CARING FOR CREATION WITH A BRAND NEW BISHOP
The Diocese of Niassa in Northern Mozambique had a wonderful day of celebration as they welcomed their brand new Bishop, Dom Vicente Msosa as the fourth bishop of the Diocese. Archbishop Thabo Makgoba conducted the service and was joined by Bishop William Mostert (Bishop Vicente’s “twin” consecrated on the same day) Bishop Steve Diseko, Dean of the Province and Bishop Carlos Matsinhe from ACSA. Bishop Rob from the Diocese of London attended to represent ALMA. Bishop Fanuel Magangani of Northern Malawi was accompanied by clergy from his Diocese, Upper Shire and Lake Malawi.
A day of great celebration and vibrant worship from the many choirs as parishes and organisations brought gifts to welcome their new bishop.
Travelling is difficult in Northern Mozambique, with some clergy taking as long as three days to make the journey on difficult roads and so Archdeacon Eugenio Rafael and Jaime Samuel, who are part of the Green Anglican movement, invited Rev Dr Rachel Mash, Provincial Environmental Coordinator, to conduct a workshop on caring for creation while the clergy were gathered.
The day started with looking at the theology of creation, that the first commandment given to humans was to be keepers of the earth. We then looked at the way in which humans have damaged the Earth we were called to look after and the impacts of climate change. We examined three types of theology : dominion theology, escapist theology and prosperity gospel, that are adding to environmental degradation. Then we looked at what is salvation in its totally as God so loved the whole world that he gave his son. As Anglicans it is part of our mission call to renew the earth.
In the afternoon inspiring presentations were made regarding the wonderful work being done in the Diocese to care for the environment. These include wood saving stoves, latrines made from local materials and agricultural methods that heal the earth. Some of these methods are to stop burning to clear the land – this improves fertility the first year but depletes the soil in the long run. Low tillage organic farming emphasizes using mulch as a cover to hold the moisture in the earth and ‘green composting’ where legumes are grown at the same time as the main crop, to add nitrogen to the soil and create mulch when the bean dies off. Congratulations to the Equipas da vida team, Rebecca, Mario, Masiti and all who work so hard.
Then the clergy made action plans by District – looking at how to respond spiritually and practically to environmental degradation.
Spiritually they plan to
Our teachings should be based on biblical passages such as Genesis 2:15. As we as ministers prepare the message for Sunday we need to integrate with climate change, what can we do to combat climate change. We are called to be stewards of what God created. When we destroy what God made, this causes God great sorrow. God has given us all resources for the well-being of man, and man must use these resources with love. We need to teach the care of creation in our services and bible study groups. We also need to go house to house and teach others as well as community leaders. We need to teach all our groups such as Mothers Union or choirs to care for creation . We will also celebrate environmental days and the Season of Creation. We will have reflective walks around the areas where the environment is destroyed or at risk as well as celebrate those areas which are still good. We must prioritize our children of Sunday School, Saint Ines and youth. We need to challenge some cultural practices which are damaging the environment.
To start a nursery for fruit trees, plant trees at all celebrations such a baptism, confirmation and marriage. To construct wood saving stoves and latrines in all our homes for we want our water to be clean. We need to plant grass and other plants where the ground is bare to avoid soil erosion. We must have awareness campaigns and include environmental teaching in our pastoral visits. We need a special day for a big tree planting and also clean up days. We must protect our rivers and not throw rubbish down. Each church and home must have a rubbish bin. We must not fish little fish or burn the land. After church we can have workshops to teach about all these environmental issues.
Let us renew the earth!.