[Anglican Communion News Service] The bishop of Harare is celebrating peace and growth in his diocese two-and-a-half years after Anglicans in Zimbabwe won back their churches.
In a recent update to supporters around the world, Bishop Chad Gandiya said that hard work and generosity of parishioners the diocese is going from strength to strength.
“The diocese has continued to experience growth both numerically and spiritually,” he wrote. “ A few new church buildings are being built and a few are being extended in order to accommodate the numerical growth.”
Gandiya also highlighted various other improvements and developments in his diocese: “Our mission schools continue to improve both academically and structurally, and two of our schools were even awarded the Ministry of Education Secretary’s Merit Award for good results and general improvements of the schools.
“Just within this short period [since getting our property back], one of our schools, St. John’s High School, has managed to build two new dormitories and two new staff houses. They have also bought a luxury bus for the school and have managed to sink two boreholes.”
In September 2012, the Church of the Province of Central Africa, of which Harare is a part, won a long-running legal battle involving the excommunicated former bishop, Norbert Kunonga. Kunonga and his supporters had grabbed church properties including church buildings, hospitals, orphanages and schools.
Most of the church property has been run down by the time they were handed back to the church, and diocesan offices even inherited huge bills incurred by Kunonga and his supporters.
Despite the challenges that the diocese continues to face, its resolve to continue contributing to the country’s development has not waned. About three weeks ago, the diocese announced its intention to build an Anglican University close to Harare.
“The Anglican Church in Zimbabwe has been at the vanguard of promoting formal education as an essential part of propagating and living the Christian faith in the region from the 1890s,” said Gandiya. “From the first secondary school for African people in Zimbabwe to the more than 8,179 schools in the country, opportunities have been offered to all members of our society for primary, secondary and teacher education.”
He added: “A significant part of the top schools in the country have been run by Anglicans in an open, inclusive and Christian environment with many prominent members of our society and our country being beneficiaries, and we now wish to consolidate the vast experience the Church has built up in the education sector, through our contribution to university education.”
The bishop announced that, while the university will offer other courses, its main focus would be the biomedical sciences.
“This is much needed not only in Zimbabwe but on the continent as a whole, and we will soon be seeking all kinds of partnerships and assistance both materially and human resources,” he said.