'A voice for the voiceless in the Anglican Province of Central Africa'

Thursday, 23 February 2012

Anglican Bishop Chad Gandiya of Harare clarifies the situation

The Rt Revd Chad Gandiya, Bishop of Harare, CPCA, Anglican Communion

From the Anglican Communion News Service

Bishop of Harare: "We are CPCA and there is no law that forbids us to worship God."

Posted On : February 22, 2012 2:11 PM | Posted By : Admin ACO

ACNS: ACNS5049

By ACNS staff

Bishop Chad Gandiya of Harare today issued an open letter to stress the difference between the Church of the Province of Central Africa dioceses in Zimbabwe and the churches run by an excommunicated former bishop.

Bp Chad said in the letter that there appeared to be “still a lot of confusion” about the status of the two groups and so he wanted to clarify things: “so that our members can continue to congregate and worship God freely as members of the Diocese of Harare (CPCA)”.

“The Diocese of Harare, Church of the Province of Central Africa (CPCA) is part of
the worldwide Anglican Communion with over 70 million members,” he said. “It is not a part of the ‘Anglican Church in Zimbabwe’ or Province of Zimbabwe which was formed and headed by Dr Nolbert Kunonga.”

Bp Chad accused Dr Kunonga—who left and was later excommunicated from the CPCA—of “deliberately playing on words” by referring to the church he established as ‘Anglican Church in Zimbabwe’ and also ‘the Province of Zimbabwe’.

The outspoken bishop pulled no punches in criticising police intervention of Anglican services: “Let it be known therefore, that the Diocese of Harare (CPCA) is a legal church organisation in Zimbabwe whose operations are above board. Anyone who disturbs the activities of the Diocese of Harare (CPCA) is breaking the law. Christians anywhere in Zimbabwe when they meet for worship or church business do not need to be sanctioned by the police. You only need to look at the number of congregations throughout Zimbabwe who meet under trees to worship. They do not need police to give them permission to gather.

“Any police officer who demands any of our congregations to be sanctioned by them or Kunonga is simply abusing his/her authority, breaking the law and infringing on the constitutional rights of the people of Zimbabwe to assembly, association, expression and worship.”

He also clarified the church’s views on homosexuality, in an effort to ensure people did not believe the lies spread about the CPCA’s position on the issue.

Anglican congregations across Zimbabwe who were forced out of their buildings by followers of the excommunicated former bishop resorted to worshipping in the open air, in pubs, schools, and anywhere else they can find to congregate. This, said Bp Chad, was something that was their legal right.

“While the Diocese awaits the Supreme Court of Zimbabwe to determine the issues around the properties taken by Dr. Kunonga, we are free to worship at any place and at any time that we find convenient other than our church buildings which he was given custodianship until the matter is resolved. There is no law in Zimbabwe that forbids us to worship God. The same applies to those who do not want to worship with us – there is no law in the statutes of Zimbabwe that forces any one to worship with someone they do not want.”

The Anglican Church in Zimbabwe has been under attack from the excommunicated bishop, Dr Nolbert Kunonga, since 2007. Kunonga, with the support of police and henchmen, has seized CPCA church property and used violence to break up church services. In an interview with the New York Times, Dr Kunonga was quoted as saying that his aim is for his church to control about 3,000 Anglican churches, schools, hospitals and other properties in Zimbabwe, Zambia, Botswana and Malawi.

ENDS

The full letter is below:

OPEN LETTER TO THE PARISHES IN THE DIOCESE OF HARARE (CPCA)
February 2012

To all the faithful in the Diocese of Harare CPCA,
Warm greetings to you all! May mercy, peace, and love be yours in abundance.

We are writing to ask you to kindly take note of the following:

1. There is still a lot of confusion regarding the Diocese of Harare (CPCA) and the ‘Anglican Church in Zimbabwe’ also referred to as Province of Zimbabwe. We want to clarify this position to all our parishes and the members of the public so that our members can continue to congregate and worship God freely as members of the Diocese of Harare (CPCA) which is different, independent and has no communion with Dr. Kunonga’s ‘Anglican Church in Zimbabwe’.

2. The Diocese of Harare, Church of the Province of Central Africa (CPCA) is part of the worldwide Anglican Communion with over 70 million members. It is not a part of the ‘Anglican Church in Zimbabwe’ or Province of Zimbabwe which was formed and headed by Dr Nolbert Kunonga.

3. There is no confusion about the leadership of the two different churches. The Diocese of Harare (CPCA) is led by me Bishop Chad Nicholas Gandiya. The confusion is created in the use of the name ‘Anglican Church in Zimbabwe’ by Kunonga making it appear that any church in Zimbabwe with the designation ‘Anglican’ or that is part of the Anglican Communion is his church. In the Anglican Communion, there is no Diocese or Province called the Anglican Church in Zimbabwe or Province of Zimbabwe. Dr. Kunonga is deliberately playing on words and words associations to confuse people. Let it be known therefore, that the Diocese of Harare (CPCA) is a legal church organisation in Zimbabwe whose operations are above board. Anyone who disturbs the activities of the Diocese of Harare (CPCA) is breaking the law. Christians anywhere in Zimbabwe when they meet for worship or church business do not need to be sanctioned by the police. You only need to look at the number of congregations throughout Zimbabwe who meet under trees to worship. They do not need police to give them permission to gather. Any police officer who demands any of our congregations to be sanctioned by them or Kunonga is simply abusing his/her authority, breaking the law and infringing on the constitutional rights of the people of Zimbabwe to assembly, association, expression and worship.

4. The dispute that remains between Dr. Kunonga and his Anglican Church in Zimbabwe and us in the Diocese of Harare CPCA centres on the properties that he took with him when he withdrew and was subsequently excommunicated from the
Church of the Province of Central Africa and therefore the Worldwide Anglican Communion in 2007. This matter is still before the courts and we wait for the final resolution of the matter by the courts of law in Zimbabwe.

5. The issue of homosexuality is also being used to confuse our members and members of the public. The position of the Diocese of Harare and the CPCA on homosexuality is clear. Canon 22.5 states that: “The Church of this Province believes that marriage, by divine institution, is a lifelong and exclusive union and partnership between one man and one woman”. It does not encourage or approve same-sex unions or relationships.

6. As far as the Diocese of Harare (CPCA) is concerned, and as far as all those who are in communion with us are concerned, Dr. Kunonga is not a part of our church, and we are not a part of his church. Let no one be fooled by the deliberate confusion between the Diocese of Harare (CPCA) which is headed by me, Bishop Chad N. Gandiya and
Dr. Kunonga’s “Anglican Church in Zimbabwe”. While the Diocese awaits the Supreme Court of Zimbabwe to determine the issues around the properties taken by Dr. Kunonga, we are free to worship at any place and at any time that we find
convenient other than our church buildings which he was given custodianship until the matter is resolved. There is no law in Zimbabwe that forbids us to worship God. The same applies to those who do not want to worship with us – there is no law in the statutes of Zimbabwe that forces any one to worship with someone they do not want.

In the name of God, please do not allow yourself to be fooled. If there are things about what is happening that you do not understand, please ask us and we will gladly explain it to you.

Now unto him who is able to keep you from falling, and to present you faultless before the presence of his glory with exceeding joy. To the only wise God our Saviour, be glory and majesty, dominion and power, both now and ever. Amen.

With every blessing as you seek to draw closer to the Lord this Lent,

+Chad, Harare.
The Rt. Revd. Dr. Chad N. Gandiya
Bishop of the Diocese of Harare (CPCA)

3 comments:

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