Petitioners in the Anglican Diocese of Upper Shire (Adus) have threatened to take over the diocese if its administrative conference is not held by September 30 2019.
Speaking during a press briefing at St George Parish in Zomba on Saturday, chairperson of the petitioners John Awadi urged Bishop Brighton Malasa of the diocese to call for a conference known as ‘synod’ which was recently cancelled for financial reasons.
In an earlier communication, Malasa announced the cancellation of the synod which was scheduled for August 9 to 10, citing unavailability of funds amounting to K7 million to hold the event which is a policy-making body of the diocese.
Awadi was flanked by some parish priests and representatives of 39 parishes which last year ganged up to close the bishop’s office at Malosa at the height of disagreements between the petitioners and the estranged bishop.
Reading a statement, Awadi said: “Synod is is a constitutional requirement and is non-negotiable. We will not accept his delaying tactics and we maintain our demand that it should be held by September 30 2019, failing which we will take drastic action.”
The petitioners have also demanded the institution of a forensic audit into the accounts of the diocese, apart from seeking the re-organisation of church boards which they claim are being led by the bishop’s loyalists.
Speaking during the same event, vice-president for Adus youth department Emmanuel Douglas said the parishes had communicated to headquarters their readiness to finance the synod.
“Our observation is that the bishop is creating excuses because, as parishes, we indicated that we would contribute towards the event. But instead of facilitating the meeting, the bishop just went ahead to cancel the synod.
“As petitioners, we do not recognise him as our bishop, as such, we want the synod to take place so that it can map the way forward,” he said.
According to Douglas, the calling of the synod was one of the ways the petitioners were advised to take by the church’s leadership at regional level to resolve a long-standing dispute within the church. The petitioners have since convinced parishes not to remit monetary contributions to the diocese which is said to have impacted heavily on the church’s financial survival