This week's story comes from Deacon April Trout, our BKB Program Coordinator in Iringa. Here she describes her recent journey with leaders from the Iringa Diocese Head Office and choir members from the Iringa Cathedral to participate in the consecration of the Rev. Dr. Edward Johnson Mwaikali as Bishop of the Konde Diocese (companions with the Lower Susquehanna Synod of the ELCA). Photos from the consecration can be found here.
In mid-January I had the opportunity to travel to the Konde Diocese of the ELCT for the consecration of their newly-elected bishop. It is located in the Mbeya Region, about 350 km southwest of Iringa. The consecration was quite a big to-do - an exciting and very moving event. There were more bishop mitres and copes than I've ever seen in one place, with a stunning variety of designs and symbols on each. If you like high church, the gorgeous cathedral in Tukuyu (seat of the Konde Diocese) was the place to be on January 14th.
I had a three main reasons for making this trip:
First, I wanted to represent Bega Kwa Bega and our relationship with Iringa Diocese.
Second, Kwaya Kuu, the principal choir of Iringa Cathedral, was invited to sing at the consecration. As a member of Kwaya Kuu, I was expected to make the trip. (Also, I wanted to sing the Hallelujah Chorus in Swahili!)
And finally, because the Konde Diocese is partnered with the Lower Susquehanna Synod (LSS) of the ELCA where I am rostered. I traveled to Konde in 2004 and have met the former Bishop, Dr. Israel Peter Mwakyolile, several times since then. I wanted to see him as well as Bishop Jim Dunlop from the LSS. The Konde-LSS partner relationship isn't as extensive as Bega Kwa Bega but there is always someone from Lower Susquehanna at a Konde event of this magnitude and Bishop Dunlop was the preacher for the consecration.
The Iringa Diocese (DIRA) was well represented at the consecration by Bishop Gaville and several other members of the diocese staff. The newly-consecrated Bishop of Konde, the Rev. Dr. Edward Johnson Mwaikali, had been a professor at Iringa University and was well-known among people from DIRA.
At the cathedral, in the middle of all of that celebrating, I joyously reconnected with a couple of people I hadn't seen in a while, including a seminary classmate of mine who is now a district pastor in Konde! All in all it was a superb weekend, abounding with worship, music, fellowship, and festivity. I can assure you that the Lutheran Church in Tanzania is alive and filled with the Holy Spirit!
Deacon April Trout
BKB Program Coordinator in Iringa