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Peter Mutharika’s speech at St Michael and All Angels celebration

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Good afternoon to you all!

This morning, I feel like King David, who says:

One thing I ask from the Lord, this only do I seek: that I may dwell in the house of the Lord all the days of my life, to gaze at the beauty of the Lord and to seek him in his temple. (Psalm 27:4)

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We have gathered, not only to seek the gracious presence of the Lord, but also to remember that a nation in communion with God shall prosper.

This is a precious occasion. And I am proud to be here with you as Head of State, and a member of this church. The relationship between the church and state comes a long way in this country.

One century and a quarter of years ago, St. Michael and All Angels was founded on bricks, rocks, and solid principles. It was in the same year that our nation was also founded.

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It was in 1891, that we finished building we finished building St. Michael and All Angels. And it was in 1891, that the boundaries of this land were drawn and we became a nation. As we remember our beginnings, let us remember our foundations of national building.

The story our nation cannot be told without the history of the church in this country. The church has played a critical role in the foundation of this nation. The church played a role in the formation of our nation. When we were persecuted by colonialism, members of this church fought to liberate us.

The church has given to our country more than we can count. You have faithfully attended to our economic, physical and spiritual welfare of this country.

The schools, the hospitals and the churches built by Blantyre Mission have been cornerstones in the foundations of this nation.

The Henry Henderson Institute was one of the first colleges to train teachers who have taught many more Malawians. You have built this nation; and taught this country. You have healed this nation; and fed our souls. Well done and keep up the good work!!

I am proud to be part of your story. My family has always been part of you. My own mother was a Presbyterian and one of the Women of Guild, Amayi Amvano. My brother Bingu got part of his education here. My wife is a faithful Presbyterian; and I am a proud Presbyterian.

There are many more Malawians here and in this country who are living testimonies of what the church has done for this country. My story is a story of many Malawians.

As we all look back in happy memories, let us also look forward with serious reflection. The history of the church has a great lesson for us all. This is the lesson of patriotism. The missionaries were strangers who came to dedicate their lives and hands to build our spiritual and economic lives.

Missionaries built three things: churches, schools and hospitals because a country can only develop when we have three things. We must have the right moral character, the right education, and good health.

Ladies and Gentlemen,

This afternoon, I urge you all to build in our hearts the national virtues of patriotism, integrity and hard work. These are virtues that build a nation. Our memories of St. Michaels and All Angels must remind us this lesson. It was with the love for this country, the sanctity of spiritual integrity, and the hard work of their hands that our ancestors built this church and raised this nation.

Let me urge the church to remember that you have an important role in building the nation. It is your calling to fight evil and moral corruption in society. Moral corruption is like a worm that eats the very heart of national development.

You must help government in fighting moral corruption and evil in all its disguises. As society modernises, human evils also modernise. The early missionaries fought slavery because it was evil for one human to sell another human and turn him into a beast of burden. What we call human trafficking today is nothing but modern slavery. The church and society must fight this.

You have men and women being sold to other countries where they work as slaves. The church must help Government is fighting this modern slavery. Some of the people doing this are your members.

Then we have those unpatriotic and lazy Malawians stealing drugs from the hospitals. Why should you steal medicine for someone suffering and dying in a hospital bed? Stealing medicine is killing! It is evil that must be condemned by every church. It is our calling to preach on every pulpit against the evils of our times.

Now we have the persecution of albinos. And today, I have a plea of compassion to the church across this country. We cannot allow albinos to be persecuted and suffer just because God created them as they are. No human must suffer for being what they are.

Many Malawians have said the church is silent about the persecution of albinos. The church must rise up to pray for the persecuted; defend albinos and expose this sin.

Let the church be the comforter of those being persecuted, and the solace of the suffering. We must comfort them with the assurance of Psalms. “Though they plot evil against you and devise wicked schemes, they shall not succeed.”

Rise up and speak for the voiceless. Let us be part of that religion which St. James speaks of in the Bible – a religion that is pure and faithful before God, because you have cared “for orphans and widows in their distress”.

Today, albinos are hunted like animals of prey; slaughtered without mercy; and their bones sold like common market commodities. What has become of us as a nation? Where is our umunthu? Something is seriously wrong with the morality of our society.

As we celebrate the contribution of the church to development, let us remember that no society can develop without sound moral principles. God is the foundation of our morality.

“If we let God have His way,” there is no doubt; “There shall be showers of blessing”. And “This is the promise of love.” If we build this nation on foundations of virtue, there is no doubt; we will have our way to prosperity. And this is my promise to my country!

May God bless you and bless Malawi!

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