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Diocese of Antsiranana
(Church of the Province of the Indian Ocean)
Participants in the ordination.
Photo No. : P070124-1
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Bishop Roger anoints the hands of David Hamilton.
Photo No. : P070124-2
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Bishop Roger with David Hamilton and Ndramora Michel
Photo No. : P070124-3
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Bishop Roger lays hands on David Hamilton
Photo No. : P070124-4
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Priest and Deacon Ordained at Thriving Church at Ambilobe
By Bishop Roger Chung
January 24, 2007

[Diocese of Antsiranana - Indian Ocean] A major event took place in the Diocese of Antsiranana in the recently renovated church of St Michael in Ambilobe town on Sunday 14th January 2007. The Deacon Revd David Hamilton, a missionary of Global Ministries in the USA, was ordained to the priesthood and the Evangelist Pastor Ndramora Michel was made deacon by Bishop Roger Chung Jaomalaza.

The town of Ambilobe in the Antakarana region of Madagascar has a thriving church due to the exceptional ministry of the late Bishop Keith Benzies who planted a fertile mission there for 19 years. David Hamilton has already planted a new mission church in the village of Morafeno and has other church planting programs in the coming months.

The Antakarana peoples are generally of Islamic faith. David has come to work in Madagascar after a brief visit a few years ago when Bishop Keith Benzies was still exercising Episcopal ministry here. He came to the Diocese of Antsiranana after receiving a divine call to serve in the Antakarana region to which he positively responded. So he came here more than 2 years ago with his wife Deborah and their teenagers; daughter Marlee and son Liam. He is linked with Global Ministries in the USA.

As for the Deacon Ndramora Michel, he will be ministering in the village of Anjiabe where the mission is expanding. The parish of Ambilobe is under the pastorship of the Archdeacon, the Venerable Alphege Rakotovao.

The parish of Ambilobe is renowned for the graves of the first two bishops of Antsiranana, Bishops Gabriel Josoa and Keith Benzies, who are both buried in the churchyard. Bishop Keith Benzies had planned to retire from the episcopacy and live in his retirement home in the precincts of St Michael?s church. However, he sadly died before he retired from active ministry. His planned retirement home has become the Antakarana Mission Center where a renewed Mission is being launched.

Bishop Keith Benzies, in his 1987 paper with the theme "Anglican but not English, the Malagasy Episcopal Church", mentions the Bishop John Ratsizehena in 1874, who after the departure of CMS missionaries exponentially expanded the bourgeoning Anglican Church in north Madagascar. He won thousands of converts from Islam and animism through preaching and prayer and healing and not through colonial baits. Today, in 2007, the Diocese of Antsiranana is again exploring new ways of doing mission.

Bishop Roger Chung Jaomalaza used the text of Isaiah 40:31 to exhort the ordinands on the poverty of Madagascar, which is quite a challenge for a long term ministry and service.

"But those who hope in the Lord will renew their strength.
they will soar with wings like eagles;
they will run and not grow weary
they will walk and not be faint."

A fatted calf called ZEBU was slaughtered to celebrate such an event as is the festive tradition throughout Madagascar. Some parishioners walked for 4 days to attend the ordination service.