By Bellah Zulu, ACNS
Bishops from the Anglican Church of Tanzania (ACT) have welcomed and expressed their support for new Archbishop, Bishop of Mpwapwa Diocese Jacob Chimeledya.
Provincial Secretary of ACT, the Revd Canon Dr Dickson Chilongani reports: “After the election, all the 25 bishops present (except two who are studying in South Africa) expressed their support for Bishop Chimeledya’s election by signing a legal document to endorse the results.”
He added: “Some bishops have described Chimeledya as a humble servant and leader who will strengthen unity within the Anglican Church of Tanzania and enhance its mission.” Dr Chilongani said the Archbishop-elect takes over from Archbishop Valentino Mokiwa after his installation on May 19.
The new Primate previously worked as principal of St Philip’s Theological College, in the town of Kongwa in Tanzania. He also worked as a priest in various areas of the Diocese of Mpwapwa before becoming Bishop of Mpwapwa in 2007.
The election, which took place on Thursday February 21 at the Cathedral of the Holy Spirit in Tanzania’s political capital Dodoma, was supervised by Chaplain of St. John’s University, the Rt Revd Francis Ntiruka and witnessed by Provincial Registrar, Professor John Kabudi and General Secretary, the Rev Canon Dr Dickson Chilongani.
Mpwapwa area has some significance in CMS mission history and emerged as a significant centre for most of the planning and execution of missionary work to mainland Tanzania in the early years of the church there.
The Provincial Secretary said: “Bishop Chimeledya is committed to biblical faithfulness, to the Anglican Communion and looks forward to his first Primates’ meeting.”
Statement from the Anglican Church of Tanzania
Bishop Jacob Erasto Chimeledya Chosen as Archbishop Elect, Anglican Church of Tanzania
Statement by the Rev Canon Dr Dickson Chilongani, Provincial Secretary, Anglican Church of Tanzania
The Rt. Rev. Jacob Erasto Chimeledya (55) has been elected as the new Archbishop of the Anglican Church of Tanzania.
The bishops welcomed the election result, some describing Chimeledya as a ‘humble’ (servant leader) who will strengthen unity within the Anglican Church of Tanzania and enhance its mission.
The election was carried out by a special Electoral Synod which consisted of bishops, pastors and lay people numbering 129 in total. After the election all the 25 bishops present (except two who are studying in South Africa) expressed their support to bishop Chimeledya’s election by signing a legal document to endorse the results. Bishop elect Jacob Chimeledya will succeed Archbishop Valentino Mokiwa after his installation on 19th May 2013.
Bishop Chimeledya was born on 28th August, 1957 in Zoisa, Kongwa. He studied Health Administration at Mzumbe Institute of Development Management, now Mzumbe University, in 1992. He was made Deacon in 1996, and was ordained Priest in 1997. Bishop Chimeledya received his theological education at St Paul’s Theological College, Limuru, Kenya between 1993 and 1996 and was awarded a degree in Theology. From 2001 to 2003 he went to the Virginia Theological Seminary in the USA where he was awarded a Master’s Degree in Theology.
Bishop Chimeledya worked as a Priest in various areas of the Diocese of Mpwapwa. He was also Principal of St Philip’s Theological College, Kongwa from 2003 to 2005. He was consecrated Bishop in 2005 and made Co-Adjutor Bishop of Mpwapwa and in 2007 became Diocesan Bishop when Bishop Simon Chiwanga retired.
Mpwapwa, where Archbishop Elect Chimeledya is bishop, has some significance in CMS mission history. The place was recognized as a CMS Mission Station in its own right in 1878, when Dr Richard Baxter, Rev H. Cole, and John Price were sent to establish it as the base for mission work in mainland Tanganyika. Price’s love for the people and ability to master the Chigogo language gained him the epitaph of Bwana Mwalimu (Master Teacher). His grave is situated within the Cathedral grounds at Ving’hawe. The local people were keen to respond to the Gospel. The first baptisms took place on Christmas Day 1885 with confirmations some five years later.
From 1876 until 1926, Mpwapwa was the center for most of the planning and execution of missionary work to mainland Tanzania; an area now covered by 19 of the 27 Dioceses of the Anglican Church of Tanzania. Mpwapwa, because of its favorable climate, was also the provincial headquarters of the German administration in the early years.
Bishop Chimeledya is committed to biblical faithfulness, to Anglican Communion and he looks forward to his first Primates’ meeting.