Anglicans return to the shrine of Bernard Mizeki: The Church of England Newspaper, June 23, 2013 p 7. June 27, 2013Posted by geoconger in Church of England Newspaper, Church of the Province of Central Africa, Zimbabwe.
Tags: Bernard Mizeki, Diocese of Harare, Nolbert Kunonga
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.”