UPDATED: The Archbishop of Canterbury Rowan Williams is currently in Malawi as part of his visit to the Province of Central Africa. He met with the President on Friday according to the Anglican Communion News Service and the website for the Archbishop:
The Archbishop of Canterbury, Dr Rowan Williams, met with President Bingu wa Mutharika and spoke about his pleasure at being able to take part in 150th anniversary celebrations of the Anglican Church in Malawi.
During the meeting Dr Williams expressed his support for the efforts of the local Church in seeking a peaceful resolution, through dialogue, to the ongoing differences that the country is facing.
The Archbishop was given a warm greeting by Bishop James Tengatenga and Archbishop Albert Chama at Chileka Airport. Dr Williams stepped straight off the plane into a brief press conference, in which he thanked the Malawi Church for the honour of the invitation and expressed his deep gratitude at being able to celebrate with them the 150th anniversary of a Church that was founded and still works for human dignity for all:
“The Church today in this country still plays a deeply significant part in community development, in education, in grassroots agricultural development, in the empowerment of women and young people – I am here to give thanks to God, with you, for all that work. I am here to pray with you for a Church that will continue responding to God’s call in that way in the future, and to learn from what you do as I go around and visit various projects in different parts of the country.”
Following the visit to Malawi, Williams with continue to Zimbabwe and Zambia. See more here.
Church Times outlines the next step in the ABC’s journey, confronting Kunonga:
THE Archbishop of Canterbury flew out to Africa on Wednesday evening to begin a week-long pastoral visit to the Church of the Province of Central Africa. He has requested a meeting with the President of Zimbabwe, Robert Mugabe, on Monday, when he visits the country.
The 48 hours that Dr Williams spends in Zimbabwe will be the most sensitive. It is thought likely that, if the meeting with President Mugabe goes ahead, the deposed Bishop of Harare, Nolbert Kunonga, will be in attendance. Dr Williams will wish to protest at the expul-sion of Anglican congregations from their churches by Kunonga.
Last month, Kunonga supporters evicted carers from an orphanage that is run by an Anglican mission loyal to mainstream Anglicans and the Bishop of Harare, the Rt Revd Chad Gandiya (News, 16 September). It was the latest event in a series of evictions of clergy, after a High Court ruling last month gave Kunonga custody of church property (News, 19 August).
The Archbishop has requested a meeting with President of Zimbabwe, Robert Mugabe, according to The Guardian. The UK government says he is not working for them.
The archbishop of Canterbury travels to Zimbabwe this weekend and has controversially requested a meeting with Robert Mugabe – a move that “in no way reflects a change of government policy” on relations with the Zimbabwean president, the Foreign Office insisted Thursday.
He will preach at the National Sports Stadium in Harare on Sunday and meet parishioners and clergy who continue to serve the community despite an environment of disruption, intimidation and even violence.
But it is his desired meeting with Mugabe that has stolen the limelight, even though Mugabe’s office has yet to accede to the request. If granted, the meeting would take place on Monday before Williams leaves for Zambia.
A power struggle between the now excommunicated bishop of Harare, Nolbert Kunonga, and his replacement, Chad Gandiya, has resulted in Anglicans being arrested, beaten and locked out of churches.
The Foreign Office, attempting to quash speculation that Williams is engaging in a form of freelance diplomacy, said that the archbishop’s visit was purely as head of the Anglican church.
A spokesman told the Guardian: “He is not a representative of the government and his proposed meeting with Mugabe in no way reflects a change of government policy.