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Central Africa says no to women priests: The Church of England Newspaper, January 17, 2014 January 27, 2014

Posted by geoconger in Church of England Newspaper, Church of the Province of Central Africa, Women Priests.
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The General Synod of the Church of the Province of Central Africa has voted down a proposal by the Diocese of Harare at their 27 November to 1 December 2013 meeting in Lusaka to permit the ordination of women to the priesthood.

Bishop Fanuel Magangani of Northern Malawi told The Church of England Newspaper the motion had been put forward by Bishop Chad Gandiya of the Diocese of Harare in response to motions adopted and put forward by a number of diocesan synods.

Bishop Magangani said he voted against the motion because it was contrary to tradition. “Some of us are happy to maintain our roots without the idea of thinking that we know better than those who have gone before us over the years of the Christian faith. I believe that the Church fathers down to the Apostles taught and reserved the faith I would like to uphold. I feel satisfied with the way I received the teaching of the Church and that there is everything I need for my salvation without diluting it with my ideas.”

The motion fell short of the necessary two-thirds vote in the House of Laity with 14 yes and 10 no votes, but was defeated in the House of Clergy, seven yes to 21 no, and in the House of Bishops six yes and nine no.

Central Africa celebrates the end of the Kunonga era: The Church of England Newspaper, December 20, 2013 January 5, 2014

Posted by geoconger in Church of England Newspaper, Church of the Province of Central Africa, Zimbabwe.
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The Church of the Province of Central Africa has postponed action to split the church into three national provinces, voting to put the Kunonga years behind them and work towards unity and healing .

Approximately 100 hundred bishops, clergy and lay delegates from Botswana, Malawi, Zambia and Zimbabwe met in Lusaka from 27 Nov to 1 Dec 2013 gathered under the theme “Going Forward Together in Unity and Prayer” in the province’s first synod since 2007.

Speaking to ACNS before the start of the meeting, Archbishop Albert Chama stated: “The six turbulent years that we have gone through since the last Synod require us all to move on in solidarity and in a very prayerful manner. God has seen us this far and he will lead us through.”

The Sept 2007 session held in the southern Malawi town of Mangochi was marked by debates over homosexuality, the Episcopal Church of the USA, Robert Mugabe and the aspirations of the national churches. The province was also without an archbishop and a number of dioceses were without bishops.

The then bishop of Harare, Dr. Nolbert Kunonga, attempted to capitalize on the power vacuum within the church and sought to enlist the province as an ally of Zimbabwe’s President Robert Mugabe. Unable to force the subordination of the province to the government of Zimbabwe, Dr. Kunonga told the Harare Herald the province had been dissolved, initiating six years of litigation.

In his presidential address last week Archbishop Chama  reported on the successful conclusion of the Kunonga schism, with the Zimbabwe courts returning all of the assets seized by Dr. Kunonga. However, the fight had damaged the church, burdening it with $200,000 of unpaid legal fees in the Diocese of Harare and $180,000 in the Diocese of Manicaland.

However the Bishop of Masvingo, the Rt. Rev. Godfrey Tawonevzi on 9 Dec 2013 told overseas supporters Dr. Kunonga’s allies had not halted their actions in his diocese. Kunonga loyalists with the help of local police and government officials were holding on to a number of churches and schools in defiance of the Harare court orders.

Debate over dividing the CPCA into national provinces at the Lusaka meeting of synod did not have the politically charged atmosphere of 2007, participants told The Church of England Newspaper.

While many Zambian delegates pushed for division, the parlous state of the church in Zimbabwe following the Kunonga schism, and the lack of a clear guidance from diocesan synods in Malawi prevented a consensus from being reached on division.

Delegates opted to follow the counsel of the archbishop and the theme of the meeting focus the efforts of the province on rebuilding institutions and fostering unity, sources told CEN.

Hospital construction project sign of normality for Harare diocese: Church of England Newspaper, September 6, 2013 p 6. September 12, 2013

Posted by geoconger in Church of England Newspaper, Church of the Province of Central Africa, Zimbabwe.
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The Diocese of Harare will restart construction on a rural hospital in Murewa that had been abandoned in 2007 during the Kunonga years. Resumption of the building project is a sign, the Bishop of Harare said on 31 August, that the diocese had been able to put its past behind it and “transform lives” of the people of Zimbabwe.

Following the death of five members of the Wabvumi Guild, an Anglican men’s service organization, in a road accident in Murewa in 1997, the guild began a fundraising campaign to build a community hospital to serve the 30,000 people in Murewa – a town 40 miles north east of Harare. However construction was halted in 2007 when Dr. Nolbert Kunonga, the former bishop of Harare, seized all of the diocese’s properties with the help of the security services. The renegade bishop then abandoned the work begun on St Clare’s Memorial Hospital.

In a sermon delivered at St Clare’s Mission in Murewa for the Wabvuwi Annual Conference the Rt. Rev. Chad Gandiya said he was proud of the work undertaken by the guild to restart the construction programme.

“We are in this together as a Church and as your bishop, I am pleasantly surprised at the magnitude of the work being done by Wabvuwi. We are proud of what you have done within the Anglican Diocese of Harare. There might be few Wabvuwi in the Murewa community but you have chosen a health project that will really transform lives. May God continue to bless you. I will also help in raising funds to complete this project by 2014,” Dr. Gandiya said

In a separate statement released last week Dr. Gandiya said the building project had reached “window level”. Approximately US$31,000 had been spent so far, but “more support is still required from the corporate world and individuals to ensure that the project is completed on time and begins to serve the Murewa community in the delivery of standard health services.”

Has the gay movement peaked?: Get Religion, August 23, 2013 August 24, 2013

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In a speech delivered at the Mansion House in London on 10 Nov 1942, Winston Churchill predicted the British victory at the battle of El Alamein would mark the turn of the tide of Germany’s fortunes. The hitherto unstoppable Wehrmacht had been defeated, and the historical inevitability of a German victory was gone. But, he added ….

Now this is not the end. It is not even the beginning of the end. but it is, perhaps, the end of the beginning.

I was reminded of Churchill’s words while reading an article by Paul Gottfried in the current issue of the Salisbury Review. In an article entitled “Cooling Off on Gay Marriage“, Gottfried argued the social left had reached its zenith with the recent U.S. Supreme Court decision on gay marriage. The urgency of the campaign to legalize gay marriage was animated by a desire to seize the moment.

Rather there is awareness that the present campaign to mainstream and even glorify gay marriage cannot be sustained forever. It may be reaching its limits in being able to convert people to a bizarre idea, no matter how much money and expensive propaganda have been thrown at it.

He argues support for gay marriage is “far shakier than the media would allow us to believe”, citing tight poll numbers and the spate of electoral defeats for gay marriage in all but the most politically liberal states. The campaign for gay marriage was anti-populist, driven by elites seeking to shape the culture. Public acceptance remained mixed, even in the face of a concerted political/social campaign to bring about its acceptance.

This does not even factor in the new, edifying TV shows featuring loving gay couples and quarrelsome heterosexual ones, the movies showing similar epiphanies, glaringly biased news coverage, and the steady work of our public educational institutions in getting the kids to celebrate gayness and same sex marriage.

He concludes:

The power establishment has moved too far too fast on the issue of gay marriage; and it may not be able to keep up the pace of its efforts to erode traditional and until recently the only concept of marriage, as a heterosexual union.

This is an interesting argument, to say the least — and one I have not heard bandied about in the popular media. Time will tell if Gottfried is right, but I believe there are stirrings in the culture that may foreshadow a Thermidorian reaction against the excesses of the social left. In this week’s edition of Crossroads, Issues Etc. host Todd Wilkens and I discussed my recent story at GetReligion on the defenestration of James Tengatenga.

Tengatenga — a liberal Anglican bishop from Malawi — had been hired as dean for moral and spiritual life at Dartmouth. Shortly after his appointment was announced, gay activists began opposition research on the bishop — treating him as if he were Robert Bork and they aides to Teddy Kennedy. They unearthed a number of stories I wrote about Tengatenga in The Church of England Newspaper where he endorsed the church’s traditional view on gay sex — e.g., that it was a sin — and also found statements he made questioning the appointment of Gene Robinson as Bishop of New Hampshire in 2003. (Robinson was the first “gay” bishop.

They also found stories I had written about Tengatenga’s role as an advocate for Malawi’s gays, whom the government would scapegoat from time to time when it needed a villain to explain failed state policies. Like the Tsars and the Jews, an old fashioned pogrom against gays in Central Africa helps let off steam. However, these pieces did not carry the emotional impact of Tengatenga’s support for traditional Christian moral teachings. Even when Tengatenga announced he had switched sides and now supported “marriage equality” this was not enough for his critics who charged the bishop was not a true believer in the gay cause, but an opportunistic convert. Dartmouth College’s president buckled under the pressure and canned Tengatenga for being too controversial.

In my reporting on this story for the church press I spoke with one member of the search committee who believed the revolution was now consuming its own. Rather than welcome a convert to their cause, the academic left treated Tengatenga as a deviationist who must be purged for the good of Dartmouth. The old Popular Front “no enemies on the left” mantra was now more.

The idea of the left taking care of their own calls to mind the Republican friendly fire of the Spanish Civil War.  In this case, the left refused even to recognize him as one of their own.  He unwittingly and in circumstances scarcely imaginable here violated their language code; their own moral pride compelled them to relegate him to the status of outcast, unfit to exercise moral leadership in our community.  I don’t think my perception is entirely distorted when I notice a Leninist streak in the American liberal arts left.

When the revolution turns on its own — be it the Terror of the French Revolution, the Stalinist purges, Mao’s Cultural Revolution — the initial ideological phase comes to an end. Whether Tengatenga’s purge makes the end of the beginning or the beginning of the end, I know not — but it does mark a shift in attitudes. I am not sure if Gottfried is correct — though I find his arguments entertaining. But the Tengatenga affair — an incident of interest to the small community of Dartmouth College and Anglican church watchers — may be a sign that the peak has been reached and the tide will soon go out.

First printed in Get Religion.

Interview: Issues Etc., August 19, 2013 August 21, 2013

Posted by geoconger in Church of the Province of Central Africa, Issues.
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Here is an to an interview I gave to the Issues, Etc. show of Lutheran Public Radio broadcast on 19 August 2013.

2. Media Coverage of Dartmouth College’s Reversal of an African Bishop’s Appointment – George Conger, 8/19/13″ href=”http://issuesetc.org/2013/08/19/2-media-coverage-of-dartmouth-colleges-reversal-of-an-african-bishops-appointment-george-conger-81913/”>2. Media Coverage of Dartmouth College’s Reversal of an African Bishop’s Appointment – George Conger, 8/19/13

George Conger of GetReligion.org

Podcast: Download (Duration: 14:30 — 6.0MB)

GetReligion

Scapegoating James Tengatenga: Get Religion, August 18, 2013 August 19, 2013

Posted by geoconger in Church of the Province of Central Africa, Get Religion, Press criticism.
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Dartmouth College President Philip J. Hanlon’s decision to nix the appointment of Bishop James Tengatenga as dean for moral and spiritual life has sparked spirited commentary from left and right  — and some solid reporting. An article in the Boston Globe entitled “Words on gays cost bishop post at Dartmouth” is a well sourced, balanced story that succinctly summarizes the issues at play.

The lede begins:

Dartmouth College has rescinded the appointment of a prominent African bishop as dean of a campus institution that focuses on furthering the moral and spiritual work of the school because of controversy over his views on homosexuality.

The extraordinary move by Dartmouth’s new president, Philip J. Hanlon, to retract the college’s offer won praise from those who raised concerns about how the appointment would affect gay students on a campus that has sometimes struggled with intolerance.

But it left Bishop James Tengatenga of the Anglican Diocese of Southern Malawi without a job and far out on a limb on gay issues in a country that still criminalizes homosexuality.

The article points out the irony of Dartmouth’s refusal to countenance any deviation from conventional wisdom in the name of “tolerance” — but it does this not by being preachy, but by allowing both sides to speak. Supporters and opponents of the appointment can recognize their views in this story, and it is left up to the reader to discern where the truth (and justice) lies.

I was particularly impressed by the Globe‘s sources from within the Anglican world. The commentators, while drawn exclusively from the liberal wing of the church, were first class. And the newspaper broke free from an America-only perspective, offering voices from America/Britain as well as Africa.

True, voices representing the views of the vast majority of African Anglicans were missing from this story, as was an explanation of these views — why does homosexuality evoke such strong moral and social disapprobation in Africa? Why do politicians use homosexuality as a club to beat their opponents? But does this represent a failure to “Get Religion?”

Were I the author of the piece I would have placed more emphasis on the religious/political culture from which Bishop Tengatenga arose, but the “I would have done it differently” argument is not about criticism but is a matter of taste. The rules of the craft — balance, context, detail, integrity — were all met by this well written piece.

A note of disclosure is in order though. I was peripherally involved in this mare’s nest.

This summer someone in the hierarchy of the Church of the Province of Central Africa — the Anglican body that includes Bishop Tengatenga’s Diocese of Southern Malawi — leaked news the bishop had resigned and was coming to America. A Malawian newspaper then printed the rumor (printing rumors as news is not uncommon, unfortunately, in the African press.)

I contacted Bishop Tengatenga and asked him to confirm the story — and he responded it was true, but added he was annoyed the newspaper had printed the story without checking with him. He had yet to finalize the deal with Dartmouth and had not yet received his visa. I wrote up the first Western account and thought that would be that — a mildly interesting people/places story of interest to church insiders and the Dartmouth community.

I first met the bishop in 1998 and had written a number of stories over the years about his work in Malawi and within the wider Anglican Communion — which he served as chairman of the Anglican Consultative Council — a pan-Anglican agency that seeks to foster conversation among the disparate churches of the communion. Bishop Tengatenga had earned the trust of the liberal churches of North America and Europe, who saw him as a fair, impartial chairman. Within the sharply divided world of Anglicanism, Bishop Tengatenga was one of the few leaders who could move between the conservative and liberal camps and be received and respected by both sides. The bishop had also gained a reputation as a fearless opponent of corruption and political tyranny in Africa. When political leaders in Malawi sought to demonize gays — following the lead of Robert Mugabe in neighboring Zimbabwe to deflect attention away from failed government economic and social policies by selecting a scapegoat, the bishop forced the government to face up to its actions.

I should note that this sort of thing gets one killed in Africa. I’ve written stories about bishops dying in mysterious car crashes, or being jailed and harassed after they campaigned against their governments.

Anti-gay campaigns in Africa, I should add, have little or nothing to do with homosexuality. In African politics homosexuals play the roll Jews played for the Nazis in Germany, or Kulaks for Stalin, or the Chinese in Indonesia, or Israelis play for Islamists — a propitiatory sacrifice for the mob. (Calling René Girard) Nor should we assume that America’s gay culture is the model for the gay cultures of other societies. The world just does not work that way.

But back to our story. Gay activists at Dartmouth began an internet search on Tengatenga and came across some of the stories I had written for the Church of England Newspaper over the years. Quotes were lifted from these stories that seemed to contradict the bishop’s current views. A member of the Darmouth search committee telephoned and asked me to help them understand the context and meaning of the stories. The bishop had told them his views had evolved over time and he had given them a nuanced statement of his beliefs — affirming his Christian faith and his views on equality. James Tengatenga, by his own profession, was now a liberal Anglican.

Had the bishop modified his views to mollify his critics?, they wanted to know. Paris may have been worth a mass, but was Hanover NH worth a wedding? I thought not — but could not speak to the bishop’s beliefs.

And then Pres. Hanlon dropped his bomb. And the story unfolded as reported by the Globe.

The fears voiced in the Globe article by Zambian exile the Rev. Kapya John Kaoma:

“This is a big blow, because it leaves African activists on the ground wondering if they can work with Westerners,” Kaoma said. “All human rights defenders in Africa are working under very, very hard conditions, and the violence against them is always there. What they have done is exposed Bishop Tengatenga and then dumped him back into Malawi.”

Were echoed by a member of the Dartmouth faculty, who told me:

The idea of the left taking care of their own calls to mind the Republican friendly fire of the Spanish Civil War.  In this case, the left refused even to recognize him as one of their own.  He unwittingly and in circumstances scarcely imaginable here violated their language code; their own moral pride compelled them to relegate him to the status of outcast, unfit to exercise moral leadership in our community.  I don’t think my perception is entirely distorted when I notice a Leninist streak in the American liberal arts left.

James Tengatenga is a decent man. Its a shame.

But as for the journalism … Kudos to the Boston Globe for making a difficult story coherent. Well done.

First printed in Get Religion.

A newspaper gets burned in reporting on Anglican Africa; Get Religion, August 123, 2013 August 12, 2013

Posted by geoconger in Church of the Province of Central Africa, Get Religion, Press criticism, Zimbabwe.
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The Christian Science Monitor has been tripped up by the African press and the internet, reporting as breaking news an item almost two years old.

The gist of the story entitled “Churches feel vulnerable after Mugabe reelected in Zimbabwe” printed on 10 August 2013 is correct — church leaders are worried what Robert Mugabe will do following his reelectionas president — but the background information used to pad out the article is incorrect.

I sympathize with the reporter on this story. This CSM story showcases the perils of re-write journalism. I use the internet for researching my stories also when I am not familiar with a topic. And I have been burned by Wikipedia and African newspapers too. Over the years I have covered religion in Africa I have learned how to smell a bad story — my “spidey sense” goes off when something is not quite right. And it tingled, jingled and jangled with this piece.

The article — written from Boston — begins:

The atmosphere in Zimbabwe after the reelection of strongman Robert Mugabe is not one of great celebration, but of tension. Prime Minister Morgan Tsvangirai, the main challenger, says he will not join in a new governing coalition but is contesting the credibility of the July 31 vote in court.

Fears are on the rise in the capital of Harare, reports say, that under one-party rule, a host of Mr. Mugabe’s old partners, cronies, henchmen, and friends will start to come out of the woodwork to take advantage of the hour.

So far so good. Without hearing the details, this story sounds right. Though I’ve not been back to Zimbabwe since 1999, I’ve kept up my contacts and have written 150 stories about its travails. At this point the article focuses on the fears of church leaders about what Pres. Mugabe will do next.

Foreign-owned banks, mines, and businesses have heard that, to fulfill a campaign promise made by Mugabe, their assets may be seized and restructured into a majority national ownership arrangement. Now it appears the considerable property of the Anglican church in Zimbabwe, though it is mostly a black membership, may also be under renewed scrutiny by the unscrupulous.

“Oh no”, I thought, not again. Dr. Nolbert Kunonga — an ex-Anglican bishop and one-time crony of Mugabe and his ZANU-PF party — appeared to have come back from the political dead and returned to his evil ways. The article then moves to detail:

The chief Anglican bishop in Zimbabwe, Chad Gandiya, this week accused a renegade clergyman and friend of Mugabe of restarting a campaign using brutality, the courts, and police to seize churches, orphanages, and missions owned by mainstream Anglicans.

That also seemed likely, but Dr. Gandiya is only the Bishop of Harare — one of five Anglican bishops in Zimbabwe. Though bishop of the diocese based in the capital, he is not the chief bishop for the country — the chief bishop is the Archbishop of Central Africa who happens to live in Zambia. But the report seemed right. The diocesanFacebook page recently posted a note saying:

Anglicans across Zimbabwe must remain aware that the disbarred bishop intends to feature prominently in Church affairs and cause confusion, and is reportedly being revived by some evil forces who believe in his crusade to repossess our properties using the Constitutional Court. This is informational, for your knowledge, but remain prayerful. Victory is ours! We must not forget the pain. Anglicans are forgiving.

But after this point things become unglued. It cites an old New York Times story for color quotes on Dr. Kunonga — a name worthy of a James Bond villain — and then states things that set off my alarms.

Gandiya told reporters that Kunonga this week sent thugs into his own home in Harare, where they stole cellphones and records of church holdings and personnel. Gandiya also said that in the area of Murewa, outside Harare, local police are supporting Kunonga’s effort to take over a mission, and to evict 100 children from the Shearly Cripps orphanage, first started by British and American missionaries. …

Kunonga’s splinter church for a time enjoyed standing but is now in legal limbo. But this could change again. Kunonga currently holds, in contravention of a court order, some of the largest Anglican church buildings and edifices in Harare, including the main cathedral, along with bank accounts and vehicles. …

The head of the Anglican church, the Archbishop of Canterbury, has said he is seeking a visit to speak with Mugabe about the issue.

I had reported all of these things almost two years ago for the Church of England Newspaper as had the secular press. Last year I reported on the expulsion of Dr. Kunonga from the cathedral and the return of the diocesan bank accounts and vehicles to Dr. Gandiya. Had something happened this past week?

A quick email to Dr. Gandiya returned an answer from Harare that the bishop was worried Dr. Kunonga might try something new. But they still possessed the cathedral, orphanage, schools, bank accounts and cars of the diocese. Dr. Kunonga and his allies had absconded with some things, and saddled the diocese with unpaid bills –but nothing more. Nor did the Archbishop of Canterbury’s staff seem to know anything about plans for a meeting between Robert Mugabe and Justin Welby.

True, the Anglican Communion News Service did re-post the story. But ACNS is not a news service in the sense that it engages in journalism. It is not even the news service for the Anglican Communion. It releases press statements for some Anglican churches and agencies on behalf of the Anglican Consultative Council — a London-based pan-Anglican organization that discusses issues of common concern but has no authority other than moral suasion. (And that has been damaged in recent years due to the Anglican sex wars with some of the African churches boycotting its meetings). It also provides an RSS service for Anglican related news articles. In other words, its re-posting of a story is no guarantee of authenticity.

It is pretty easy to see how the mistake was made. One of the hyperlinks in the CSMstory goes to a piece in the Zim Daily. The date at the top of the page is today’s date. And tomorrow the date at the top will be tomorrow’s date. Even though the story is two years old. The examples pulled from this article for the CSM were true — but no longer.

What is the moral of this story? Trust but verify.

Relying on a mis-dated story from the internet from an African newspaper can lead to journalistic disaster unless you verify the information with those involved. That cannot always be done — following a Christianity Today story I wrote on Zimbabwe in 2011, the government press office stopped responding to my emails. But without verification, a reporter takes his professional life in his hands when relying on uncorroborated stories from the African press.

Journalists should thus be afeard. The internet is full of noises, sounds, and sweet airs, that seem to give delight and hurt not. Sometimes a thousand twangling instruments will hum about a reporter’s ears, offering him the mirage of an easy ending to a story on deadline.

And, I would also say a second lesson to be learned from this fiasco is that there is value in engaging specialist reporters. it may be cheaper to keep things in house or out source everything to the wire services — but as the old adage goes “you get what you pay for” — and this holds true for journalism also.

First published in Get Religion.

Tengatenga under fire for gay flip flop: The Church of England Newspaper, July 28, 2013, p 6. July 31, 2013

Posted by geoconger in Anglican Consultative Council, Church of England Newspaper, Church of the Province of Central Africa, Human Sexuality --- The gay issue.
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James Tengatenga

The chairman of the Anglican Consultative Council, the Rt. Rev. James Tengatenga, has repudiated his opposition to same-sex marriage, telling an American college newspaper the Bible’s call to treat all people with respect outweighed its condemnation of homosexual acts as sin.

On 19 July 2013 The Dartmouth quoted Dr. Tengatenga as saying his views on homosexuality had evolved in recent years. “The interpretation of the Bible is not based on one person or one denomination,” the Dartmouth quoted him as saying.

“What is important is what the scriptures say about the value of a human being. It says they are all equal. One must place more value on this than on the few negative scriptures that are in the Bible,” the bishop said.

Last week The Church of England Newspaper reported Dr. Tengatenga had stood down as Bishop of Southern Malawi to take up the post of Dean of the William Jewett Tucker Foundation at Dartmouth College on 1 January 2014.  As dean, Dr. Tengatenga will oversee the college’s chaplaincy programs.

However gay activists at Dartmouth, joined by the college chapter of the NAACP (National Association for the Advancement of Colored People) denounced the bishop’s appointment. They cited statements made by Dr Tengatenga in support of the church’s traditional teaching on sexuality published in The Church of England Newspaper in objecting to his appointment.

Members of the Dartmouth search committee told the college newspaper Dr. Tengatenga did not believe the things that he said but was merely mouthing the sentiments of the Church of the Province of Central Africa.  Search Committee chairman Professor Irene Kacandes said the bishop’s statements had been taken out of context and expressed his church’s views, not his personal beliefs.

However, the bishop’s climb down may have come too late for some members of Dartmouth’s faculty. Adrienne Clay, African and African-American studies department program coordinator told The Dartmouth,“Although Tengatenga’s new statement strikes some encouraging notes, it seems very polished and a little too ambiguous for my taste.”

“How do we measure Tengatenga? By a statement directed to a college audience in the U.S. or by his words and actions, as well as inaction, over the past decade?”, she said.

Dr. Tengatenga did not respond to a request for clarification of his views. However the Anglican Consultative Council’s press office last week said the bishop was under no obligation to step down as ACC chairman following his resignation as Bishop of Southern Malawi.

ACC chairman steps down as bishop of Southern Malawi: The Church of England Newspaper, July 21, 2013 p 6. July 23, 2013

Posted by geoconger in Anglican Consultative Council, Church of England Newspaper, Church of the Province of Central Africa.
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The chairman of the Anglican Consultative Council, the Rt. Rev. James Tengatenga has resigned as Bishop of Southern Malawi to accept a lectureship at Dartmouth College in the United States.

On 10 July the Nyasa Times reported Dr. Tengatenga, the senior bishop of the Province of Central  Africa, would take up a university post in the United States and will relinquish his leadership of several Malawian civil society groups including the National AIDS Commission, Malawi Council of Churches and the Public Affairs Council (PAC).

On 11 July 2013 Dr. Tengatenga told The Church of England Newspaper he had “given notice of resignation to my archbishop. It is just unfortunate that the news got out this way. Yesterday I was giving a heads up to my core leadership so that they do not get surprised when the archbishop sends the news.”

Dr. Tengatenga stated it was unfortunate an unnamed source at the provincial office in Zambia had leaked the information to the press.  The desire to be “the first to give this news to the newspaper” did not reflect well on the leaker.

He further noted the “college has not yet made the official announcement and I do not yet have the visas” for a move to America and “as such it is premature and it is what it is.”

Dr. Tengatenga will take up the post of Dean of the William Jewett Tucker Foundation at Dartmouth College on 1 January 2014.

Dr. Tengatenga stated he was not sure how his resignation from his bishopric would affect his leadership of the ACC.  While clergy members of the ACC must step down upon retirement, Dr. Tengatenga is the elected chairman and not a delegate from Central Africa. It is “up to the ACC to tell me what they think is proper once I make the official announcement. As far as I am aware I am not expected to step down until my term is over but I may be wrong. The legal adviser will let me know in due course,” he said.

Anglicans return to the shrine of Bernard Mizeki: The Church of England Newspaper, June 23, 2013 p 7. June 27, 2013

Posted by geoconger in Church of England Newspaper, Church of the Province of Central Africa, Zimbabwe.
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Five years after breakaway Bishop Nolbert Kunonga banned Anglicans from worshipping in the churches of the Diocese of Harare, over 25,000 pilgrims returned to the shrine of Bernard Mizeki for a two-day service in Marondera, Zimbabwe.

“The rightful people who deserve to be at this shrine are gathered here today,” The Bishop of Harare, the Rt Rev Chad Gandiya told worshippers.

“They kept us out with guns and everything but our God fought this battle on our behalf. He has brought us back to the shrine,” Dr Gandiya said, adding you “remained resolute in your support of our cause and today our efforts have been rewarded greatly.”

In 2007 Dr Kunonga broke with the Church of the Province of Central Africa and set up an Anglican church of Zimbabwe and proclaimed himself its Archbishop. Backed by the Zimbabwe security services Dr Kunonga evicted congregations from their churches if they refused to swear allegiance to him.

However last year the Zimbabwe Supreme Court issued a ruling stripping control of church properties from Dr Kunonga. After having met at the Marondera showgrounds the past five years members of the diocese were able to return to the shrine to celebrate the 14-15 June festival.

Joining Dr Gandiya were the Rt Rev Julius Makoni, Bishop of Manicaland; the Rt Rev Godfrey Tawonezvi, Bishop of Masvingo; the Rt Rev Peter Hatendi, retired Bishop of Harare; the Rt Rev Mark Van Koevering; Bishop of Niassa, Mozambique; the Rt Rev Dinis Sengulane, Bishop of Lebombo, Mozambique and the chief celebrant for the festival the Rt Rev Ismael Mukuwanda, Bishop of Central Zimbabwe.

Pilgrims from across Zimbabwe, Zambia, South Africa and Mozambique attended the festival, as did representatives from the Diocese of Rochester, the Methodist Church in Zimbabwe and the Roman Catholic Church.

“For five years we were in exile but we told our members to employ what we coined ‘kneeology’, meaning stay on your knees and pray. That is how we won this battle,” Dr Gandiya said.

“It was not easy but we soldiered on knowing that eventually we would be fairly judged. We have waited for this day for five whole years and finally it has happened.”

Zambian bishop interviewed by police over theft charges: The Church of England Newspaper, June 20, 2013 June 27, 2013

Posted by geoconger in Church of England Newspaper, Church of the Province of Central Africa, Corruption.
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Members of the chapter of the Cathedral of the Holy Nativity in Ndola have lodged a criminal complaint with police charging the Bishop of Central Zambia, the Rt. Rev. Derek Kamukwamba, with theft of cathedral funds.

On 11 June 2013 the Bishop was interviewed by police and asked to respond to the charges. Bishop Kamukwamba told the local media he had no comment to make about the allegations.

Bishop Kamukwamba has been engaged in a dispute with members of the Cathedral for the past year. Shortly before Christmas, the bishop found the door to his office at the Cathedral locked.

He was handed a copy of a letter written by the chapter to Archbishop Albert Chama of Central Africa calling for his resignation.  The letter accused the bishop of having unlawfully ordained his nephew to the diaconate over the objections of the congregation who had reservations about his fitness.

They accused the nephew, the Rev. Stubbs Kamukwamba, of having got with child an underage member of the cathedral youth group and then helping the mother procure an abortion. The objections were brought to Bishop Kamukwamba, but were ignored the chapter said.

The criminal investigation and ecclesiastical proceedings are ongoing.

Final appeal dismissed in Zimbabwe property cases: The Church of England Newspaper, March 3, 3013, p 7. March 23, 2013

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The Zimbabwe Supreme Court has dismissed the appeal of the former bishop of Manicaland Elson Jakazi, closing the last legal door on the Kunonga schism in Zimbabwe.

In a ruling handed down last week Justice Vernanda Ziyambi dismissed the former bishop’s application for a rehearing of his case, stating the arguments put forward were without merit. The decision now permits Bishop Julius Makoni and the diocese to begin eviction proceedings to remove the bishop and his supporters from the diocese’s cathedral, churches, schools and hospitals.

In October 2012 a three judge panel of the Zimbabwe Supreme Court heard seven appeals brought by the Church of the Province of Central Africa and the breakaway bishops of Harare and Manicaland, Dr. Nolbert Kunonga and Bishop Jakazi.  The court dismissed five of the appeals and two cases concerning Dr. Kunonga and the Diocese of Harare were taken under advisement.

Deputy Chief Justice Luke Malaba, sitting with Justices Vernanda Ziyambi and Yunus Omerjee struck Bishop Jakazi’s case from consideration finding he had failed to comply with the rules of the court.

On 19 May 2010 Mutare High Court Justice Chinembiri Bhunu held that as Bishop Jakazi had resigned his see to join Dr. Kunonga to form the schismatic Anglican Church of Zimbabwe, he was no longer Bishop of Manicaland. “What this means is that once [Bishop Jakazi]‘s resignation letter was received by the Archbishop of the Central African Province of Central Africa, he automatically ceased to be an employee or member of that church organization without any further formalities.”

“Having ceased to be an employee or member of the church organisation he automatically stripped himself of any rights and privileges arising” from his office, Justice Bhunu concluded However a stay of execution of the order to vacate was entered pending appeal.

While the legal fight to regain the properties may have ended with victory for the Church of the Province of Central Africa, the dioceses of Harare and Manicaland face considerable financial burdens in repairing their churches.

After the diocese regained control of its Cathedral in November, the Harare City Council disconnected its water supply. The city has demanded payment of over $55,000 in utility charges incurred by Dr. Kunonga that were unpaid at the time of his eviction. The diocese has asked the city to seek payment from Dr. Kunonga for the debts.

A city council spokesman told The Zimbabwean “It is not Kunonga who owes us but the Anglican Cathedral. We do not mind who pays it but the bill has got to be settled.”

80 dead in Mozambique flooding: The Church of England Newspaper, February 24, 2013 p 6. March 23, 2013

Posted by geoconger in Anglican Church of Southern Africa, Church of England Newspaper, Church of the Province of Central Africa, Church of the Province of the Indian Ocean, Disaster Relief.
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Church leaders in the Indian Ocean and Southern Africa have launched appeals for aid following flooding across the region.

On 1 Feb 2013 Archbishop Ian Ernest of the Indian Ocean asked for support for the Diocese of the Seychelles after the island was hit by Tropical Cyclone Felleng. The “country and the diocese have suffered heavy losses from the floods,” as “church buildings and other important structures have been destroyed. However we give thanks to the Lord as there has been no loss of life.”

Bishop Brighton Malasa of the Diocese of Upper Shire in Malawi reported his country had been hard hit by floods. He estimated that 33,000 people had been dislocated by flood waters in his diocese.  “We would appreciate humanitarian support such as soap, clothes, cereals, sugar, blankets and tents,” he said.

While floods are common in the early part of the year in southern Malawi, the “oldest people in our communities are saying they have not seen such rains in the past 50 years,” the bishop said.

In the Diocese of Lebombo in southern Mozambique approximately 70,000 people have been displaced by flood waters, Bishop Dinis Sengulane said. “The situation is dramatic and it calls for our response if we are to avoid more damages to the lives of people”.

The flooding had destroyed crops and left “stagnant waters [that] will become favorable places for the proliferation of mosquitoes that bring malaria,” the bishop wrote to supporters in the West in an appeal for “mosquito nets to prevent malaria” as well as “seeds and school materials for children.”

On 31 Jan 2013 the United Nations reported severe flooding in southern Mozambique has affected a quarter of a million people, while heavy rains buffeted the north of the country as Tropical Cyclone Felleng made landfall after passing over Madagascar.

The floods have killed at least 48 people in the south of Mozambique, the UN reported while government officials put the death toll at 80.

Abortion flap divides Zambian diocese: The Church of England Newspaper, January 20, 2013 p 7. January 24, 2013

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The clergy and cathedral chapter of the Cathedral of the Holy Nativity in Ndola, have locked out Bishop Derek Kamukwamba of Central Zambia, accusing their bishop of misconduct.

Shortly before Christmas, the bishop found the door to his office at the Cathedral locked.  He was handed a copy of a letter written by the chapter to Archbishop Albert Chama of Central Africa calling for his resignation.  The letter accused the bishop of having unlawfully ordained his nephew to the diaconate over the objections of the congregation who had reservations about his fitness.

They accused the nephew, the Rev. Stubbs Kamukwamba, of having got with child an underage member of the cathedral youth group and then helping the mother procure an abortion. The objections were brought to Bishop Kamukwamba, but were ignored the chapter said.

The bishop has declined to comment on the allegations as the charges are under review by the province.

Harare Cathedral reconsecrated: The Church of England Newspaper, December 26, 2012 January 3, 2013

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The Archbishop of Canterbury has written to Bishop Chad Gandiya and the Diocese of Harare offering his heartfelt congratulations upon their return to their churches after five years of exile.

“You have faced threats of violence and arrest and yet your faith has not weakened, rather it has grown stronger,” Dr. Williams wrote on 17 Dec 2012, adding that “through all this your faith has been a beacon of light to the rest of the Anglican Communion. Your numbers have grown along with your resilience to live in the light of Christ, no matter the consequences.”

“Today you have been rewarded for your struggle. Today we thank God for his unending mercy and justice. Today I join you in joyously praising God as you finally return to your churches,” Dr. Williams said.

Last month the Zimbabwe Supreme Court ruled the properties of the dioceses of Harare and Manicaland belonged to the Church of the Province of Central Africa and not to the former Bishops of Harare and Manicaland, Dr. Nolbert Kunonga and Elson Jakazi. Constables have ejected Dr. Kunonga and his allies from church properties in Harare, allowing congregations to return to their churches.

Dr. Kunonga and Bishop Jakazi have filed motions for re-hearings of their appeals, but the Supreme Court has denied the applications, holding the decisions are final. At a 19 Dec press conference, Dr. Kunonga said he would honour the court ruling.

A spokesman for Dr. Kunonga denied his churchhas been disbanded after the court ruling,” saying “after the ruling we had to move out of the churches and we are grateful to other churches and schools who have come to our side. All our services are going on without interference.”

On 16 Dec, Bishop Gandiya accompanied by Archbishop Albert Chama of Central Africa and the Bishop of Tonbridge, the Rt. Rev. Brian Castle, led a service of rededication and cleansing of St Mary’s and All Saints Cathedral in Harare.  Diocese of Harare secretary Clifford Dzawo told Zimbabwe newspapers similar ceremonies would be held in each of the diocese’s churches.

“We are going into all churches for cleansing as the churches had been turned into brothels when we were in exile,” Mr. Dzawo said. “Some places had been turned into crèches,” businesses and other commercial operations and “were abused.”  But the cathedral “is now being used for the proper purpose it serves.”

First printed in The Church of England Newspaper.

Gun-toting bishop fails to block return of Harare’s churches: The Church of England Newspaper, December 23, 2012 p 7. December 28, 2012

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After five years of exile, Anglicans in the Dioceses of Harare and Manicaland have been allowed to return home.  While isolated incidents of violence and harassment have been reported Diocese of Harare spokesman Ms. Precious Shumba reports that most churches have been peacefully returned to the Church of the Province of Central Africa (CPCA).

On 3 Dec 2012 the government-backed Harare Herald quoted Ms. Shumba as saying: “This weekend we have not witnessed any cases of violence and church services were conducted peacefully. The evictions are also going on peacefully with people moving out without any resistance.”

After breaking with the Church of the Province of Central Africa, the former Bishop of Harare, Dr. Nolbert Kunonga was given trusteeship of the properties of the Diocese of Harare, while his ally, the former Bishop of Manicaland, Elson Jakazi, gained controlled of that diocese’s lands.

In 2009 High Court judge Ben Hlatshwayo handed down an order giving Dr. Kunonga trusteeship of the properties pending adjudication by the Supreme Court. Last month a three judge panel dismissed all of Bishop Kunonga’s and Bishop Jakazi’s claims and ordered the properties be turned over immediately to the CPCA.

Most of the 72 Harare parishes were turned over to the CPCA without incident, as few were being used as active churches.  Many had been rented by Dr. Kunonga to schools and businesses, and one church rectory was reported being used as a brothel.

However, the Daily News reported Dr. Kunonga was not going without a fight. When its reporters visited the Cathedral Church of St Mary and All Saints in central Harare on 29 Nov, they reported that threatened them. The bishop was “sweating profusely” it reported and had a gun holstered at his hip. He warned the reporters: “You think I am playing with you, I can shoot you.”

The Daily News also witnessed a scuffle between Dr. Kunonga and a constable, who blocked the former bishop from leaving the cathedral until he turned over the keys to the diocesan car.

On 30 Nov the diocese reported the Rev. Naboth Manzongo “sustained a deep cut on the forehead after being hit by a brick” by the Rev. Tendai Mukariri, a “Kunonga priest.”

Fr. Mukariri “and his thugs were engaged in massive physical violence against the [Harare} Deputy Sheriff and his team” at the cathedral, the diocese reported.  Six Kunonga supporters were arrested and Fr. Manzongo was taken to the hospital.

First printed in The Church of England Newspaper.

Anglican Unscripted Episode 58, December 2, 2012 December 2, 2012

Posted by geoconger in Anglican Church of Canada, Anglican.TV, Church of the Province of Central Africa, Property Litigation, South Carolina, The Episcopal Church, Zimbabwe.
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This week Kevin and George talk about the Artificial Ecclesiastical Diocese of South Carolina (AEDOS) and some of the miscommunication between it’s leadership. They also talk about International stories from Canada and Egypt. And what episode won’t be complete without a story about Legal Violence in Zimbabwe? #AU58 Comments to AnglicanUnscripted@gmail.com

Court throws Dr Kunonga out of Zimbabwe’s churches: The Church of England Newspaper, November 25, 2012 p 7. November 29, 2012

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A three-judge panel of the Zimbabwe Supreme Court has held the properties of the Diocese of Harare belong to the Church of the Province of Central Africa (CPCA) and are to be administered by the Bishop of Harare, Dr. Chad Gandiya.

Supreme Court Judge Yunus Omerjee on 19 Nov 2012 dismissed the claims made by the former Bishop of Harare, Dr. Nolbert Kunonga and ordered that he return control to Dr. Gandiya. Dr. Gandiya greeted the news with joy.

“Today is a day of thanksgiving for the love, grace, mercy and faithfulness of our God. To God be the glory, Great things he has done! We will forever remember and sing how gracious our God is. We call upon all members of our Diocese to be gracious also in winning.”

In 2007 Dr. Kunonga broke with the CPCA to form the Anglican Church of Zimbabwe. The breakaway bishop claimed his reasons for leaving the CPCA were due to its support of homosexuality and progressive Western theology. However, the CPCA has long opposed the innovations of doctrine and discipline made by some Western churches, and notes the controversial bishop had been the subject of investigations for fraud, heresy and misconduct.

He was alleged to have ordered the murder of disloyal clergy and was a vocal supporter of the country’s strongman, President Robert Mugabe.  In return for his loyalty, the regime gave Dr. Kunonga a farm expropriated from a white commercial farmer.  The security services and police also supported Dr Kunonga, using violence to expel Anglicans from their churches who would not pledge their loyalty to him. Court rulings that ordered Dr. Kunonga to share the use of church properties with Dr. Gandiya’s supporters were ignored, and attempts by constables to enforce them were blocked by the secret police.

Last month oral argument was presented before the Supreme Court panel on the seven Anglican Church appeals. At the close of oral argument the court dismissed five appeals as defective. Two appeals that determined the ownership were taken under consideration.

At the hearing attorneys Adrian De Bourbon and Thabani Mpofu, appearing for the CPCA, argued that in a letter dated 21 Sept 2010 Dr. Kunonga had resigned as Bishop of Harare of the CPCA and that the province had accepted his resignation on 16 Nov. The formation of the Anglican Church of Zimbabe by Dr. Kunonga was a schismatic act that did not vest control of CPCA properties in the new entity.

Attorneys Tawanda Kanengoni and Charles Nyika appearing on behalf of Dr. Kunonga argued the former bishop and his board of appointed trustess for the Diocese of Harare were still members of the CPCA.  Dr. Kunonga’s letter of resignation did not conform to the canons of the CPCA and was void.  The dispute centered round who was the proper Bishop of Harare. The court held it was Dr. Gandiya.

Dr. Kunonga did not respond to email queries asking for his comments, but in a statement released after the verdict was handed down, Dr. Gandiya called upon the Anglicans of Zimbabwe to rebuild the diocese. “The first thing we ask every parish to do when you go back is to carry out thorough inspection of all our buildings.”

“Assess the damage, note what needs to be done and carry out a full inventory of what we left behind when we were evicted,” he said.

The “rebuilding of God’s people in our diocese should be a priority also. Our people were greatly traumatised by the persecution of the last five years. They are in need of healing,” also the bishop said. “Come let us work together, let us rise up and build! Renovate! Paint! Let us do it all to God’s glory.”

First printed in The Church of England Newspaper.

Breakaway bishop appeals Supreme Court loss: The Church of England Newspaper, November 18, 2012 p 7. November 19, 2012

Posted by geoconger in Church of England Newspaper, Church of the Province of Central Africa, Property Litigation, Zimbabwe.
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Bishop Elson Jakazi has filed a motion with the Zimbabwe Supreme Court asking it to re-hear his appeal of a lower court ruling that held he was no longer Bishop of Manicaland.

Last month a three judge panel of the Zimbabwe Supreme Court heard seven appeals brought by the Church of the Province of Central Africa and the breakaway bishops of Harare and Manicaland, Dr. Nolbert Kunonga and Bishop Jakazi.  The court dismissed five of the appeals and two cases concerning Dr. Kunonga and the Diocese of Harare were taken under advisement.

Deputy Chief Justice Luke Malaba, sitting with Justices Vernanda Ziyambi and Yunus Omerjee struck Bishop Jakazi’s case from consideration finding he had failed to comply with the rules of the court.

On 19 May 2010 Mutare High Court JusticeChinembiri Bhunu held that as Bishop Jakazi had resigned his see to join Dr. Kunonga to form the schismatic Anglican Church of Zimbabwe, he was no longer Bishop of Manicaland. “It is an established rule that resignation is a unilateral voluntary act which takes effect as soon as the resignation has been communicated to the correct person or authority.

“What this means is that once [Bishop Jakazi]‘s resignation letter was received by the Archbishop of the Central African Province of Central Africa, he automatically ceased to be an employee or member of that church organization without any further formalities.”

Justice Bhunu concluded that “having ceased to be an employee or member of the church organisation he automatically stripped himself of any rights and privileges arising” from his office. However, the bishop stayed enforcement of his ruling pending the appeal to the Supreme Court and Bishop Jakazi remained in control of the diocese’s properties.

The Supreme Court ruling ends the stay of execution of Justice Bhunu’s order to vacate. But Bishop Jakazi has told the Manica Post that “I am not going anywhere” and would fight any attempt to evict him from the cathedral in Mutare.

First published in The Church of England Newspaper.

Supreme Court evicts schismatic bishop from Harare’s churches: Anglican Ink, November 19, 2012 November 19, 2012

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Dr. Nolbert Kunonga

The Zimbabwe Supreme Court has handed the breakaway bishop of Harare, Dr. Nolbert Kunonga a surprise loss and ordered he turn over the diocese’s churches to the lawful bishop, Dr. Chad Gandiya.

The decision caps five years of legal battles between Dr. Kunonga and the Church of the Province of Central Africa and its bishops of Harare, Dr. Sebastian Bakare and Dr. Gandiya. It has also been marked by violent intimidation of Anglicans loyal to the province – estimated to be over 90 per cent of its members – with the security services and police intervening on behalf of Dr. Kunonga to drive Anglicans out of their churches.

Appointed Bishop of Harare in 2000 in an election marred by interference from the security services, the American educated bishop has had a controversial tenure.

A native of Zimbabwe, Nolbert Kunonga earned a PhD from Northwestern University and taught at Dr. Sun Myung Moon’s Unification Theological Seminary in Barrytown New York before returning to Harare to stand for election as bishop.

Read it all in Anglican Ink:

Supreme Court loss for Dr. Kunonga: The Church of England Newspaper, October 28, 2012 p 6. October 31, 2012

Posted by geoconger in Church of England Newspaper, Church of the Province of Central Africa, Property Litigation, Zimbabwe.
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Dr Julius Makoni, Bishop of Manicaland

The Harare Supreme Court has handed breakaway bishop Dr. Nolbert Kunonga and his allies a defeat in their bid to take control of Anglican church properties in Zimbabwe.

On 22 Oct 2012 the country’s high court heard the seven cases brought by and against the former bishop of Harare in his bid over control of the assets of the Church of the Province of Central Africa (CPCA).  The CPCA Bishop of Harare, Dr. Chad Gandiya, reported via email: “Our Supreme Court hearing took place this morning from 9.30 to close to 13.00hrs and finished all the matters. Most of the Kunonga appeals including that of Manicaland were thrown out.”

The bishop said the “Harare matter was heard and the judges reserved judgement” with a decision expected within three months.

In the case of Bishop Elson Madoda Jakazi and another versus The Anglican Church of the Province of Central Africa and two others (SC118/10), the high court dismissed the claims of Dr. Kunonga’s ally Bishop Jakazi that he controlled the assets of the Diocese of Manicaland.

On 23 Sept 2007 Bishop Jakazai announced he was pulling his diocese out of the CPCA to join Dr. Kunonga’s “Anglican Church of Zimbabwe”.

However Bishop Jakazi, unlike Dr. Kunonga, tendered his resignation as Bishop of Manicaland when he quit the CPCA.  When the CPCA took Bishop Jakazi to court to regain control of the property the Mutare district court ruled in 2010 the decision to resign ended Bishop Jakazi’s control over diocesan property.  In Harare, Dr. Kunonga did not resign when he quit the CPCA and he has maintained that he is the sole and rightful bishop of Harare.

However, the 2010 court ruling permitted Bishop Jakazi to remain in possession of the Manicland property pending a review of the decision by the Supreme Court.

In the two years that followed the lower court decision, Bishop Jakazi is alleged to have diverted assets from the diocese’s schools and churches and with the collusion of the security services, has driven Anglicans loyal to the new Bishop of Manicaland, Dr. Julius Makoni, from their churches.  Bishop Jakazi, along with Dr. Kunonga, are fervent supports of President Robert Mugabe and his ruling ZANU-PF party.

Dr. Gandiya reported he was “very pleased that its over so quickly. It went very well and we are happy the way it went. This does not mean you stop praying _ please continue to pray as the judges write down their judgement. The end is in sight now -Praise God!”

First printed in The Church of England Newspaper.

From Botswana to Barking: The Church of England Newspaper, October 28, 2012 p 5. October 29, 2012

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The Rt. Rev. Trevor Mwamba

The Bishop of Botswana, the Rt Rev Trevor Mwamba, has been appointed Assistant Bishop in the Diocese of Chelmsford and Rector of St Margaret’s Team Ministry and Barking St Patrick’s with Christ Church.

“Barking is getting a man of rare wisdom, good humour and experience. He will light up the church in Barking.” the Bishop of Chelmsford, the Rt Rev Stephen Cottrell said on 3 October 2012., while the Bishop of Barking, Rt Rev David Hawkins, added that it was a “great privilege for Barking and the Chelmsford Diocese to have someone from the African Continent of such distinction and international reputation.  Bishop Trevor will be an important role model of leadership for many within the church and wider society of the Borough.”

A native of Zambia, Bishop Mwamba  was educated at the University of Zambia and trained for the priesthood at Saint Stephen’s House, Oxford, and was ordained in 1984 at Saint Luke’s Chelsea in London, serving his curacy in the Parish of All Saints, Notting Hill before returning to Zambia where he was priested in Ndola in 1985.

In 1987 Bishop Mwamba was appointed Provincial Secretary of the Church of the Province of Central Africa, and from 1996 to 1999 undertook graduate work at Keble College, Oxford. From 2000 to 2005 Bishop Mwamba worked as a banker with Standard Chartered Bank Botswana Ltd and was consecrated Bishop of Botswana on 6 Feb 2005.

Considered the most progressive member of the CPSA House of Bishops, Bishop Mwamba had clashed with his colleagues over the Lake Malawi episcopal impasse and for his links with the Episcopal Church and the Modern Churchpersons Union.  The bishop had also come under fire from his clergy for allegedly favoring non-Botswana clergy in appointments.

Bishop Mwamba said he was “delighted and look forward to ministering” in Barking.

“With immense joy, humility and hope I approach my ministry at St Margaret’s, Barking, a parish which clearly reflects this multicultural and multi-ethnic dimension. I look forward to connecting pastorally with the diversity of people found in Barking and enabling others to engage with the needs of the parish,” the bishop said.

First printed in The Church of England Newspaper.

Anglican Unscripted Episode 54, October 26, 2012 October 27, 2012

Posted by geoconger in Anglican Church of Tanzania, Anglican Consultative Council, Anglican Covenant, Anglican.TV, Canon Law, Church of England, Church of Nigeria, Church of North India, Church of South India, Fort Worth, Persecution, Zimbabwe.
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In this weeks episode Kevin and George bring an update on the Diocese of South Carlina and their separation from the Episcopal Church. Also this week they talk about Women’s Ordination and the new task force created by the Anglican Church in North America. And what episode would be complete without news from one of the broken Anglican “Instruments of Unity”. Peter talks about the reality of Women Bishops in England and Allen Haley guildes the viewer thru the Kangaroos courts found in Title IV. Comments to AnglicanUnscripted@gmail.com #AU54

Supreme Court to hear Kunonga complaint: The Church of England Newspaper, September 30, 2012 p 6. October 2, 2012

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Dr Nolbert Kunonga

The Supreme Court of Zimbabwe has set a court date to adjudicate who is the lawful owner of the Diocese of Harare’s properties.  In an email to the Church of England Newspaper, Harare Bishop Chad Gandiya reported “the Supreme Court hearing will take place from the 22 October 2012 and will last that week.”

Following his withdrawal from the Church of the Province of Central Africa and his excommunication, the former Bishop of Harare, Dr. Nolbert Kunonga, named himself Archbishop of the Anglican Church of Zimbabwe and proceeded to expropriate church properties.  A supporter of President Robert Mugabe and the rulin ZANU-PF party, Dr. Kunonga was assisted in his takeover of church lands by the security services.

The CPCA asked the court to restrain Dr. Kunonga.  However, rulings directing Dr. Kunonga to share church properties were ignored, while those giving him trusteeship of properties pending a final adjudication were enforced with violence by the security services.

Speaking to a meeting of the Diocese of Natal clergy on 14 Sept 2012, Bishop Gandiya reported Dr. Kunonga had extended his reach to the diocese of Manicaland and Masvingo, taking over church properties from the Anglican bishops with the assistance of the police.  An attempt to confiscate church properties was blocked by the local courts in the Diocese of Central Zimbabwe, while the breakaway bishop had yet to make a move in Matabeleland.

“If Bishop Nolbert Kunonga tries to take over the Anglican Church in Matabeleland, he will be playing with fire,” Bishop Gandiya said, according to the Diocese of Natal Inzibada.

“Given that Kunonga is Shona, and the history of atrocities that the [North Korean- trained, Shona] 5th Brigade committed in Matabeleland in the 1980s, the people of Matabeleland are most unlikely to stand for Kunonga’s interference there,” the bishop said.

“We look forward to getting back the properties that Kunonga stole from the CPCA. In the meantime he continues illegally to strip the church of assets by selling off its lands,” Bishop Gandiya told the Natal clergy.

In his email Bishop Gandiya said he was “appealing for any assistance towards covering our legal bills. Most importantly we are asking you all to join us in a week of prayer and fasting during the hearing period starting on the 22nd October. We want to thank you all for journeying with us during this difficult period in the history of our church.”

First printed in The Church of England Newspaper.

Golden anniversary services for Lusaka cathedral: The Church of England Newspaper, September 23, 2012 p 6. September 26, 2012

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Cathedral of the Holy Cross, Lusaka

The Princess Royal will mark the 50th anniversary of the 14 Sept 1962 consecration of the Cathedral of the Holy Cross in Lusaka this month, as part of her trip to Zambia and Mozambique in celebration of the Queen’s Diamond Jubilee. In 1957 the Queen Mother laid the foundation stone for Northern Rhodesia’s cathedral and twenty-two years later, the Queen attended services in conjunction with the 1979 Commonwealth Heads of State and Government Summit.

Holy Cross Dean Charley Thomas reports that Princess Anne’s visit will be part of a month long series of concerts, dinners, and services highlighting the cathedral’s role as the focus of national and ecumenical worship including Pope John Paul II’s 1989 visit to Zambia and the interfaith service of thanksgiving marking the start of multi-party politics in the country on 23 Oct 1990.

First printed in The Church of England Newspaper.

Supreme Court date set for Harare property cases: Anglican Ink, September 20, 2012 September 22, 2012

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Nolbert Kunonga

The Supreme Court of Zimbabwe has agreed to hear the appeal of Bishop Chad Gandiya and the Diocese of Harare in its suit to recover the properties expropriated by former bishop Dr. Nolbert Kunonga.

In an email to supporters in the West, Bishop Gandiya reported “the Supreme Court hearing will take place from the 22 October 2012 and will last that week.”

Elected bishop of Harare in 2000, Dr. Kunonga withdrew from the Church of the Province of Central Africa (CPCA) in 2007 after a series of disputes that included a church trial for theft, heresy, attempted murder and conspiracy.  A vocal supporter of Zimbabwe President Robert Mugabe, Dr. Kunonga was rewarded by the regime in 2002 with the gift of land confiscated from a white farmer.

Read it all in Anglican Ink.

Bishops plea for justice from Robert Mugabe: The Church of England Newspaper, September 9, 2012 p 3 September 10, 2012

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Zimbabwe’s Anglican bishops have appealed to President Robert Mugabe to enforce the rule of law in the Central African nation and end police support for former Harare Nolbert Kunonga.

Last week the Bishops Cleophas Lunga of Matabeleland, Julius Makoni of Manicaland, Godfrey Tawonezvi of Masvingo and Ishmael Mukuwanda of Central Zimbabwe wrote to President Mugabe asking him to intervene in the case of Daramombe Mission in Chivhu in the Diocese of Masvingo.

They asked the president “members of the Government of National Unity, Home Affairs co-ministers and the Police Commissioner-General to intervene in this matter where innocent and peace-loving worshippers are being driven out of their church buildings for no  legitimate reason.”

“As Anglican Bishops in Zimbabwe in the Church of the Province of Central Africa, we wish to express our dismay at the continued harassment of the faithful in the Diocese of Masvingo. What happened to freedom of worship in Zimbabwe,” they asked.

The bishops said that a court had held ruled the Daramombe Mission in the Diocese of Chivu was not part of the properties claimed by Dr. Kunonga as it was not part of the Diocese of Harare when he served as its bishop.  However, Dr. Kunonga’s supporters had seized the church with the support of local police officials and driven out Anglicans loyal to the Church of the Province of Central Africa.

“What Kunonga is using to hoodwink the police are title deeds which he illegally refused to surrender to the Diocese of Masvingo at its formation. We are also disturbed that the police have taken sides. They are the ones who are in the forefront when our members are evicted from their church buildings,” the bishop said.

During his meeting with President Mugabe in 2011, the Archbishop of Canterbury Dr Rowan Williams pressed him to intervene in the Dr. Kunonga affair and uphold the power of the courts.  The protestations, however, appear not to have swayed the octogenarian Zimbabwe strongman as sources inside the country continue to report harassment by the security services of Anglicans.

First printed in The Church of England Newspaper.

Govt minister denounces Dr. Kunonga as satan’s ‘angel’: The Church of England Newspaper, July 22, 2012 p 6. July 26, 2012

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Dr. Nolbert Kunonga came under sharp criticism last week from a government minister who accused the former Bishop of Harare of being a monster of iniquity for having used violence and terror to intimidate Anglicans in Zimbabwe.

Last week the Minister of Finance, Mr. Tendai Biti M.P. – who also served as Secretary-General of the Movement for Democratic Change (MDC-Tsvangirai) in the coalition government led by President Robert Mugabe—spoke to reporters while on a visit to a shopping mall in his constituency in Harare.

Asked about the notorious archbishop of the Anglican Church in Zimbabwe, Mr. Biti responded that Dr. Kunonga was no Anglican.  Stating that he was an Anglican and member of the Church of the Province of Central Africa, the minister denounced Dr. Kunonga’s campaign of driving faithful Anglicans out of their churches.

“He is also lying that he is a bishop. He is nothing but the devil’s incarnate,” Mr. Biti said, adding that Dr. “Kunonga has said if we build churches in Anglican’s name, he will take them over. He is lying. He is not Anglican and he does not own the name Anglican.”

The minister said that Anglicans in his constituency would soon be out from under the thumb of Dr. Kunonga as the government would be building a community hall on land donated by the city of Harare.  “We intend to have the hall, a tennis court and a swimming pool among other structures on the piece of land and everyone will be free to use it,” the minister said, adding that “Those without churches, including Anglicans, will be free to use the hall to hold their services.”

A fervent supporter of the ruling ZANU-PF party and its leader Robert Mugabe, Dr. Kunonga has also denounced the MDC as being a stooge of British imperial interests. However, he did not respond to our email query prior to our going to press.

First printed in The Church of England Newspaper.

Kunonga closes Mizeki shrine to Anglicans: The Church of England Newspaper, July 8, 2012 p 7. July 9, 2012

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Pilgrims attending the Bernard Mizeki festival at the Marondera fair grounds last week

The former bishop of Harare has once again blocked Anglican pilgrims from worshiping at the shrine of Bernard Mizeki.

With backing from the police, Dr. Nolbert Kunonga last month refused to allow members of the Church of the Province of Central Africa to worship at the shrine located 11 kilometers from Marondera in Zimbabwe. An estimated 30,000 Anglicans from Zimbabwe, Zambia, Mozambique, South Africa and Botswana gathered instead for the 22-24 June festival at the Marondera show grounds under the leadership of Archbishop Albert Chama.

One of the Central Africa church’s first native catechists, Bernard Mizeki was martyred on 18 June 1896 by Mangwende villagers in Murehwa who felt threatened by his Christian witness.

According to local press accounts of the proceeding, Archbishop Chama, Bishop Chad Gandiya of Harare and other Anglican bishops urged the pilgrims to pray for the peace and integrity of Zimbabwe.

“We pray for the country’s leadership led by President Robert Mugabe and Prime Minister Morgan Tsvangirai. We pray for a good government that would strive to eradicate poverty and other forms of suffering. We also pray for those who continue to be abused and those who have lost their lives in the course of their religious practice, like Bernard Mizeki,” press reports from the meeting said.

On 16 June, Dr. Kunonga led members of his breakaway Anglican Church of Zimbabwe in worship at the shrine.  According to the Harare Herald, Dr. Kunonga urged his supporters to back the ruling ZANU-PF party of President Mugabe policies of evicting white farmers from the country.

“The land reform and the indigenisation programmes are not election gimmicks but matters of life, which seek to liberate the previously downtrodden Africans … Just look at what is happening in South Africa at the moment. Youths have realised they are heirs to the land and will not accept piece-meal deals” to redistribute the country’s land” he said according to the Herald, which reported 20,000 people in attendance.

However, on 22 June 2012 the opposition Movement for Democratic Change (MDC) ridiculed Dr. Kunonga’s attendance claims.

“Kunonga was speaking to a few parishioners and hundreds of school children from Anglican schools who were forced to attend this year’s Bernard Mizeki commemorations in Marondera,” the MDC’s The Real Change Times said.

“Weeks before the event, Kunonga wrote to all heads of Anglican boarding schools instructing them to send schoolchildren to the event or risk unspecified action,” the newspaper said.

It went on to criticize Dr. Kunonga’s “boot-licking” of ZANU-PF.  “Kunonga’s behaviour is synonymous with that of a politician rather than a priest. Since his excommunication from the mainstream Anglican Church, the CPCA over five years ago, the so-called bishop has been persecuting his rivals, chasing them away from church properties and churches. Most of these churches are now being rented out as private schools, pre-schools” and other money-making schemes, the MDC said.

First printed in The Church of England Newspaper.

Kunonga calls for a war on the “white man”: The Church of England Newspaper, May 13, 2012 p 6. May 17, 2012

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Dr Nolbert Kunonga

The former Bishop of Harare, Dr. Nolbert Kunonga, has urged Zimbabwe strongman Robert Mugabe to expel the few remaining white farmers from their lands, telling a gathering of ZANU (PF) supporters that “Whites like other aliens should not be allowed to own land and other properties in the country as they are strangers.”

In an account of his sermon printed in The Zimbabwean, Dr. Kunonga said that he too had been engaged in a campaign of expropriating white-owned properties. “I took 3800 church properties in the region since their title deeds were in my name. There was no way the properties could remain under charge of the church controlled by whites and their black puppets. Bishops such as Julius Makoni, Chad Gandiwa and others are MDC-T and furthered western interests,” he said.\

The controversial bishop, who was excommunicated by the Church of the Province of Central Africa after he quit the church to form his own Anglican Church of Zimbabwe, has waged a violent campaign of repression with the support of the security services against Anglicans who are loyal to the Bishop of Harare.

In 2011 the Archbishops of Canterbury, Central Africa, Southern Africa and Tanzania, along with local Anglican bishops, met with President Mugabe asking him to reassert the rule of law in Zimbabwe, and protect persecuted Anglicans from the depredations of Dr. Kunonga. The former bishop has been banned from travel to the U.S., the E.U. and the U.K. due to his complicity with the crimes of the Mugabe regime.

A long time supporter of the Zimbabwean president, Dr. Kunonga has campaigned against the opposition MDC party and its leader Morgan Tsvangirai.  He told the gathering at the Dimbe Primary School near Marondera in Mashonaland East that MDC-T and “its western puppet, Morgan Tsvangirai, are agents of doom fighting to reverse the land reform programme and hand back land to the former colonial white masters.”

“Tsvangirai is a white man masked in black skin. He is like the Biblical Pharaoh who enjoyed the suffering and economic deprivation of his own people. On the other hand, Mugabe is the Biblical Daniel sent to suffer for the cause of his people,” said Dr. Kunonga.

The former bishop added that those who drive out white farmers, MDC supporters and foreigners from their lands “will enter the kingdom of God.”

“As Christians; we must gear ourselves for a bloody war against white interests,” he said.

First printed in The Church of England Newspaper.

Constitutional crisis in Malawi averted, Bishop reports: The Church of England Newspaper, April 22, 2012 p April 26, 2012

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Bishop James Tengatenga

Church leaders have joined Southern Africa’s first female head of state in calling for calm in the wake of the sudden death of Malawi’s President Bingu wa Mutharika. The chairman of the Anglican Consultative Council, Bishop James Tengatenga of Southern Malawi told The Church of England Newspaper the “situation is hopeful” as a constitutional crisis appears to have been averted. However, “we would appreciate more prayers and support in whatever possible ways in influencing decisions” to restore “relations between the UK and Malawi.”

On 12 April 2012 the 78-year old president was reported to have died after a heart attack. However, the government did not confirm the president’s death for three days, prompting fears of a potential coup.

Concerns over a democratic transition of power to the then Vice President, Joyce Banda, were heightened after Information Minister Patricia Kaliati on Friday said Mrs Banda could not take over as head of state because she had gone into opposition. Elected vice president in 2009, in 2010 Mrs. Banda broke with the president and his ruling Democratic People’s Party (DPP). The DPP subsequently expelled Mrs. Banda from the party, but she retained her office in government and formed the opposition People’s Party.

The UK, US and African governments pressed the DPP to honour the constitution, and Mrs. Banda was sworn in to office after President’ Mutharika’s death was announced. Among her first actions was the sacking of government and police officials responsible for the harsh crackdown on pro-democracy protests.

Mr Mutharika governed Malawi for eight years, but had come under pressure from church and civil society leaders for mismanaging the economy and adopting an increasingly autocratic rule. The president expelled the British High Commissioner last year, after wikileaks published a harsh appraisal of the president sent by the High Commissioner to London. The Cameron government responded by cutting off direct aid.

Bishop Tengatenga told CEN that “all is well with us after a trying tridium. The Lord who loves the people and the land of Malawi saved us from a possible chaotic situation after the death of our president.”

“Our hope is that peace continues in our land and that the leadership works for the good of the nation,” the bishop said, adding that it was the hope of the country’s civil society leaders that the new government will take quick steps to address the “challenges facing our nation.”

“The economy needs to be set on the right path of recovery. That will require mending the fences and rebuilding the bridges that the former leadership burned as a first step. In that we hope that we can get the help that the country badly needs. It will certainly take a long time to bring the country to even keel but the first steps have to be taken. Secondly in this matter of economy, it is imperative for the new government to consult with all stake holders in order to find common solutions to our problems. Solutions exist if only the leadership will make use of all the brain power we are blessed with,” the bishop said.

Bishop Tengatenga, who was the keynote speaker at a pro-democracy conference last month stated the new government knows “what the people’s agenda is and they need to listen to the people and do their best to keep the rule of law.”

“If they will not heed that call they will find it difficult to lead the nation and we will have a turbulent two years before the general elections. They have no choice but to fulfill the necessary calls for reform,” he added.

“As we mourn our late president we cherish your prayer support so that all goes according to plan and he is buried with all the dignity he deserves,” the bishop said.

First printed in The Church of England Newspaper.

No more circumcision advertising, bishop cries: The Church of England Newspaper, April 22, 2012 p 6 April 26, 2012

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Promoting circumcision as a prophylactic against the spread of HIV/AIDs was a waste of government funds, a Ugandan bishop has warned.

Speaking to a 12 April 2012 gathering of the clergy of the Diocese of West Ankole, Bishop Yona Katoneene called upon the ministry of health to redirect funding from its campaign to encourage male circumcision to one that promotes abstinence.

The bishop did not oppose the government promotion of circumcision for reasons of hygiene and general health, but warned that its promotion to stop HIV/AIDS was ineffectual as it did not address the behaviors that led to the spread of the disease. And, he warned, it also encouraged people to engage in immoral behavior.

“After circumcision some people think that it is a ticket for one to engage in sex and this is likely to worsen the spread of HIV/AIDS in communities,” the bishop said, according to local press accounts of his speech.

The campaign to halt the spread of the disease by promoting abstinence education had worked, he said.  However, overseas aid agencies had different priorities and were more ready to provide funds for their pet projects.  The bishop said that if money spent on advertising circumcision were spent instead on purchasing bicycles to allow youth workers to travel between villages to educate young people about the dangers of HIV/AIDS and to promote abstinence, the disease could be contained.

Circumcision as a prophylactic against HIV/AIDs has a mixed record in Africa. In 2010, the chairman of Malawi’s National Aids Commission, Archbishop Bernard Malango said his group would not recommend the government adopt circumcision as a government policy.  He said that a comparison of the rates of infection in Muslim districts, where most men are circumcised, to that of Christian areas of Malawi, where circumcision is not practiced, showed no difference in the rate of infections.

“We have no scientific evidence that circumcision is a sure way of slowing down the spread of AIDS,” Dr. Mary Shaba, the government’s chief HIV/AIDS officer said at the press conference with Archbishop Malango.

However, a 2006 report from the U.S. government’s National Institute of Health found that male circumcision significantly halts the spread of the disease.

Bishop rejects govt charges of sedition: The Church of England Newspaper, March 23, 2012 March 23, 2012

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Bishop James Tengatenga

The Bishop of Southern Malawi has repudiated government claims that a meeting of the country’s religious leaders last week sought to foment a coup against President Bingu wa Mutharika.

Bishop James Tengatenga told the opening session of Malawi’s Public Affairs Committee (PAC) held at the Limbe Catholic Cathedral parish hall on 14-15 March 2012 the stated theme of the meeting: “Time to reclaim our destiny-seeking redress to our political and economic challenges,” was not a call for insurrection.

The meeting of church and civil society leaders, academics, and aid workers and businessmen sought to find “effective solutions and plans” to resolve the economic and political “plight” of Malawi.

“Reclaim does not mean remove…the word does not imply any intention to stage a coup on the current regime,” the bishop said, according to reports of his speech printed in the Malawian press.

However, the Church of England Newspaper was told that police searched those entering the building, and throughout the conference riot police patrolled the streets of the country’s two principal cities: Blantyre and Lilongwe.

Last week presidential spokesman Dr. Hetherwick Ntaba told reporters the PAC meeting was a gathering of “plotters and opposition politicians who are plotting regime change” with the help of foreign aid donors.

In his keynote address to the PAC meeting, Bishop Tengatenga said: “We gather here today to take a resolve to maintain the original vision of consolidating democracy, and to rekindle the original motivation to reclaim the future we have always wished to see.”

In a democratic a society the people had the right to question the authority and competence of “any regime at any particular time–for all leaders rule based on trust bestowed upon them by the Malawian society.”

Citing the text of the country’s constitution, the bishop said “the authority to exercise power of the state is conditional upon the sustained trust of the people of Malawi and that trust can only be maintained through open, accountable and transparent government and informed democratic choices.”

These words gave groups like PAC the right tocriticise authorities or to withdraw the authority to govern.”

Since the 2009 elections that cemented the power of President Mutharika and the ruling Democratic Progressive Party the country has seen a sharp deterioration of its economy, primarily caused by skyrocketing fuel prices.  The government has clamped down on criticism, which led to a break in relations with many foreign aid donors including the U.K.

“Things have fallen apart economically and politically,” the bishop told the meeting, and it was not time to “reclaim our destiny.”

First published in The Church of England Newspaper.

Harare bishop arrested for holding confirmation service: The Church of England Newspaper, January 20, 2012 p 6. January 25, 2012

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First printed in The Church of England Newspaper.

A clergy wives’ conference has been cancelled following intervention by the Zimbabwe secret police.

On 13 January 2012 the Diocese of Harare was contacted by the management of the Jamaica Inn, a hotel/conference centre outside Harare, informing Bishop Chad Gandiya that agents of the CIO had visited the Inn the night.  The manager reported that she had been instructed by the security services to cancel the meeting which was scheduled for later that day.

Bishop Gandiya told SW Radio Africa the manager “sounded traumatized, very, very traumatized by the CIOs and it was sad news indeed for the organizers of the retreat.”

However, “we are not even sure these people were genuine CIOs and I am in the process of drafting them a letter to find out if they sent anyone to Jamaica Inn,” the bishop said.

On 2 Jan the broke up a clergy retreat for the Dioceses of Harare and Manicaland held at Peterhouse School.  The police stated they were taking preemptive actions to prevent violence at the clergy conference in case supporters of former bishop Dr. Nolbert Kunonga invaded the venue.

The latest police action comes after Bishop Gandiya wrote to the commissioner of police Augustine Chihuri.  According to the bishop’s letter, published on 16 Jan by the Association of Zimbabwe Journalists, Bishop Gandiya was arrested by police after he performed a confirmation service on 17 Dec 2011 at St Bernard’s School in Mhondoro.

“After the service two local policemen based at Mamina approached me and asked me, the local priest and our Church Wardens to go to Mamina Police Station because their ‘boss’ wanted to ask some questions about our Service,” the bishop said.

However, two members of the “CID based at Kadoma arrived in the company of their superior with orders from the Mashonaland West Province to investigate us,” the bishop said, taking the bishop, his wife and churchwardens to the police station for questioning.

“Although they said we were not under arrest, technically we were because we now had to have a policeman with us all the time,” Bishop Gandiya said, noting that after interrogation, he was told he was being “charged with ‘contempt of Supreme Court Orders’ that barred us from holding our church service on premises controlled by Dr Kunonga.”

The bishop protested the service had been held at a school unaffiliated with Dr. Kunonga or the Diocese of Harare.  It had allowed the bishop to use its facilities as a worship venue, he explained. After being held at the station for the rest of the day, the bishop, his wife and the churchwardens were released “late at night pending further investigations.”

“Why are we being harassed like this,” the bishop asked the police commissioner.  “Are we second class citizens in the land of our birth? Like any other citizen of this country we expect equal protection by the law enforcement agents of our Republic,” Bishop Gandiya said.

Police preemptive strike against Zimbabwe Anglicans: The Church of England Newspaper, January 13, 2012 p 6. January 16, 2012

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First published in The Church of England Newspaper.

The Zimbabwe police broke up a clergy conference held by the Anglican Dioceses of Harare and Manicaland last week in order to prevent supporters of breakaway bishop Dr Nolbert Kunonga from breaking up the meeting.

A police spokesman said the raid on the Anglican clergy conference was a “proactive” measure, taken to prevent a breach of public order. Oliver Mandipaka told the DPA news agency the police were concerned that supporters of Dr Kunonga might seek to break up the Anglican meeting.

“Judging from past experiences, these meetings have turned violent. It was on that basis that we advised them to disperse,” Mr Mandipaka explained. “Weddings and churches do not need police clearances,” he added, “but in the past these groups have clashed after gathering at the same venue. That is what we wanted to avoid.”

On 3 January police raided the conference led by Dr Chad Gandiya and Dr Julius Makoni at Peterhouse School in Marondera and ordered the clergy to leave. The raid prompted protests from the bishops, and on 4 January, Archbishop Thabo Makgoba of Cape Town called on President Robert Mugabe to ensure the police allowed “the churches freedom of assembly and worship.”

The Southern African Archbishop also called for an end to the tyranny of the Mugabe regime. “The forthcoming season of Epiphany speaks of our hope that the incarnate Christ breaks all boundaries,” Archbishop Makgoba said, “and that he will ultimately break the power of President Mugabe and those of his supporters who carry out these deeds, and bring freedom to Zimbabwe.”

On the same day, approximately 100 miles to the east at St Augustine’s Mission School in Mutare, Dr Kunonga gathered approximately 200 of clergy for a retreat of their own.

At his gathering, the breakaway bishop pledged his undying support for President Mugabe and the ruling ZANU-PF party, and denounced the opposition Movement for Democratic Change (MDC) factions and the Anglican Church as being stooges of an international gay conspiracy that sought to destroy Zimbabwe.

Dr Kunonga said his support for the Zimbabwe strongman was founded upon moral principles. “We are not choosing man, but principles and values they embody.”

President Mugabe was the man “who is fighting against homosexuality, who is giving people land,” Dr Kunonga said, according to extracts of his speech published in the government-backed Harare Herald.

“Those politicians and churchmen who are calling for the imposition of sanctions, propagating for the inclusion of gay rights in the new constitution, and are refusing to see life, are an embodiment of evil. During elections we will reject them. We will reject death,” the former Anglican bishop said.

Arab Spring coming to Malawi?: Church of England Newspaper, January 13, 2012 p 6. January 14, 2012

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Bishop James Tengatenga

First printed in The Church of England Newspaper.

The senior Anglican bishop of Malawi, the Rt. Rev. James Tengatenga, has denounced the government of President Bingu wa Mutharika as being out of touch and set on serving its own needs rather than those of the people.

It was “ridiculous” to “pretend that nothing is wrong in our country,” Bishop Tengatenga told worshipers in Blantyre on New Year’s Day. His sermon, which enjoyed wide circulation, suggests the social and political forces that unleashed the Arab Spring appear set to move south into Sub-Saharan Africa, sources in Malawi tell The Church of England Newspaper.
Popular discontent with the autocratic rule of the King of Swaziland is widespread and rumblings of discontent are beginning to be heard in Botswana. But Malawi witnessed a summer of anti-government protests with rioters looting shops and engaging in running battles with police.

Approximately 20 people died in anti-government clashes in July with police Lilongwe and Blantyre as demonstrators called for President Mutharika to resign. Tensions were eased when the president authorized a national dialogue with civil society leaders – including Bishop Tengatenga – to address anger over political and economic mismanagement.

Fuel shortages caused by a shortage of foreign currency have plagued Malawi for almost three years, but President Mutharika refused to follow the advice of the IMF and his economic advisors and devalue the Malawian currency, the Kwacha, to reflect is real value. The president has blamed speculators and the IMF for the currency shortage, which is likely to become a crisis as foreign aid donors, including the U.K., are withholding $400 million until economic and democratic reforms are implemented.

In his address, Bishop Tengatenga called upon Malawians to be patient, but also warned that this patience should be predicated on the government accepting its responsibilities to repair the “malfunctioning system” of governance.

“As we enter another New Year on our long journey of waiting for the coming of our Lord, I urge you to be your best and wait with a purpose,” the bishop said, but “any person should be waiting with a purpose and that nobody should cheat another that things in our country are okay when the opposite is true.”

“Leaders ascend to power because of our votes. If they cannot serve us today, if they cannot solve the problems we are facing today, if they cannot take the responsibility bestowed on them by us now, when and where will they do it?” he asked.

“And if we do not take them to task now when we are suffering, when and where shall we take them to task to address the issues,” the bishop said.

Clergy conference raided by police in Zimbabwe: The Church of England Newspaper, January 6, 2012 p 6. January 8, 2012

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Police in Zimbabwe have raided a clergy retreat conducted by the Dioceses of Harare and Manicaland saying the gathering of 80 priests was an unlawful assembly that breached the Public Order and Security Act.

In an email sent to supporters abroad, Bishop Chad Gandiya reported that the security services had ordered the clergy to disperse, saying their annual retreat at Peterhouse – an independent Anglican boarding school in Marondera some 45 miles east of Harare – did not have police approval.

“This morning, Tuesday 3 January 2012, Marondera police arrived at Peterhouse High School and ordered all clergymen to vacate the school premises,” the Bishop wrote.

It was a “calculated harassment by some of the police officers,” Bishop Gandiya said, and “we deplore this action and call upon higher authorities to intervene.”

Bishop Gandiya is understood to have travelled to Police General Headquarters to dissuade the police from breaking up the meeting, but he appears to have been unsuccessful so far.

The Associated Press has reported that the clergy, along with Dr Julius Makoni, the Bishop of Manicaland, and Bishop Gandiya had refused to vacate the school and were in a “standoff” with police.

The raid demonstrated the collapse of the rule of law in Zimbabwe, the Bishop charged, and indicated the Church would suffer “another year of persecution at the hands of a hostile police force.”

In October, the Archbishop of Canterbury Dr Rowan Williams, along with the Archbishops of Tanzania, Central and Southern Africa met with Zimbabwe strongman Robert Mugabe and presented to him with a dossier chronicling state-sanctioned violence and persecution directed against Anglicans. President Mugabe told the archbishops he was unaware of the allegations.

First printed in The Church of England Newspaper.

Kunonga priest jailed for rape: The Church of England Newspaper, December 23, 2011 p 6. December 27, 2011

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First printed in The Church of England Newspaper.

The former Bishop of Harare, Dr. Nolbert Kunonga, has been castigated by a Zimbabwe criminal court judge for providing a false alibi for a priest convicted of rape.

On 12 December 2011 magistrate Simon Kachambwa sentenced the Rev. Thomas Muchadeyi to a term of 10 years imprisonment for the 2006 rape of a 13-year old parishioner.

Mr. Muchadeyi was convicted of raping a 13-year-old girl from his congregation whom he had been counseling after the death of her mother.  The abuse was discovered when the girl reported sick to the nurse at her school, who reported evidence of abuse to school officials.

The clergyman told the court he was innocent of the charges, and that the victim’s father had concocted the charges.  However, the judge rejected priest’s claims saying the prosecution’s case “was never shaken and all the essential elements of the offence were proved beyond a reasonable doubt, pointing the accused as a perpetrator.”

According to local press accounts, the magistrate also took the Anglican Church to task for providing a false alibi for Mr. Muchadeyi.  “In my view, it was all intended to promote and baptise evil, what a shameful act by the church,” he said.

However, an account of the trial printed by the government-backed Harare Herald that said Mr. Muchadeyi had the support of Bishop Chad Gandiya and the Anglican Diocese of Harare was false, Bishop Gandiya told The Church of England Newspaper, as were suggestions by other newspapers the trial was politically motivated.

“We don’t think the judgment was in anyway politically motivated,” Bishop Gandiya said, noting the reports were “very misleading in not specifying which Anglican Church corroborated his alibi.”

The rape took place in 2006, when Dr. Kunonga was still the Anglican Bishop of Harare.  “It is Kunonga or his people who corroborated his alibi. This, Thomas [Muchadeyi] told me himself. So it is not our Anglican church. We did not interfere at all,” he said.

“We are very sad and disturbed that this happened and we pray for Fr Muchadeyi and his family as well as the victim and her family,” Bishop Gandiya said.

Student walk-out in protest of Dr Kunonga: The Church of England Newspaper, December 9, 2011 7. December 9, 2011

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St David's Girls High School in Bonda, Zimbabwe

First printed in The Church of England Newspaper.

Several hundred students from St David’s Girls High School in Bonda, in the Diocese of Manicaland, went on strike last week in protest to the mismanagement of their school by the breakaway bishop of Harare, Dr Nolbert Kunonga.

However, Dr Kunonga has defended his stewardship of church schools, saying they remain the best performing academic institutions in Zimbabwe.

St David’s Girls High School was founded in 1961 by the sisters of the Order of the Holy Paraclete – an Anglican order with a mother house at St Hilda’s Priory, Sneaton Castle, Whitby. In 1977 the school was turned over to the diocese and is the largest church-affiliated school in north-eastern Zimbabwe. However, the management of the school has been taken over by the former Bishop of Manicaland, Elson Jakazi – an ally of Dr Kunonga.

Bishop Jakazi and his supporters are alleged to have diverted funds and used the school’s assets for their own use, critics in Zimbabwe tell The Church of England Newspaper. Bishop Jakazi did not respond to a request for comments.

NewsDay reported that a large portion of the school’s 950 students walked out on 21 November 2011 in protest to the school’s overcrowded dormitories and “plummeting [academic] standards.” They had planned to walk 40 kilometres to the home of a former headmaster to “air their grievances that included alleged poor quality of food, sexual harassment and interference by Kunonga’s faction in the school’s affairs.”

They got as far as the Nyamadzi River before buses sent by the school fetched the girls home.

On 9 November 2011 Dr Kunonga released a statement defending his management of church schools. Anglican Mission schools “have always been among the best performing schools in Zimbabwe,” he said.

The breakaway bishop rejected claims that standards had fallen, noting that Anglican schools have “always maintained high pass rates” and that institutions like St David’s in Bonda “are always envied by parents for their academic excellence. We challenge the [Church of the Province of Central Africa] or any other interested parties, to desist from making wild claims for the purposes of tarnishing other people’s images.”

He dismissed claims that he had appointed unqualified teachers and administrators, noting they were under the oversight of the Ministry of Education. “In the event that teachers violate Mission statutes, they cannot in any way be dismissed by the Church, as the Church is not their employer. They are referred back to the Ministry of Education. There is, therefore, nothing sinister about the Church referring back to the Ministry teachers who refuse to work together with the responsible authority for the development of the school.”

Dr Kunonga added that he does “not appoint teachers or headmasters” but only makes recommendations to the Ministry of Education. The claim that he had appointed his “stooges to be teachers and or headmasters only make sense to those who are not familiar with policies of the Ministry of Education in Zimbabwe.”

Rowan Williams is a liar, Dr. Kunonga charges: The Church of England Newspaper, November 25, 2011 p 7. November 27, 2011

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First printed in The Church of England Newspaper.

The Archbishop of Canterbury is responsible for the pain felt by the Anglican Church in Zimbabwe, Dr. Nolbert Kunonga has declared.

In a statement released in response to the Archbishop of Canterbury’s tour of Zimbabwe last month, the former Bishop of Harare denied charges he was leading a campaign of violence and intimidation against loyal Anglicans.  The Church of the Province of Central Africa (CPCA) had “deliberately lied to the President of Zimbabwe and the entire world at the instruction of their troubled Rowan Williams.”

Dr. Williams “has come and gone”, Dr. Kunonga said, and his passing has gone unnoticed as the problems dividing the church remain.  “This is chiefly because the Archbishop is responsible for problems rocking the church, not only in Zimbabwe, but the worldwide Anglican Communion,” he charged.

On 10 Oct 2011, Dr. Williams presented a dossier to President Robert Mugabe chronicling the oppression of Zimbabwe’s Anglicans at the hands of the security services and thugs in the pay of the breakaway bishop.  Accompanied by the Archbishops of Southern Africa, Central Africa and Tanzania Dr. Williams urged President Mugabe to halt the attacks.

In a statement released after their meeting, the archbishops said the dossier “gives a full account of the abuses to which our people and our church has been subject. We have asked, in the clearest possible terms, that the President use his powers as Head of State to put an end to all unacceptable and illegal behaviour.”

In his rebuttal, Dr. Kunonga questioned the veracity of the charges.  “It boggles the mind why Zimbabwean bishops would wait for so long to appraise their own President of the alleged ‘abuses’ and ‘persecution’,” he declared, arguing that the delay in informing the president constituted an admission the charges were false.

The breakaway bishop said he was the victim of a campaign of harassment.  The “CPCA is well known for their love of litigation,” he said, and had “dragged Bishop Kunonga to court on numerous occasions on fabricated and petty charges.”

Dr. Kunonga charged the dossier and Dr. Williams visit to Zimbabwe was part of a wider political scheme to destabilize the Mugabe regime.  They were “well calculated moves to provide a world stage to demonise Zimbabwe, targeting the judicial system and the security forces. The so called ‘litany of abuses’ is nothing but brilliant fiction. Interestingly, their unsubstantiated claims and allegations are very similar in word and fashion, to those made by some political players in Zimbabwe.”

He recounted his disputes with the CPCA noting that he had been proclaimed innocent during an ecclesiastical trial that investigated him for theft, heresy and attempted murder.  No verdict was returned in the 2005 trial, the Church of England Newspaper reported at the time, as the judge adjourned the proceedings after the witnesses declined to return to Zimbabwe for fear of their lives.  The other claims made by the breakaway bishop about the status of his legal cases and his role in the campaign of violence and intimidation waged against loyal Anglicans cannot be reconciled with reports received from the diocese by CEN over the past 12 years.

Dr. Kunonga also claimed the Zimbabwe courts had confirmed him in his position as Bishop of Harare and trustee of the church’s properties.  However, the courts have not ruled on this point and have only given him temporary custody of the church properties pending a final adjudication.

He also denied barring Anglicans from their churches.  “Churches are always open. Those who choose to worship under trees, in classrooms or in bushes do that in their own volition,” he declared.

He also denied having ordered the murder of an 80-year old woman “because she belonged to CPCA.”  What reason would he have to order that murder and “spare the likes of [Bishops] Bakare and Gandiya,” he asked.

Harare’s Anglicans had only themselves to blame for “clashing with the Police, because they always choose to ignore court orders. When the police intervene to enforce court orders, they cry foul. They claim harassment and persecution when in fact, they are persecuting themselves by refusing to accept any court ruling against them.”

Dr. Kunonga argued the CPCA were hypocrites.  “For them, the rule of law only applies where their interests are concerned. The courts are competent only when they win. The police are impartial when they do their wishes rather than enforce court orders.”

By bringing his crimes to the notice of the president, Dr. Williams and the CPCA were asking Robert Mugabe to “violate the rule of law which they preach so much when white interests are concerned.”

He called upon the CPCA and the Anglican Communion to “repent, be responsible and retract their shameful request. They took Bishop Kunonga to the courts and should therefore abide with court rulings and stop seeking political interference in matters that are before the courts.”

Harare court halts purge of Anglican teachers: The Church of England Newspaper, Oct 21, 2011 p 6. October 22, 2011

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First printed in The Church of England Newspaper.

Zimbabwe’s Ministry of Education has ordered the immediate reinstatement of church school staff fired by breakaway bishop Dr. Nolbert Kunonga. The 13 Oct 2011 government order comes in the wake of a court ruling which held the dismissal of the staff at the Daramombe Mission was unlawful.

Last month the deputy sheriff, acting on a writ obtained by Dr. Kunonga in the drawn out dispute over the control of church property in Zimbabwe, evicted the head teachers of the mission’s primary and secondary schools and 12 other staffers, including the tuck shop steward.  Located in the Mashonaland East Province some 120 miles south of Harare, the mission school was destroyed in fighting during the war against white rule. Over the past decade it was rebuilt and is now one of the leading schools in the region.

In an interview published in The Zimbabwean, Harare Diocesan Secretary, the Rev. Clifford Dzavo, said the Anglican Church had so far lost 90 churches and 70 rectories valued at over $50 million to Dr. Kunonga.  The breakaway bishop has also sought to take over the church’s schools, orphanages and hospitals, diverting their income to his own use.

The Harare diocese filed suit last month, asking the court to block the staff firings, arguing a lower court order granting temporary possession of the properties could not be construed to allow Dr. Kunonga to fire state teachers. On 12 Oct 2011 Harare High Court Justice Chinembiri Bhunu held the breakaway bishop had gone too far.

“It is a fundamental rule of law that no one shall be evicted or dispossessed without due process of law and without being heard. The need to hear the other side before making any determination affecting the rights of another is the bedrock upon which our legal system is founded,” the court held.

“It follows” Justice Bhunu said, the lower court “did not mean that [Dr. Kunonga] could evict and dismiss employees without recourse to due process of the law.

“The evictions of members of the School Development Committee from premises they previously occupied in terms of their respective contracts of employment were therefore, illegal and not permissible at law though they were carried out through the auspices of the Deputy Sheriff,” the judge ruled.

The opposition Movement for Democratic Change (MDC-T) party’s national executive council also issued a statement in support of the diocese last week.

The MDC faction led by Prime Minister Morgan Tsvangirai released a statement on 12 Oct saying: “Churches have ceased to be a place of worship and spiritual solitude but have become havens of political patronage and violence. The Anglican Church community has, since 2007, been traumatized as the police and Zanu (PF) continue to side with a group loyal to renegade Bishop Nolbert Kunonga to destabilise parishes and ordinary people.”

Zimbabwe court victory for Anglican Communion: The Church of England Newspaper, Oct 21, 2011 p 6. October 22, 2011

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Locked out bishops praying before the doors of St John's Cathedral, Mutare Zimbabwe

First printed in The Church of England Newspaper.

A Zimbabwe High Court has threatened a breakaway bishop with contempt, telling former Bishop Elzon Jakazi that if he does not turn over a contested church to the Bishop of Manicaland, Dr Julius Makoni, he will be imprisoned for contempt.

The 10 October decision came the same day as the Archbishop of Canterbury, Dr Rowan Williams, toured the eastern Zimbabwe diocese. A statement from the Archbishop’s office about the trip noted that Manicaland was “an area where Anglicans have suffered a high proportion of the persecution in Zimbabwe, so the Archbishop’s visit provided an opportunity to show the people there that they have not been forgotten.”

Speaking to members of the Diocese of Manicaland gathered at a Mutare sports ground, Dr Williams said he and the Archbishops of Southern Africa and Tanzania had come to Mutare “to see the real Church – and that is the Church that prays and loves and suffers. And, in all of that, we from the Anglican Communion stand with you and share your witness and give thanks for it.”

We share in your suffering,” Dr Williams said, “and we share in your joy also. And we give thanks that you show us what faith is and we pray that God will give you the strength, day after day, to go on showing us God’s power, God’s grace and God’s work.”

When the archiepiscopal party visited St John’s Cathedral in Mutare, they were met by a crowd of Bishop Jakazi supporters, who blocked their entrance to the cathedral. “The group then formed in a circle outside the Cathedral door to pray for an end to the violence and persecution,” Dr Williams’ office reported.

While the bishops were in Mutare, the High Court handed down an order directing Bishop Jakazi to vacate All Saints Church in Zimunya. In 2007 Bishop Jakazi was excommunicated by the Church of the Province of Central Africa after he quit the church to join Dr Kunonga’s Anglican Church of Zimbabwe. While he renounced his allegiance to the Church, he did not turn over the Church’s properties to his successors, and the diocese has fought to regain control of its lands.

In August, a district court ordered Bishop Jakazi and three confederates to turn over All Saints Church to the Bishop of Manicaland, Dr Julius Makoni.

Last week High Court Justice Tendai Uchena issued an order to “the respondents — Jakazi, Maupa, Ndlovu and Katanga” who “herein are ordered to restore forthwith to the Anglicans possession, control and use of the All Saints Anglican Zimunya Church.” If they failed to comply with the order the four would be jailed at Chikurubi Prison for contempt, the judge said.

Dr Makoni told CEN “We are delighted to have won back All Saints Zimunya. I shall cleanse and rededicate the church building this Sunday.”

He noted the “Judge’s ruling was clear, cogent and straightforward and referred to no external influence directly or indirectly. The Archbishop [of Canterbury]‘s visit had nothing to do with the case. We need to give credit [to the courts] where it is due.”

Mugabe meeting for Dr. Williams: The Church of England Newspaper, Oct 14, 2011 p 1. October 18, 2011

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First published in The Church of England Newspaper.

The Archbishop of Canterbury has presented a dossier to President Robert Mugabe chronicling the oppression of Zimbabwe’s Anglicans at the hands of the security services and thugs in the pay of breakaway bishop Dr Nolbert Kunonga.

During his two-hour meeting with President Mugabe on 10 October, Dr Rowan Williams urged the Zimbabwe strongman to halt the attacks. President Mugabe professed ignorance of the persecution, but countered by asking the Anglican Church to condemn the sanctions imposed by the West against his regime and for the church to take a firm stand against homosexuality.

Speaking to the press after the meeting, Dr Williams – who was accompanied by Archbishops Albert Chama of Central Africa, Thabo Makgoba of South Africa, Valentino Mokiwa of Tanzania, and the bishops of Harare and Botswana characterised the meeting as having been “very candid” where “disagreements were expressed clearly, but I think in a peaceful manner.”

Dr Williams also clarified the Anglican Communion’s stance on homosexuality, disavowing recent moves by the American and Canadian Churches to authorise gay bishops and blessings stating the church does not allow same-sex relationships and that is common ground across the Anglicans.

“On the practice of homosexuality by bishops in the US and Canada, these are provinces, which do not represent the general line,” he told reporters.

A statement from the bishops said the dossier presented to the President “gives a full account of the abuses to which our people and our church has been subject. We have asked, in the clearest possible terms, that the President use his powers as Head of State to put an end to all unacceptable and illegal behaviour.”

Archbishop Makgoba reported that “although moving on in age and forgetful in certain instances, the President was aware of our pain, frustration and disappointment at the police-aided church conflict and violence by Kunonga.”

The archbishops “appealed to his heart and his Catholic conscience, and asked him to stop the suffering of his people,” Archbishop Makgoba said, adding that “President Mugabe asked that we also pray and intervene to end sanctions, as they were hurting all Zimbabweans. He also said Britain had dishonoured its pledges in the implementation of the country’s post-independence land reform programme.”

After introductions and pleasantries, the meeting began with an hour-long presentation by Dr Williams and his team on the problems facing the church. According to the government-run Harare Herald, President Mugabe said he was unaware of many of the incidents cited by the bishops, but stated the courts would have to sort out the dispute.

President Mugabe then launched into a 30-minute soliloquy, denouncing homosexuality, Western sanctions against his regime and the evils of white colonial rule. He also urged the two Anglican factions to engage in dialogue to resolve their differences.

“He said it would be better for everyone if they united. The President said he hoped the Anglican delegation did not come to Zimbabwe under the impression that the disharmony is the act of Government,” a source told the Herald.

Zimbabwe Court denounces political interference in the Kunonga affair: The Church of England Newspaper, Oct 14, 2011 p 7. October 16, 2011

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Chief Justice Godfrey Chidyausiku

First printed in The Church of England Newspaper.

The Chief Justice of Zimbabwe has lashed out against the Anglican Diocese of Harare, accusing it of trying to circumvent the courts by appealing to political leaders to resolve its dispute with breakaway bishop Dr Nolbert Kunonga.

On 1 October the state-run Harare Herald reported that Chief Justice Godfrey Chidyausiku had “blasted” the Anglican diocese for interfering with the independence of the judiciary.

The Herald reported the former Bishop of Harare, the Rt Rev Peter Hatendi, wrote to the Minister of Justice and Legal Affairs, Patrick Chinamasa, on 23 September urging the government to remove Judge Chidyausiku from the case.

“The Church of the Province of Central Africa has made a Constitutional appeal against the judgment of Chief Justice Chidyausiku dated 4 August, 2011 in chambers and requested him to recuse himself.”

Bishop Hatendi’s letter, the Herald said, asked the justice minister to “assist in the processing of the appeal.”

“My successor Dr Nolbert Kunonga grabbed both the old and the new structures when he resigned in 2007,” Bishop Hatendi wrote. “Where is commutative justice to be found save in our courts of law? I look forward to hearing from you as soon as possible, please,” he was alleged to have written.

On 28 September, Judge Chidyausiku instructed the registrar of the Supreme Court to inform the attorneys for the parties of his displeasure with Bishop Hatendi. “In view of the persistent attempts by the litigants in this matter, in particular the [Church of the Province of Central Africa], to try and influence the outcome of this matter outside the judicial process, no further applications will be entertained from either party except in open court.”

“The issues set out above can only be determined by the Supreme Court. I accordingly take great exception to conduct undermining the independence of the judicial process by seeking political intervention in judicial matters,” the letter said.

CEN was unable to reach Bishop Hatendi to confirm whether the allegations made by the Herald were true. However, Judge Chidyausika has asked that all of the Anglican cases before the court be consolidated for his adjudication.

“The issues set out above can only be determined by the Supreme Court. I accordingly take great exception to conduct undermining the independence of the judicial process by seeking political intervention in judicial matters,” the letter said.

Church lauds peaceful transition of power in Zambia: The Church of England Newspaper, Oct 14, 2011 October 16, 2011

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President Michael Sata

First published in The Church of England Newspaper.

There were no losers in last month’s presidential election in Zambia, the country’s Anglican leaders declared in a statement that offered congratulations to the new president and thanks to the outgoing president for the peaceful transition of power.

On 20 Sept 2011, Zambians went to the polls to elect a president and representatives to the National Assembly.  Three days later Chief Justice Ernest Sakala announced that Michael Sata of the Patriotic Front Party had defeated incumbent President Rupiah Banda of the Movement for Multiparty Democracy by 1.17 million to 987,000 votes.  Hakainde Hichilema of the United Party for National Development came in third with approximately 500,000 votes.

On Sept 23 the new president was sworn in by Chief Justice Sakala as Zambia’s fifth president since the country declared independence from Britain in 1964.  The victory by President Sata and his Patriotic Front has ended two decades of rule by the Movement for Multiparty Democracy which came to power in the country’s first multiparty elections in 1991.

In an address to the nation outgoing President Banda stated “now it is time for me to step aside. Now is the time for a new leader. My time is done. It is time for me for goodbye.  May God watch over the Zambian people and may he bless our beautiful nation.”

He urged the country to “rally behind your new president.”

In his inauguration speech, President Sata pledged to fight poverty and corruption, and restore confidence in the rule of law.  The Ten Commandments would form the guiding principles for his government, President Sata said.

President Sata has also appointed the first white vice president in post-independence Africa.   Dr. Guy Scott was born in what was then Northern Rhodesia in 1944, was educated at Cambridge and earned a PhD in cognitive science from the University of Sussex before returning to Zambia. He will succeed President Sata should the 74 year old leader die in office.

In a statement released after the inauguration, Bishop William Mchombo of Eastern Zambia said the Anglican Church believed “there is no victor or vanquished in this election but that the will of Zambians has prevailed and that we should all continue to live in unity and peacefully alongside each other and contribute to the development of this great nation.”

He also lauded former President Banda for graciously exiting the political stage – a rarity in African politics.

“We also congratulate the electorates for coming out in their numbers to cast their votes in a relatively peaceful manner thereby entrenching our democracy. Once again we have shown the world, especially in the sub-region that peaceful elections where the will of the people is respected are tenable. Above all we give praise and glory to God to whom all people of faith turned for prayers of peace and justice. Long live Zambia,” the bishop said.

“Faithful” of Harare lauded by Canterbury: The Church of England Newspaper, Oct 14, 2011 p 1. October 14, 2011

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First printed in The Church of England Newspaper.

The Archbishop of Canterbury has praised the “faith and endurance” of the Anglicans of Zimbabwe in the face of persecution by “false brethren,” calling their witness an inspiration to the world.

Dr. Rowan Williams – accompanied by the primates of Central Africa, South Africa, Tanzania, and the bishops of Zimbabwe and Botswana — received an enthusiastic greeting on Oct 9 from approximately 15,000 Anglicans packed into a sports arena in Harare.  Across town outside the city’s Anglican cathedral, occupied by supporters of breakaway bishop Dr. Nolbert Kunonga, pickets denounced the archbishop with signs labeling him a colonialist and supporter of homosexuality.

One member of the congregation (who for safety reasons cannot be named) told CEN he was overjoyed by the archbishop’s visit, writing that Dr. Williams’ presence gave encouragement to the Harare’s embattled Anglicans.

God’s “purpose is justice: not an abstract idea of fairness, but a situation where every person has the fulfilment God desires for them, without interference from others,” Dr. Williams told the congregation, taking as his text Matt 22:10-11.

Addressing the persecution suffered by Anglicans at the hands of Dr. Kunonga’s supporters, the archbishop said, “You know very well, dear brothers and sisters, what it means to have doors locked in your faces by those who claim the name of Christians and Anglicans. You know how those who by their greed and violence have refused the grace of God try to silence your worship and frustrate your witness in the churches and schools and hospitals of this country.”

Yet in the midst of this oppression, the will of God “is so strong that it can triumph even over these mindless and Godless assaults. Just as the Risen Jesus breaks through the locked doors of fear and suspicion, so he continues to call you and empower you in spite of all efforts to defeat you,” the archbishop said.

The assaults upon the church had taught Zimbabwe’s Anglicans “that it is not the buildings that make a true church but the spiritual foundations on which your lives are built,” he said, urging them to hold fast.

Touching upon Zimbabwe’s turbulent history, he noted that “for a long period in this country, an anxious ruling class clung on to the power they had seized at the expense of the indigenous people and ignored their rights and their hopes for dignity and political freedom. How tragic that this should be replaced by another kind of lawlessness, where so many live in daily fear of attack if they fail to comply with what the powerful require of them.”

The faithful Christians of Zimbabwe were a model to the world, Dr. Williams said.  “Day by day, you have to face injustice and the arrogance of ‘false brethren’,” he said.

“Yet you must know that we give thanks to God for you – for your patience and generosity and endurance. Your life here is tortured by uncertainty and the constant risk of attack, yet it speaks to all of us in the worldwide Communion of the victory of Jesus Christ and the undefeated will of God to welcome people into his Kingdom and to seat them at the table of his Son so that we can celebrate the marriage of heaven and earth in the fleshly life and death and resurrection of the Lord,” the archbishop said.

Archbishop kicks off Central African tour in Malawi: The Church of England Newspaper, Oct 12, 2011 October 12, 2011

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President Bingu wa Mutharika with Dr Williams

First printed in The Church of England Newspaper.

The Archbishop of Canterbury has urged Malawians to embrace Christian ambiguity, setting aside their certainties in order to be reconciled with the world.  Anglicans “must be always a church that is on pilgrimage towards the Christ,” Dr. Rowan Williams said, a Christ “who can be discovered in the most needy and helpless.”

On the first stop of his 5 – 13 October Central African tour, Dr. Rowan Williams met with the President of Malawi and led services to mark the 150th anniversary of the Universities Mission to Central Africa (UMCA).

Political relations between Malawi and the UK –  Malawi’s largest aid provider – have been tense since the country expelled the British High Commissioner earlier this year after his remarks critical of President Bingu wa Mutharika were published.  Bishop James Tengatenga and other Anglican leaders have pressed the government to restore relations, saying the diplomatic stand-off harmed the poor.

On 7 Oct 2011 Dr. Williams met with President Mutharika at the Sanjika Palace – the president’s residence outside of Blantyre.  He told reporters “we had very interesting discussions about agriculture in Malawi and problems facing the future of food production.”

Diplomatic in his comments, the archbishop spoke of the government’s work in improving agricultural output, and noted the importance of introducing scientific farming methods to “guarantee food security.”

Speaking the next day before a congregation of approximately 5000 in Magomera to mark the 150th anniversary of the UMCA, Dr. Williams spoke of the need to set aside one’s convictions in order to reconcile with others and to make a better world.  “We want to invite all people to be part of this [Christian] fellowship so that they can more effectively work with God for the healing of his world,” he said.

“The life of the Anglican Church in this country has from the very beginning been a life devoted to liberation,” he said.  The missionary imperative to end slavery that brought David Livingstone, Bishop Mackenzie and other missionaries to Malawi was founded on the belief that slavery caused suffering to slaves and slave-owners, Dr. Williams claimed.

Slavery “was also something that made slave-traders and slave-owners less than properly human.  It degraded everything and everyone it touched.  When Mackenzie and his companions battled against the slave trade, they did so in order that slaves and slave-owners alike might be free.”

The message of the Sermon on the Mount, the archbishop’s text for his address, was that “human lives are blessed by God when they are devoted to justice and peacemaking; when they are lives without arrogance and greed; when they are lives concentrated on the love of God and ready to take risks for the sake of God, not worrying about hostility even when it is violent.”

Christians, he said, “must always, always, seek to be reconciled with one another and must always, always, take the first step to make peace with their enemies and pray for them.”

Dr. Kunonga attacks Canterbury on eve of Zimbabwe visit: The Church of England Newspaper, Oct 7, 2011 p 7. October 7, 2011

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First printed in The Church of England Newspaper.

The former Bishop of Harare, Dr Nolbert Kunonga, has launched a pre-emptive strike against the Archbishop of Canterbury the weekend before Dr Williams’ visit to Zimbabwe.

At a press conference on 30 September, Dr Kunonga denounced Dr Williams as a political interloper who would attempt to re-colonise Zimbabwe during his 5-13 October trip to Central Africa.

“The Anglican Church is a political organisation when it is in England,” he told reporters. “Rowan William was appointed by the Queen and the Prime Minister and he is a civil servant of Britain. In a political and economic environment, the civil servant represents and symbolises with his State.

“He is a diplomat like [US Ambassador] Charles Ray. He is coming to represent neo-colonialism. He is coming to lobby for homosexuality and for him it is a timely move as we are making our constitution.”

In 2007 Dr Kunonga quit as Bishop of Harare in the Church of the Province of Central Africa and formed his own Anglican Church of Zimbabwe. With the support of the security services and sympathetic judges, he has gained control over church properties in the diocese and has announced his intention to seize all Anglican property in Zimbabwe.

The dispute between Dr Kunonga and the Anglican Diocese of Harare is currently before the country’s Supreme Court. However in an interim ruling issued in August, the court gave Dr Kunonga custody of church properties pending a final decision.

Dr Kunonga told reporters he would never compromise with Harare Bishop Chad Gandiya and the Anglican Communion. “There is one diocese, one bishop and one throne, not two,” he said, adding the dispute was political. “I am fighting the British, and not any of you, black Zimbabweans when you are also poor and continue being trampled upon,” Dr Kunonga said.

“I will not be silenced, nobody silences a true bishop,” he said.

On 1 October the Diocese of Harare released a statement saying Dr Williams’ “visit is to show support to Anglicans in Zimbabwe in the face of on-going persecution at the hands of an ex-communicated man who has nothing else to do than focus his attention on destroying what generations of Anglicans built using their own resources.”

The diocese has requested a meeting with President Robert Mugabe for Dr Williams, but a spokesman for Lambeth Palace on 4 October told CEN that no response had so far been given.

Court and government will not intervene in the Kunonga dispute: The Church of England Newspaper, Sept 30, 2011 p 6. October 5, 2011

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First printed in The Church of England Newspaper.

A Harare high court judge has dismissed a petition to halt the expulsion of Anglican clergy from their homes and the seizure of church run schools and orphanages by breakaway bishop Dr Nolbert Kunonga.

On 23 September, Judge Tendai Uchena rejected the petition filed on behalf of the Church of the Province of Central Africa and Bishop Chad Gandiya saying he would not rule on the matter as Supreme Court Chief Justice Godfrey Chidyausiku had jurisdiction over the case.

Last month Chief Justice Chidyausiku signed an order in chambers that pending a final ruling on the property dispute, custody of the buildings would remain with Dr Kunonga’s faction. While the order attempted to preserve the status quo, the ruling has been used by Dr Kunonga to seize more property.

Justice Chidyausiku was expected to rule on the province’s petition to halt the evictions last week, but has yet to hand down an order.

A spokesman for Dr Kunonga, Bishop Alfred Munyani told the Voice of America that Bishop Gandiya’s group was the source of the troubles. “They are the ones who say there is no rule of law, now the courts have ruled but they keep on launching one court application after the other,” said Bishop Munyanyi. “They should just abandon that and come back to church.”

Supporters of the Anglican diocese have asked the Zimbabwean government to intervene in the dispute, citing the seizure of the Arthur Shearly Cripps Home, a church-run orphanage.

In a question to the Deputy Minister of Education, Sport, Arts and Culture Lazarus Dokora, Zengeza West MP Collen Gwiyo asked the “minister to explain government policy with regard to church disputes that are now interfering with classes, in particular there is a faction led by Bishop Kunonga of the Anglican Church which has actually affected the education system.”

Mr Dokora (ZANU-PF) responded that “when a matter is before the courts or a judgment is in the course of being implemented, the less we speak about it, the less we interfere with that process, the safer for all of us.”

Home invasion in Harare: The Church of England Newspaper, Sept 16, 2011 p 8. September 21, 2011

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First published in The Church of England Newspaper.

The Bishop of Harare was the victim of a home invasion last week, after four men entered his home on the evening of 8 September, robbing the bishop and his wife.

It is unclear whether the thefts were politically motivated. Bishop Chad Gandiya and the Church of the Province of Central Africa have been locked in a violent struggle with former bishop Dr Nolbert Kunonga, an ally of Zimbabwe strongman Robert Mugabe and his ZANU-PF Party, over the control of church assets.

The assault comes amidst continuing waves of political violence in the Central Africa country. On 1 September, Colin Zietsman, one of the country’s few remaining white commercial farmers, was murdered on his Centenary Farm in Mashonaland Central’s Centenary district.

The opposition Movement for Democratic Change, (MDC) released a statement on 10 September reporting that in the latest instance of political intimidation, two of its members had been hospitalized “after they were abducted and assaulted by Zanu-PF hooligans.”

Harare police spokesman Inspector James Sabau offered the known facts on the attack on the Bishop in a statement printed by Newsday. “The complainant [Bishop Chad Gandiya] was confronted by four people who entered his home through an unlocked lounge room door armed with stones, knives and machetes.

“They ordered the complainant and his family to lie down and they complied. The robbers then asked for money and they were given $600.”

The thieves ransacked the house, taking three laptop computers, four mobile phones and jewellery, the police said and “then locked the complainant and his family in the bathroom.”

The Bishop was able to free himself and reported the thefts to the Marlborough Police Station.

The police statement noted: “We are having problems of both plain and armed robberies. They are entering through unlocked doors between 6pm and 9pm. “That is the new trend that is there now and we urge people to lock their doors all the time to avoid robberies, especially in the low density suburbs.”

In an email to supporters, Bishop Gandiya reported that the thieves “threatened to kill us if we did not give them money. They searched my son’s bedroom and ours for money and any valuables they could get. They literally trashed our bedroom. They took my laptop and my son’s two laptops and all our cell phones.”

“We rejoice and thank God that none of us were hurt. We simply did what they told us to do,” the Bishop said, but added he was “very suspicious of this robbery. It seems what they were after were just the laptops and phones. I am a little challenged in as far as communication is concerned at the moment. Although we are afflicted in every way, we are not crushed and we do not lose hope.”

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