New ACC chair is skilled in mediation

Published May 9, 2009

Bishop James Tengatenga, gets a congratulatory hug after being elected new chair of the Anglican Consultative Council.

Kingston, Jamaica
A bishop with extensive experience in peace and justice advocacy work from the diocese of Southern Malawi, Church of the Province of Central Africa, is the new chair of the Anglican Consultative Council (ACC).

Bishop James Tengatenga was elected chair during a vote cast by ACC delegates May 8. He achieved the required number of votes – 33 – on the third ballot, said Bishop John Paterson, who ends his term as ACC chair when the council meeting concludes on May 13.

Bishop Tengatenga, 51, has been a member of the ACC and the Joint Standing Committee of primates and the ACC since 2002. He has been a member of the Inter-Anglican Standing Commission on Ecumenical Relations since 2005 and was a member of the Design Group of the 2008 Lambeth Conference in Canterbury, England. He was former chair of the Malawi Council of Churches.

Born in Kwekwe, Zimbabwe, Bishop Tengatenga began his theological training and clergy formation at Zomba Theological College in Malawi in 1979. In 1982, he continued his theological training at the Episcopal Theological Seminary of the Southwest in Austin, Tex.

In 1985, he returned to Malawi and was ordained deacon at St. Thomas church in the diocese of Lake Malawi. There he also served as diocesan youth worker and diocesan training chaplain. He went to Birmingham, England in 1989 to train as a youth and community worker.

After eight years of parish ministry, Bishop Tengatenga joined the faculty at Zomba Theological College and later, the faculty of the University of Malawi’s department of theology and religious studies.

Bishop Tengatenga has a PhD in church and state relations from the University of Malawi, honorary doctorates from the Episcopal Theological Seminary of the South and from the General Theological Seminary in New York.

He has been involved in HIV/AIDS ministry in Malawi as a member of the Malawi National AIDS Commission, which co-ordinates the nation’s response to the debilitating disease.

His advocacy also includes peace, having been involved in many mediation talks among political parties in his country. In 2004, he chaired the church leaders’ committee that facilitated the multi-party talks that led to the Mgwirizano Coalition in Malawi.

He has also been involved in many ecumenical initiatives in Malawi; he is also a member of the central committee of the Pan-African Civic Educators’ Network.
Bishop Tengatenga and his wife, Jocelyn, have three biological children, and six adopted from their deceased relatives.


  • Marites N. Sison

    Marites (Tess) Sison was editor of the Anglican Journal from August 2014 to July 2018, and senior staff writer from December 2003 to July 2014. An award-winning journalist, she has more that three decades of professional journalism experience in Canada and overseas. She has contributed to The Toronto Star and CBC Radio, and worked as a stringer for The New York Times.

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