The spray paint says, “Mugabe is a dictator.”
From Only Connect, a pastoral letter from the persecuted Anglican Bishop of Harare, Zimbabwe:
Dear Sisters and Brothers in Christ,
We are shocked and dismayed by the continuous police interference with Sunday services and by the increased brutality causing casualties. Many of you have been assaulted and beaten, and several parishioners of St Monica’s Church, Chitungwiza, were brutally assaulted on 18 May and had to be admitted to hospital.
Our struggle to worship without harassment continues. The Supreme Court Order issued by the Hon. Chief Justice on 12th May was totally disregarded by the police, as previous orders have been. Needless to say where there is law and order such defiance would result in the arrest of those in contempt of court. Today in Zimbabwe the rule of law does not exist. That leaves us with no recourse to ensure that our members can freely and peacefully exercise their constitutional right for example, for everyone to worship without harassment. We are however not deterred by this lawlessness and will continue to seek justice through the courts.
Once again we appeal to the law enforcement agents, and especially the police, to let sanity prevail and refrain from harassing and brutalising Anglican Christians in Harare Diocese even if it may fall on deaf ears. Let it be said for the record.
As a Diocese we will look for alternative worship places to ensure that members of our congregations remain united as we struggle for freedom of worship. We will never cease to worship. We also believe, whether the police like it or not, that God will intervene, may be not today or tomorrow but in His own time. We will rejoice when this happens.
As Christians we encourage you all to take solace in reading the Bible and be guided by the power of the Holy Spirit. We are reminded of Jesus’ promise to his disciples:
“I will ask the Father, and he will give you another Counsellor to be with you forever – the Spirit of truth. The world cannot accept him, because it neither sees him nor knows him. But you know him, for he lives with you and will be in you. I will not leave you as orphans; I will come to you” (John 14:16-18).
Our lives as Christians will always have security in Christ and not in the powers of this world. May we take this inspiring message into our hearts.
In the book of Revelation chapter 13 we are reminded of the image of the beast whose agenda is to destroy the followers of Christ (Rev 13:5-10). Rest assured that the principalities and powers of this world come and go, but the God who is Alpha and Omega remains to achieve His purpose to save humanity in spite of the challenges put before us by the beast.
We encourage those of you who do not belong to a house group, to join one, as this is a way in which you can support one another in prayer and otherwise.
Bernard Mizeki celebrations will be on 13-15 June.
May God bless you all!
Lord Jesus, we talk glibly about your suffering but rarely stop to think what it involves. It was not so easy to imagine the physical, mental and spiritual suffering you had to bear on our behalf. You underwent all this in the company of your Father, although at a time you felt abandoned but not forsaken (Psalm 22).
The physical, mental and spiritual anguish we are going through in our Diocese, meted by non-God fearing police officers and their superiors is not hidden from you. We believe that we are with you here on earth as in heaven. We believe that those who believe in you are never forsaken.
Send your Holy Spirit to guide and strengthen us as we go through the challenge of being denied to meet together in your name. Your Kingdom come.
+ Sebastian Harare
Bishop of the Anglican Diocese of Harare CPCA
Background: Robert Mugabe, the revolutionary independence leader turned brutal dictator of Zimbabwe (formerly Rhodesia), is fighting to remain in power despite losing the recent presidential and parliamentary elections. His party, called ZANU-PF, runs campaign commercials on state-run television promising violence for those who don’t vote for him. One of his strongest supporters is the former Anglican bishop of the capital city, Harare, a man named Nolbert Kunonga, who has since been deposed as bishop and excommunicated. Kunonga himself has been accused of murder.
Mugabe’s platform blames Western imperialism and Gay people for his nation’s problems, which include 80% unemployment, 16,000% inflation and mass hunger. Similar tactics are employed by Peter Akinola, Anglican Archbishop of Nigeria and spiritual father to right-wing White Americans trying to destroy the Episcopal Church and steal our property.
Akinola, Kunonga and Mugabe: repent!++