Posted by: Titus Presler | November 24, 2009

Conflict recurs in Harare Diocese as bishop is driven away from church

Physical confrontation has flared up again in the Diocese of Harare as today Bp. Chad Gandiya and the congregation of St. Clare, Mangwende, were driven away from their church building just as church members were about to receive communion, the bishop reported today by telephone.

“We had completed most of the service,” said Bp. Gandiya, “and then the police came in with the priests sent by [breakaway Bp. Nolbert] Kunonga.  We were all driven out and threatened by the police.”  The bishop had gone to St. Clare’s for a routine pastoral visit.  Mangwende is located in the area of Murewa, about an hour’s drive north of Harare, so fairly close to the center of the diocese.

“We were within our rights to hold a service there,” said Gandiya, “for the by the court ruling we [the Diocese of Harare of the Church of the Province of Central Africa] were to have opportunity to use church buildings.  This happened in spite of the fact that we had gone to the police in advance and explained to them what we intended to do.

“Yet the people were so encouraging of us,” the bishop continued.  “They were singing even as we were marched out and until we left the area of the church entirely.  They were so glad we had come.”  Gandiya said that tomorrow legal representations will be made on behalf of the diocese to prevent recurrence, and plans will be made to visit the area again soon.

Fullscale violence against Anglicans occurred before, during and after the March presidential election, in which the Mugabe regime saw Anglicans loyal to the CPCA as opposed to the regime because in the politics of the church they were opposed to Kunonga, a Mugabe ally.  Many were beaten as they were driven out of churches, and CPCA loyalists had to find alternative sites for worship.  Later, however, a court order divided Sundays between the two groups and authorized weekday CPCA events in churches, and physical confrontations subsided.

The Mangwende confrontation is a setback and indicates that Kunonga, despite dwindling popular support, continues to try to prevail in the struggle.  “It is sad, really,” said Bp. Gandiya.

For more background on the Anglican Church struggle in Zimbabwe, click on this blog’s category: Anglicanism in Zimbabwe.


  1. Thank you for your comment, Philip. Your name puts me in mind of the late Mr. Sylvester Gorogodo, long catechist at St. George’s Church, Dziwa, in the Bonda Church District. He was a courageous church leader and a dear friend. This past July I visited briefly with his daughter-in-law, the widow of son Maxwell, who died in 1985.

    For those not familiar with the Anglican Shona hymnal, here is the text of Hymn 130, with my English translation:

    Mukristu usanete, Christian, do not tire,
    Inzwa Ngerosi yako, Listen to your angel,
    Uri m’kati memhandu;You are amid enemies;
    “Namata urinde.” “Watch and pray.”

    Hondo dzese dzedima,The armies of darkness,
    Dzisingamboonekwi, That are invisible,
    Dzinoda kukubata; Want to seize you;
    “Namata urinde.” “Watch and pray.”

    Tora mapfumo ako Take up your spears,
    Abate misi yese, Hold them on all days,
    Satan anorindira; Satan is watching for them;
    “Namata urinde.” “Watch and pray.”

    Inzwa vakakurira Hear those who overcame,
    Vari kukuringisa, They are conquering,
    Ivo vese vachiti, All of them saying,
    “Namata urinde.” “Watch and pray.”

    Inzwa zvikuru Tenzi, Especially hear the Lord,
    Unomudisisisa, Whom you love deeply,
    Chengeta izwi rake; Keep his word;
    “Namata urinde.” “Watch and pray.”

    Rinda panguva dzese, Watch at all times,
    Ndicho chiro chikuru, That is the great thing,
    Kumbira rubatsiro; Ask for help;
    “Namata urinde.” “Watch and pray.”

    Shona text is from Ndwiyo Dzomuchechi [Hymns of the Church], rev. ed. (London: S.P.C.K., 1966). It was itself a translation of an English hymn, “Christian, seek not yet repose,” Hymn 308 in Hymns Ancient and Modern, but the now immensely popular Shona version is a much condensed form of it.

    The hymn is sung with gusto, and often at the all-night vigils called mapungwe, when the enemies in view are the spiritual forces of evil often thought to be roaming at night as they are invoked by witches and sorcerers (varoyi). For a detailed analysis of how the hymn is used in all-night vigils among Shona Christians, and a comparison with the original English hymn, see pp. 117-20 in Transfigured Night: Mission and Culture in Zimbabwe’s Vigil Movement.

    • YES, thank you so much, Titus. Indeed Sylvester Gorogodo was may uncle. I mean he was my father’s young brother. I come from that area of Bonda and Sadziwa, but I am in Harare, where I work. I am a parishioner at St. Philip’s Anglican Church (CPCA) in Tafara. I thank you so much for the good work you doing for our diocese (Harare) and sister diocese (Manicaland) in the CPCA.

      • It is very good to hear from you, Phillip! Your late uncle Sylvester was very dear to me at St. George’s, Sadziwa. I will never forget my first visit there when I went as rector of the Bonda Church District, of which St. George’s was one of the major outlying congregations. At the time I knew very little Shona, and I think Sylvester was a bit skeptical of me as having much to offer as the new pastor. I learned Shona quickly, however, and we became quite close, with many good visits to the church and to his home. The first pungwe anyone in our family attended was at St. George’s, a Mothers Union pungwe my wife Jane attended, not knowing exactly what she was getting into, and I was a little concerned through the night but glad when she arrived home at 8 or so the next morning! Later, of course, the pungwe became a major feature of our ministry, and still later I studied and wrote a book about the all-night vigils of Shona Christianity. One of the most moving pungwes I ever attended was the one Sylvester organized after the death of his son and your cousin Maxwell. Sylvester was a fine church leader. May he go from grace to grace in the light of God’s eternal glory. In Christ, Titus


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