By Bellah Zulu, ACNS
Malawi Anglicans have agreed to erect a memorial pillar for their former archbishop who died two months ago in the United Kingdom. His family has granted the Malawi Church permission to take his ashes back to Malawi.
Bishop Donald Arden was the Bishop of Nyasaland/Malawi – as Bishop of Nyasaland until Malawian independence in 1964 and as Bishop of Malawi thereafter - from 1961 to 1971.
When the diocese split in 1971, he became bishop of one of the two new dioceses as Bishop of Southern Malawi and, later that year, he also became Archbishop of Central Africa. He held both posts until retiring in 1980.
“We thank his family for granting our request to have Bishop Donald Arden’s ashes taken back to Malawi," Bishop of Upper Shire Brighton Malasa told ACNS. "We are erecting a memorial pillar and we are very happy that his remains shall be with us in Malawi forever.
“As Malawi Anglican Church we will always remember Bishop Arden for his remarkable contribution to the growth of the Church in Malawi,” said the bishop. “There is a lot in terms of infrastructure development, social services like health and education and many more which were established by Bishop Arden.”
Bishop Malasa said that the church in Malawi has learned a lot from the life and ministry of the former Archbishop. “From him, we learned the importance of ecumenism through several initiatives which still see different churches coming together up to now. We also learn humility from the way he lived his life,” he said.
“Many people in Malawi have mentioned that they will remember Bishop Arden for his spirit of listening and taking advice. Bishop Donald Arden was always concerned about the welfare of his priests as well as laity. He taught us to have the life of others at heart.”
During his time there, he spearheaded the building of several schools and health centres for the local people. He also built good housing for clergy in parishes.
“Today when we look at and use all these services, we know he will remain alive in our hearts,” said Bishop Malasa.
Bishop Arden died on July 18, 2014, aged 98 years. A thanksgiving service held recently at Romsey Abbey was attend by Anglicans from across the Anglican Communion.