[Anglican Communion News Service] Reclaiming church properties has not been as easy as Anglicans in Zimbabwe had hoped with those trying to do so being refused entry and beaten with chains.
Writing to supporters around the Anglican Communion, Diocese of Harare Bishop Chad Gandiya said that, despite a Supreme Court order recognizing the cathedral as belonging to the diocese, excommunicated bishop, Nolbert Kunonga, “did not leave willingly.”
“Yesterday Kunonga was evicted from the diocesan offices and cathedral,” he wrote. “He refused to handover three diocesan cars in his possession. He came back later with thugs with chains who started chasing people beating some (some of the guards we had hired were beaten).
“When our people reported it to the police they were shunted from one office to the other because the police said, “they were too junior to deal with the Anglican matter.” Eventually they were served and riot police were sent who arrested some of the thugs and we are grateful for that.
“Kunonga himself threatened to shoot a journalist! The thugs were drinking the potent Mozambican beer called “Zed” in the cathedral cloisters.”
Eventually, members of the Diocese of Harare, part of the Church of the Province of Central Africa, did take possession of the diocesan offices and the cathedral.
The morning of Nov. 29, the police initially tried to prevent Gandiya and other Anglicans from holding a service in the cathedral, but they were eventually allowed in. Thanks to the use of social media, many people turned out to worship in the cathedral - the first service held there since Kunonga and his followers claimed the building for themselves.
There are still concerns about evictions that were supposed to be carried out Nov. 29 that have been halted.
“We don’t know by who and why,” Gandiya wrote. “These are sad developments when we were prepared to move on. Preparations for our Thanksgiving service on the 16th December are going on ahead as planned. It’s not over yet. Please continue to pray for us.”
The Facebook page of the Diocese of Harare has been buzzing with comments and photos about congregations returning to their churches and some of the opposition faced by returning Anglicans.