Harare, Zimbabwe

Bishop James visits Zimbabwe

‘Since we were expelled from our church building, our congregation has grown so much that, were we to be allowed back there, there would not be room for us!’

This is the extraordinary picture that is emerging from our Christian brothers and sisters in Harare, Zimbabwe, with whom we have a diocesan link. Congregations have been ejected by police from their church buildings because they refused to align themselves with one-time Bishop of Harare, Nolbert Kunonga.

Kunonga was Bishop of Harare 1997- 2008. When he tried to take his Diocese out of the Anglican Communion, the Church of the Province of Central Africa (the ‘CPCA’) immediately excommunicated him, appointing a new Bishop to take his place.

Kunonga has however refused to leave church property and is successfully working through the ‘legal system’ to take ownership of all church buildings, church schools, and now parsonages. Congregations transferred their allegiance en masse to the new Bishop and were then ejected from their church buildings by Kunona’s men and the police. They are worshipping in schools, in the open air or in tents – and growing!

In recent weeks clergy have been told, in some cases with violence, to leave their parsonages. As a gesture of solidarity with them, Bishop James made his first visit to one of our diocesan overseas links in August, along with our Diocesan Overseas Links Adviser, the Rev Canon David Kitley.

Despite the injustice and difficulties facing our Zimbabwean Anglican ‘family’, they found a vibrant and growing church. They attended a clergy conference, a leaders’ conference, and an open-air celebration. To quote Bishop Chad: ‘In spite of our tribulations, we are at peace. We keep our heads up high’. At the main Sunday service (8.30am) in a tent, after a diocesan all-night celebration, they apologised that there were ‘only’ 300 communicants!

Please remember these people in your prayers.

By Rev Canon David Kitley

 

for more information about Harare contact Dominic on Harare.cdsg@gmail.com




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