IAMA’s Bishops address their future

[Source: ACSA - September 2021]

The Anglican Church of South Africa has reported the thoughts and aspirations of the four founding bishops of the Igreja Anglicana de Mocambique e Angola (IAMA) that they gave at the Special Synod on 1 September.

(See also New Province for Angola and Mozambique announced).

Bishop Carlos Matsinhe of Lebombo:

Thank you very much for this wonderful opportunity. I am going to express my feelings, first, talking about seeds, secondly about our commonalities and thirdly, about the challenge to mature our life and our testimony.

What I see at this stage and looking back right to the beginning of the entry of Anglicanism in Mozambique and Angola, I thank God for seeing the seeds that have been grown flourishing and bearing fruit. Throughout history it was bishops, priests, lay people particularly, and many more people; people from abroad and people from every village where the Anglican Church has set its foot who have worked for more than a century to bring about the growth that we can visibly see today. So we are challenged to continue bearing fruit that can abide.

The Blessing and Strength of Common Identity

Secondly, we are blessed and strengthened by our commonalities between Angola and Mozambique. The first and foremost is the Portuguese language which is a heritage from the colonial system; after all, the bad things of colonialism have also left good things. And we have got many more other 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 states, and as Lusophone states. There is a lot that we share and that is a blessing for us, and we want to deploy that to make the church grow more and more.

The Grace of God and Trust From fellow Christians a Challenge to Further Maturity

And finally, Your Grace and members of the Synod, I see that the Grace of God has been poured upon us, and also the trust and confidence from God. By allowing the IAMA churches to become a Province, you are recognizing maturity and you are, as well, putting a challenge to us so that that kind of maturity can grow even more and also pave the way for a special contribution to the Anglican Communion in the world. We are excited about this and we look forward to this and we ask your prayers and support to do this.

Seeds that are growing, our common identity which is a gift from God and also the Grace and trust from God and from you all. Thank you.

Bishop André Soares of Angola

The mission priorities of the new Province of IAMA are:

  1. Continuing vigorous evangelization of our people in Mozambique and Angola, including church planting, discipleship formation, enabling members to know and play their roles in leadership and caring for their church’s needs.
  2. Development of worship, training of catechists for the work of evangelization, preparing people for baptism and confirmation.
  3. Developing a compatible Provincial Theological College and Theological Institute in Angola to equip future leadership of the Province at all levels; theological education, training and liturgy are highly important for spiritual growth.

Bishop Vicente Msosa of Niassa

This Charge reflects on the need for the Province to be inclusive, especially for women and young people.

As we look at the ministry of the Church and the challenge of mission for the new Province of IAMA, it is clear that we need to gain a fresh understanding of the terms of the Great Commission, which is to go to the whole world, to women and young people alike, to the marginalized, to the excluded and make them disciples. We need to examine more clearly the matter of inclusiveness, the role of women and young people in the church, if we are truly desirous of bringing transformation and the desired impact of this new Province.

The dimension of transformation that God is beginning to realize in this new Province requires that we deliberately and intentionally bend down, even if it is in obscurity, to labour to involve women and young people who will become agents of change. And with widespread decay virtually in every strata of our society, such women and young people, such agents of change, must be raised everywhere – raised in terms of being deliberate in creating platforms where their ministry is recognized. Our mandate as a Province is to empower women and the youth and involve them in holistic mission in order to build inclusive and sustainable communities.

Young people are a great asset to their community. They have vision, abilities and energy to make positive contributions to their surroundings. The Province should provide a platform to young people and women, giving them the necessary tools to be active partners in transforming their communities. Women are often at a double disadvantage due to poverty and gender discrimination. We should be intentional in economic empowerment. This is a cornerstone for building just and sustainable communities in this new Province.

Among others, the relevance of the new Province will be determined by basing on its focus on empowering women and the youth, helping them to overcome poverty, injustice and gender-based violence. This includes also working effectively to engage young people in rebuilding just relationships between the genders.

God wants us to begin to raise women and young people to become agents of change and leaders of the church in these end times. In order to accomplish that we need to be deliberate, we need to be intentional in raising women and young people among the students and teachers. They must be raised among scientists and researchers, economists, politicians and government officials, farmers and rural dwellers. As God looks for genuine transformation in our Province, He intends to raise women and young people in the church, in the cities and villages to defeat the counsels of God’s enemy who perpetrate injustices and violence against women. They must be raised in the family institution, in the community and in the congregations.

God wants the church to be in the business of bringing women and young people as agents of transformation in every segment of human endeavour. So deep wells must be dug in the hearts of young people and women so as to get a sustainable move of God. The way forward for the Province cannot be any other, apart from engaging in concerted but applicable inclusion. Our only commission is to make every human being, including women and young people ,disciples. This should be the burden for the Province and this is what it should set out under God to achieve its mandate. Amen.

Bishop Manuel Ernesto of Nampula

The birth of IAMA is an opportunity for us, firstly, to look anew at the challenges in the context of our two countries, namely:

Secondly, this step will also compel us to start envisioning the most suitable mission model for our Province. We have no geographical direct connection [between Mozambique and Angola] but we know that contemporary mission focus has changed from geographical to social boundaries.

Thirdly, it requires us to transform the challenges into Mission Programmes:

  1. Provincial programmes on reconciliation to heal our past heritage and inspire the youth for a peaceful future;
  2. Provincial programmes on Climate Justice to straighten church and community environmental initiatives and promote a public/private dialogue with our states, private corporations and communities. (We have huge pieces of land that can easily hold a reforestation programme; we have experience from the Diocese of Niassa and the vision is still here.)
  3. Provincial programs on Sustainability to mobilize resources – human resources, services, and property development. We have been inspired by ACSA and other provinces across Africa and Trinity Church Wall Street has extensively trained our staff, with MANNA, ALMA and other partners providing initial funding support.

But above all, Your Grace, our most valuable assets are our people, the youngest and fast growing population, and that is not to mention our faith.

Finally, the province will give us a broad platform to connect local voices in Mozambique and Angola to global conversations, not only on these challenges but also on other aspects of life and faith.

We are truly excited about the future.

Bishop Dinis Sengulane, retired Bishop of Lebombo

“Let us grow up in all things into him who is the head, Christ” – Eph. 4:15

UPWARD, ONWARDS, OUTWARDS are three words that can help us to measure whether we are growing up into Christ.

This step that we are taking today is not a point of arrival but of renewing our commitment to GROW. The Church is called to grow into Christ and these three words are a measuring tape to see whether such growth is happening.

To GROW UPWARDLY means spiritual growth, to improve our relationship with God, to be able to see “a laser, reaching heaven and the angels ascending and descending” taking up our prayers and bringing down God’s blessings.

To GROW ONWARDLY is to improve the way we use our minds to make sure that the Church gathers more resources, in personnel, finances and property, and continues the Anglican tradition of using local languages.

To GROW OUTWARDLY is to win more souls for Christ, to make sure that more people know Christ and in more places Christ is known. The outward growth includes issues such as peace, justice, reconciliation, health and education being part of our normal agenda.

The Decade of Evangelism, that strong vision of the Lambeth Conference 1988, inspired us to make sure that all 10 administrative provinces of Mozambique have an Anglican presence and in that same spirit to have a regular Anglican presence in Angola. Let us continue to be a Decade of Evangelism-minded Province.

There is nothing new about this because Luke tells us in 2:52, “Jesus is increasing and growing in wisdom” (onward), in status (upward) and in favour (outward).

UP, ON, OUT is our thermometer as a Church in the Anglican Communion, that beautiful family to which we have the blessing of belonging.

May God prosper our commitment.