TANZANIA: Valentino L. Mokiwa enthroned as primate

May 29, 2008

The Most Rev. Valentino L. Mokiwa was enthroned May 25 as primate of the Anglican Church of Tanzania during a five-hour ceremony in Holy Spirit Cathedral in Dodoma, Tanzania.

The entire service, including the sermon delivered by Mokiwa himself, was conducted in Swahili.

Mokiwa, 43, has served as bishop of the Diocese of Dar es Salaam since April 2002.

Mokiwa's homily centered on Paul's letter to the Philippians and he appealed to all Christians in the province, partners and well wishers to work together to support the church and build the body of Christ, said the Rev. Emmanuel Sserwadda, the Episcopal Church's program officer for Africa, who attended the service. "The new archbishop promised to reach out to all people, especially the marginalized."

Tanzania's vice president, Ali Mohamad Shenyi, spoke for an hour and pledged for the government to work together with the church in improving people's lives.

Archbishops Emmanuel Kolini of Rwanda and Justice Akrofi of West Africa attended the ceremony, while the primates of Burundi, Kenya, Nigeria and Uganda were represented by bishops from their respective provinces.

During a luncheon following the service, several speeches were offered and Sserwadda brought greetings to Mokiwa from Presiding Bishop Katharine Jefferts Schori and presented a plaque on her behalf.

The Rev. Sandra McCann, an Episcopal missionary from the Diocese of Atlanta serving in Tanzania, officially represented Virginia Theological Seminary (VTS) and presented a letter from the dean and president, the Very Rev. Dr. Ian Markham, along with a copy of his latest book, Understanding Christian Doctrine. Mokiwa and McCann are both graduates of VTS.

Mokiwa was elected in Dodoma on February 28 during a special session of the General Synod of the Anglican Church of Tanzania. He will serve a five-year term.

Mokiwa succeeds Archbishop Donald Leo Mtetemela, who retired on May 25 after serving the maximum of two five-year terms as primate. He will continue as diocesan bishop for the Diocese of Ruaha for the next five years, while also serving as chancellor of St. John's University in Dodoma.

During a House of bishops meeting on May 26, Mokiwa appointed Bishop John Lupaa of Rift Valley diocese to be the new provincial dean.

Mokiwa is married to Grace and they have two sons, Jerry and Joseph.

The Anglican Church of Tanzania was inaugurated in 1970 following the division of the Province of East Africa into the Province of Kenya and the Province of Tanzania.

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