Press Statement: Bishop Bakare already at the helm of the Anglican Diocese of Harare (CPCA)
Bishop Sebastian Bakare has already taken office as Acting Bishop/Vicar General of the Anglican Diocese of Harare under the Church of the Province of Central Africa (CPCA, or Province).
Bishop Bakare totally refutes the contents of the front page article in the Herald on Tuesday, 20th November, 2007. He stated that it is a complete fabrication and is blatantly mischievous and misleading.
The factual position is that Dr Kunonga and a few persons close to him have broken away from the Province which covers Botswana, Malawi, Zambia and Zimbabwe.The Diocese of Harare (the Diocese) forms part of and belongs to the Province. As Dr Kunonga by choice no longer associates himself with the Province he ceased to be Bishop of the Diocese from the 16th November, 2007. A vacancy exists which the Right Reverend Albert Chama, Dean of the Province and Acting Archbishop is seeking to fill by due electoral process. In the meantime he has appointed Bishop Bakare on the 7th November to act as caretaker Bishop/Vicar General of the Diocese.
Bishop Bakare, NOT Dr Kunonga, is now recognized throughout the Province and the Anglican Communion worldwide as leader of the Diocese. Dr Kunonga and those clergy who support him are responsible for causing a schism in the Church.
To defuse the confusion being caused through misinformation by Dr Kunonga and his supporters Bishop Bakare presided over a meeting at which churchwardens and priests were present as well as the Chancellor of the Province, Mr Eric Matinenga, and the Chancellor of the Diocese, Mr Bob Stumbles, who is also Deputy Chancellor of the Province.
Bishop Bakare stated his leadership will be based upon the Scriptures and the Provincial Canons and he will follow the Proclamation of Dean Chama dated the 7th November. The Dean, as acting Archbishop had required the Proclamation to be read out in the churches to the congregations. However breaking their oaths of canonical obedience a number of clergy in the Diocese prevented the letter from seeing the light of day. Using the Dean’s Proclamation as a guide the meeting noted that:
1. Bishop Bakare is the legitimate Head of the Diocese of Harare (CPCA).
2. Dr Kunonga and all clergy supporting his campaign to destabilise the Diocese and the Province and bring into disrepute the Church as a whole are no longer recognised by the Province as licensed to exercise any ecclesiastical functions including officiating at Holy Communion, Baptisms, Confirmations, marriages and funerals.
3. All parishioners in the Diocese should assume total control of the funds and property of their parishes and retain in their possession all assessments.
4. Existing clergy are as soon as possible to declare where their affiliation lies.
5. Bishop Bakare will meet clergy individually to hear their concerns.
6. Bishop Bakare will host frequent meetings at different venues to ensure the Anglican Community is kept accurately informed about the Diocese.
7, Members of the Diocese should offer to assist Bishop Bakare in whatever way possible to enable him to discharge his mandate.