“He was soldier who died while on the battle field.” That was how CCAP Blantyre Synod general secretary the Reverend Alex Maulana described fallen cleric the Reverend Frank Anderson Kuyeli.
It was a befitting tribute to Reverend Kuyeli who collapsed during a church service at Namalindi CCAP in Chikwawa and was later pronounced dead at Mwaiwathu Private Hospital in Blantyre.
The shocking news saw representatives from all corners of the CCAP Blantyre Synod, which spans from Ntcheu to Nsanje, gather in Saint Michael and All Angels Cathedral in Blantyre to bid farewell to a servant of God who Blantyre City Presbytery Clerk the Reverend Baxton Maulidi described as “a man who was readily available for God’s work”.
The 125-year-old church was full, leaving scores to wait outside just to see the white casket bearing the remains of Reverend Kuyeli carried shoulder high by fellow men of the collar to the hearse.
The service inside was sombre. The music was touching. More touching because the selection from the Nyimbo Za Mulungu hymn book was from the deceased’s list of favourites.
The congregation sang Chisomo Chodabwitsacho (Amazing Grace), Ndaima Nji pa Khristuyo (On Christ the Solid Rock I Stand) and Kwa Inu Yesu Ndilira (Just take me as I am) with one of the deceased’s sons, Masa providing the leading vocals.
Raised hands in praise to God and tears in memory of the good times the family and congregations where Reverend Kuyeli once ministered shared when they sang the hymns together accompanied the singing.
Reverend Kuyeli’s sudden death provided an opportunity to reflect on life guided by a sermon by deputy synod moderator the Reverend Edna Navaya who meditated on Joel chapter 1 verse 4 on certainty about death.
When the congregation rose to sing the final hymn followed by the protracted Amen, Amen, Amen to the trinity and the church organ producing accompanying sound that seemed to echo up to the heavens heralding the return of one of their own after a successful completion of tour of duty, tears started flowing. Who could stop the tears in the face of a final journey of a man they loved?
The loss was too much to bear for the children and grandchildren. Slowly, the escorting Reverend Kuyeli to Rauji village in Chikwawa started moving.
Tears and more tears welcomed the fallen minister of word and sacrament in the Shire Valley where, according to Department of Climate Change and Meteorological Services, the temperatures hit 37 degrees Celsius.
Music and more music, including a performance by a group from the Calvary Family Church (CFC), escorted Reverend Kuyeli to his resting place on Wednesday.
The funeral was attended by CCAP Blantyre Synod leaders both past and present, Catholic Church’s Chikwawa Diocese vicar general Father Cosmas Chasukwa, Paramount Chief Lundu, Chikwawa Central Member of Parliament Zahri Issah, CFC’s leader Apostle Madalitso Mbewe and representatives from other denominations among others.
Dust to dust, earth to earth, ashes to ashes, Reverend Kuyeli, who once served as Blantyre City Presbytery moderator (2006-08), was committed back to earth leaving behind a wife and eight children.n