Communion friends mourn with Anglican Church of Tanzania

Communion friends mourn with Anglican Church of Tanzania
Bishop John Simalenga and Bishop Gregory Cameron (r) Photo Credit: Diocese of St Asaph

Bishop John Simalenga and Bishop Gregory Cameron (r)
Photo Credit: Diocese of St Asaph

By Bellah Zulu, ACNS – The Anglican Church of Tanzania is mourning the loss of two of its leading figures: Bishop of the Diocese of South West Tanganyika, the Rt Revd John Simalenga, and Vice Chancellor of Anglican-run St John’s University, Professor Gabriel Mwaluko.

Professor Mwaluko passed away on November 19, aged 68, at the Apollo Hospital in Hyderabad, India, where he had been undergoing medical treatment.

The late Vice Chancellor served in different capacities in academic institutions, Hospital Management in international organisations and Non-Governmental Organisations among many others. He was a holder of several medical degrees obtained in East Africa and the United Kingdom. Chancellor Bishop Donald Mtetemela described his passing as the university’s ‘darkest day’.

Bishop Simalenga passed away at his house in Tanzania on November 24 after a short illness. His passing was reported to friends and supporters around the Anglican Communion by the Provincial Secretary Dr Dickson Chilongani.

“John sensed that he had malaria last night after feeling a fever,” he wrote. “When he went to the diocesan dispensary, he was diagnosed with malaria, but also his sugar level and blood pressure were quite high.”

He added, “After receiving treatment, he was released to go home and rest but he died early morning. His funeral will be on Thursday November 28 and we remember him in our prayers.”

Tributes for the Bishop came in from the Church in Wales’s Diocese of St Asaph, which has a link with the Diocese of South West Tanganyika.

Bishop Gregory Cameron said, “Bishop John Simalenga became a great friend to the Diocese of St Asaph in the short time that we were able to co-operate on our link.

“He was always extremely generous and enthusiastic about the welcome he could offer to visitors to South West Tanganyika, and had a passionate commitment to see the Gospel preached and the Church grow under his care. We commend him to God’s care, and remember Martha and his family in our prayers.”

He has posted a video message for people of the Tanzanian diocese assuring them of his prayers.

Bishop Simalenga had also been involved with the Anglican Communion’s Continuing Indaba initiative, participating in the first theological hub meeting of Continuing Indaba in Limuru, Kenya in February 2009. Project Director, Canon Phil Groves said, “We remember Bishop John’s analysis of the Anglican Communion. He taught us that the fractures and divides visible in the leaves and the branches, are usually a problem in the roots.

“The divides in the Anglican Communion are not just between provinces, but in the lives of our dioceses and parishes. They are solved not by treating the leaves but by examining the roots of the problems.”

Canon Groves said that the late Bishop maintained a close eye on Continuing Indaba and was a firm believer in the models he had helped to shape. “We will miss Bishop John as a friend and as a fellow traveller. We pray for him, his family and for the Diocese of South Western Tanganyika.”

Categories: Church & Ministries

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