Anglican Bishop of Harare Chad Gandiya has said that forgiveness still remains the biggest challenge for Christians in his diocese after years of “living in exile.”
“People are very happy to have returned to their churches but they are still hurting. The church needs to find new ways of teaching on healing and forgiveness,” he said.
The bishop was referring to the pain suffered after breakaway Bishop Nolbert Kunonga and his supporters grabbed church properties, schools and orphanages, leaving loyal Anglicans without any place to worship.
“All our properties are now back in our hands,” the bishop said. “We know that Dr. Kunonga tried to go back to court but I don’t think it will go anywhere.”
Gandiya is grateful to God for having delivered the properties back to the diocese. He said, “God is faithful and this is something we have experienced during the different moments in our diocese. We can testify to his goodness and faithfulness.”
The bishop said that the time spent “in exile” made it difficult for the church to pursue many church programs because they had to use rented properties. “Now we can pursue other aspects of ministry with a lot of joy and appreciation,” he said.
Anglicans in Zimbabwe still have the challenge of rebuilding and renovating the various properties that had been through many years of neglect.
Bishop Chad Gandiya said, “We are commissioning a forensic audit to ascertain and establish the extent of damage and misuse. One parish has already spent over USD30,000 for renovation works and they are not yet done.”
Despite the joy at having returned to the buildings, an Anglican youth leader from the Diocese of Harare, Tafadzwa Chimbete, feels it is taking too long for people to adapt to the new reality. He believes there are still many more “pressing issues” that the church needs to deal with.
“We need to find a way of getting the youths excited about the Church of God,” he said. “With the negative influences coming in from the Internet and the media, young people need to access their spiritual standing. We need to continue fighting because the (warfare) does not end here.”