New diocese for northern Mozambique

Bishop Manuel Ernesto blesses the Archbishop after his licensing.

The Archbishop of Cape Town has presided over the launch of a third Anglican diocese in Mozambique. On 16 March 2019 the Most Rev. Thabo Makgoba inaugurated the Missionary Diocese of Nampula at a ceremony held at the Parish of St John the Evangelist.

The diocese covers the provinces of Cabo Delgado and Nampula in northern Mozambique and had been part of the Diocese of Niassa, which now is comprised of the provinces of Niassa, Zambezia and portions of Tete. The suffragan bishop of Niassa, the Rt. Rev. Manuel Ernesto, was installed as missionary bishop of the diocese.

In his sermon, Archbishop Makgoba praised the work of the bishops of Niassa in spreading the Gospel in Northern Mozambique.  “We thank God for the faithful who have kept the Gospel light burning here through their lives, their zeal, their prayers and their service and witness. Today, I especially thank God for his faithfulness to you who have made it possible for this Diocese to be inaugurated as a missionary diocese. We are able to gather here today because the Provincial teams that have visited have looked carefully at the challenges you face and have recommended the formation of the new Diocese as the appropriate way to help you meet those challenges.”

“Our thanks must go also to the Bishops of Niassa who have laid the foundations for today over the past 30 years – Paulino Manhique, Mark van Koevering and Vicente Msosa – as well as the grandfather of the new Diocese, Bishop Dinis Sengulane of Lebombo.”

The archbishop said: “In approving the new Diocese of Niassa and the Missionary diocese of Nampula, we have taken note of the huge area in which you as the Church in northern Mozambique minister. We have also noted the large number of chapelries that your parishes have and the impressive number of Catechists who help your Clergy to minister to your people.”

“The last team which visited you found overwhelming support for establishing a missionary diocese of Nampula, and believed that such a step would enhance the work of the Anglican Church, and enable it to grow and flourish in this part of Mozambique.”

In discerning the future of the diocese, Archbishop Makgoba asked: “who is Jesus here and now?”

“What is his message to us as we seek to overcome the challenges that we face today, whether they concern corruption in central government, or challenges closer to home – moral decline in our communities, access to markets for farmers and both the potential and the difficulties which come with economic growth and more people moving into the towns in this Diocese?”

“What is Jesus saying to us as we face the reality of the cruel attacks we have seen, apparently carried out by religious extremists, in Cabo Delgado over the last 18 months – attacks which we must condemn strongly? … Friends, the blessed presence of God with his church is the glory of the church. You might have been in tears due the heaviness of the load on your shoulders, or faced  by afflictions or calamities in one way or another – the apostle assures you that tears are wiped away in Jesus. God himself, as your tender Father, with his own kind hand shall wipe them away.”