“We need your prayers,” says Bishop Chad Gandiya, diocese of Harare, Zimbabwe.
Niagara Falls, Ont.
The Anglican diocese of Harare continues to face challenges related to the high cost of litigation and the effects of the year-long political violence in Zimbabwe.
Despite the challenges, the church is growing, Bishop Chad Gandiya told delegates at the meeting of the Anglican Church of Canada’s House of Bishops and the Evangelical Lutheran Church in Canada’s Conference of Bishops.
Bishop Gandiya said he had recently confirmed 180 congregants and the church was overflowing with people.
The Harare diocese has been locked in a legal battle with excommunicated former bishop Nolbert Konunga, a supporter of Zimbabwean President Robert Mugabe.
The high court recently ruled that Bishop Konunga’s supporters and the Harare diocese must share church facilities. The costs resulting from numerous lawsuits lodged by Bishop Konunga has drained the diocese’s financial resources, said Bishop Gandiya.
He said the prayers of churches across the Anglican Communion, including the Anglican Church of Canada, have meant a lot to his people. Last Ash Wednesday, Anglicans prayed for and fasted in solidarity with the people of Zimbabwe, as their southern African country reeled from the effects of economic collapse triggered by the political crisis involving the authoritarian government of Mugabe and the opposition party.
Bishop Gandiya said his church is now trying its best to help the victims of that upheaval. They include orphans whose parents were killed because they were Anglican and were assumed to be supporters of the opposition party.
Asked in an interview what he thought Canadian Anglicans could do to support his diocese, Bishop Gandiya said. “First and foremost, we need your prayer support…” he said. “We want the Canadian church, as it has done in the past, to journey with us.”
He said that material support would also be welcome, to enable the diocese “to meet the needs of the poor.”
Bishop Gandiya is in Canada as a member of the pastoral visitors of the Anglican Communion, commissioned by the Archbishop of Canterbury to assist in healing and reconciliation within the Anglican Communion, which has been deeply divided over the issue of human sexuality.