The Arusha Times

Issue 00602

 February 6 - 12, 2010

issn 0856 - 9135 

Front Page 2

Arusha Anglican Church resolves condom fuelled row

By Mary Mwita

Amid the devastating HIV/AIDS pandemic condom use is proven to save lives, but preaching the practice in church could also lead to revolt and may split followers of the church. 

Since 2004 a protracted conflict has been simmering  in the Mount Kilimanjaro Diocese of  the Anglican Church in Arusha  after Bishop Simon Makundi had  insisted on the use of condoms among the church believers to protect themselves  against the killer HIV/AIDS. 

Not only was the Bishop barred from preaching at the Kaloleni St James Church  and  sometimes police had to be called to  maintain peace during mass, but the matter was taken to the high court  by Bishop Makundi against  revolting church members.  

Condom or no condom, last week the conflicting parties buried the hatchet. On Sunday  it was all smiles, tears of joy and hugs when  it was officially announced that the conflict was over and for the first time in about six years  Bishop Makundi  was at the alter preaching to an attentive and smiling audience.  

Simon Makundi  announced that he had withdrawn a case he had filed against revolting Saint James Church leaders and parishioners. The bishop had filed Civil Case at the High Court of Tanzania against the parishioners and the leaders to hand over the church property to him.  

He said he had come to a decision and he as the servant of God was basically called to preach peace and harmony among the children of God. 

The cleric told hundreds of the faithful gathered in the mass that  he had forgiven all those who were involved in the conflict and expressed his regret over his sermon that caused the division and unnecessary inconvenience even to the government organs. 

Events of the day became dramatic when the bishop invited lawyers Medium Mwale and Ezra Mwaluko who were representing the two sides of the dispute to the  alter to thank them for their part in the settlement of the dispute.

The lawyers could not control their emotions and were  both wiping tears as they stood before the church to accept the bishopís appreciation.

Text Box: Bishop Simon Makundi (left) after conducting his first mass in seven years at the Anglican St. James Church in Kaloleni on January 31 this year. Second left is Advocate Ezra Mwaluko who represented church members 
in the civil suit. Advocate Median Mwale (fourth left) represented 
Bishop Makundi. (Photo by Mary Mwita).

In his short response the St. James parishioners lawyer
Mwale said he believed the dispute blocked Godís grace
to his people. He said the positive developments would
now open for that long awaited grace to flow again to the harmonious children of God.

He commended the bishop for his humility that was exemplary to the other church clerics in the society.

Saint James Church at Kaloleni has been under continuous strife with lack of peace over the last six years. At times the church was closed and guarded by armed policemen for the safety of people and property there.

The case was filed at the High Court, Arusha District and had gone through various stages of legal proceedings.

After Bishop Makundi had preached his support for use of condoms as protection against HIV infection, St. James parish had attempted to breakaway from its mother Diocese of Mount Kilimanjaro claiming the bishop had gone against the church teachings.

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