Friday, April 12, 2019

Bishop Maimbo's Election as Primate

(written in May 2018)

So let's go back to the primary reason for our trip to Tanzania this May.  We had heard that there would be an election for the next archbishop and primate of the Anglican Church of Tanzania, but we had not realized that Bishop Maimbo Mndolwa (Diocese of Tanga) was a candidate. What a surprise and delight it was to find out that he had been elected.

Bishop of Tanga elected as new primate of the Anglican Church of Tanzania (Anglican Communion News Service)

Here is the official press release:
press release - election of the Rt. Rev. Maimbo Mndolwa
as Archbishop of the Anglican Church of Tanzania

Now, I will confess to a bit of concern at first, as I thought we would need to make new contacts right in the middle of a United Thank Offering grant application, but this was not the case.

In the Anglican Church of Tanzania, a primate also remains bishop of his own diocese. While taking on the responsibility of both jobs seems a formidable endeavor, Bishop - now Archbishop - Maimbo is a man of great energy and seems gifted in planning and vision.

Please join me in praying for him as he takes on this task.

April 2019: He's completing his first year. I'm sure these prayers are still needed! 

Thursday, May 17, 2018


So why, you might ask, are you in Morogoro, Tanzania? Morogoro is definitely not in the Diocese of Tanga.

The short answer is that the Rt. Rev. Maimbo Mndolwa, Bishop of the Diocese of Tanga, has been elected Primate of the Anglican Church of Tanzania (more on that exciting news soon). Several of us from the United States will be attending Bishop Maimbo's enthronement Sunday.

Colin Johnstone and I traveled to Tanzania earlier this week.  Yesterday we left Korogwe, the seat of the Diocese of Tanga, and are on our way to Dodoma, the capital of Tanzania, for the event.

Internet access is available here and there, so we  hope to post pictures from our time in Dodoma and from our time earlier in the week at Hegongo Holy Cross Secondary School in Magila.

Please pray for Bishop Maimbo and his family as he prepares to shoulder this enormous responsibility on top of his work as diocesan bishop.

Hello again!

You will have noticed that the Friends of Tanga blog has been on hiatus. However, the friendship has continued and has grown in new directions over the past five years. There is news to share, and I hope to update you on some of the activities of the past few years.

I should introduce myself first, however.  My name is Sarah Randall. I am a Sister of Saint Margaret, a priest of the Episcopal Diocese of Massachusetts, and the new coordinator of the partnership between the Diocese of Tanga and the Diocese of Massachusetts. We hope to develop our collaboration both between dioceses and among parishes and individuals in the US who are interested in this relationship. The Diocese of Ohio, for example, has been in relationship with the Diocese of Tanga for decades, and we have coordinated our efforts from time to time.

There will be many voices on this blog, some familiar from previous entries and some new. The former coordinator, Colin Johnstone, is still involved, though he has moved; we are grateful for his continued enthusiasm for this partnership.

-- Sarah SSM, Morogoro, Tanzania

Monday, January 28, 2013

Welcome! Friends of Tanzania: Tanga

The Friends of Tanzania was initiated by the parishes of All Saints Brookline, Grace, North Attleborough, and Trinity Melrose in 2008. 

Support has also come from others in the diocese, and from Episcopalians in the dioceses of Texas and Fort Worth—as well as those of other faiths and no faith.   The group has been in a companion relationships with the parish of St. Alban’s, Mgombezi for five years and is currently developing relationships with two other parishes in Tanga: Holy Cross, Magila and St Francis Xavier, Kizara.  

  Since 2008, members of the group have participated in 5 mission trips to Tanga and raised over $130,000 for projects in Tanga including the building of a health center in the village of Kizara, a remote community in the Usambara mountains; a leprosy care center in Misufini; a home for seniors in Mapinduzi; support for various projects in the parish of St. Alban’s, Mgombezi including support for orphan children; a swing set for the nursery school and six sewing machines for mothers enrolled in a tailoring school at Holy Cross parish in Magila. 


Join us in our pilgrimage of faith and solidarity!

The text from these pages was largely written by Colin Johnstone, with photos and blog set up by Sara Irwin

About Tanzania

The United Republic of Tanzania was formed in April, 1964 from the union of two sovereign states – the Republic of Tanganyika and the People’s Republic of Zanzibar.
Fossil remains of humans and pre-human hominids have been found in Tanzania that date back over 2 million years, making the area one of the oldest-known inhabited areas on earth.  Colonized by Germany during World War 1 and later granted to Britan udner the ensuing peace accords, it finally became independent in 1961 (at that time part of the British Commonwealth). According to UNICEF, the life expectancy is 56.  In a country of almost 46 million people there is only one fully qualified doctor per 33,000 people, one assistant medical officer per 31,000 people and 2.4 nurses and midwives per 10,000 people, according to the Touch Foundation and the World Bank.

Holy Cross Magila

Holy Cross has long been an important spiritual center in the Anglican Church of Tanzania. During the tenure of Frank Weston as Bishop of Zanzibar and Tanga (1908-1924), Holy Cross was probably the most important center for Anglicanism in colonial East Africa.  The present Bishop, Maimbo Mndolwa  has produced a vision for the future of his diocese that includes the restoration of Holy Cross as a spiritual, education and retreat center. 

Fr  Joel 
Canon Joel Makame moved to Holy Cross in January 2012 to serve as parish priest and Archdeacon of Magila. He has been charged with leading the restoration and reinvigoration of Holy Cross Parish. Already, Canon Makame has begun to make improvements to parish life by starting a nursery school for parish children (pictured below). He has plans to start a tailoring school for women of the parish. All Saints Parish in Brookline has recently donated $1,000 to assist Canon Makame in implementing these plans. The funds will be used to provide a swing set for the children and 5 sewing machines for the newly established tailoring school.

Canon Makame is well known to us in the Diocese of Massachusetts. Bishop Shaw and brothers from SSJE met Canon Makame in 2006 when they visited the diocese of Tanga and he was priest at the parish of St. Alban’s in Mgombezi.  He has become a good friend of several members of the Friends of Tanzania. During his tenure at St Alban’s, Canon Makame developed and ran a program to support children orphaned by HIV/AIDS and other diseases and other low income/vulnerable children.  Over the past 5 years Canon Makame has fostered and supported 6 children – Yohana, Vincent, George, David, Rogers, Helen and Esther. Episcopalians from this diocese and the Diocese of Texas have provided funds to Canon Makame on a regular basis to pay tuition and other school expenses, general living expenses for him and the children, laptop computers for school, as well as gifts for birthdays and Christmas. 

The generosity of Bishop Shaw and two members of All Saints Parish, Brookline enabled us to sponsor Canon Makame’s visit to London and Massachusetts in September 2011. He was met in London by Dr Colin Johnstone and they spent 5 days visiting religious and historical sites, and later 9 days in Massachusetts. Canon Joel has a calling to the religious life. With the support of his bishop he plans to incorporate a community of men at Magila. Brother Mosuoe from the Society of the Sacred Mission in South Africa is currently spending 3 months at Magila helping Joel develop a Rule of Life and a plan for this proposed new community. The community will be named after Saint Anthony of Padua.
Fr Joel helps Rev. Sara vest for blessing the nursery school

The site for a new library to be constructed

A friend from Massachusetts tries out the swing set after Bishop Mark
Hollingsworth of the Episcopal Diocese of Ohio offered a blessing

The Health Center at Kizara

The village of Kizara is located in the Eastern Usambara mountains at the edge of the Nilo Nature Reserve. This reserve was established in 2007 as a haven for almost 800 species of plants (including 8 species of African Violets) and 100 species of birds. This mountainous rain forest has been a traditional source of firewood and food for the local inhabitants and plays a critically important role as a water catchment area. Bishop Weston was a frequent visitor to these mountains and the village of Kizara. Three Kilometers from Kizara village is the site of a Holy Water Point. Local legend has it that water first began to flow from the point after a thirsty bishop (Frank Weston) blessed the area.

The original Kizara clinic, a dispensary, was established over 100 years ago near the site of the Kizara Anglican Mission. It served the area well until 2002 when the villagers realized that they needed a new building to serve the health needs of the growing population of Kizara and surrounding villages and, in view of their remote location, to provide better health care for pregnant women, women in childbirth, children and people with HIV/AIDS. The plan that was developed envisioned a modern village health center with three buildings: a main building housing examination rooms, a surgery, laboratory and pharmacy; a maternity unit to provide prenatal care and a delivery ward; and an in-patient building with wards for women, children and men.

The Anglican Diocese of Tanga provided the land and the government of Japan provided an initial grant of $36,000. In February 2008, following a mission pilgrimage led by brothers of the Society of Saint John the Evangelist, members of the mission group, along with others, decided to adopt the Kizara Health Center as a fund-raising project. In 2010 this group founded the Friends of Tanzania that, in turn, adopted the Heatth Center as its primary project going forward. Since March, 2008, almost $96,000 has been raised for construction, equipment and supplies.

Donations have come from a variety of sources including the three founding parishes of the Friends of Tanzania, friends from Texas, Massachusetts Jubilee Ministry, and United Thank Offering of the national Episcopal Church. The UTO and Jubilee grants supported the installation of solar power and water at Kizara while the remaining funds were used to complete the building phase, to buy medical equipment and supplies and to reimburse expenses incurred by our local project manager (Father William Mbuji).

In December, 2012 Bishop Tom Shaw of the Diocese of Massachusetts led a mission pilgrimage to Tanga. One of the highlights of the trip was the blessing and dedication of the Kizara Health Center by Bishops Shaw and Mndolwa on Friday, December 7th. Bishop Shaw preached at a High Mass celebrated by Bishop Mndolwa in Saint Francis Xavier parish church followed by the blessing service and lunch in the parish church. The group returned to Korogwe via the Nilo rain forest conservation area with spectacular views of the plains below as far as the city of Tanga and the Indian Ocean.

Photos: Colin Johnstone, Heidi Marcotte, Sara Irwin