Bishop Chad Gandiya and his family (New Zimbabwe)
From Titus on Mission:
Physical confrontation has flared up again in the Diocese of Harare as today Bp. Chad Gandiya and the congregation of St. Clare, Mangwende, were driven away from their church building just as church members were about to receive communion, the bishop reported today by telephone.
“We had completed most of the service,” said Bp. Gandiya, “and then the police came in with the priests sent by [breakaway Bp. Nolbert] Kunonga. We were all driven out and threatened by the police.” The bishop had gone to St. Clare’s for a routine pastoral visit. Mangwende is located in the area of Murewa, about an hour’s drive north of Harare, so fairly close to the center of the diocese.
“We were within our rights to hold a service there,” said Gandiya, “for the by the court ruling we [the Diocese of Harare of the Church of the Province of Central Africa] were to have opportunity to use church buildings. This happened in spite of the fact that we had gone to the police in advance and explained to them what we intended to do.
“Yet the people were so encouraging of us,” the bishop continued. “They were singing even as we were marched out and until we left the area of the church entirely. They were so glad we had come.” Gandiya said that tomorrow legal representations will be made on behalf of the diocese to prevent recurrence, and plans will be made to visit the area again soon.
Fullscale violence again Anglicans occurred before, during and after the March presidential election, in which the Mugabe regime saw Anglicans loyal to the CPCA as opposed to the regime because in the politics of the church they were opposed to Kunonga, a Mugabe ally. Many were beaten as they were driven out of churches, and CPCA loyalists had to find alternative sites for worship. Later, however, a court order divided Sundays between the two groups and authorized weekday CPCA events in churches, and fullscale confrontations subsided.
The Mangwende confrontation is a setback and indicates that Kunonga, despite dwindling popular support, continues to try to prevail in the struggle. “It is sad, really,” said Bp. Gandiya.