From Church Leaders



Bishop Dinis has sent us this moving account of the recent events marking the 10th Anniversary of the death of Berta Sengulane in the accident at Zove, at which Fr Paul Walmsley-McLeod and Elizabeth Tucker, from Friern Barnet Parish, represented the ALMA partnership.

Given the special nature of celebrations to mark the 10th anniversary of Berta’s departure to our heavenly Father I could not resist to the temptation of registering some information to share with you some of the events we had the privilege of being witnesses, just to share November events.

16 November it was the patronal  festival of the Church of the Sower, founded by Berta on 14 November 1998. About 300 people participated at the Holy Eucharist and the service was enriched with, among others, the following.

22 November , Saturday. About 350 people attended Mass and visited the grave at Zandamela, people from Maputo, Xai-Xai and Zandamela.

26 November. Family Members marked the day by visiting the grave at Zandamela as they traveled from Maputo to Zove.

26,27,28 and early 29 November – arrivals of pilgrims from Zandamela, Maputo, Xai-Xai, Maciene, Chalambe, Chambone, Beira, Chimoio, Zimbabwe, London, Sweden, Angola and South Africa who joined the family and the local people to celebrate the 10th anniversary of Zove as a centre of Christian faith starting from Berta’s death. Tents, posters, new temporary facilities were visible signs that some special event was coming. Already 26 at night there was such spirituality that made it clear that we were on holy ground as God’s sons and daughters, were ready to talk to Him and receive those blessings He had to bestow upon us.

27 November – opening Eucharist for Mothers’ Union Conference with Fr. Carlos Matsinhe who is the Dean, preaching.

28 November - Dedication of St. Andrew’s Church at Muxungwe, a beautiful, solid and well furnished infrastructure, built by local people on their own followed by a visit to Mazungo Church/school with water cistern for 54000 liters. Both places are a result of the existence of Christian witness at Zove.

29 November - Main celebrations. Berta’s  family led us in sung matins, something Berta very much found uplifting (and of course as it has been widely shared, this was her last act, leading those who were traveling with her in singing matins or morning prayer). We started at 7.00 a.m. Led by Chrys, Olga’s husband. At 8.00 a.m. it was the opening of an exhibition on Esperança Berta’s life and work, under the leadership of Gina, Teófilo’s wife and John, Fidélia’s husband .

8.50 – By the main Cross near the road, where Berta’s body laid before being taken to Beira 10 years ago, Teófilo welcomed us all on behalf of the family. A musical narrative of what happened here was presented by the closest members of the family (husband and children) followed by the launching of the uniform of the choral group “cantando com Esperança Berta” with photo and her favourite colours and prayer symbol. After laying of flowers and prayers by the Dean and Ven. Hansine we processed to the Church where solemn Eucharist was celebrated with Bishop Mark preaching an inspiring and pleasant sermon. He came with four of his five Archdeacons. He was the concelebrant.

The Old Testament was read by three people including two of the survivors, Elizabeth and Teófilo, and a member of the family, Ilda, while the Psalm was sung by one of Berta’s name sake; the New Testament was read by two survivors, Robert and Bruno (represented by Chrys) and a member of the family, Eugénia. The Gospel procession included the survivors, carrying the Bible in a Land Rover in miniature symbolizing the arrival of the Gospel in the land and included three little girls carrying smoking pottery pots with incense surrounding the reader. The reading itself included some parts sung by the children (Berta’s) and later by the Congregation. The incense in pots on the heads of the girls was used for the consecration prayer. Other interesting features of the celebration were present at this multilingual event attend by more that 700 people, lasting up to 13.00. After a resume of the events by Dr. Rogério Cossa, we broke for lunch and then a session of messages and social events took us to 17.00 hours.

To have the Revd. Chad Gandiya representing the USPG which has had long partnership in many aspects of mission with the Diocese and his very clear and challenging sermon on Sunday;

To have Robert Ashdown, Treasurer of MANNA who in addition of being one of the survivors and visit Zove for the second time and has a son called Zove;

To have Fr. Olof from the Church of Sweden, representing a new but strong partner, touching many aspects of our mission;

To have Elizabeth, that living miracle of Zove whose life gets so mingled with that of Zove and you could even call her Elizabeth Tucker Zove with her diverse witness in many gatherings in London and beyond.

To have Fr. Paul in his 2nd pilgrimage to Zove in less than 12 months, with his exciting gifts to the children for their school, with his contagious simplicity;

To have the M.U. President from Angola patiently taking part in all proceedings since Wednesday and sharing in the life of the Diocesan M.U.

To have old and infirm women being part of the whole even since Wednesday, people who would have shown signs of being exhausted but each day they seemed to be renewed;

To see 2 generations of M. U. member mother and daughters and in laws, and even grand mothers with their grand daughters M.U. members, celebrating what great things was doing in Zove;

To see the local people in hundreds staying daily from 7.00 a.m. to 22.00;

To hear stories about how God had acted in the lives of the participants;

All these were like “a glass of fresh water to a thirsty soul” Prov. 25, 25, like an invitation of Angels inviting us to share in a heavenly song where day and night are opportunities to praise God.

From a V seen as meaning victim of an accident to a V meaning a victory even where there is death, we have a V meaning a vision, vision for the area which now has five Congregations, two or even four schools, clean water in three places, a health post caring for more and more people, Zove becoming more and more hospitable place, we thank God for the way He has been leading us to proclaim His glory through the Zove event.

What is needed in Zove?

  1. To cultivate a Gospel based life style through a trained leadership in each Congregation. Our dedicated Catechists need training, taking into account the local reality.
  2. To provide water in each of the Congregations and beyond. Health would improve immensely with this gift from God to humanity.
  3. To improve the quality of foundations for St. Mary’s Church at Zove.

May God be glorified in Zove and elsewhere.

The Right Reverend Dinis Salomão Sengulane
Bishop of Lebombo

There is more infomation about Zove, some pictures of Zove and Elizabeth Tucker’s account of the anniversary ceremonies elsewhere on this site.