The Anglican Church of Southern Malawi Diocese has finally elected a new bishop to take over from Rev James Tengatenga who resigned last month after he was offered a lucrative job in the USA.
The new bishop of the diocese is Venerable Rev Canaan Alinafe Kalemba and was elected Saturday during a process that was attended by a high-level mission in Blantyre.
Until his election, the bishop-elect, a former principal of Leonard Kamungu Theological College in Zomba (first Anglican theological college in Malawi), was a parish priest for Chirimba Anglican Church in Blantyre.
Rev Kalemba, who comes from Mangochi district, floored three others- Rev. Father Mponda, Venerable Patrick Mapundula and Dean of St Paul Cathedral, Rev. Father Kalilombe.
The bishop-elect said after his election he was humbled to be entrusted with such a challenging responsibility and was ready to serve in that capacity.
He will have to wait for 28 days whereby if nobody disputes the election results, arrangements for his consecration, to be presided over by the Province of Central Africa’s Archbishop Albert Chama, will follow.
Chairman of the Anglican Council in Malawi Bishop Brighton Malasa told Nyasa Times he was happy that people had spoken through their votes and was geared up to working with the new bishop.
“He has been duly elected by the church faithful, I wish him well and I am ready to work with him and offer my unreserved support to him,” said Malasa, Bishop of Upper Shire Diocese and one of the country’s senior Anglican bishops.
The voting process, which ended late Saturday night, was also witnessed by foreign delegates representing 15 dioceses in the Province of Central Africa which comprises Malawi, Botswana, Zimbabwe and Zambia.
Bishop Tengatenga resigned from the position after he was offered the post of dean at the Dartmouth College in Hanover, New Hampshire, USA for its William Jewett Tucker Foundation.
Unfortunately the appointment was reversed following his earlier ant-gay remarks which the college said “compromised his ability to serve effectively.”
He was due to begin his new lease of life in January 2014 but even after the offer withdrawal he told the church he would not invalidate his resignation letter as bishop of Southern Malawi as his future plans were “in the Lord’s hands”.
Tengatenga, a long-standing member and current chair of the world’s Anglican Consultative Council (ACC) since 2009, the Anglican Communion’s main policy-making body, was born in Zimbabwe in 1958 and consecrated bishop of the Anglican Diocese of Southern Malawi in 1998.
A staunch HIV and AIDS education advocate, Tengatenga has also served on various other Anglican councils and boards in Africa as well as overseas.
The Anglican bishop, however, expressed his disappointment over the decision by the college to U-turn on the offer.
He told the Episcopal News Service (ENS), while he was yet to get official confirmation from the college, the decision had “saddened” him.
“They have chosen to trust bigotry over truth and justice,” he told ENS last week.Follow and Subscribe Nyasa TV :