Monday, December 20, 2010
In December 2009 at the annual conference of the Methodist Church in Tanzania, Rev. Charles Monto and Rev. Charles Wiggins were elected bishops of the church. This set off a almost a year of bitter political infighting with the Presiding Bishop of the Methodist Church in Kenya who declared that Bishop Monto was not even a minister and that I was to be deported and all our property seized by the Methodist Church of Kenya. The Tanzanian government finally ruled that the Methodist Church in Kenya had no authority over the Methodist Church in Tanzania, its bishops, ministers, or property. Thus, on December 19, 2010, Rev. Charles Monto and Rev. Charles Wiggins were consecrated as bishops of the Methodist Church in Tanzania by Archbishop Samuel Nyase of the Evangelical Church of God of Tanzania and by Bishop Ndege of the Mennonite Church of Tanzania. The consecration took place in the Bunda Methodist Church that many volunteers from America helped build. Pastors of other denominations, government leaders, and neighbors from nearby churches attended. Bishop Monto is now the presiding bishop of all Tanzania, and I am the bishop of the Mara and Mwanza regions (where most of our churches are). I was actually quite humbled and emotional about it. I became friends with the Bishop of the Mennonite Church (which operates the Bunda Teachers College and who was educated in the U.S.), and we are planning many projects where we will work together. Bishop Monto expressed the dream that every Methodist Church in Tanzania would one day have a pre-school, and Karen immediately began planning the first overnight seminar for the teachers of the three we already have (including St. Wiggins Academy) and prospective teachers from other churches. The day began at eight am, included lunch at Martha's Place, and wasn't over until five in the afternoon. It was a blessed day. A day where the book was closed on a major church squabble and where many new and exciting areas of service were explored. We give thanks to God and to all our friends and supporters in the U.S. for all their help and prayers that led to this day. God is good, all the time.