Chilima was speaking at Zomba Cathedral on Saturday when he was the Guest of Honour at the official launch of the five year strategic plan, which aims at pushing the Church towards self reliance.
The July 2017 to July 2022 strategic plan is primarily built on helping the diocese’s members to better coordinate their efforts in a pattern of direction towards achieving realistic development in its evangelisation efforts by instilling a sense of ownership in the Church after what had been a long time of overdependence on outside help.
And Chilima said development of the Strategic Plan has consumed a lot of effort and resources hence the Church must make sure that it is implemented and has achieved its objectives.
Said Chilima: “Development of the plan has taken a lot of effort and it is my desired expectation that its implementation would follow suit. Let me be hasten to say that this plan is in line with President Peter Mutharika’s aspiration of moving Malawi from dependence to self reliance.
“We from Government side feel challenged that the Church has decided to lead the country and the nation to a path of self reliance,” said Chilima.
Drawing examples from countries such as Singapore and United Arab Emirates-that have managed to shade-off abject poverty and attain prosperity within five decades- Chilima said it was only through strategic planning where the Church and the country can lead its citizenry to prosperity.
Taking his turn, Zomba Diocese Bishop, Right Reverend George Desmond Tambala said the Strategic Plan was carrying with it a message of mindset change-moving away from looking at the church as a foreign entity funded from Rome.
“Let me stress that when we started talking about this strategic plan, we were not thinking of merely producing a beautiful document to be admired, but rather we envisioned a plan that would be practical and easy to implement.
“We are now to start implementing it at all levels of the diocese. The time has come to change. It is time to own the Church along with all the obligations that come with it. There should be no spectators,” said Reverend Tambala.
The Catholic Diocese of Zomba Strategic Plan is looking into five thematic areas namely Spiritual and pastoral development embracing prayer and sacramental life; social development comprising education, health, environment, youth accompaniment and moral development; welfare of the clergy, religious and pastoral workers; economic investment for self reliance; and effective management of financial resources of the Church.