Church of the Province of Central Africa
The Diocese of Harare
From the Bishop of Harare
P O Box HR 7331
Pastoral Letter from the Bishop
Dear Sisters and Brothers in Christ
The festive season of Christmas has come and gone, and we are looking towards yet another important part of the Christian calendar, the time of Epiphany, a time in which God reveals Himself to all humanity.
But this Christmas cannot go without a few remarks which have made it very special for many Christians, especially in Harare. Like Mary and Joseph who were refused a place in the inn in Bethlehem, I and my wife together with fellow Christians at Christchurch Borrowdale found ourselves unwanted in the church – named after Christ for that matter! What an irony it was. However, having been denied the opportunity to celebrate Christmas at Christchurch Borrowdale – like many of you who had similar experiences in their own churches – the congregation at Christchurch was generously offered a place “in the manger” in the form of Heritage School hall. The experience in that hall gave us the touch of the Christ child in the manger, and most of all will never forget this extraordinary Christmas. In fact the spirit in that congregation was even more joyous than it would have been otherwise. I am sure that many of you have your own manger stories to tell.
It is sad that Christ who is the Prince of Peace has totally been misunderstood. Instead of extending a hand of peace people who call themselves priests were going around leaving their own congregations unattended in order to promote violence which makes the basic purpose of Christ’s mission a scandal. We have become a laughing stock for fellow Christians from other churches and the public in general. Even some police officers displayed better understanding of the church’s role than some of those priests.
We are reminded of the words of St. Paul in his 2nd epistle to the Corinthians, chapter 4, verses 7-10. His words give us a lot of encouragement: “But we have this treasure in jars of clay to show that this all-surpassing power is from God and not from us. We are hard pressed on every side, but not crushed; perplexed, but not in despair; persecuted, but not abandoned; struck down, but not destroyed. We always carry around in our body the death of Jesus, so that the life of Jesus may also be revealed in our body.”
We are very humbled by the level of commitment of those members of our congregations who have stood up for their faith and church. This is what it can take to be a faithful disciple of Christ. We do commend to your prayers the members of St Andrew’s Glen View and St Philip’s Mabvuku, who were physically beaten up by those evil-minded people, and many others who were verbally harassed. We also ask you to continue to pray for Mr Philip Mutasa who is recovering from his accident on the way home from a church meeting in Highfield.
During this season of Epiphany may we be ever ready to open our eyes and our ears to see and hear what God wants us to do in His church. May we also be ready to bring every precious gift he has given us, like the wise men did, to build His Kingdom among us. “Then they opened their treasures and presented him with gifts of gold and of incense and of myrrh.”
We wish you all a blessed and indeed peaceful new year.
+ Sebastian Harare – CPCA
PS: We regret to announce the passing on of Canon Oliver Mutume on 26th December 2007. We buried him at St Mary’s Chitungwiza. We thank God for the contribution he made to the church of God and we express our heartfelt sympathy to his family. May his soul rest in peace.