Life for Zimbabwe Anglicans worsens

UPDATE: Presiding Bishop Katharine Jefferts Schori speaks about Zimbabwe following her visit to Anglicans there:

A crippled nation at the mercy of tyrannical leaders, Zimbabwe is home to a persecuted yet resilient community of Anglicans who’ve been victimized, intimidated and run out of their own churches by a state-supported renegade bishop and his allies.

Yet, despite being excluded from all worship spaces in Harare, “the Anglican church is growing, filled with joy, and looking outward,” Presiding Bishop Katharine Jefferts Schori told Episcopal News Service following a July 29-31 visit to Zimbabwe to show support and solidarity to its beleaguered Anglicans.

Anglican Communion News Service (ACNS) reports on the worsening conditions for Anglicans in Zimbabwe as deposed and excommunicated Archbishop Kunonga tightens his grip on churches and church properties with the help of the government.

Clergy and pilgrims hoping to visit the Arthur Shearly Cripps Shrine last week were once again frustrated by excommunicated bishop Dr Norbert Kunonga who now claims to be in charge of the shrine and 78 Anglican churches in Masvingo Diocese.

The Anglican Diocese of Masvingo said its leaders advised Anglican worshippers against taking part in this year’s Shearly Cripps celebrations, scheduled for 29 to 31 July, after a court ruled that Dr Kunonga could not be prevented from attending the shrine.

A diocesan spokesperson told ACNS, “Kunonga got wind of the Diocesan preparations for commemoration of Arthur Shearly Cripps by pilgrims at the Arthur Shearly Cripps Shrine this month end, and he began to counter these efforts.

“He had been distributing flyers, pamphlets and sticking posters in our Churches in and around Chivhu town and Daramombe Mission. The same group which was moving around Chivhu went to Daramombe Mission on Saturday 23 July and put more posters at the Mission and then made a fire next to the entrance of the church and started roasting meat. Thereafter they took one of the Priest-in-Charge’s chickens and disappeared from the Mission.”

Kunonga claims he has taken over the Shrine and not only informed the District Police Officer of this, but also appeared on national television station ZBC TV on Sunday 31 June announcing he had taken over the Shrine plus all church properties: 45 in the Chikomba District and 33 in the Buhera District.

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