The Anglican Church of the Province of Zimbabwe — led by Bishop Nolbert Kunonga — has split with it’s one faction — led by Dr David Kunyongana — announcing that they had formed another church called the Anglican Reformed Church of Zimbabwe.
Kunyongana, who had been a priest at Dzivarasekwa, a western suburb of Harare, was appointed Vicar General, pending the election of a bishop for the new church.
Kunyongana once served as Vicar General in the ACPZ until he was removed in 2010. The new church is apparently drawing its support from parishioners who used to belong to the ACPZ and are resident in Dzivarasekwa.
Kunyongana broke away together with a handful of priests including Pastor Simeon Makove, who was recently reported to be resisting eviction in Rugare parish by Bishop Chad Gandiya‘s Church of Province of Central Africa.
This followed a Supreme Court ruling that conferred rights of property to the Bishop Gandiya’s faction.
The Anglican Reformed Church of Zimbabwe has already come up with a new uniform for both women and men.
The church is currently using a residential property in Dzivarasekwa as a place to worship.
Kunyongana recently said his Anglican Reformed Church of Zimbabwe would make far-reaching changes to the canons. One of them includes putting a limit to the tenure of a bishop. “The Anglican Reformed Church of Zimbabwe is a new church, an indigenous church that is community-oriented. The reformation of the church shall be based on the following values — embracing Catholicism fully, Pentecostal and charismatic beliefs, prophesy and visions,” said Kunyongana.
“We believe that the term of office of a bishop should be limited to five years. And if re-elected for another term of five years, there shall be no term extension. Ten years in our acts and canon is enough to sit on the bishop’s chair,” he said.
The Anglican Church of the Province of Zimbabwe spokesperson, Reverend Admire Chisango, said they were neither moved nor surprised by the development. “We are, however, baffled by the fact that they are embracing charismatic and Pentecostal beliefs. Once you do that you cease to be an Anglican.”
Kunyongana condemned the use of the courts in resolving disputes. “The Anglican Reformed Church believes that matters, disputes and problems should not be taken to secular courts. We will deal with our problems in love, harmony, forgiveness and unity,” he said.
A source in the new church said there was confusion and uncertainty among parishioners by the long silence of Bishop Kunonga after the Supreme Court ruling.
“When the commander is silent when you are in a battle, that creates confusion as troops would not know whether he has been shot dead or whether he has surrendered. That is what happened in this case,” said the source. “Another problem is that the church was now spending its energy in the court instead of worshipping.”