An Anglican archbishop from central Africa is coming to learn about the Episcopal Church in Pittsburgh. The Diocese, in return, will learn about a church ministering in a time of transition.
Several parishes, led by Calvary Church, will host the newly elected Archbishop of the Province of the Congo (Province de L’Eglise Anglicane Du Congo), the Rt. Rev. Henri Isingoma Kahwa, from June 27 – July 6. His wife, Mugisha, will accompany him.
"We’ll certainly welcome him at Calvary, but we want him to get out and about to meet people throughout the Diocese," said the Rev. Dr. Harold T. Lewis, Calvary’s rector.
The Archbishop-elect’s time here coincides with traditional celebrations of American Independence. He will wrap up the holiday weekend by presiding and preaching at Calvary’s 9 a.m. and 11 a.m. services on July 5.
The Diocesan Administrator, Joan Gundersen, is currently soliciting possible events at other parishes to fill out the Archbishop’s schedule. "This is a diverse Diocese, and we want him to see and witness as much of it as we can," said Gundersen.
The visit comes about largely because of Dr. Lewis’ close connection to the Province of the Congo. He served as Commissary (American representative) to the late Bezaleri Ndahura, Archbishop of the then-province of Burundi, Rwanda and Zaire. Dr. Lewis has taught at the Anglican seminary in Zaire and is an honorary canon of the Diocese of Bukavu, one of the ten dioceses in the Province.
Today’s Democratic Republic of the Congo, or DRC, was formerly known by the names Belgian Congo and Zaire. It is the third largest country in Africa.
Archbishop-elect Kahwa’s extended visit is also significant given the growing influence of the African continent in the Anglican Communion.
Unlike most Anglican dioceses in Africa, which were founded by English missionaries, the Church in the Congo was planted by an African, a Ugandan catechist. The DNC is now involved in a long rebuilding process following years of horrific civil war. The church there continues to grow rapidly with membership currently at 400,000, and is playing a vital role in reconciliation and the restoration of shattered lives.
Archbishop-elect Kahwa has been serving as Bishop of Boga. He was elected to his new post in April and will be installed in August.
The staff of Calvary Episcopal Church contributed to this article.