The Zimbabwe Church reasserts itself

From The Times
Sebastian Bakare, the Anglican Bishop of Harare, ignored the riot policeman at the altar trying disrupt his Sunday service, and carried on with worship. In front of the church’s first full congregation for years Bishop Bakare told the representative of Zimbabwe’s security services: “If you want to attack me, I am in your hands.”
A fortnight ago the Church secured an affidavit from Police Commissioner Augustine Chihuri, in which denied knowing anything about a police operation to force Anglicans away from their churches. It was read to parishioners by Anglican priests wherever they met, and they were urged to return to their churches on Sunday.

Emboldened by the formation of the new power-sharing Government, the church’s flock is now beginning to return in force.

And from The Herald (March 14)

Harare — CHURCHES will soon meet Government to present their suggestions on nation healing, building and reconciliation, Zimbabwe Council of Churches president Bishop Naison Shava has said.

Addressing journalists at the Ecumenical Church Leaders Forum in Harare on Thursday, Bishop Shava said church leaders had agreed to put their input in the new political dispensation. "We have met to redefine our role in society as a church, among other issues so that the church takes an active role in nation building," he said.

The church, Bishop Shava, had the responsibility to contribute towards nation building. "We are however aware of the new political dispensation and we want to help by participating in bringing the nation together," he said.

Bishop Shava said political polarisation in the country had brought trauma to many people hence the need for a true and complete healing process.

"There are people who lost their limbs during that period and then they say the only retribution is to cut off the hand of the person who cut off his hand.

"As the church we are saying that kind of action will not help in healing the nation and we would like to raise the question on the approach and find some compromise where we have truth and forgiveness," he said. …

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