Posted by: Titus Presler | January 31, 2010

Harare Anglicans plan public witness on Sunday, Jan. 31

Anglicans of the Diocese of Harare, Church of the Province of Central Africa, plan a public outdoor service in Harare’s central square on the Fourth Sunday after the Epiphany, Jan. 31, according to word received from the Rt. Rev. Chad Gandiya, bishop of the diocese.

The gathering in Africa Unity Square in front of the the Cathedral of St. Mary and All Saints, where Bp. Gandiya was enthroned on July 26 last year, is anticipated to witness publicly to the solidarity of Harare Diocese’s Anglicans at a time when they are experiencing police pressure in the continuing attempt of breakaway Bp. Nolbert Kunonga and influential allies to retain power and control over congregations and properties of the diocese.

“The service was called for at very short notice because the situation in our diocese was deteriorating badly,” Gandiya said as he cited “police disregard of court orders, partiality, harassment, intimidation and interference in the affairs of our diocese.”

Zimbabwe’s President Robert Mugabe has been invited to the service, in hope that the concerns of the diocese can be shared with him, Gandiya said.  City Council permission and police clearance have been secured to hold the service in the square (formerly known as Cecil Square, after the imperialist founder of Rhodesia, Cecil Rhodes).  Currently attending a conference for new Anglican bishops in Canterbury, the historic founding center of Anglican Christianity in Britain, Gandiya has flown back to Harare specially for the service.

The Harare diocesan struggle dates from October 2007, when Kunonga declared he was withdrawing the Diocese of Harare from the Church of the Province of Central Africa, the worldwide Anglican Communion’s regional entity that includes Botswana, Malawi and Zambia as well as Zimbabwe.  The province responded by receiving Kunonga’s declaration as a resignation and appointing a caretaker bishop, the Rt. Rev. Sebastian Bakare, who served until Bp. Gandiya began his service in July.  Kunonga’s efforts and government support appeared to subside for much of 2009 but resumed with renewed virulence late in the year as police prevented Anglicans in many Harare parishes from worshiping in their church buildings.  In a number of instances the bishop has been forced to conduct services outdoors during the current rainy season.

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Responses

  1. My prayers are with Bishop Chad.


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