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Diocese of Antsiranana
(Church of the Province of the Indian Ocean)
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Rejoice ! St Alban's Church inauguration by Bishop Roger Chung Jaomalaza in Matsabory Laidama in Antsiranana Diocese on 6th Apr 2008
April 9, 2008

[Diocese of Antsiranana - Indian Ocean] " REJOICE IN THE LORD ALWAYS...AND AGAIN I SAY REJOICE " , this verse of Apostle Paul from Philippians 4:4 , resonated in the hearts of the new congregation of Matsabory Laidama in the suburb of Ambilobe town at its inauguration service at 4pm on the 6th April 2008. Bishop Roger Chung Jaomalaza and university student organist Aurelien Leonard of Ambilobe, were inspired to compose a new song based on Philippians 4:4 and Psalm 7 , which was sung at the inaugural service.." MIFALIA MANDRAKIZAY , ANDRIAMANITRA BE FITIAVANAO..IANAO NO IALOFAKO..."

The late former Bishop K Benzies had planted a fertile mission in Ambilobe and this is still bearing fruit. In 2005 Canon David Cohen and his wife Kathi from Australia were also in Ambilobe for the inauguration of the extended Church of St Michael for the Antakarana Mission.

More than two years ago the Moslem community donated a plot of land to the Anglican Church in the area. This harmonious relationship between the Christian and Moslem communities is special to northern Madagascar due to dual faiths in the same extended families. The then Evangelist Mrs Rev Roline of the suburb who has since then been ordained to the Diaconate by the Bishop , was enthused to realise the erection of this new Church. The Bishop of the Diocese who is an Evangelist and a zealous Church planter engaged in following this vision of a new church plant in a virgin area.

The last donation to be received to finish the Church doors and windows were brought by Mrs Anne Marie Li Wan Po and Mrs Clelie Lim Ah Ken, two representatives of St Paul's Church Plaine Verte in Mauritius . Mrs Clelie Lim Ah Ken has been involved in a literacy program in the Parish of Poudre d' Or, when Bishop Roger Chung who was then Rector of St Paul's Church PV, re-opened St Mark's Mission Church in the north of Mauritius. Her late husband Pastor Lim Ah Ken was a pillar in the mission work at St Paul's Church. This missionary Church is continuing to give a powerful witness for the Anglican Church in Northern Mauritius.
Mrs Anne Marie Li wan Po has been a major prayer and ministry partner in Mauritius for Bishop Roger Chung .Her two sons Patrick and Peter were keen musicians in the youth ministry work of the parish . At present , Patrick who is married to Helen, is a medical doctor in South Africa and Peter who is married to Patricia, is in Australia with their families. So Bishop Roger who is a missionary in Madagascar had spent 20 yrs as Rector of St Paul's Church partnering with Pastor Paul Cheng Kai On , the Associate Pastor and a mission oriented community before moving on to this new mission territory in Madagascar . Canon Dave Doveton of South Africa has succeeded as Rector at St Paul's Church PV. So the two ladies visit had a very meaningful presence for the Bishop at this new church inauguration.

The new Archdeacon Venerable Julien Ravelomanana together with the team of evangelists helped by the parish of Ambilobe Boys Scouts and Girl Guides organised the welcome for the event .The wife of the Archdeacon Rev Nivo, is also one of the first women deacon to be ordained in Madagascar. During the service two silver chains donated by Rev Eileen Routh of Canterbury Diocese were remitted to Revds Roline and Nivo.

The Church will be used as a school when all will be in place. The illiteracy percentage is still very high and the Church is also taking part in the literacy program for this region.

In the midst of a World Church where the Anglican Communion is focussed on the sexual issues of Homosexuality and lesbians of the Western society and causing severe damage to the Anglican Fabric, our call is to continue the work of salvation in Christ our Lord for the whole of mankind. The Lambeth conference of 2008 has an air of being boycotted due to these divisive issues. Post Colonial and Post Modern societies cannot withdraw from the Macedonian call '(Acts 16:10), which has been universalised and localised. St Alban's new Church plant in Madagascar is another ordinary growth of the Church whose head is the Christ Himself ( Eph 5:23 ) and this in the extraordinary world for which Our Lord offered Himself as the Lamb of God. Alban the first martyr of Britain is again BEING remembered in the Anglican Church in Madagascar.