poor, in the Eastern Province and far beyond. We are glad to share management with the Roman Catholic Diocese of Chipata, which strengthens the hospital’s capacity as a second level referral hospital, and helps to bring our two Churches closer together. We congratulate the former bishop of Chipata Catholic diocese, Medardo Mazombwe, and later Archbishop of Lusaka, for the distinguished honour of being made a Cardinal of the Catholic Church.
The Anglican Church in Zambia has invested much in malaria control, especially in the provision of long life insecticide treated nets, and training malaria control agents to teach their use. In the past three years 387,000 nets have been distributed, and we are being assisted in this by US Episcopal Relief and Development. In 2008 the Zambia Anglican Council received the Certificate of Excellence from the Ministry of Health for its work in addressing the malaria pandemic. Together with the other churches of this country the Anglican Church is active in addressing the HIV/Aids pandemic. We salute the "Circles of Hope" in many Anglican congregations, comprising women and men who are courageously open about their HIV infection. They help in an effective way to break down stigma surrounding the disease. Often they are the best speakers to encourage others to avoid infection, and show how people who are infected may live positive lives.
The Anglican Church in Zambia belongs to both the Catholic and Reformed traditions, and has been in the forefront of promoting inter-church co-operation in this country. Bishop Hine, before he left in 1914, initiated the first meeting of many of the Church Missions in the Missionary Conference of North Western Rhodesia, which developed into the General Missionary Council. Bishop May presided over the third General Missionary Conference in 1922 that for the first time covered the whole country. On the Copperbelt the Anglican Church was founder member of the United Missions to the Copperbelt in 1935, which ran eight church schools teaching 6000 students, including schools handed over to it by the Government. With Bishop Selby Taylor’s support, the Christian Council of Northern Rhodesia was founded in 1944, today called the Council of Churches of Zambia. In 1958 the Anglican Church helped establish the Mindolo Ecumenical Foundation, and in 1970 through the initiative of Dr James Cairns, the Churches’ Health Association of Zambia. . In 1979 our church helped establish Theological Education by Extension in Zambia. This is an impressive ecumenical record, supplemented by congregational initiatives for inter-church meetings, especially by our Mothers Union and choirs.
Our Anglican Church is concerned with the unity of the Christian Church. It is also concerned with the right ordering of society. In its colonial beginnings it was often close to the colonial government, but our Bishops were never afraid to speak out boldly against perceived injustice. They attacked white racism and economic disparity which divided the society of their time, including dividing white Christians from black Christians. Bishop Hine refused to bless the church of St Andrew in Livingstone when he arrived in 1910, because the white congregants would not allow African Anglicans to use the same building. His successor Bishop May stayed in a small grass hut next to the Luanshya compound church when he visited, rather than in the comfort of a nearby European household. He strenuously opposed the alienation of land by white settler farmers in the Eastern Province, taking the issue as far as the UK parliament.
In recent years our Anglican Church’s witness in Zambia on social and political issues has been through statements by Anglican Church leaders, as well as through the Council of Churches of Zambia, at times together with the Zambian Episcopal Conference and Evangelical Fellowship of Zambia. The Anglican Church joined other main-line Churches in the “Third Term” debate in opposing the introduction of a Life President. More recently the same churches have declined to be members of the National Constitutional Conference, believing our highest service to the State is to maintain our freedom to speak on such an important national issue according to our informed judgment, unrestrained by Government or political party pressure.
The Anglican Church is being true to our Christian heritage by standing where Our Lord stood, a “voice for the voiceless.” Our Lord didn’t try to change the power structures of his time by becoming with his followers part of the powers –that-be. Instead he created a new Spirit -filled community living by, and willing to die for totally different Gospel values. Today it is natural for Anglican Church leaders to give credit to the Government in power where credit is due, for instance praising national development that improves the quality of life of the people. The work on our major roads is highly commendable so is the construction of new school infrastructure and health facilities. We hope there are quality inspectors or surveyors who are making sure that the end product is of the highest quality. We commend government and all the farmers for the bumper harvest that the country has experienced. We hope the marketing aspect will be improved upon in the next marketing season. Furthermore, we would urge government to come up with policies that will persuade our people to diversify into growing other food crops besides maize.
At the same time we will always speak out against the misuse of power that impoverishes the people and harms the common good.
For instance, admitting to a problem is the first step toward finding a solution. Confessing a sin is the beginning of redemption. It is gratifying therefore to note that some of our leaders do acknowledge that all is not well in so far as the conditions under which some of our people work are concerned. The desire to survive at all costs in view of unemployment has led to desperation among our people. Unfortunately, some of the investors have taken advantage of the situation to employ our people under slave conditions. We appeal to government to enact laws that will protect our people from all forms of abuse at work places and bring to book those investors who flout our labour laws with impunity.
We fully back the Government in its fight against corruption. The fight against corruption should not be compromised and neither should we relent. It is in this light that we are concerned with the removal of the abuse of office clause from the ACC Act. We do not in any way imply that public officers cannot engage in income generating activities to supplement on their salaries, far from it. Certainly there are guidelines that allow for such to happen as long as one does not have illicit access to public resources or pecuniary advantage on account of his or her public office. These excesses are well documented year in and year out in the Auditor General’s reports. That is why your excellence we implore you not to sign the removal of the abuse of office clause bill.
We believe that Zambia still has far to go to give women a proper place in Government, just as we as Anglicans have yet to accept women into the ordained ministry of our Church. Less than 15% of the M.P.s are women, far from the target that the Government has set to reach by 2015 which is 50% women in decision-making bodies. We took recognizance of the fact that in the recent past you have appointed some women in the judiciary to become high court judges. This is highly commendable.
We cherish the great gift of peace in Zambia, and want to support all peace-loving citizens to ensure it is preserved and enhanced. We call in particular for truly democratic and peaceful elections next year which will ensure stability and meaningful development in the years ahead. We call upon all political parties to denounce violence and desist from the use of inflammatory language.
This morning we thank God for so many blessings over the past 100 years, built on sacrifice, evangelical witness and Christian service. We see this as incentive to follow our Centenary motto for the Anglican Church, “Arise, Build and Grow.” It is the theme of the Resurrection, with the promise of new life, empowerment by the Holy Spirit, and the spread of the Gospel through our Church, which is Christ in us, the Hope of the Glory to come.
Therefore we need to remind each other that the core business of the Church is Mission. We need to encourage and support one another in the realization of a transformed community.
As we set out on the journey of the next 100 years we should strive for self reliance, though self reliance does not necessarily mean self sufficiency. For the church will always have to rely on the grace of our Lord Jesus Christ, and therefore can never be fully sufficient. We should with openness receive and share, in a spirit of interdependence and solidarity. Therefore it is not a call to cutting off missionary assistance but to enhance participation in the growth and development of the church locally and globally.
We need to come up with a strategy to identify, harness and manage efficiently the human, spiritual and material resources within the church.
‘So let us give to God what is right and not what is left’.’
May the Grace of our Lord Jesus Christ, the Love of God and the Fellowship of the Holy Spirit be with us always.
Bishop William Mchombo
Presiding Bishop of the Zambia Anglican Council & Bishop of Eastern Zambia