New Facebook page established where Anglicans/Episcopalians can express their solidarity with Zimbabwe’s Anglicans
By ACNS staff
For the second year running, Anglicans in Zimbabwe have been forced to find another place to mark the memorial of African martyr Bernard Mizeki after being denied access to their official shrine.
Last year worshippers, who had travelled from all over the country, were driven away by the Zimbabwe Republic Police despite assurances from the government that they would not be disturbed or harassed.
Bishop of Harare, the Rt Revd Dr. Chad N. Gandiya called on members of the Anglican Communion to pray for the safety of the pilgrims who travel to the Marondera Show Ground this coming weekend.
“The love, courage and commitment of Bernard Mizeki to the Lord Jesus Christ and the Gospel he preached among the Mangwende people is an inspiration to us all as we suffer persecution,” he said.
“Like him our people continue to witness to God’s love and grace regardless of arrests, ridicule and harassments. Celebrations this year are particularly meaningful because of what we are going through.”
The Anglican Church in Zimbabwe is under attack from an ex-communicated bishop, Dr Norbert Kunonga, a supporter of President Mugabe, who left the Anglican Province of Central Africa (CPCA) in 2007 to try and set up a rival church. Kunonga, with the support of police and henchmen, has seized CPCA church property and used violence to break up church services.
“Anglican lay people, their clergy and bishops are threatened and brutalised by members of the police with political support for continuing to worship Christ as Lord in their own churches and for speaking out for the poor and vulnerable,” said Bp Chad. “They are warned to conform and their lives are threatened.
“The people, clergy and bishops of the Anglican Church in Zimbabwe are not linked to any political party and are not servants of any former colonial power; they are servants of the Lord. They stand to witness to the love of Christ and place their trust in Him alone.”
“We appeal to our brothers and sisters everywhere to pray for the congregations who week by week are locked out of their churches; to pray for the clergy, some of whom have been evicted from their vicarages; to pray for the Bishops who are speaking for justice.”
Bernard Mizeki was a lay catechist and missionary to the Shona people from 1891 to his martyrdom in 1896. He was committed to Christ and to the people he served and stood by them despite threats to his life. Nationalists claimed that Mizeki was a servant of colonialist rulers, but he knew he served Christ alone. As a consequence of his commitment he was killed and this was a sign that following Christ would be punished. Instead his martyrdom became a sign of resurrection and hope.
In addition to praying, members of the Anglican Communion are asked to visit and ‘like’ the Facebook page I’m Standing with Zimbabwe’s Anglicans to stand in solidarity with the Anglicans of Zimbabwe. The aim is to show Zimbabwe’s Anglicans that they are not alone in their suffering, that fellow brothers and sisters around the world are praying for their situation.
Former (disgraced) Bishop Kunonga is still making his influence felt in the Zimbabwe Anglican Church. His apostacy having already been confirmed by the Anglican Churches of Central Africa, he is still being encouraged by Mugabe’s government to interfere in the legitimate affairs of his former Church community.
This link, provided by the Anglican Church News Service (ACNS) provides a useful avenue of support for the beleaguered Anglican Church in Zimbabwe, and I would encourage readers to log in and express their solidarity with our sisters and brothers there. Prayers are asked for Zimbabwe.
Here is a communication from The Tablet (R.C. paper in the U.K.) with further evidence of Mugabe’s interference with Church affairs in Zimbabwe – this time, with Roman Catholics:
“Dear Fr.Ron Smith
He may have been at the beatification of Blessed John Paul II but Robert Mugabe‘s regime in Zimbabwe is now accused of renewing attacks on the Church and branding it “an enemy of the state.” A Catholic priest from Zimbabwe tells Sarah Mac Donald that he and his brother priests face arrest and torture from Mugabe’s secret police and that even wearing a Roman collar puts them in danger.” – The Tablet
Father Ron Smith, Christchurch