Archbishop Albert Chama


By ACNS staff

Tens of thousands of people–including all the Central Africa bishops–flocked to the Bernard Mizeki celebrations in Zimbabwe this weekend, despite being denied access to the shrine itself by the authorities.

Between 10,000 and 15,000 people came to the Marondera Show Grounds to commemorate the life of Bernard Mizeki, a lay catechist and missionary to the Shona people from 1891 until his martyrdom in 1896.

The attendees included all 15 bishops of the Anglican Church of the Province of Central Africa who con-celebrated the Eucharist on the Saturday morning. The Province’s Primate Archbishop Albert Chama preached what was described as “a moving and encouraging sermon”.

Following the Eucharist the day was filled with teaching on various topics by the clergy, drama based on the life of Bernard Mizeki, a programme led by the Mothers’ Union and then singing, worship and shared preaching by both clergy and laity. The celebrations finished after an early morning Eucharist service on Sunday and Harare’s Bp Chad D Gandiya presided at the Eucharist.

In a letter following the weekend’s celebrations, Bp Chad said it had been a truly blessed weekend: “I am writing to thank you all very much for your prayers. Our Bernard Mizeki celebrations at the Marondera Show Grounds went very well. Our theme for the weekend was, “Mukristu Usanete: Namata Urinde! Christian seek not yet repose: Watch and Pray!” We even had police protection which we appreciated very much.”

Pilgrims were hoping to visit the shrine after the main service, but police prevented them from doing so.

The Anglican Church in Zimbabwe has been under attack from an ex-communicated bishop, Dr Nolbert Kunonga, a supporter of President Mugabe, who left the Anglican Province of Central Africa (CPCA) in 2007 to try and set up a rival church. Kunonga, with the support of police and henchmen, has seized CPCA church property and used violence to break up church services.

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