High-level Catholic and Protestant church leaders from Mozambique wound up a two-week U.S. tour in Washington this week, appealing to members of Congress and local church leaders here for help in alleviating their nation's hunger crisis and political turmoil.

Without "generous support" to Mozambique from this country, the delegation said in a formal statement, "many people would have lost their lives because of starvation, lack of medicines and other basic items."

Mozambique, the former Portuguese colony on the southeast coast of Africa, was hit by a four-year drought beginning in 1982. "At the same time, the war was going on," said Anglican Bishop Denis Salamao Sengulane in an interview here. "Now the war has taken over."

The war is the result of efforts by the antigovernment Mozambique National Resistance, known as Renamo, to overturn the Marxist government.

The combination of the drought in the primarily agricultural country and the assaults by Renamo have put 4.5 million Mozambicans at risk of starvation, experts say.

Now, said Sengulane, "the major problem is the violence. The people would be growing food if they could stay" in their homes. He said the Renamo forces terrorize the villagers and destroy the crops of those brave enough to stay.

The Reagan adminstration has generally supported the government of Mozambique, but some members of Congress have attacked that policy in recent months.

The church delegation spoke with representatives of the State Department and with members of Congress. The U.S. is committed to $10 million in development aid through 1988 and $75 million in emergency assistance from the private sector.

In addition to thanking American churches for their help, including $1.3 million in cash and material aid from Church World Service during the last five years, the visiting church leaders had a political agenda. "We know that South Africa has been supporting the groups which perpetuate the violence in our country," said Sengulane, explaining that one of the objects of the visit was to urge Americans to press their government to lean on South Africa to stop such support.

"We know America is a democratic society," he said. "We would like to see the {U.S.} churches continue to press on their government to influence South Africa. We see what happened in Nicaragua and we are hopeful."

In Mozambique, he said, many view the efforts to resolve the Nicaraguan conflict through negotiation as a result of pressure brought by U.S. church groups.