Exiled Anglicans return

by
03 May 2013

by a staff reporter

TEDDY CHIGWANDA

Joyous: worshippers celebrate as they enter St Augustine's Mission Church in Penhalonga, Manicaland, last month

Joyous: worshippers celebrate as they enter St Augustine's Mission Church in Penhalonga, Manicaland, last month

ANGLICANS in Zimbabwe celebrated their return to their churches and cathedral in the eastern diocese of Manicaland after being barred from places of worship for five years.

More than 3000 worshippers danced and sang their way into the Cathedral of St John the Baptist, Mutare, and St Augustine's Mission, Penhalonga, on 6 April, led by their Bishop, Dr Julius Makoni.

The Revd Kate Wyles, whose father's family were missionaries in Manicaland, represented the Bishop of Guildford at the weekend celebrations, and the Bishop of Woolwich, Dr Michael Ipgrave, took greetings from the Archbishop of Canterbury.

The celebrations bring to an end a conflict that began when two bishops in Manicaland and Harare attempted to take control of diocesan properties, and congregations were forced to leave (News, 8 March). But the Supreme Court in Zimbabwe ruled in favour of the Anglican Church, legally restoring its rightful ownership, and the focus of the weekend's celebrations was on forgiveness.

Preaching at the cathedral, the Archbishop of the province of Central Africa, the Rt Revd Albert Chama, said: "Go back to your churches and keep your obedience to the Gospel by extending the hand of love and forgiveness, that people may see the light of God in you."

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