We greet you in the name of our Lord Jesus Christ. As we celebrate the birth of our Lord Jesus Christ, we would like to thank God for seeing us through up to the present day. We would also like to thank the Clergy and Laity for the cooperation we have witnessed as we were discharging our duty to run the Diocese this year. If it were not for your support we could not have done any meaningful work. We greatly cherish the support and love we have received from you all. There are quite a number of things that we have done worth highlighting as a result of God’s help and your support as clergy, Laity and workers in our institutions.
PASTORAL VISIT TO ALL PARISHES
This year, 2018 we have visited all the parishes for confirmation services. In most parishes we were greatly humbled to see people coming in their large numbers to witness the infilling of the Holy Spirit and the sending out of all the candidates who got confirmed to the mission work of evangelizing to the community they live in. You were indeed a crowd of witness to the work the Lord Jesus Christ has called us. Furthermore we were also surprised to receive various gifts from either parishes or individuals. We greatly cherish your love and support.
It was quite encouraging to see some candidates demonstrating knowledge of what they are expected of, now that they have been confirmed. This was a clear indication that their confirmation classes were properly handled. We would like to encourage all clergy in the diocese to take confirmation classes and any kind of teaching to your members seriously, because they point to the kind of Church you will have in future.
FINANCIAL SUPPORT TO THE DIOCESE
We would like to express our heartfelt gratitude to all parishes that are doing well in supporting the diocese financially. Our diocese is largely run using local resources hence your contribution to the diocese goes a long way to ease the operational challenges that the diocese continues to meet. We know that as a country we are in an economic quagmire due to a number of factors one being low market prices for our “hard to get” agricultural produce. The unfriendly economic forces have not spared any local citizen in our country, let alone our members in this diocese as we all know that central region of Malawi where our diocese is located is a predominantly farming region. We are also cognizant of the fact that our diocese is comprised, to a greater extent, of rural parishes which are usually hit hard by the complexity of free market economy.
However, we are pleased to note that some rural parishes have managed to complete their quota (allocated financial contribution). Some parishes are about to finish their quota payment. This is an indication that as parishes we also have the intention to develop our diocese. We want to encourage you all to continue with the same spirit of wanting to support your Church in the year 2019. On a special note we would like to take this opportunity to urge all clergy in this diocese to provide the most needed transformative leadership that would inspire the laity to give money to Church or come up with innovations that would ignite transformational development. For those parishes that are lagging behind, our advice is that do your own assessment to find out why, despite operating in the same environment, you alone should (most of the time) lag behind.
The diocese of Lake Malawi still enjoys the cordial relationship with its development partners. We would fail our duty if we do not extent our vote of thanks to all our esteemed development partners. Therefore we would like to thank all our development partners for their continued financial, moral and material support to the diocese. We know that economic challenges are everywhere around the globe only that may be the degree of such economic hassles could be different. We do not take for granted the support you have rendered to our diocese. Your support has always helped to ease the challenges that we face as a diocese. We would have loved to see more development partners coming to assist us especially in investments that will bring income to our diocese so that in the near future we become completely self-reliant. We therefore believe that in 2019 you will also render your support to our diocese. We pray that God continues to bless you in your different endeavours.
INFRASTRACTURAL AND OTHER KINDS OF DEVELOPMENT PROJECTS
We thank God that he has impressed on most parishes, the spirit of building good and modern Churches, priest’s houses, halls and offices. Some parishes have bought cars to ease transportation challenges of either the clergy or parishioners. This is quite commendable considering that our Church is growing both spiritually and numerically. This is also good because in the community, we exist to serve; the kind of building structures that are coming up are quite magnificent hence we should be matching with the society we are serving or else we will lose our relevance. Gone are the days when a priest would only be seen either cycling or walking on foot from one station to the other. Therefore, cars and motorcycles (for the very remote area) are not only good alternatives but also good incentives to the clergy.
However, prophetically looking into the future there shall come a time when people will not be as dedicated as they are now in terms of giving. We can also not be sure to have the same numbers of people in the Church. We think the time is now to take advantage of the large numbers of people in the Church and their willingness to give and to come up with projects that can bring money to church. Let’s run our churches as both spiritual entities that are preparing people for eternal life and as business entities that should be generating income for sustaining our missionary and evangelistic programmes. We want to request that if anyone has an idea or concept, which if implemented as diocese can help generate income, please come forward to meet us at our office. We advocate an open door policy on issues that can develop our diocese hence do not hesitate to come forward. We know we have more people in our Church that come from the business community and equally other greatly rewarding fields, we ask them to support their church in this area.
We should admit here with a glimpse of joy that generally there is a remarkable spiritual growth among our members. We as your bishop, the chief priest for the diocese we are very happy with the way the diocese is being transformed in terms of acknowledging Christ as our personal Lord and Saviour and consequently accepting the Holy Spirit to lead our lives and parishes. We have visited all parishes this year and we were glad to notice that worship/mass services in most parishes were so lively not just ceremoniously or prompted as an act of deception but we could see the leading of the Holy Spirit. The gifts that were being given to us gladly and freely were another sign of spiritual growth.
The developmental projects that are taking place in various parishes, the way some parishes are looking after their priests in terms of giving them modern means of transport, allowances, decent accommodation and many other incentives is a sign that as a Church, we are moving forward. Therefore we encourage all clergy to work harder, always seeking the leading of the Holy Spirit so that the diocese continues to grow in Spirit and that this spiritual growth should spur Church growth in its entire dimension (numerical, financial and infrastructural).
It is a known fact that as a diocese we continue to struggle to finance our activities including paying our clergy and support staff. We are not yet economically stable as our income is mostly dependent on quota (parish annual financial contribution) payments. However, we have high hopes that things will change in the near future as we have started to see positive responses from various parishes and as we continue banging our heads together on how to sustain our operations; we hope that parishes will buy our idea of having fixed assets that can bring money to the Church.
We would like to thank the Board of Finance for its continued effort to provide financial oversight. Their recommendations have really helped us to sail through the turbulent economic waves that always hit us as a diocese. We are pleased to let you know that our diocese is one of the dioceses reputed to producing audited accounts reports. This is a result of the Board of Finance’s technical advice to management and the wise leadership of your bishop who does not interfere in financial matters. We therefore ask parishes to emulate the example of the secretariat to put in place a finance committee which should provide oversight functions in matters of finance. They should facilitate regular reporting to PCC and an annual report to the diocesan secretary.
As for the diocesan institutions we implore you to be so prudent in financial management. An institution whose accounts are not audited by external auditors indicates a very bad omen to both local and external potential donors. We therefore thank all institutions that are able to have their accounts audited annually. We hope in 2019, we will do much better, because recklessness in this area cannot be tolerated.
DIOCESAN LANDS MANAGEMENT
We have of late noted with great disappointment that some people are claiming ownership of some land that was previously allocated to the Church. We are living in a complex world where some people have no respect for sacred properties such as church land. We should be aware that all land that was given to Parishes or outstations is diocesan land. We expect parishes to lease land that belongs to them in the name of Diocese of Lake Malawi (registered trustee), because the diocese is visible in all local areas through the existence of all parishes and outstations and the presence of our different institutions.
We strongly deplore and condemn the behavior of some traditional leaders and their allies that are trying to persecute the Church by way of claiming ownership of land that was already given to Church by their forefathers.
We ask all the clergy to take intentional discipleship seriously so that we do not lose members especially the youth by way of defection. Disciple making is a continuance and gradual process as such the clergy should take time to be with the people as they teach, guide, counsel and motivate members to make decisions for Christ and for continued membership of our beloved Anglican Church.
The Anglican Church has its identity in its historical, theological, hierarchical and synodical organization and the traditions that we practice but these should not stand in the way of intentional discipleship but rather facilitate the process of disciple making. We implore the clergy that our services should not portray an ambience of spiritual emptiness under the guise of traditions but rather the traditions and order of service should catalyze not only conviviality of our togetherness in spirit but should also awaken and deepen our spirituality. Where worship services are not only ceremoniously sentient but also spiritually thriving, we will be assured of maintained membership of the younger generation in our Church.
CHURCH AND STATE RELATIONSHIP
We cherish the good working relationship that exists between Church and State. The government has always been our key partner in development especially in areas of health and education. We will try and continue to engage government in these and many more areas for the sake of providing essential services to our people whom we all serve. Our workers in all our hospitals and health centres are paid by the government through CHAM (Christian Health Association of Malawi) and all our teachers in all the 100 primary and 1 secondary (All Saints Mtunthama) schools are paid by government. This is quite commendable. We hope you will also appreciate this working relationship.
However the Church cannot be pushed to participate in partisan politics through its leadership. We believe our role is to be a light to the nation and salt to the earth. In view of this we shall always provide our advisory role to the leadership of this country and indeed to the leadership of opposition parties so that peace prevails in this country and that the citizenry continue to get essential services. In this bid we shall not side with any leader be in government or outside government who seem to be driving this nation to a ditch.
Issues of corruption have haunted this country so much that we feel shy at times to mention that we come from Malawi when we travel outside. It is irking to see even countries that were far below us now are miles away from us in terms of development. One may ask what is wrong with Malawi? For us the best question to ask would be what is wrong with the leaders we put in power? Sin is greatly embedded in the minds of our leaders, that corruption to them is no longer a vice but a virtue and their intelligence and qualifications have become nothing in the sight of many Malawians. We strongly abhor and condemn corruption, nepotism, regionalism, and tribalism. The anti-corruption machinery has become so lenient on some rich and political heavyweights to the extent that if another very independent anti-corruption body was to be commissioned by international bodies to investigate on how our local anti-corruption bureau was discharging its duties it will obviously be found wanting. We ask the anti-corruption bureau to wake up from its deep slumber and political oblivion which leads to selectivity in investigations and prosecutions to start their real business.
The diocese of Lake Malawi shall continue to exercise its independence and no priest will be heard speaking like a ‘regional governor of any political party’ for to do so will warrant bidding unceremonious farewell to the diocese. However, our lay members are free to do partisan politics but our advice is always let your light shine bright forth where ever you are.
CHRISTMAS AND NEW YEAR BEST WISHES
We would like to remind you that Christmas is the most celebrated festival in the world. Believers and non-believers alike celebrate Christmas. What pleases us is that even non-believers help us to proclaim the reality of the person of our Lord Jesus Christ through their conscious or unconscious celebrations. We ask you to receive Christ in your heart as your personal Lord and Saviour and continue sharing the good news of Jesus Christ. Our conduct should demonstrate the presence of Christ in us.
We would also like to wish you well in the year 2019. May the Almighty God bless, heal, touch and minister to all your needs and challenges in 2019. We feel it is possible that we may have wounded each other in 2018 as we were discharging our duty; we therefore ask all clergy, lay members and our esteemed workers in various institutions to forgive each other. Jesus Christ was given to us when we were still in our sins; He went to the cross to die for us and before He tasted death on the cross, he forgave us all. Therefore, we need to forgive all who wronged us and enter 2019 with clean minds.
However, in 2019 the nation shall hold tripartite elections. It is our prayer that God will give us a president who shall continue to develop our beloved Malawi. We encourage all our members and all citizens of Malawi who registered during the voter registration exercise, to vote into office leaders of their choice but they should choose those who can provide sound leadership not corrupt leaders or by-products of a corrupt system.
We wish you all merry Christmas, happy and prosperous New Year. God bless you all.
Written and given by our hand,
THE RT REVD FRANCIS FRANK KAULANDA (BISHOP, DIOCESE OF LAKE MALAWI)
– 23 December 2018 –
CHRIST IS RISEN INDEED
Easter greetings from the Bishop’s desk.
We always celebrate Easter in a very special way every year. This year again God has favoured us all amidst all the earthly challenges; nevertheless, since we celebrate that Christ is risen – let us arise and rejoice in the Lord!
We have had challenges regarding rainfall patterns. As a result in most parts of our diocese and of Malawi in general many will have a poor harvest; as this was not enough, most crops were affected or attacked by armyworms thus exacerbating an already delicate situation!
Nevertheless, in all the challenges we believe God is always with us.
We would like to remind you, our web audience that this year the church is emphasizing Intentional Discipleship; each church led by their priest is encouraged to organise a retreat to meditate on their mandate from Christ. Are we making disciples? If indeed we are making disciples, where does the growing sinful nature among us come from? Let us be models to the community!
1 Peter2: 11-12 says: “11 Dear friends, I urge you, as foreigners and exiles, to abstain from sinful desires, which wage war against your soul. 12 Live such good lives among the pagans that, though they accuse you of doing wrong, they may see your good deeds and glorify God on the day he visits us.” -NIV
We would also like to encourage the church to mainstream issues of the environment as much possible take part in keeping our land green. We also continue to condemn the various evils happening in the world. People are needlessly killing each, wars have permeated some parts of the world, including powerful nations causing misery to ordinary people. Also very topical in modern life is the use of poisonous weapons and many similar evils. Unless people are guided by the Risen Christ and are living a life of discipleship to each other we shall never see a better world.
We would like to thank all parishes, church leaderships in different groupings within the Diocese for the support they are providing to the church. I am pleased to inform you that our development arm, abbreviated as ACID has been registered. Let us hold hands to support this arm, so that it starts performing its duties and achieve its set goals.
I would be failing my duty if I do not remind all Christians of their obligation to make their payment towards the Partners in Development scheme, for the church to sustain herself.
Let me conclude with John:16 Let us put on love and show love to the world for the sake of a better nation and a better world!
– Easter 2018 –Bishop Francis Kaulanda
Fellow Christians in the Anglican Diocese of Lake Malawi and across the world, God is with us!
December, 2017 marks yet another season of Christmas celebrations. My dear brothers and sisters, as we celebrate the birth of Jesus Christ, Our Saviour and Redeemer, let us reflect on our daily lives. Let us utilize this opportunity to check how we have behaved before God and before our neighbours as we live in this challenging world!
You will agree with me that, in this year that is coming to an end, Christians across the world have encountered challenges that have permeated all aspects of life, be it spiritual, social – economic, political etc. However, we are glad that our God has seen us through them all; and since he is the same today and tomorrow, we are confident that he will remain our protector and will continue to provide us with success!
As people search for satisfaction of their heart’s desires in an ever-changing world, I wish to urge you believers to grow strong roots in the true Word of God, taking cognizance of the fact that it is through the heart, and not our intellect that we connect with God. It is by faith that we please God! It is sad that many people have tried to use their heads to reason out matters of God. Thus, they have departed from the Word of God and in the process, mislead others. Thus, they have appeared like Christians when actually they are prey for the devil! It is no secret that some so-called Christian churches do promote same-sex marriages, abortion and many other evil acts. In the developing world, such behaviours have been condoned among Christians due to poverty since these satanic acts have been accompanied with the allure of money. Let me urge you, my fellow Christians to stand firm when enticed by such things, which appeal to the flesh.
The world also continues to harbor social injustice. Developed and wealthy nations continue to oppress developing countries through exploitation of resources, imposition of governance frameworks, and even providing developing countries, or ethnic groups within them, with dangerous weapons so that they annihilate each other. Let me take this opportunity to address African leaders whether Christians or non-Christian. African leaders, wake up! Start leading your people! Stop misleading them! Stop being arrogant, selfish, and self-enriching. Fight and safeguard against bribery, corruption, nepotism, fraud and all such vices, which are enemies of development in your nations. Take the lead in being patriotic. Be united so as to develop your respective countries, and Africa as a whole! Jesus was born for the whole world and all manner of people regardless of nation, colour, race, language etc. Hence Africa needs to reflect the love and victory of Christ.
Finally, brothers and sisters, be reminded that Jesus brought light to all who believe in Him, and so all believers in Christ walk in His light. I wish to reiterate that we should resist the deceit of this world but be doers of the true Word of God. As for Christians of my diocese, the Anglican Diocese of Lake Malawi, continue loving Jesus and his work. Be united be one, as Jesus commanded in John 17:2ff. I wish you all a joyous and Merry Christmas, and a prosperous 2018. God bless you!
– 23 December 2017 –
Bishop Francis Kaulanda
Fellow Christians in the Anglican Diocese of Lake Malawi and across the world,
It is with the greatest gratitude to God the Almighty that I address you on this Bishop’s Corner on our own diocesan website. As a Diocese we have for long dreamt of having a website to complement the various means that we have for communicating to all our stakeholders. But finally, in God’s time, here we are!
I will be using the Bishop’s corner to periodically empty my chest on the various critical issues arising within our diocese. Although these addresses shall mostly be proactive where we anticipate issues and address them in advance, we cannot rule out circumstances where we will have to address some issues reactively. Therefore, I implore you to check the Bishop’s corner frequently in order to follow what is going on within the mind of your Bishop.
This being the inaugural address on the website, I wished to limit myself to salutation remarks. However, there are two important issues that I wish to highlight from the onset. Firstly, I wish to request all of you to join me in congratulating the Young Couples/Young Professionals in our Diocese for developing this website. As some of you may be aware, Young Couples/Young Professionals is a ministry that was born from a meeting I initiated in 2016 with this category of Christians. Whilst by then the Young Couples ministry had already been established and was already entrenched at the St Thomas Anglican Church, young professionals in the Diocese did not have a framework for contributing to church development.
During that meeting I challenged these Christians to contribute more towards church development both in terms of ideas and resources. Our heated and open discussion resulted in the formation of the Young Couples/Young Professionals, a ministry that is intended at utilizing the skills, energies and resources of our quasi-youthful Christians to reform the way we handle business in the Diocese. Even as this ministry establishes itself, it has already set goals to be achieved in the short, medium, and long term and the website is one of the short term goals that has been achieved! Let me therefore, encourage and support this group to get established and assist the operations of the Diocese. I also wish to exhort the rest of the Christians in the Diocese to support them by providing them with all the creative ideas, among others!
Secondly, let me take this opportunity to continue reminding all and sundry of what the Diocese is. In a nutshell, a Diocese refers to all the Anglican Christians that are within the jurisdiction termed as such! Therefore, in the case of the Anglican Diocese of Lake Malawi, each Anglican Christian within its geographical boundaries, including me your Bishop, make the Diocese. If you reader is from this Diocese you, plus me and the rest of the other Christians herein, are the Anglican Diocese of Lake Malawi! Therefore, when we who are Christians within this Diocese talk of the Diocese being poor, disorganized, unaccountable, not transparent etc. we are talking about ourselves! That is sad but unfortunately true! The practical aspect of that fact is that all the areas that can be optimized within the Diocese are the responsibility of each one of us who belong to this Diocese. Much as the Bishop is entrusted with leading the Diocese, he is not the Diocese! Hence the status of any Diocese reflects the state of each Christians therein! This is food for meditation for all of us. Let me stop here for now.
Finally, may God bless all of you who had the time to read through this message. Let us all go and work in God’s vineyard and let us maximize this website by using it for our day to day communications regarding the work of God
Bishop Francis Kaulanda