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McCann Mission Today
Newsletter # 32
August 2011

    Msalato Theological College 1961-2011
50th Anniversary Celebration
July 10-17, 2011 

Former missionaries and families beginning to arrive…

Do your best to present yourself to God as one approved by him, a worker who has no need to be ashamed, rightly explaining the word of truth.  2 Timothy 2:15


Rightly explaining the word of truth was the original goal chosen by the first principal of Msalato Bible School.  The week of July 10-17th marked the 50th year anniversary of its founding.  A huge proportion of Sandra’s efforts over the past year have been to plan and to prepare for this celebration.  Untold numbers of e-mails to former missionaries, former principals, and students were written.  The returned e-mails and numerous interviews went to shape the written history, an associated theological conference, and the details of the celebration itself.  A fascinating short history of the first seed(s), written by former Australian missionary Canon Kevin Engel, can be reached by clicking here as well as the unusually interesting reminisces sent by the first two principals (deans) of the new Bible School (which may be reached by clicking on their names, the then Reverends Ken Short and Peter Dawson.   All three of these founding fathers are still living and remain active in their Australian homeland with Short and Dawson retiring as bishops. Sadly, retired Bishop Alpha Mohamed, the third principal and first Tanzanian, died following surgery in March of this year.


First, the history (we must be brief here leaving out vast amounts of data):  Tanganyika, as it was called then, became a British protectorate after Germany was defeated in WWI.  The Church Missionary Society (CMS) of the United Kingdom had evangelized the central regions of the country, however due to financial constraints and commitments elsewhere, they turned missionary efforts over to CMS Australia.  The Diocese of Central Tanganyika at that time covered vast regions of the interior of the country.  It was overseen by a series of Australian bishops.  In the 1950’s, Bishop Alfred Stanway, one of the most active and visionary of these bishops, while teaching Bible to catechists and evangelists at a two week camp session was encouraged by the participants to establish a Bible School to extend these efforts of course work.  This solidified his already emerging vision and in 1958 building began at Msalato Village, ten kilometers north of Dodoma.  Msalato is named for the Msalato tree, a tree sacred to the indigenous people because of its purported medicinal properties.  The first worship services were held under a large Msalato tree on the current campus, but it is unfortunately no longer present.


(Ken is in dark blue plaid shirt and Gloria is to his left)

We left Msalato in October 1964. David and Anne Hewetson [he was Principal of St Philips Kongwa], Enid Stahl and the headmistress of the girls school Mary Newell, joined us to say goodbye. Ken wrote concerning this site: Incidentally when a trench was dug around the principal’s house in which to plant a minyara hedge, some German coins were discovered, proving the rumours I had heard that indeed the location had been used as a German army camp during the 1914-18 war, when Tanganyika was German East Africa.


Canons Yohana Mahundo, John Ndahani, Haruni Mangwela, Joshua Lusinde, Meshack Kanugha

The first course extended from July to September 1961. The day began in the classroom at 6.00 AM with a unique method of Bible study designed by Principal Ken Short to help the new evangelists discover how to read the Bible for personal edification and joy.  Sitting together in pairs the students were given a passage from the Bible to read.  They were then to each write the answer to four questions in their notebooks and to afterwards discuss them with their partner.

In honor of the first principal the Ken Short Bible Study method was used during the week’s daily Morning Prayer services. The passages selected were related to the topics of the stewardship conference.  The questions concerned one’s understanding of the passage, the difficulties found, the application to oneself and finally the application to the parish.  The three hundred participants enthusiastically embraced this method as a wonderful way to start each day.

Over the years more buildings were added, more course offerings were made and other projects added.  To be brief, some of the farming, husbandry, carpentry, and eyeglasses projects have come and gone, but the basic aim of the school, to spiritually form and to Biblically educate Christian leaders for the diocese, has remained.  Of note many Australians, New Zealanders, and British originated and established these projects.   Many of these outstanding missionaries returned for the 50th anniversary.  Many that could not return sent pictures and written reminiscences.  These were used in preparing the history and for displays that were laid out in the library for participants to peruse in free time during the week.  Current Principal Rev. Canon Moses Matonya, with the help of many of the early participants, wrote and published a short history book in Kiswahili.  This was available to those present for a nominal fee.


Fran Weir Etemesi (1976-94); Barbara and Phil Wigg (1973-80); Anne Segedin (1996-2003); Chris and Peter Akester (1988-97); Jeanette Boyd Swan (1965-1981)

Jeanette Swan (nee Boyd) from Australia came under Principal Dawson and in collaboration with Rev. Stone Senyagwa established a cassette tape ministry.   The tapes were used to teach Bible at the school and in neighboring villages.  At the anniversary she was an instant celebrity, bonding to old friends and conversing in fluent Kiswahili.  She taught Bishop Mhogolo when he was a young boy in Sunday school.

Fran Weir Etemesi (CMS UK), now from Nairobi, worked for 19 years as a proof reader/ editor in the Christian Education and Literature Centre and as Manager of Central Tanganyika Press housed at Msalato.  She was an invaluable asset to Sandra in contacting and locating previous missionaries.  Phil and Barbara Wigg, Australians, returned.  Phil had worked with the Msalato Agricultural Centre and Barbara taught music in the villages and at the college.  When she was introduced by Bishop Mhogolo at the evening service he sang a song she had taught his class in Sunday school in his home village of Nala.  New Zealanders Anne Segedin and Peter and Christine Akester also returned.  Anne had been a teacher in the Bible School and in the Dodoma Language Institute.  Peter Akester, a pharmacist, taught in the Bible School and set up a very successful pharmacy at Mackay House (diocesan headquarters) while Chris taught English, Christian Education, and music.


Dr. Robert Smith, artist wife Elizabeth (pictured above in front seat of the bus), two daughters, Katherine and Hilary and a grandson, Linden returned from Tasmania.  Dr. Smith began the General Practice Medical Clinic at Mackay House (where Martin has a laboratory) and later practiced surgery at the diocesan mission hospital in Mvumi (where Martin teaches clinical officers.)  The Smith family had been in Tanzania from 1957-68 and came back in 1988 and in 1992. At one time or another all four of their children lived in Tanzania.  Katherine was born in Tanzania.  Under her married name Scholes, she has written several novels with settings in Tanzania and her homeland of Tasmania.  She was searching for background data and themes for another novel.  Katherine presented Sandra with an autographed copy of her most recent novel entitled The Lioness.

Hilary and Katherine were absolutely delighted to be home and could not wait to eat ugali and mchicha (akin to grits and spinach greens), the common food on which they grew up and for which they had not lost their taste.  They went along with a Virginia Seminary delegation to a village parish to worship on the first Sunday and were delighted to experience church just as they had remembered it and to also share it with Linden.


  Katherine Scholes, Linden Scholes, Hilary Smith being gifted in Mundemu Parish

The centerpiece of the week was a theology conference for all the priests of the Diocese of Central Tanganyika, which ran from Tuesday through Thursday.  The brochure read:






July 12-14, 2011

Stewardship and Congregations


The earth is the Lord’s, and everything in it,

the world, and all who live in it. Ps. 24.1


The Very Rev. Ian S. Markham Ph.D Dean and President

Virginia Theological Seminary





The Reverend Steve Maina

   National Director

  Church Missionary Society

    New Zealand


Reverends Joel Atong  & Lynne Clarke


This event was graciously sponsored by Virginia Theological Seminary and included the provision of lodging and meals for all of the participants for eight days.  The Lordship of Christ, the topic of the opening lecture by Dean Markham, laid the foundation for the entire series.  The focus moved from stewardship of the environment (important in Tanzania as most pastors are also farmers) to stewardship of resources and gifts.  In addition to Markham and Maina, the faculty included Msalato faculty member, the Reverend Lynne Clarke (CMS AU) and the Reverend Ayubu Mazengo, a diocesan parish priest and Msalato graduate. The Reverends Joel Atong from Kenya and Gary Taylor from Virginia Seminary rounded out the group.  The conference was very much appreciated by the parish priests as evidenced by their undivided attention and enthusiastic participation and attendance in the workshops.

Reverend Gary Taylor

Reverend Ayubu Mazengo

Bishop Mhogolo and Honorable George Mkuchika

Saturday night of the week of celebration was dedicated to a gala fund raising dinner on the grounds of the Cathedral of the Holy Spirit in Dodoma. The participants of the conference as well our bishop, Mdimi Mhogolo, other bishops, and members of parliament and St. John’s University attended this.  The Honorable George Mkuchika from Mtwara, Minister in the Prime Minister’s Office dealing with Regional Administration and Local Governments, was the guest speaker.  Singing was provided by adult and children’s choirs and ethnic dancing by the famousMchoya group

Due to generous gifts, pledges and proceeds from auctioning of memoirs more than $20,000.00 US dollars was raised toward the building of a new library at Msalato.

Schematic and complete plans were done by Architect

Johanna Jacob Kuruvilla(Episcopal Church Young

Adult Service Corp Missionary at MTC 2010-2011)


Sunday was the final day with the wrap-up for the celebration being an outside Holy Communion service on the campus under tents.  This was the only way to accommodate the 450 or so guests.  It was a perfect day, what Sandra described as God-glorious.  It felt as though the heavens had opened and God was shining down on the people and the place.  The day was crystal clear with the morning sun shining brightly on each person present.  Everyone and everything seemed to sparkle as though reflecting the glory of the Lord.  Hopefully the following pictures will capture for you a bit of the atmosphere of the glorious closing to the historical celebration of Msalato’s 50th anniversary.


Rev. Canon Yohana Chinyele (104 years old) and Bishop Mhogolo





Bishop Mdimi Mhogolo led the service and the Reverend Canon John Thew, Federal Secretary of CMS Australia, gave a brilliant sermon emphasizing and extending Msalato’s mission motto of equipping the saints from Ephesians 4:12. An example of extension: It is not enough just to become a well-equipped Christian leader.  You must be MORE—you must be able to train and teach your people to become the same.

Along with Canon Thew from CMS AU and his wife Cathryn came long time Mission Personnel Secretary, Faith Blake.  Faith has been a good friend to the Anglican Church of the Province of Tanzania.  She has seen that students from many dioceses are sponsored for higher theological education and has faithfully recruited and sent teachers for many years.  Along with John and Faith from Australia came the thoughtful Right Reverend Peter Tasker, one of the officially retired but still working bishops of Sydney.



Judy Lund, Bishop Peter Tasker, Rev. Lynne Clarke


Ms. Robyn Appleby (2005-2011) and former students

In the midst of celebrating those who had returned, we gave thanks and said good-bye to Ms. Robyn Appleby (Australian by birth), a New Zealand CMS missionary who has faithfully served Msalato Theological College for the past six years as a linguist. At right the students to whom she had taught Communication and Study Skills gather around to bless her in her going.



Rev. Sandra McCann, Communications Director, and Principal Canon Moses Matonya


Sandra thanked all those who had come, especially the missionaries who had returned, all the present missionaries who had contributed, and all the Tanzanians who had worked to make the anniversary a success.  Especially thanked were Principal Moses Matonya and the faculty of Msalato for the work they did.  Because of her personal commitment to the reunion, her thanksgiving was heartfelt and all-inclusive.



Front: Rev. Can.Yusufu Mkunda (Administrator), Rev. Charles Mwihambi (Academic Dean) Rev. Canon Moses Matonya (Principal), Rev. Iri Mato (NZ: picture inserted), Rev. Hilda Kabia (Student Dean)

Back: L-R: Amos Kusaja, Jemima Nchimbi, So Ra Lee (Korea), Dr. Chang Kyu Kim (Korea), Rev. Lynne Clarke (AU), Rev. Sandra McCann, M.D. (Communications Director U.S.), Kate Mato (NZ), Rev. Phanuel Mung’ong’o, Johanna Kuruvilla (US), Jo Rogers (NZ), Rev. Ranjit Mathews (US), Robyn Appleby (NZ)


In conclusion, Sandra was thankful and proud that the reunion and conference had gone so well.  It was the culmination of a year of work and had brought together 50 years of growth and accomplishments of the school.  The whole purpose was to give glory to God through remembering and thanking His faithful servants who planted the seeds for this college.  Since then and for the past fifty years many others have continued to water the soil, enabling Msalato to grow from a small Bible school into a fully accredited theological college offering a Bachelor of Theology degree.












(quotes were taken from the notes of the Reverend Lynne Clarke)


At a dinner for several former missionaries hosted by Bishop and Irene Mhogolo at their home, the bishop opened the discussion with some questions: What are your impressions of Tanzania, the diocese, and Msalato now?  How have things changed, and are the changes for better or for worse?


Peter Akester, who had set up and run a very successful pharmacy, spoke first.  It is sad the chemists shop [pharmacy] is no longer continuing.  But I suppose everything has its time, and there are now many other chemists shops in town, whereas we used to be only one.  At Msalato (where he also taught) it is exciting to see how many past students are on fire for the Lord and have grown so much in their maturity in Christ.


Jeanette Boyd, who spent many years doing a cassette tape ministry for Msalato and for villages said: I see lots of changes, especially in the geography.  Roads have been made, where they were sandy, and there are many new buildings! And I see great improvement in the level of English.  I worked at Msalato where I was involved with teaching and involved with the recording studio, writing and recording Bible school lesions, sermons and songs, which were sent out to the parishes for use there.  This was a good idea for the villages and fulfilled a great need for parishioners from twelve to eighty.  I did this for ten years, but after I left it fizzled.  Why was this?  I expect it was because things wore out, became obsolete – they served their purpose.  So they should be let go.  She continued: I have been very impressed by the women ministers I have met this week.  They are positive, confident and well prepared for ministry.


Bishop Mhogolo responded, We took three years at the Diocese of Central Tanganyika Synod to agree to ordain women, and another six at Provincial level for the Bishops to agree. We grew up in this diocese seeing women missionaries from CMS Australia teaching us and in leadership positions. You send good women to us who teach us the Bible and about leadership and we grow. When they go back home some are not allowed to lead congregations. We do not understand this. We find it very puzzling. Are we less human than you?


As an aside, it should be noted that the Bishop of Mara, Bishop Hilkia Omindo, who participated in the final Sunday service on July 17th ordained five women the previous Sunday on July 10th.  He is the first bishop outside of Bishop Mhogolo to ordain a woman in Tanzania.  There are many Lutheran women priests in Tanzania, and many Anglican women priests in Kenya, so this ordination in Mara is hope for more women priests in Tanzania.


Anne Segedin from New Zealand continued: I am so encouraged that there is a core group of Tanzanian staff at Msalato that provides the stability of team leadership. Team

leadership is demonstrated, seen and learned. The students learn by seeing people working together as a team.


Msalato owes a great deal to these former missionaries.  They imparted a spirit that lives on.  Dean Ian Markham from Virginia Seminary made this comment about the life of an institution: Sociological data is interesting.  If an institution survives 50 years, then it has over an eighty percent chance of surviving 100 years.  In fact, the longer an institution continues the longer it will continue to survive.



            (picture taken by the Reverend Gary Clarke)


In conclusion, we thank God for the innumerable blessings bestowed on this college since its opening in 1961. It is our prayer that the 100th anniversary celebration in 2061 will be as grand and glorious an event as was the 50th. With your continuing prayers and support, we march forward with great hope into the future!


With much gratitude,


Sandra and Martin