Posted by: Titus Presler | January 26, 2011

Harare bishop details continuing crisis at end of 2010

Received Dec. 30, the Prayer Letter from the Rt. Rev. Chad Gandiya, Bishop of the Anglican Diocese of Harare in Zimbabwe, details the continuing disabilities under which the legitimate Anglican diocese continues to operate as a result of the actions of renegade bishop Nolbert Kunonga and the apparent assistance of government agencies.  Most disturbing is the fact that Anglicans are being barred from their church buildings, which in turn are being used for inappropriate purposes.

End of Year (2010) Prayer Letter

Dear Friends,

Christmastide greetings to you all! We trust you all had a wonderful Christmas in spite of the snow for some of you.

We want to take this opportunity to thank you for your continued prayer support during the course of the year. It has been a very difficult year for us as a diocese because of the tremendous challenges we are facing. We still have no access to our buildings. Once again, just as there was no room for the holy family in Bethlehem and the baby Jesus had to be laid in a manger, there was no room for our people in their churches even though they were empty. We are still prevented from going in by the police. In spite of this, Christmas services were held in tents and in church buildings belonging to other denominations. We felt a little bit like the shepherds who received the wonderful news about the birth of the Messiah from the angels out there in the fields.

We had sincerely hoped to be back in our churches by Christmas this year. We were so confident to the extent that we had told our congregations to go back to their churches. However, when they did they met with the police who prevented them from going in citing a Police Order of March 18, 2010 that has not yet been rescinded. This Order instructed the police to bar us from using our churches, contrary to Justice Makarawu’s judgement that allowed for the sharing of church buildings until the High Court made a determination. Obviously we were all greatly disappointed.

Some of your will have read the article in News Day of the 17th December 2010 that gave a shocking summary of how our church properties are being used by Dr. Kunonga.  If you did not see it you can access it on 12-17-anglican-cathedral-turned-into-school.  The most shocking news that we have received from reliable sources that boggles the mind is that two of our churches are being used as brothels. We are reminded of the words of Jesus in the Gospel of Mark about “seeing the desolating sacrilege set up where it ought to be”.  In our case we don’t run away but we get very, very concerned and angry!  When we eventually go back to our churches, we will have to cleanse all our church buildings. Our sacred space is daily being desecrated and we cry, “For how long?” Maybe the liturgists among you could send me samples of Christian cleansing rituals and liturgies that we can adapt!

There has been no change in as far as the court cases are concerned. We continue to wait for a date for the Supreme Court hearings.

We continue to be encouraged by the faithfulness and commitment of the people of our diocese despite the challenges that they face daily. The church is continuing to grow and this coming Lent the diocese is going to be focussing on “Growing Together as a Diocese” in its Bible studies. We have planned for a Diocesan Conference for the last week of August 2011. Continuing education programmes for clergy are in place for 2011. We hope to start a Bishop’s Certificate Course for the laity aimed at equipping the laity theologically, during the first quarter of 2011. The various guilds in the diocese have also arranged their own programmes.

All this goes to show that by God’s grace our diocese is very vibrant and we would want to say with St. Paul in 2 Cor. 4:7-9, that “we are afflicted in every way, we are not crushed; perplexed but not driven to despair; persecuted but not forsaken.”

We would like to ask you all to continue praying for us and with us in this New Year. We wish you God’s blessings in 2011. May it be a fruitful year for you all.

Please give thanks for:
1. Those denominations that have allowed us to hire their buildings for worship.
2. Church growth in our diocese.
3. Being brought this far by God’s grace in our struggle to go back to our churches.
4. The resilience of the clergy and laity of our diocese.
5. For all our friends who faithfully pray for us regularly.

Please pray for:
1. The Supreme Court of Zimbabwe to set a date for the hearing of our case in the first quarter of 2011.
2. The rescinding of Police Order No.18 of March 2010 that is being used by the police to prevent us from using our churches.
3. The Annual Clergy Retreat from 3rd-7th January 2011 which is going to be a combined one with the clergy of the Diocese of Manicaland.
4. Funding for Diocesan Conference in August 2011.
5. Clergy continuing education programme.
6. The launching of the Bishop’s Certificate course during the first quarter of 2011 whose aim is to provide theological education for all the people of God..
7. The “Growing Together as a Diocese” Lent 2011 Bible study series.
8. Our Ministry among vulnerable groups in our communities.
Thank you.

Yours sincerely in the Lord’s service,
+Chad, Harare.

The Rt. Rev’d. Dr. Chad N. Gandiya
Diocese of Harare CPCA
9 Monmouth Rd
Harare, Zimbabwe

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