Tributes paid following death of the Bishop of Goma, Désiré Mukanirwa Kadhoro
Tributes have been paid following the sudden death of Bishop Désiré Mukanirwa Kadhoro, the first Bishop of the Diocese of Goma in the Anglican Church of Congo. Bishop Désiré was highly respected around the world for the role he played in reconciliation and in helping to tackle the Ebola crisis. The Primate of the Eglise Anglicane du Congo, Archbishop Masimango Katanda Zacharie announced the news with “deep pain” on Saturday evening (11 July).
Archbishop Masimango said that the unexpected death of Bishop Désiré in Goma followed a short illness. “The Anglican Church of the Congo expresses its sincere condolences to his wife, Mama Claudaline Muhindo, and her family, as well as to the Diocese of Goma”, he said.
Bishop Désiré had served as the first Bishop of the new Diocese of Goma since its creation in November 2016. In that time, he developed a reputation as a reconciler, educator and evangelist.
The Director for Mission at the Anglican Communion Office, Canon John Kafwanka, described Bishop Désiré as “a reconciler, an evangelist and a disciple maker”, adding: “Bishop Désiré had a big heart and a big smile. He will be deeply missed by all who knew him.”
The Bishop of Hertford, Dr Michael Beasley, accompanied the Archbishop of Canterbury Justin Welby on a pastoral visit to the Democratic Republic of Congo last year to see the Church’s response to the Ebola outbreak in North Kivu. Dr Beasley said that Bishop Désiré “played a central role” in the Church’s response. “As a much respected figure, in 2019, he worked across faiths to enable the training of more than 60 leaders from different Christian denominations and their Islamic partners to consider the specific contribution that churches and mosques could make towards the understanding of Ebola, its prevention and mitigation”, he said.
James Megoran, a member of the Archbishop of Canterbury’s reconciliation team, also took part in the pastoral visit. “Bishop Desire held the mission of reconciliation central to his own personal discipleship in one of the most divided and traumatised nations in Africa”, he said. “As a respected faith leader in one of the most important cities in the nation, he managed to communicate this message to not only regional leaders, but to those in the most threatened and vulnerable positions within society.
“His ministry was underpinned with his deeply held theological belief that reconciliation was the spiritual reality which could bind his nation together, as well as the tribes, communities and families brutalised by conflict and embittered with hatred. He was personally engaged in mediation efforts with numerous rebel groups across his diocese often placing himself at significant personal risk.
“He regularly travelled to and remained with, traumatised parish communities threatened by rebels where he spoke boldly and passionately about the need for forgiveness. He maintained that the next generation had to be brought together in a spirt of trust, and his annual youth forums held in Goma encouraged the spirit of reconciliation through football matches between different ethnic and tribal groups. Désiré leaves a new generation of emerging reconciliation leaders behind him.”
The Executive Director of the Anglican Alliance, Rachel Carnegie, also worked with Bishop Désiré. She described news of his death as “tragic”, adding: “Bishop Désiré was an inspirational leader and will be profoundly missed.”
The Lambeth Conference of Anglican bishops postponed until 2022
The ongoing Covid-19 pandemic has led to the Lambeth Conference of Anglican bishops to be further pushed back to 2022. The decennial event was due to begin later this month at the University of Kent in Canterbury; but was postponed until next year following lockdown restrictions in the UK and around the world. Now, organisers have taken the decision to postpone the conference further, until 2022; and are promising a four-year programme of virtual and in-person events to engage the whole Anglican Communion – clergy and laity in addition to bishops.
In a video message explaining the decision, the Archbishop of Canterbury, Justin Welby, spoke of the role church leaders are playing around the world in responding to the pandemic. “I am overwhelmed by the way that Anglicans around the world have been facing up to the huge social needs created by this crisis”, he said. “So many people have suffered from the pandemic, economically, physically through illness and in many other ways and even have lost those close to them.
“It’s exposed the divisions and inequalities of the world with the poor and the vulnerable and the marginalised faring the worst. We’ve been isolated from one another by the lockdown and restriction. And yet we’ve managed to keep in contact and somehow I sense that the Spirit of God has drawn us closer together.
“As we look around the world, we see how important it is that the Anglican Communion walks together as we seek to be good news.”
Further details can be found in the full announcement, on the Lambeth Conference website: lambethconference.org.
Trustees of the Li Tim-Oi Foundation seek to extend global reach
A foundation named after the first woman to be ordained in the Anglican Communion is seeking to expand its geographic spread in its mission to support women training as priests, evangelists, youth and community workers, nurses, teachers and theological advisors in the Anglican Communion.
Dr Li Tim-Oi was already serving as a deacon in the the Macau Protestant Chapel when the Bishop of Victoria, Ronald Hall, irregularly – and controversially – ordained her as a priest on 25 January 1944. His actions were in response to a crisis among Anglican Christians in China caused by the Japanese invasion.
After the Second World War, Dr Tim-Oi resigned her licence – but not her priestly orders; and was able to resume her ordained ministry 30 years later having moved to Canada, one of the first provinces of the Anglican Communion to ordain women to the priesthood.
The Li Tim-Oi Foundation was established in her memory in 1994 to enable Anglican women in the developing world receive support for training. In the past 26 years, the Foundation has given grants to over 500 women for training in a variety of ordained and lay roles.
Amongst them is Captain Liness Madalitso Machezo from the Diocese of Northern Malawi in the Anglican Church of Central Africa. “I graduated in Cross-Cultural Mission at Carlile College which has made me gain a lot of knowledge”, she said. “I understand the Bible more than I used to do and how to interpret the Gospel in relation to culture and behaviour of the people whom I am meeting now. . .
“Here in Malawi, I have been carrying out evangelism activities with my fellow members within the Anglican Church and we have travelled to parishes in many remote places in the Northern Diocese of Malawi. My friends and I have visited many places by foot where even vehicles cannot pass in order to reach out these places. Of late, we visited another remote place, Usisya, which is easily accessible by boat.”
As Chair of the Church Army in Northern Malawi, Captain Machezo now works to establish new churches. “This brings hope and encouragement to my calling as an evangelist”, she said.
The women supported by the Foundation call themselves “the daughters of Li Tim-Oi”. The foundation is now seeking to expand its reach beyond its East Africa stronghold to Asia, South America, the Caribbean, and other places within the Communion.
“If you know of women who would benefit from support for training, please contact the Foundation, or pass on the contact details to the women or their bishops”, the Foundation’s Executive Secretary, Stephanie Lewis-Grey, said.
Further information is available from ltof.org.uk or by email: firstname.lastname@example.org.