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New Congo Primate Elected: CEN 5.01.09 p May 2, 2009

Posted by geoconger in Anglican Church of the Congo, Church of England Newspaper.

The Dean of the Anglican Church of the Congo writes that following a meeting of the church’s House of Bishops in Goma on April 28, the Bishop of Boga, the Rt. Rev. Henri Isingoma has been elected Primate and Archbishop of the Congo.

Two candidates, the Rt. Rev. Zachary Masimango, Bishop of Kindu and Dean of the Province and Bishop Isingoma stood for election. Following a secret ballot, Bishop Isingoma was elected by a vote of four to three.

Educated at the Congo’s Anglican Theological Seminary in Bukavu and at the Faculté de théologie évangélique in Bangui in the Central African Republic, Bishop Isingoma served as principal of the Anglican Theological Seminary from 1993 to 1997, and was elected Bishop of the southern Congolese diocese of Katanga in 1997, and is the church’s representative to the Anglican Consultative Council. In 2007 he was translated to the eastern Diocese of Boga along the Congo’s border with Rwanda.

Married with six children, the 58 year old archbishop-elect will be installed as primate of the province in July, upon the retirement of Archbishop Fidele Dirokpa.

In his announcement of the election, Bishop Masimango wrote the new primate would “emphasize faith in the Word of God, joined with work” in leading the church.

The majority of the 500,000 members of the Anglican church in the Congo are concentrated along the country’s Swahili speaking eastern region, the epicenter of two wars that have claimed 5.4 million lives over the past decade, a January 2008 report by the International Rescue Committee (IRC) said.

Last year, war, disease and malnutrition killed an estimated 45,000 Congolese every month. “Congo’s loss is equivalent to the entire population of Denmark or the state of Colorado perishing within a decade,” George Rupp, president of the IRC said in a statement.

Sporadic fighting continues to erupt between rival warlords and tribal militias in the Eastern Congo.

In October a fresh round of fighting stranded Bishop Isingoma and 150 delegates to the Diocese of Boga synod. After the fighting subsided, and the delegates were able to return home, many found their homes and churches destroyed—some for the fifth time, the Congo Church Association reported last year.

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