Thinking Anglicans

Anglican priest arrested in Zimbabwe

Updated Friday

Since the October visit of Archbishop Williams was announced, there have been further developments in Zimbabwe.

ACNS Anglican Bishop of Harare: “Priest’s arrest for ‘theft’ of US$1.5 million is baseless”

Highlands Police today (Tuesday 6 September 2011) arrested Reverend Julius Zimbudzana, the priest in charge at St Mary’s Anglican Church for allegedly taking over Anglican church property worth over US$1.5 million as police intensified their persecution of the Anglican Church, hiding behind unjust court rulings.

Dr Nicholas Chad Gandiya, the Bishop of the Anglican Diocese of Harare in the Church of the Province of Central Africa (CPCA) immediately dismissed the charge as persecution of the Anglicans under the CPCA by the police, acting on the instructions of the ex-communicated Dr Nolbert Kunonga.

“That [accusation against Revd Julius] is unfounded, baseless and without foundation,” Bishop Gandiya said. “This is very strange indeed as no parish in our diocese (perhaps the exception of the Cathedral Parish) has properties worth that much. He has been refused bail. The police claim they have clear instructions not to release him…”

Other reports:

Church of England Newspaper Harare eviction order appealed

SW Radio Africa via AllAfrica.com Anglican Priest Arrested By Police in Highlands

Telegraph Anglican priest arrested in Zimbabwe as Archbishop of Canterbury plans visit and also Archbishop of Canterbury ‘to meet’ Robert Mugabe in Zimbabwe

New Zimbabwe Archbishop of Canterbury to meet Mugabe

Friday updates

The Church Times has this report: Zimbabwe: priest arrested for ‘taking’ his own parish which also includes this:

…The Bishop of Rochester, the Rt Revd James Lang­staff, has recently returned from a trip to the diocese of Harare, which has a link with Rochester.

Bishop Langstaff attended a dio­cesan conference with clergy, and said that it was a “slightly surreal ex­peri­ence, as off-stage we knew clergy were routinely being persecuted” and churches’ property being disposses­sed. “Gradually, all of the clergy will be ousted from their own property. But, although Kunonga has the buildings, he has no people. He is only interested in making money.

“Congregations are now meeting in borrowed premises and tents, and are growing. I went to one church meeting in a tent. There was a very positive atmosphere, and people feel they are growing spiritually and are more committed — and feel good will come out of it. The congrega­tions are in really good heart, but are concerned for their clergy.”

BBC Archbishop will find Zimbabwe Church in chaos

The Archbishop of Canterbury, Rowan Williams, will find his followers dismayed and a Church in chaos when he visits next month…

And the Telegraph has an editorial column: Christian courageous

The Archbishop of Canterbury, Dr Rowan Williams, is right to expose himself to risk by visiting Zimbabwe, where many Christians practise their faith in fear, and meeting its President, Robert Mugabe…

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John Bowles
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John Bowles

How typical that none of your regular readers have commented on this tragedy. Why? It’s not about gays and the ordination of women and therefore of no consequence. After all, we must not be judgmental or racialist, must we.

rjb
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rjb

Here’s a first – I find myself in agreement with the Daily Telegraph editorial writers. This is a brave and principled thing for the Archbishop to do, and a reminder to all of us that we should pray for Christians who endure persecution and harrassment. The C of E has been fairly consistent on the subject of Zimbabwe, but Communion issues have risked drowning out the voice of the Church on this one. It’s good that the Archbishop is drawing attention to the ongoing crisis there, though one wonders how much we would hear about it if not for his… Read more »

Peter Edwards
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Peter Edwards

Hey, that’s not fair at all, and UNThinking. We all know that Mugabe is a total tyrant – and that’s putting it politely. There has been, and will continue to be, condemnation of attitudes to all sorts of situations and controversies in a variety of African (and other) countries; so we are not remotely racist – and we try to leave the judgement to God, at least some of the time, as in the case of Mugabe. Half, at least, of those who read this site are asleep half of the time; and some of us have work to do,… Read more »

JCF
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JCF

What’s your point, JohnB? [FWIW, I’ve been incommunicado for 5 days]

In the vernacular: Mugabe SUCKS. There’s no doubt about that. My government (USA) and my church (TEC) is clear about that. I’m not (to my knowledge) patronizing Zimbabwe, to prop up the Mugabe regime. What am I doing wrong, John, in your eyes?

MarkBrunson
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I would add to Peter Edwards’ comments by saying:

Just how presumptuous can you get? You actually know from what’s commented on here what people are *doing* about it? There is a sort of racism that says “their” suffering is worse than the suffering or difficulties of those who are like us. There is a type of self-centered superiority which poses as champion for the downtrodden, loudly declaiming from the barricades the “insensitivity” of others. Emotions are the easiest way to manipulate people to your own ends.

JPM
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JPM

Mr. Bowles, I was just thinking along similar lines, that it is sad to see how the leaders of the African churches, and the rest of the so-called “Orthodox,” care far less about what is happening in Zimbabwe than in Gene Robinson’s bedroom.

It’s a pity that Kunonga isn’t gay.

David Shepherd
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This is another persecuted minority, but look at the disparity in comment volume for other categories.

In fact, it would be interesting to see the stats on Thinking Anglicans comment volume by topic, keyword, or category. What’s worth a response to Thinking Anglicans commenters? What falls off the radar?

Before the results, let me make a wild stab in the dark here…

JCF
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JCF

But persecuted by WHOM, DavidS? Isn’t it logical, that I would express *more* outrage by those who persecute in the Name of *my* Lord, w/ the blessing (or at least negligence) of those who represent *my* Church (the Anglican Communion)?

Rosemary Hannah
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Rosemary Hannah

The thing is – I have no personal knowledge of the situation and nothing to add on it. It is a terrible thing – I know enough to know that. Also to know Mugabe is the worst kind of tyrant, and is opposed by very brave men and women including Anglicans. But I have no personal knowledge, it does not touch me or mine, and is not in any of my areas of academic expertise. All I can do is to sorrow and to pray. But to write on the situation would be from me, mere chatter.

David Shepherd
Guest

Just citing the glaring disparity in comment volume, JCF.

You might feel more incensed, but not to the exclusion of similar comments of solidarity with your brother Julius, who languishes in chains. Perhaps, as with the widow’s mite, this is as much as any of us can do apart from raising awareness elsewhere.

Where are those stats, anyway?

JPM
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JPM

Mr. Shepherd, when will the leaders of the African church call for an emergency primates meeting to deal with this situation, as they did when Gene Robinson was consecrated? When will they set up a parallel communion and issue apocalyptic-sounding communiqués and all the rest?

It seems that when it comes to events in Africa, where they might have some influence, the leaders of that continent’s churches can only look the other way, toward North America.

David Shepherd
Guest

Hi JPM, A layman’s view. It was probably because their priority was/is to express disgruntlement over their lack of sway in the House of Bishops. In think that the politely expressed sentiment might have been, ‘See what the white man can get away with. Well, if it had been one of us…’ What should be the priorities for an African summit: 1. Prevention of AIDS/HIV transmission. A realistic policy of prioritising congregational instruction on the importance of ‘safe sex’. 2. Nutrition. A practical policy that goes beyond advocacy in seeking to alleviate the effects of drought and famine by encouraging… Read more »

JPM
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JPM

I would agree with you on those priorities, Mr. Shepherd. You and I are only little people, though. No one listens to us.

Sadly, the same is true of those in Zimbabwe whose suffering is ignored by those who would rather fight culture wars.