Church condom split ends: The Church of England Newspaper, May 13, 2011 p 8. May 16, 2011Posted by geoconger in Anglican Church of Tanzania, Church of England Newspaper, Health/HIV-AIDS.
First published in The Church of England Newspaper.
A schism within the Anglican Church of Tanzania (ACT) over the propriety of using condoms as a prophylactic against the spread of HIV/AIDs has been healed following the retirement and election of a new bishop.
On April 15, the Mount Kilimanjaro synod elected the Rev. Stanley Hotay as the third bishop of the diocese that covers the Kilimanjaro, Arusha and Manyara regions.
The general secretary of the ACT, Dr. Dickson Chilongani, told reporters after the vote, the elections had been a “testimony” that the diocese was “now more united than before.”
The Bishop of Leicester, the Rt. Rev. Tim Stevens, is scheduled to attend the June 12 consecration in Arusha, as Leicester has had a link to Mount Kilimanjaro for several years. The new bishop is pastor of two churches in Arusha and serves as diocesan missioner. In 2010 he was awarded a BA in Theology from the University of Gloucester.
The election of a new bishop ends a ten year split within the diocese between the former bishop Simon Makundi and his clergy that mirrored a wider fight within the province over the morality of condom use.
In 2001, Bishop Makundi along with several other bishops and the church’s HIV/AIDs ministries endorsed condom use as a prophylactic against disease, and in 2002 the Tanzanian delegation to the Council of Anglican Provinces of Africa (CAPA) AIDs summit in Nairobi stated their church had “openly discussed the efficacy of condom use and endorsed such use in order to save lives.”
However, St. James Parish in Arusha denounced this new policy as immoral, and when Bishop Makundi attempted to visit the congregation he was ejected.
In 2004, the dispute was brought to a special meeting of the House of Bishops, which agreed to accept jurisdiction over the parish until the controversy was settled. Bishop Simon Chiwanga of the Mpwapwa, the former chairman of the Anglican Consultative Council, was sent to the parish by the House of Bishops and confirmed that the church’s stance was that the use of condoms as a prophylactic against disease was immoral.
In 2010 St James parish relented in its opposition to Bishop Makundi, who had recanted his views on condom use, and accepted his jurisdiction. The election of a new bishop, church leaders tell CEN, should end the dispute.