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First African bishop of Northern Malawi consecrated: The Church of England Newspaper, Nov 26, 2010 p 6. November 29, 2010

Posted by geoconger in Church of England Newspaper, Church of the Province of Central Africa.
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Members of a youth choir serenading the new Bishop of Northern Malawi

First published in The Church of England Newspaper.

The Diocese of Northern Malawi has consecrated its first African bishop to succeed the Rt. Rev. Christopher Boyle, the last British bishop in Central Africa.

On Nov 7, the Rev. Canon Fanuel Emmanuel Chioko Magangani was consecrated by ten bishops of the Church of the Province of Central Africa at a 5 and a half hour service at a football stadium in Mzuzu.  His consecration fills the last vacancy in the House of Bishops of the Church of the Province of Central Africa, which will now permit the province to elect a new primate to replace Archbishop Bernard Malango, who retired in 2007.

On Aug 1, 2009, the diocese elected the Rev. Leslie Mtekateka as its first African bishop.  However, a petition charging the bishop-elect with moral turpitude was lodged and following an investigation the election of Fr. Mtekateka—the son of the first African bishop of Malawi—was voided.

On June 26, 2010 Canon Magangani was elected bishop, but the confirmation of his election was delayed after a former employee charged the 38-year old bishop elect with rape.  An investigation by the church, however, found the charges unfounded and cleared the bishop-elect of misconduct.

Canon Magangani will now be the first African to serve as Bishop of Northern Malawi.  His predecessors were British, Bishop Boyle, and American, the Rt. Rev. Jackson Biggers.  In June 2009, the Rev. J. Scott Wilson SSC of the Diocese of Fort Worth withdrew as sole candidate in Northern Malawi election, prompting the diocese to conduct an abbreviated internal search that produced Fr. Mtekateka.

Bishop Mangani served as dean of St Peter’s Cathedral on Likoma Island for five years and was educated at Zomba Theological College and Mzuzu University.  His election canceled plans for a two-year leave of absence from the diocese to begin advanced studies at Nashotah House, an American theological college.

Writing to supporters after the service, the bishop said “after everything is said and done we still remain firm in the Lord and it is my prayer that the peace emanated on the consecration day will continue throughout the Diocese in the days to come.”

“I want to thank God who has helped me to forget the pain I have endured in the process,” Bishop Mangani said. But “in this I have seen that we serve a miracle working God. I have seen his hand leading me through. Thank you so much for the prayers.”

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1. The Rt. Rev. Jackson Biggers - December 3, 2010

As additional information on Northern Malawi, after Fr. Mtekateka was elected Bishop by the Diocese of Northern Malawi the Dean of the Province received a letter accusing Fr. Mtekateka of having assaulted a women in 2007. This accusation was circularized to all the bishops of the province by the provencial dean prior to their vote to confirm on not to confirm Fr. Mtekateka as Bishop of Northern Malawi. On hearing of this accusation, the woman whom Fr. Mtekateka supposedly assaulted wrote the province that such an incident had never taken place that she was shocked to hear such a falsehood, and that she was considering redress for it in a court of law. Strangely however,the province did not circularize this new information to the bishops.

In light of the new information the clergy of the
Diocese of Northern Malawi wrote a petition to the Provencial Dean signed by all the clergy except the Vicar General and one other priest asking that the denial of confirmation by provincial bishops for Fr. Mtekateka’s cnsecration as bishop be reconsidered. For unknown reasons, the province did not send the petition to the provencial bishops for their information. No acknowledgement was ever made by the provincial Dean that the petition was even received.

Fr. Mtekateka’s slandered name should be rescued in light of the information now available. His conduct since this sad chapter in his life has been more than commendable. He will be one of Bishop Magangani’s best supporters in what we believe will be a fruitful and happy phase in the life of the Diocese of Northern Malawi. Fr. Mtekateka has also written to the author of the letter containing these false accusations and assured him that he bears him no ill will or hatred but will always accept him as a friend in Christ no matter what the motives may have been for the injury done to him. Very few people could have gone this far in showing Christian love and forgivness.


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