There is a myth that Apostolic sects loathe worshipping in buildings and because of this preference for the outdoors, they are primitive.

Some think they cannot afford the ornate structures that other religious groups erect as monuments either to their faith or to their wealth.

But not all Apostolic sects worship outdoors.

An imposing building in the Chitope area of Hwedza some 140km from Harare has been built by members of the Mugodhi Apostolic Church.

The building is the headquarters of the Bishop Tadeu Mugodhi-led sect.

“When we built the church there was no donor who helped us. Everything is being done by members with the objective of following the principles of our Government which include to preserve our health by ensuring our worshipping environment has proper sanitation facilities,” Evangelist Emmanuel Muzhangiri, who is the sect’s chief co-ordinator, said.

According to Evangelist Muzhangiri, the contract for the building which has a capacity of approximately 15 000 seats, was awarded to one of their members.

Builders, tilers and painters were drawn from the congregation.

“Our church believes in building structures of worship as our bishop does not encourage worshipping under a tree. In Harare only we have built seven structures for members of Mugodhi Apostolic church.

“We have bought about nine stands from the city council while in Bulawayo we possess two buildings in Nketa, seven in Entumbane then some are stands in Cowdray where construction is yet to take off.

“For our headquarters we were being assisted by members of the sect while we obtained building materials from some who have their hardware shops. So we managed to pay in instalments as a church for such materials like cement until we settled every debt.

“Everything being done is through the contribution of the church members, nothing from the outsiders,” Mr Muzhangiri said.

Also contributing are musical groups that sell their CDs to contribute to church projects.

Evangelist Muzhangiri said some sects that preferred open air worship were following in the footsteps of the Israelites who built no churches during their trek from Egypt to Canaan.

“True belief encourages us to construct buildings of worship,” said Evangelist Muzhangiri, who is also the national co-ordinator of the Association of the Apostolic Churches of Zimbabwe.

Mugodhi Apostolic Church was founded by Bishop Elijah Mugodhi. The current leader, Bishop Tadeu is the son of the founder, and the fifth to have taken the reins since his father’s death.

Bishop Tadeu has motivated the congregation to own land and build churches.