The Anglican Church of Malawi on Saturday May 5 2012 elected Bishop Brighton Vitta Malasa of the Diocese of Upper Shire; Chairman of the Anglican Council in Malawi replacing James Tengatenga. JAMES CHIMPWEYA talked to him about his new position.
Can we have your background information?
Brighton Vitta Malasa hails from Samama Village, T. A. Mponda in Mangochi, a second born son among the nine children of the late Ambrose and Ida Malasa. Went to different schools primary and secondary schools in Malawi; Malindi, Kapiri, Samama, Kaundu, Kabwabwa, Mvunguti and Mpondas, in Mangochi, Dedza and Lilongwe respectively. Have also studied Theology in Zomba, Malawi, and majored in Ecumenical Studies in Zambia, in Zimbabwe and in the United Kingdom.
As the head of Anglican Council in Malawi, what are your responsibilities in the church?
As the head of the Anglican Church, I must first of all make a confession that I have received the news of my election to this position with great humility. We are here talking about leading about one million Anglicans in Malawi. It is a great responsibility and surely as a believer I must obviously put trust in Jesus Christ who calls us to these responsibilities to his own honour. I see myself as a servant of the servants of God and shall strive to be a servant of God and the people of God.
I also see the task before me as collective. It is no manâ€™s responsibility but rather team work. I therefore, call upon all Anglicans and all the people in the country to pray for me and that we should all be seen to be working together. .
Our main task shall therefore be to continue our mission and visions of the church. There is a great task of ensuring that all the ministries in the church do not collapse, more especially now as we are experiencing great challenges economically. It is tough to ensure that all our institutions run smoothly and to raise money for theological training for young men who have offered themselves to be the prospective priests. One of the greatest tasks before me is to ensure that the church does not collapse amidst economic challenges.
How long is your term and what do you want people to remember you with?
The term is basically three years or more as the Bishops decide in line with the constitution and acts of the Anglican Church in Malawi and another Bishop will take over from me upon end of term. I have just taken over from Bishop James Tengatenga of the Anglican Diocese of Southern Malawi who has served in the post for quite a long time.
You ran a malaria project in the past years, how effective was the project, do you intend to continue with it or you have other projects you have earmarked?
Yes for the last four years we have been running malaria projects in which we were educating the masses on how to prevent malaria, which remains the biggest killer disease in Malawi among pregnant women and children under the age of five.
How do you intend to work with political leaders as head of the Anglican church?
One thing that is worth mentioning is that as a church we work hand in hand with the government of the day and we have repeatedly called ourselves partners in development. We complement each other, for example, we have hospitals, health centres, secondary and primary schools and other educational institutions, the agreement is that we provide all the necessities and government comes to pay for all our officers. We call ourselves partners in development with the government.