Frances Gray Chapel Project
Frannie’s Chapel is being built in the Mzuzu Prison in Malawi. The prison houses about 800 inmates. It is the second largest Maximum security prison north of Malawi. It will serve as a place of worship for about 200 to 250 inmates - a place to sing and praise in endless song. This chapel is accessible for both men and women, and people of all faiths.
This chapel, the first of its’ kind for Prison Fellowship Malawi, was built by a partnership between them and Hands and Hearts for Africa. It is named in loving memory of HAHFA’s co-founder, Frances Gray. Executive Director, Rodrick Zalimba has been a driving force behind this very special project.
"On behalf of the inmates of Mzuzu Prison and Prison Fellowship Malawi staff and volunteers, I wish to thank the family and friends of Frances Gray for the generous support they have given towards this phenomenal project. There is a lot of enthusiasm and excitement about this project among the inmates and it is not surprising that they have contributed immensely towards the cause by offering their labour knowledge and skills. This is a structure that will provide hundreds of souls a life time opportunity to meet their Lord and Saviour, Jesus Christ. This house of prayer will be accessible to both women and men as well as, people of all walks of life who are seeking the face of God. Thank you so much for choosing to be part of this life-changing endeavour. God bless you."
The Chapel will also house the office of the chaplain, who until now was operating from the prison education coordinators office. There is a store room attached to the office to carter for storage of scriptural materials and resources.
Progress in construction
Construction began back in October 2021 as a select group of inmates started working on the the concrete foundation footing. These workers were honoured to be involved in this project, and were treated with respect and compassion throughout. The footings were completed by the end of October and bricking laying commenced in early November with the form of the chapel starting to take shape. The chapel is 7 meters wide and 17 meters long and will be a central place of worship for the inmates at the Mzuzu Prison. The bricks are typically hand made by the inmates with local aggregate and material.
By mid November, steady progress had been made on the walls with window openings, windows installed and the entry way been completed.
Rodrick provided an update in early December on the progress of the building, with a few months the chapel had taken shape and the final structural pieces were left to finish. As per building code in Malawi, a ring beam was required to support the roof on the building. After the beam was placed into position, work progressed on the trusses which was completed just before Christmas!
The roof was completed by the end of December 2021 and the finishing work is being completed inside with plastering, wiring and plumbing. As the chapel nears completion, we keep the workers, the inmates and our friends at Prison Fellowship Malawi in our prayers!
The HAHFA Team