Three women from the Diocese of the Upper Shire in Malawi are to receive the Order of the Epiphany – the highest lay honour of the Anglican Church of Central Africa. The awards will be presented tomorrow (Saturday) at a large service at the Cathedral of SS Peter and Paul in Mangochi. Bishop Brighton Malasa has invited everybody associated with the diocese – including clergy, members of the Mothers’ Union and youth organisations, as well as school students – to attend the service, which will be presided over by Archbishop Albert Chama, the Primate of Central Africa.
The Order of the Epiphany will be conferred upon Esther Khancha from Magomero Parish, Agnes Chinkhata of Mwanza Parish, and Rose Nasoro from the Cathedral. A fourth proposed-recipient, Chief Chilombo, died last month.
“These are people who have contributed to the wellbeing of the Church for quite a long time,” Bishop Brighton said. “They have advanced the mission of the Church including church planting to those areas [where] the Anglican Church was non-existent.”
In a message to his diocese, Bishop Brighton added: “Let me call upon you all to come to the cathedral in large numbers as usual and give these our sisters the needful support. It is sad that we lost one of our brothers who was lined up to receive this honour. . . May his soul rest in peace and rise again in glory.”
The service will take place during a three-day pastoral visit to Malawi by Archbishop Albert, the Bishop of Northern Zambia. Archbishop Albert was due to arrive in Malawi today (Friday) and remain in the country until Sunday.
Meanwhile, the Bishop of Lake Malawi, Francis Kaulanda, has challenged Malawians to listen to and act out their calling. Speaking at a service in Magomero, Bishop Francis, who also chairs the Anglican Council in Malawi, said that many people were not appreciating the advice from others. “How many of us here listen to what God and fellow men tell us?,” he asked. “What is basis of our decisions? What do we do when God talks to us through His chosen ones? Do we not shut our ears and refuse to move on?”
Quoting from Genesis 12: 1 to 9, Bishop Francis said that the blessings of the land of Canaan came about because Abram had listened and obeyed the Lord. “Despite his age . . . Abram listened and trekked to the land of Canaan, as advised, where blessings flocked in abundance, which is not the case with most of us, as we would want to be doing things our own way.”
And he reminded his congregation that Christianity had come to the country because missionaries had acted on God’s call: “by listening, the early missionaries brought God’s blessings to this land and Malawi as a whole, including other countries in Africa,” he said, “so we are urged to listen to various callings and make a good foundation of prosperity for ourselves, families, Church and nation.”
With thanks to journalist Peter Chipanga who contributed significantly to this report.