The Anglican Communion welcomes its newest province today (Friday 24 September) – the Igreja Anglicana de Mocambique e Angola.
The Anglican Communion welcomes its newest province today – the Igreja Anglicana de Mocambique e Angola (IAMA) – the Anglican Church of Mozambique and Angola. IAMA will become the 42nd member of the global Anglican Communion of Churches this afternoon at the conclusion of the Provincial Synod of the Anglican Church of Southern Africa.
Currently, the Anglican Church in the two countries are Portuguese-speaking dioceses of the Anglican Church of Southern Africa. The new province will become the third Lusophone Church in the Anglican Communion, joining the Igreja Episcopal Anglicana do Brasil – the Episcopal Anglican Church of Brazil, which is a province, and the Portugal-based Lusitanian Church, which is an extra-provincial member of the Anglican Communion.
Bishop Carlos Matsinhe of Lebombo has been chosen as the Acting Presiding Bishop of IAMA and Bishop Andre Soares of Angola as the Dean of the Province.
In August, the Secretary General of the Anglican Communion, Dr Josiah Idowu-Fearon, wrote to the Primate of the Anglican Church of Southern Africa, Archbishop Thabo Makgoba of Cape Town, to confirm that the constitutional requirements for the approval of the new province had been completed.
He said: “all that remains is for me to celebrate with you in the birth of the new province, pray for its leaders and people, and for you and your staff as you prepare for the synods and inauguration”.
The first Anglican diocese in Lusophone Africa, Lebombo, was established in 1893 in Mozambique. Anglican missionary work in Angola began in the 1920s but it wasn’t until 2003 that a missionary diocese was established as part of the Anglican Church of Southern Africa.
The church in Mozambique and Angola has grown rapidly in recent years. To the four founding dioceses of the new Province – Lebombo, Niassa, Nampula and Angola-Good Shepherd – are three new dioceses in Mozambique and one in Angola. Both countries will also have two new missionary dioceses.
In Mozambique, there will be new dioceses of Maciene, Inhambane, and Pungue River; and missionary dioceses of Tete and Zambezia. In Angola there will be a new diocese of Christ the King-Uige; and missionary dioceses of the Divine Hope and of Central and South Angola. The elections of bishops for the new dioceses will take place between March and May of 2022.
“I am delighted for this journey of faith, planting another province within the Anglican Communion”, Archbishop Thabo Makgoba said. “We look forward to the Archbishop of Canterbury inaugurating the new province and welcoming the Acting Presiding Bishop.
“Since the vision for a new Portuguese-speaking province was first mentioned in my charge to our 2019 Provincial Synod, we have moved from four dioceses to nine.
“Although nothing replaces eyeball-to-eyeball contact, we have managed to conduct the process virtually. We are grateful that it has been possible to do it efficiently and cost-effectively.”
The Acting-Presiding Bishop-Elect, Carlos Matsinhe, said: “When I look back right to the beginning of the entry of Anglicanism in Mozambique and Angola, I thank God that the seeds that were planted have grown, are flourishing, and bearing fruits.
“Throughout the history it was bishops, priests, and particularly lay people, from abroad and from every village where the Anglican Church has set its foot, that have worked for more than a century to bring about the growth that we can visibly see today. We are challenged to continue bearing fruits that can abide.”
He said that Mozambique and Angola have more in common than a shared language derived from their colonial past. “After all the bad things of colonialism, it has also left good things. We have many areas and aspects that we share as Mozambicans and Angolans both in history, in our cooperation as brother and sister states, and members of SADC [Southern African Development Community] and Lusophone states.
“There is a lot that we share and that is a blessing for us. We want to deploy that to make the church grow more and more.”
He said that the approval of the new province was a recognition of the maturity of the Church in the two countries. “As well as recognising our maturity you are challenging us to grow in maturity and to make a special contribution to the Anglican Communion in the world. We are excited about this and we look forward to it. We ask your prayers and support to do that.”
Speaking ahead of this afternoon’s inauguration, the Archbishop of Canterbury, Justin Welby, said: “I give thanks to God for the growth of the Church in southern Africa and the development of the new province – the Igreja Anglicana de Moçambique e Angola.
“This new province is not just a Lusophone Church for Lusophone people; it is a reflection of the growth of the Church in Mozambique and Angola, and its faithful witness throughout its remarkable history.
Please join me in praying for the people of Mozambique and Angola, and particularly those in Cabo Delgado who are suffering, displaced or grieving. We also pray for my brother Bishop Carlos Matsinhe, the Interim Primate of IAMA, who I look forward to working with as a fellow-Primate in our Anglican Communion, for Archbishop Thabo and the remaining Church of the Province of Southern Africa.”
Archbishop Justin continued: “I invite all Anglicans throughout the world to celebrate the life and growth of God’s church, and to pray regularly for the new Province, that we may grow together in His perfect unity.”