The Archbishop of Canterbury began a visit to Mozambique this weekend in which he will meet with people displaced by the conflict that has forced nearly a million to flee their homes.
The Archbishop is visiting Mozambique to take part in celebrations for the new Anglican Church of Mozambique and Angola, which became the 42nd province of the Anglican Communion in 2021.
This morning the Archbishop met the Prime Minister of Mozambique, Adriano Maleiane, in the capital city Maputo, and they spoke about the importance of peace, reconciliation and preventing more violence in the country, as well as Mozambique’s future potential in terms of natural resources and tourism.
This evening he will fly to the north of the country, to Pemba, where there is an ongoing insurgency. Four thousand people have been killed and nearly a million have fled their homes because of the violence.
In Pemba tomorrow (Tuesday), he will meet government officials, Christian leaders, Muslim leaders, teenagers and young adults who are involved in reconciliation work. He’ll also visit people who’ve been displaced by war and are now living with local families in Pemba. Eighty percent of people who are displaced are staying within the local community rather than in IDP camps.
Yesterday (Sunday) three thousand people filled Maputo’s Maxaquene Sports Hall for a Eucharist and Thanksgiving Service to mark the creation of the new Anglican Province.
The Church in Mozambique and Angola (IAMA) became a new province in 2021 and is now the 42nd province of the Anglican Communion. In September last year Archbishop Justin led an inauguration service via video link from Lambeth Palace but now covid restrictions have eased he’s there in person to mark this milestone. During the six-hour service he also affirmed the Presiding Bishop, Carlos Matsinhe, as the Acting Primate of IAMA, and presented him with the Provincial Cross.
In his sermon, the Archbishop spoke of the shared colonial history of Mozambique and Angola and their struggles for freedom. He spoke about the current peace work being carried out in the north of the country and how communities are standing up against radicalisation.
He said, “This is your treasure to share with the world: the story of reconciliation.”
“This province knows the message of 2 Corinthians. We are afflicted in every way but not crushed. Perplexed, but not driven to despair. Persecuted but not forsaken. Struck down but not destroyed.”
On the first day of the visit (Saturday), the Archbishop opened a new Anglican church, Sao Marcos da Matola, in the Maputo suburb of Matola.