Potential new Anglican Communion province proposed for Mozambique and Angola

15 March 2021

Proposals for a new member church, or province, of the Anglican Communion in Mozambique and Angola take a step forward this week with the start of an exploration of the plan by the Anglican Communion’s Standing Committee. If the proposal gets the go-ahead, the Igreja Anglicana de Moçambique e Angola (IAMA – translated as the Anglican Church of Mozambique and Angola), would become the 42nd province of the Anglican Communion.

Both Mozambique and Angola have Portuguese as their official language. Anglican Churches in the two countries are currently part of the Anglican Church of Southern Africa. The proposed new Portuguese-speaking Province has the support of the Primate of Southern Africa, the Archbishop of Cape Town, the Most Reverend Thabo Makgoba.

The proposals would see the current four Anglican dioceses in the two countries increased to 12.

The single diocese serving the whole of Angola, which became a fully-fledged diocese on Saint Andrew’s Day (30 November) 2019, after 16 years as a Missionary Diocese, will become four dioceses: Luanda North, Luanda South, Uige, and Central and South of Angola.

In Mozambique, the three existing dioceses will be reorganised to create five new Missionary Dioceses of Maciene, Inhambane, Pungue, Zambezia, and Tete; in addition to smaller dioceses with the current names of Lebombo, Niassa and Nampula.

The proposals were discussed by members of the Anglican Communion’s Standing Committee last month, where, with the support of the Archbishop of Canterbury, members agreed to establish an “exploration committee” to explore the proposals. In light of the Covid-19 pandemic, the work of the committee is being done by online conference calls.

“A long-held dream is coming to fruition”, Archbishop Thabo said. “Wow, what a journey, and what a witness to the fruits of the Spirit and faithfulness of our Province’s fastest-growing dioceses.

“I am so elated that we have arrived at this point. Thank you for the encouragement of the Archbishop of Canterbury and the Standing Committee. We look forward eagerly to the birth of this baby.”

The Bishop of Lebombo, the Right Reverend Carlos Matsinhe, said: “the formation of the new province . . . is both a token of a growing witness of Anglicanism in the region of Southern Africa and a calling to have this church use its potential to minister God’s gifts to His people in the fullest manner.”

Bishop Carlos said that the IAMA would “committedly hold hands together with the Anglican provinces of Africa and the worldwide Anglican Communion to proclaim the saving love and hope in Christ to a world living in fear of its future. It is the birth of a new family within our loved Communion.”

The Anglican Communion is a family of 41 independent-yet-interdependent autonomous national and regional churches in Communion with the Archbishop of Canterbury. New Anglican Provinces, or Churches, are admitted into membership of the Anglican Communion by the Standing Committee, with the assent of two-thirds of Anglican Communion Primates (the senior archbishop, moderator or bishop of the member churches).

The Episcopal / Anglican Province of Alexandria, which serves 10 countries across north Africa and the Horn of Africa, became the 41st Province of the Anglican Communion last year when it was carved out of the Episcopal Church of Jerusalem and the Middle East.

The Church of Ceylon is also seeking official recognition as a Province of the Anglican Communion. Currently, the Church of Ceylon’s two dioceses in Sri Lanka are an “extra provincial” church under the Metropolitical authority of the Archbishop of Canterbury.

The Exploration Committee will examine a number of questions, including the cohesion and sustainability of the IAMA, the proposed constitution of the new province, and that the IAMA has “appropriate arrangements for doctrinal, liturgical and canonical matters that are consistent with the tradition and understanding of the Anglican Communion.

The Committee will report their findings to the Standing Committee and, if the Standing Committee reaches a positive recommendation for the creation of the new province, they will refer the matter to the Anglican Communion’s Primates. 


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