A scuffle over the sacking of a pastor nearly degenerated into a fistfight at the Heartfelt International Ministry Pentecostal church premises on Sunday when angry parishioners fiercely resisted efforts by the church leadership to sack the pastor.
Scores of congregants blockaded the entrance at the Heartfelt International Ministry church in Majange suburb where a delegation from the church’s headquarters in Harare allegedly tried to fire Pastor Dickson Nhumwa from the church.
The church is led by evangelist Apostle Tavonga Utahwashe and its leadership had sent a delegation led by senior pastor Mr Steven Mapuranga to relieve Pastor Nhumwa of his duties for as yet unknown reasons.
Senior Pastor Mapuranga refused to comment, insisting his church’s protocol did not allow him to speak to the Press.
Trouble brewed as angry parishioners sealed the entrance at the church siding with Pastor Nhumwa and accused the Heartfelt International church leadership of pursuing a sinister agenda.
The chaos, which lasted for more than an hour, only subsided after Senior Pastor Mapuranga and his team from Harare allegedly agreed to append their signatures on an inventory which showed a list of the church’s property they were taking back to Harare.
Among the property which Senior Pastor Mapuranga allegedly took were speakers and chairs that were bought for the Masvingo parish by Heartfelt International Ministry.
Heartfelt International allegedly took their property from the Masvingo parish after Pastor Nhumwa and his followers said they had withdrawn their membership from the church en-masse to form a new church, Miracle Word International Ministry.
Pastor Nhumwa yesterday confirmed that he had left Apostle Utahwashe’s church and founded a new one.
“There was indeed chaos on Sunday at our church premises in Majange suburb where a delegation that had been sent by the Heartfelt International’s leadership was confronted by angry congregants for refusing to sign an inventory of the property they had collected since everyone said they were leaving their church for Miracle Word ministry,’’ he said.
Pastor Nhumwa said normalcy only returned after Senior Pastor Mapuranga allegedly agreed to append his signature on the inventory adding that the church’s leadership wanted to eject him for standing up to what he claimed to be an unjust system in the church.
One of the congregants in the church, Mr Clemence Maunganidze said they were unhappy with the way Heartfelt International treated their parish alleging that they were demanding money every month yet they were not concerned about footing the day-to-day expenses and rentals.
“We were pained by the way the church’s leadership at Heartfelt International treated us and our pastor.
“It seems those guys in Harare were only after money that at the end of the day most church members were no longer paying their tithes because the money was being abused.
“We have left their church and we are now at Miracle Word Ministries,’’ he said.