03 Mar - Car crash claims life of Zambian church leader

News Service
March 3, 2010

Car crash claims life of Zambian church leader

Choma, Zambia – Esther Kalambo, a member of the Zambia Brethren in Christ church and a leader among the African Anabaptist Women Theologians, died in an auto crash on 21 January 2010 at the age of 54. Esther served as a chaplain at the BIC Hospital in Macha, Zambia. Also killed in the same accident were Douglas Haadinke, a Macha employee, Edith Mwiinga, a former employee, and Doris Mudenda, Esther’s older sister.

Esther was a member of the continental committee of African Anabaptist Women Theologians since its creation in 2002. She attended MWC World Assemblies in Zimbabwe and Paraguay, and had close connections to Mennonites in many parts of the world. News of her death brought the following message from Mennonite women in Guatemala:

On behalf of the women theologians of Guatemala, we send these words of solidarity and comfort to the African women theologians and to the family of Sister Esther. We extend to each one of you our love and affection in these difficult times, and we will be praying for you with the love that comes only from God. We hope that you feel God’s presence through the love of all the sisters and brothers who surround you.

Esther was one of the women featured in a documentary "Living Water, Living Faith: Mennonite Women of Color," produced by Pat McFarlane and Linda Christophel. In the video, Esther reflects on the transitory nature of life experienced by the patients with whom she works, saying: "Everyone is journeying toward death, some more quickly than others. I am here now, but I know that I am on a journey. I am not here forever. All of us are passing by."

In addition to her work as a chaplain, Esther was also trained as a peace-builder. At the time of her death she had just returned from an assignment of training eleven BIC Copper Belt pastors and leaders in peace-building. Esther was scheduled to teach a short course in peace-building to Sikalongo Bible Institute third-year students.

Known for her hospitality, Esther provided graciously and bountifully for anyone at any hour of the day or night. She is survived by her husband Mukuwa, sons Chilobe and Michelo, and daughters Mutinta and Sibajene. It was estimated that close to 2000 people were present at Esther’s funeral, which took place at Macha church on 27 January.

(compiled by Tim Lind from reports by Esther Spurrier and Mennonite Women USA.)
Photo of Esther Kalambo by Rhoda Keener available on request.

Mennonite World Conference is a communion (Koinonia) of Anabaptist-related churches linked to one another in a worldwide community of faith for fellowship, worship, service, and witness.