Our hands are tied on suicide funerals – Anglican Church


By Raphael Likaka

Anglican Bishop of Diocese of Upper Shire Brighton Vitta Malasa says the church’s hands are tied on the issue of granting full Christian funerals for people who die by suicide.

Bishop Malasa said this at Chilema in Zomba during diocesan 2-day retreat conducted by priests in the diocese as one way of recapturing their spiritual life.

During the retreat, priests discussed how they can handle suicide funerals as the cases are on the increase and have negatively impacted on the church and the country as a whole.

“The priests discussed how they can handle suicide funerals as this time there are a lot of incidents such that when it comes to the church the are hands tied,” said Malasa.

He then revealed a plan for the church to conduct a research on the cause of rise of suicide cases in the country in order.

Suicide cases have been on the rise in Malawi in recent years and there have been complaints that churches have been refusing to grant full Christian funerals to those who die by suicide.

The Anglican Church currently handles funerals for people who die by suicide but the church’s service at such funerals is usually brief compared to other funerals.

Priests during the retreat prayed and promised to continue praying for the suicide cases to drop as the rise has shocked the church.

Malasa during the retreat also urged priests in the diocese to do more charitable work during this lent period.

Malasa said the retreat has helped them as priests to discuss and encourage each other in praying together, fasting and helping the needy as pillars of the lent period.

He also said they have encouraged each other on the difficulties that priests face and how they can overcome those challenges.

Archdeacon for Namwela, Masuku Parish, Fr. Austin Lwanda said the retreat has helped the priests to shape their work and behavior in doing the work of Christ.

He said the retreat gave them time to reflect on doing social work and helping the needy among others.

The retreat was conducted under the theme “We should not kill him……He is our Brother”. (Genesis 37:27)


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