The Diocese of the Upper Shire of the Anglican Church recently launched a Father’s Union, otherwise known as the Men’s Ministry. Chairperson of the Anglican Council Bishop Brighton Malasa presided over the launch as bishop of Upper Shire. JAMES CHIMPWEYA talked to Malasa on the ministry.
How important is this Men’s Guild Ministry?
The Men’s Ministry is very important to the church because it is giving a platform for men to come together in the church. You know that for a long time, men in the Anglican Church have had no forum to come together as a guild. However, men have been and are active in secular activities. They come together in drinking clubs or joints actively and they discuss a lot of issues which make them sometimes to arrive at a decision that affect their lives in one way or another.
Men come together for other things or games such as bawo. While playing such games, they also discuss a lot of issues. But in the church we have not given them a forum to come together to discuss how they can collectively contribute to the ministry and development of the church. It has all along been women coming together and you can see how active women are in the life, ministry and development of the church.
As chairperson of the Anglican Council in Malawi, will you take the idea to other dioceses in the Anglican fold?
Being chairperson of the Anglican Church in Malawi does not necessarily mean being above everyone else. It means the first among the equals. So every diocese is moving towards establishing this guild and other dioceses have the guild already known by different names. We launched the ministry as Diocese of Upper Shire. We are just taking off with this ministry and as it grows we will have it at national level the way we do with Mothers Union, Daughters of the King and other guilds in the church.
What activities will this ministry carry out?
The ministry has and will have a lot of activities. By the way, the guild has a constitution to guide their operations. They will have some charity works. Women do a number of charity works. But in our societies, many women are dependent on their husbands economically, which means that they get money from men to do charity work and they successfully do it. This time, men will also use their blessings to help the needy.
Who will be funding the ministry?
Men work hard and earn money with which they support their families. They also manage to save some money for their leisure time. Members will be contributing finances towards their guild. They will also run some businesses as income generating activities. Some have already gone into farming as a way of raising funds.
What are the dos and don’ts of the ministry?
Candidates to be admitted into the guild are taught everything expected of them regarding Christian moral values and the constitution which is in line with the fundamental principles of the church.