Chitungwiza residents have expressed concern over the increasing number of churches that conduct their sermons in homes, disturbing their peace by making a lot of noise through singing and playing musical instruments.
Some of the churches use loud speakers in the homes, making it impossible for schoolchildren preparing for their final examinations to concentrate on their studies.
The churches are common in highly populated suburbs such as Zengeza, St Marys, Unit A, D, K, D and L — where the houses are barely two metres apart.
Tendai Chifamba of Zengeza 2 said the churches were not only disturbing their peace, but also their social life.
“This situation is very upsetting, not all the people go to the same church, at least they have to make use of open spaces to conduct their crusades where they do not disturb the freedom of other people,” said Chifamba. “I am not against worshiping the Lord, but it has to be done in the appropriate way.”
A member of the Faith Family Church of Nations, Ngonidzashe Sande concurred with Chifamba, adding that churches must be stopped from conducting sermons in houses.
“Most churches are taking advantage of the fact that residents are not complaining or are not complaining enough,” said Sande. “We want people to preach the gospel but we must do so without infringing upon other people’s rights.”
Aaron Mutobvu of Unit H has resorted to sending his child to Unit B, about 800 metres away, to enable him to study whenever there is a crusade in the neighbourhood.
His child is sitting for his O’Level examinations.
“I have to do that, otherwise he will fail the tests,” he said. “They make a lot of noise to the extent that we cannot sleep whenever there is a crusade in the neighbourhood.”
It’s now a dog eat dog scenario: Mai Chisamba
Social commentator, Rebecca Chisamba said most residents have now become too relaxed to the extent that they can do whatever they feel like doing.
“Nowadays it is so confusing, people just do what they think is good for them. Long back when one intended to have a party they had to seek police clearance first, but today it’s different,” she said. “Many people have turned their homesteads into theatres and they do not respect the rights of other people.”
Secretary of the Evangelical Fellowship of Zimbabwe, Lindani Dube condemned the practise of conducting churches services in homes.
“Actually this is a very good observation, in Zimbabwe we do have the freedom of worship, expression and association, but this should be conducted in a proper place where everyone is comfortable with,” said Dube. “I think most churches are driven by the fact that there are few people out there so this is the reason why they use their homesteads. You don’t fish where there is no fish.”
But Onisimo Sasa of Apostolic Faith Mission in Zimbabwe Shiloh Assembly said it was a way of taking the gospel to the people.
“The gospel should be preached everywhere, and the churches are just taking the model that Jesus used, like teaching in market places where there are a lot of people,” said Sasa. “If we do not go to the community, people will not be saved.”
Chitungwiza Town Council public relations manager, Zephania Mandirahwe said the local authority would attend to any complaints by residents.
“As council, we entertain and act on complaints that are raised by residents in the town. It is therefore, up to residents affected or offended by the praise levels from their neighbourhood to take up such issues with the local council administrative centre office,” said Mandirahwe. “It may be immoral to come up with hard and fast rules on worshippers. He said worshippers are generally perceived and regarded as disciplined, in their own right.