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

Posted by geoconger in Church of England Newspaper, Church of the Province of Central Africa, Zimbabwe.
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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.