Church in Zimbabwe is safe, but calls for prayers for peace (17.11.17)
Anglican leaders in Zimbabwe have reported that the church and country are safe following the military takeover on Tuesday night.
The Rt Revd Chad Gandiya (pictured), bishop of Zimbabwe’s Harare Diocese, described the ousting of President Mugabe by the army as ‘one of the most peaceful takeovers anywhere in the world’ and added that ‘people are going about their daily work and chores as if nothing had happened’.
However, Bishop Chad also urged Christians everywhere to pray for Zimbabwe ‘during these uncertain times’.
The Most Revd Albert Chama, Archbishop of Central Africa, also called for prayer, commenting that ‘this sad situation needs more than a political solution’.
USPG is a long-standing partner of the Anglican Church in Zimbabwe, with a relationship that dates back to 1891.
Bishop Chad is a former USPG Regional Desk Officer for Africa.
As we went to press, South Africa’s News24.com had reported that a senior official of the African Union will allow Zimbabwe’s southern neighbors in the SADC (Southern African Development Community) regional bloc to mediate in the political crisis.
SADC is an inter-governmental organisation whose goal is to promote economic growth and socio-economic development through efficient systems, co-operation, good governance and durable peace and security among 15 southern African member states.
USPG has prepared the following prayer:
God of peace,
we add our prayers to those of the church in Zimbabwe.
Into their political upheaval, we ask that peace, love and unity will prevail.
Give wisdom to those in authority.
Guard the people of Zimbabwe from harm.
Let justice and compassion prevail.
And bless your church as is offers care and preaches hope, tolerance and forgiveness.
In Jesus’ name, we pray.
Here are the statements in full from Bishop Chad and Archbishop Chama.
Full statement from the Rt Revd Dr Chad N Gandiya, Bishop of the Anglican Diocese of Harare (16.11.17):
Beloved in Christ, Warm and cordial greetings from your brothers and sisters in the Anglican Diocese of Harare, Zimbabwe.
Political developments of Tuesday night in Zimbabwe have necessitated the writing of this letter to all our friends so that you are informed and know what to pray for as you think and pray for us.
We woke up on Wednesday morning to constant announcement on Zimbabwe TV by one of the army generals that the army had been forced into action to remove ‘criminals’ around the president and that the president and his family were safe, and that their security was guaranteed. He went on to say that they were targeting criminals around the president whose actions were causing social and economic suffering in the country. He also said that the situation would return to normalcy as soon as they had accomplished their mission. Obviously, this was a big shock to most Zimbabweans even though most people believed something was bound to happen sooner rather than later.
The army was in control of the airwaves in the country and had stationed tanks strategically around the city. They asked the nation to remain calm, limit their travels to when it was necessary, such as when going to work. It is true that in last few months we have seen purges in the ruling party, shortages of cash in the banks, and unprecedented [price] increases in basic food commodities among other things.
The situation in the country remains calm but tense and people are going about their daily work and chores as if nothing had happened. We had a clergy workshop in Harare without any disturbances. The diocesan office is open and functioning well. However, we have decided to cancel a big diocesan annual Thanksgiving service that we hold every year to mark our return from exile because we don’t want to take any chances, especially as we would be expecting thousands of our members to travel various distances to attend the important service.
The events in the country are still unfolding. We thank God that so far there is no violence on the streets, the atmosphere remains calm and everything has been done peacefully. I think that this is one of the most peaceful takeovers anywhere in the world!
We are therefore calling on you our friends to join us in praying for Zimbabwe and her people during these uncertain times. Please pray for the following:
- Peaceful resolution of the current situation.
- As the Army has appealed to the Church, pray for peace, love, unity and development.
- Safety of all people in Zimbabwe.
- That those arrested be treated humanely and that justice is seen to be done.
- That the church continues to offer pastoral care and preach a message of hope, tolerance, forgiveness and nation building as well as giving wise guidance to all people.
- That respect for human rights is valued.
The prayer for Africa is very apt in our situation and so pray:
God bless Zimbabwe.
Guide her leaders.
Guard her people.
And give her peace. Amen!
Full statement from the Most Revd Albert Chama, Archbishop and Primate of the Church of the Province of Central Africa (15.11.17):
As Primate of the Province of Central Africa and chair of Council of Anglican Provinces in Africa, I write to express our concerns as a Church over the recent political situation in Zimbabwe. We have received messages and calls from the Primates of the Anglican Church worldwide and also from Lambeth Palace assuring us of their prayers .
We are also aware of initiatives by SADC the political blog in the region. However, this sad situation needs more than a political solution. It needs all people of faith to pray, all citizens to engage and ensure a peaceful transition in Zimbabwe.
This call is based on our vision of Christ the prince of peace and the incarnate God who in dwelling with us affirmed the dignity of each one of us and our environment. We want to assure all our parishioners and all Zimbabweans of our prayers and support and hope for calm and stability at this time.