Kalpana Kalpana (Editor)

Anglican Church of Tanzania

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Primate  Jacob Chimeledya
Territory  Tanzania
Polity  Episcopal
Members  2,500,000
Anglican Church of Tanzania
Headquarters  P.O. Box 899, Dodoma, Tanzania.

The Anglican Church of Tanzania (ACT) is a province of the Anglican Communion based in Dodoma. It consists of 27 dioceses (26 on the Tanzanian mainland, and 1 on Zanzibar) headed by their respective bishops. It seceded from the Province of East Africa in 1970, which it shared with Kenya. The current Primate and Archbishop is Jacob Chimeledya, who succeeded, after what has been described by some as a controversial election, Valentino Mokiwa, in May 2013.


Official name

The Church became part of the Province of East Africa in 1960. From 1970 until 1997, it was known as the Church of the Province of Tanzania. Today it is known as the Anglican Church of Tanzania, or ACT.


The church's origins lie in the Diocese of Eastern Equatorial Africa (Uganda, Kenya, Tanzania) founded in 1884, with James Hannington as the first bishop; however, Anglican missionary activity had been present in the area since the Universities' Mission to Central Africa and the Church Missionary Society began their work in 1864 and 1878 at Mpwapwa. In 1898, the diocese was split into two, with the new diocese of Mombasa governing Kenya and northern and Central Tanzania (the other diocese later became the Church of Uganda); northern and central Tanzania was separated from the diocese in 1927 when the Diocese of Central Tanganyika covering two thirds of Tanzania was created with its See at Dodoma. In 1955, the diocese's first African bishops, Kenyans Festo Olang' and Obadiah Kariuki, and Tanzanian (Tanganyikan) Yohana Omari Majani were consecrated by the Archbishop of Canterbury, Geoffrey Fisher, in Uganda as Assistant Bishops. (Olang as well as Sepeku would be elected the first African archbishops in 1970).In 1960, the province of East Africa, comprising Kenya and Tanzania, was formed with Leonard Beecher as first archbishop. The province of East Africa was divided in two, Kenya and Tanzania, in 1970 and the province of Tanzania was formed with John Sepeku as the first archbishop. In the early 20th century there was also a Diocese of Zanzibar.


Among the Church's prominent institutions, most of which are semi-independent of the Provincial Office, are the newly founded St. John's University of Tanzania based in Dodoma also the two Provincial Theological Colleges (St. Phillip's located at Kongwa, and St Mark’s in Dar es Salaam); the Central Tanganyika Press (CTP) and the Literature Organization (SKM, also known as the Dar es Salaam Bookshop). The ACT also has three semi-independent Associations: the Mothers' Union (MU), the Tanzania Anglican Youth Organization (TAYO) and the Anglican Evangelistic Association (AEA)


Today, there are at least 2,500,000 Anglicans out of an estimated population of 34,500,000 in Tanzania.


The Primate of the Church is the Archbishop of All Tanzania. The See is fixed at Dodoma. There have been six archbishops since the Province of East Africa was divided into the Provinces of Kenya and Tanzania in 1970.

  1. John Sepeku, 1970–1978
  2. Mussa Kahurananga, 1979–1983
  3. John Ramadhani, 1984–1998
  4. Donald Mtetemela, 1998–2008
  5. Valentino Mokiwa, 2008–2013
  6. Jacob Chimeledya, 2013–


The polity of the Anglican Church of Tanzania is Episcopalian church governance, which is the same as other Anglican churches. The Archbishop of Tanzania is both Metropolitan and Primate. The church maintains a system of geographical parishes organized into dioceses. There are currently 27 dioceses, each headed by a diocesan bishop:

Worship and liturgy

The Anglican Church of Tanzania embraces three orders of ministry: deacon, priest, and bishop. A local variant of the Book of Common Prayer is used.

Doctrine and practice

The center of the Anglican Church of Tanzania teaching is the life and resurrection of Jesus Christ. The basic teachings of the church, or catechism, includes:

  • Jesus Christ is fully human and fully God. He died and was resurrected from the dead.
  • Jesus provides the way of eternal life for those who believe.
  • The Old and New Testaments of the Bible were written by people "under the inspiration of the Holy Spirit". The Apocrypha are additional books that are used in Christian worship, but not for the formation of doctrine.
  • The two great and necessary sacraments are Holy Baptism and Holy Eucharist
  • Other sacramental rites are confirmation, ordination, marriage, reconciliation of a penitent, and unction.
  • Belief in heaven, hell, and Jesus's return in glory.
  • The threefold sources of authority in Anglicanism are scripture, tradition, and reason. These three sources uphold and critique each other in a dynamic way. This balance of scripture, tradition and reason is traced to the work of Richard Hooker, a sixteenth-century apologist. In Hooker's model, scripture is the primary means of arriving at doctrine and things stated plainly in scripture are accepted as true. Issues that are ambiguous are determined by tradition, which is checked by reason.

    Ecumenical relations

    Like many other Anglican churches, the Anglican Church of Tanzania is a member of the ecumenical World Council of Churches.

    Anglican realignment

    In December 2006 the ACT declared itself to be in "impaired communion" with The Episcopal Church (US) over the ordination of practicing homosexuals and the blessing of same-sex unions. The ACT is a member of the Global South (Anglican) and the Fellowship of Confessing Anglicans, and has been a part of the Anglican realignment movement. Archbishop Valentino Mokiwa attended GAFCON in Jerusalem, in June 2008, and supported the inception of the Anglican Church in North America, in June 2009. Archbishop Jacob Chimeledya, an evangelical and orthodox Anglican, was perceived by some to have moved the ACT more into the "reconciliation" ground, as is being promoted by Archbishop of Canterbury Justin Welby, moving away from GAFCON. The ACT was represented at GAFCON II in Nairobi, in 21-16 October 2013, by former Archbishop Donald Mtetemela and other bishops. The ACT House of Bishops meeting, held in Dodoma, on 12-13 April 2016, voted to rejoin the GAFCON movement and to authorize Jacob Chimeledya to attend GAFCON's Primates council in Nairobi the same month, which he did.

    Bishops of Zanzibar

  • William Moore Richardson (1844-1916) 1895 to 1901
  • Frank Weston (1871-1924) 1908 to 1924
  • The Rt Rev Thomas Howard Birley ( 1865–1949) was Anglican Bishop of Zanzibar from 1925 to 1943
  • References

    Anglican Church of Tanzania Wikipedia

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