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Friday
Jul032009

Congo elects new primate 

By Matthew Davies

The Anglican Church of the Congo has elected Bishop Henri Kahwa Isingoma of the Diocese of Boga as its next primate.

The civil war and ethnic strife in the Congo has claimed four million lives since 1994 and is widely recognized as the bloodiest conflict since World War II. Today, a lack of resources in the Congo prevents the Anglican province from being financially self-supporting, and many of the church's clergy and bishops are unpaid.

Isingoma will succeed Archbishop Fidèle Dirokpa, who has served as primate of the French-speaking province since 2003. A date has not yet been set for Dirokpa's retirement or Isingoma's enthronement. Isingoma was elected during an April 28 bishops' retreat in Goma out of a field of two nominees. He received four of the seven votes cast in a secret ballot.

Isingoma is married to Mugisha. They have six grown children and one grandchild. Isingoma became bishop of Boga in 2007 after having previously served as bishop of Katanga. He is a member of the Anglican Consultative Council.

The Anglican presence in the Congo, formerly known as Zaire, was established by Ugandan evangelist Apolo Kivebulaya in 1896. Following independence in 1960, the church expanded and formed dioceses as part of the Province of Uganda, Burundi, Rwanda, and Boa-Zaire. The new province was inaugurated in 1992 and changed its name in 1997.

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