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MOZAMBIQUE: Anglican bishop urges Christians to work together

By Trevor Grundy
9/26/2006
[Ecumenical News International]  Christians must stop squabbling and face the common enemies of disease and poverty, Anglican Bishop Dinis Sengulane of Lebombo in Mozambique has said in London.

He was celebrating the centenary of an Anglican association to help what are now former Portuguese colonies in Southern Africa that are listed by international organizations as countries with some of the most difficult living conditions on earth in the 21st century.

"When we have a challenge which threatens human life we must respond with transparency and boldness, not arrogance," Sengulane, 60, told Ecumenical News International about his fight against HIV/AIDS and malaria. "There's no time for fighting among ourselves."

He was speaking at the end of a service to mark the 100th anniversary of the Mozambique Angola Anglican Association (MANNA), founded in London by a group of Anglican clerics who had worked in Africa and were concerned about social problems there.

The vast majority of Africans were Roman Catholics in Angola and Mozambique, which were part of Portugal until its colonial rule ended in 1975. Anglicans, however, also had a strong presence in those countries, particularly in areas of Mozambique that neighbored what was Nyasaland when it was ruled by Britain, and which is now called Malawi.

In recent years the association has turned its attention to helping bring peace and reconciliation to Mozambique and Angola which were ravaged by more than 25 years of conflict after independence, noted Ian Gordon, who heads the association.

"The Anglican church played an important role in establishing peace and reconciliation in both countries," Gordon said.

People crammed into one of London's most historic churches, St. John's on Waterloo Road, on September 16. Besides Sengulane, those who attended included US-born Bishop Mark van Koevering of Niassa (Mozambique) and Bishop Andre Soares from Angola.

"The Anglican church has done so much to bring peace to Mozambique after years of civil war," the Mozambican high commissioner (ambassador) in Britain, Antonio Gumende, told ENI.

The Anglican bishops were planning to talk to donors to rally support for the economic and spiritual uplifting of people in Angola and Mozambique who are recovering from war and famine.