240 New Siblings


When Father Peter Fumbi graduated from Msalato Theological College last year, he immediately set out to spread the good news of Jesus Christ.  He did such a good job that he came back (just four months later) to ask for help baptizing the multitudes that had flocked to his church.  He said there were a few dozen waiting to be baptized.

An Older Woman is Baptized

Three priests and deacons who teach at Msalato set out for Peter’s village.  When they arrived, there were actually 240 people in three different locations – adults and children — waiting to receive the waters of baptism. So much water was splashed around that servers had to continually mop the floor.  Though we couldn’t be there, I imagine the scene was a lot like the mass baptisms recorded in the Book of Acts – where many felt compelled to receive new life with Jesus Christ.

Soon after the baptism, we, along with 50 other missionaries, met with Bishop Mdimi Mhogolo, the bishop of Central Tanganyika, for a bible study on baptism.  He reflected that baptism was the one tangible, visible sign that marks each of us as Christians — from Tanzania or from halfway around the world in the United States.  Baptism, no matter who we are or where we live, is a participation in the death and resurrection of Jesus Christ.

Peeking In: No room in the church

Just Some of the Newly Baptized

It was not, I think, by coincidence that the next day, we received the parish newsletter from Father Andrew Sloane, the rector of St. Paul’s, my home parish in Washington, D.C., which was also preparing to baptize new members into the Body of Christ. Fr. Sloane wrote in part,

Whether we like it or not, we are also in relationship with all the others who have been baptized, not just in this world and in this life, but with all those countless millions who have gone before us in the life of Faith; “here they all come”- and what a motley crew of saints and sinners they and we are. We don’t choose our supernatural families any more than we choose our natural family. They are a given if we are in Christ, we are members one of another, “the whole company of heaven”, and we are deeply bound to one another in this world and the next because we are sealed and claimed as Christ’s own. As I have often said, “no Christian soul ever stands alone”.

That family – our family – has many new members today from around the world.

Photos Courtesy Rob and Jeannie Reid, missionaries from Canada who are teaching here at Msalato

Author: Benjamin Locher

Benjamin Locher grew up with his parents and two younger brothers in Johnstown, Pa, about an hour and a half east of Pittsburgh. He graduated from the College of William and Mary in Williamsburg, Va., with a degree in government and a minor in Information Systems. It was there that he met and fell in love with his joyful, sweet, beautiful and a only a slight-bit crazy red-headed wife, Elizabeth. They met at the Canterbury Episcopal Ministry and first really got to know each other during a mission trip to Jarabacoa, Dominican Republic. After graduating, Ben worked as an Information Technology consultant for CGI Federal in Fairfax, VA and then as a web developer for the action-tank American Solutions, in Washington D.C. Today, he works for SRA International as a web developer at the General Accountability Office, a wing of the U.S. Congress. Ben is a member of St. Paul’s Parish on K Street in Washington, DC, where he is an altar server and ward secretary of the Confraternity of the Blessed Sacrament. He is looking forward to the chance to get out of his comfort zone and share the love of Christ in a more particular way, though he is wondering if his deadpan sarcasm will translate into Swahili!

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