Letter to Priests, Churchwardens and, above all, to all members of the laity (the collective body of Christians) – 29 Jan 08

Dear all,

There have been intrusions into Church Services by a small group of Kunonga men, some of whom were at one time recognised as priests in the Anglican Church. Their aim has been to disrupt services being held
in the Diocese of Harare in the Church of the Province of Central Africa (CPCA). Their behaviour is despicable.

The Police, on instructions apparently originating from Kunonga or someone close to him, have taken to interfering in Church services as well which is totally unlawful.

The intention is to preclude services of the Diocese of Harare being held as those attending have chosen to remain Anglicans and not follow Kunonga away from Anglicanism and towards some organisation which he
wishes to set up in which he and a few others can give each other misleading titles and give Kunonga absolute power over that organisation. Whatever its objectives may be, the prime aim appears to be to create a forum for self-aggrandisement and self-preening. Any group of people can form an organisation but no one can just describe it as an Anglican Church. It is not, and its members cannot be described as members or priests of the Anglican Church.

Turning specifically to the Churches in the Diocese of Harare (CPCA), it is important to recognise that a church is a collective body of Christians and, without a congregation, a priest cannot carry out his calling. The Church is a church of the people, for the people, administered by the people. So the laity has a considerable influence in the affairs of the Church.

The laity must play an important, indeed a vital, role in each Church. Everyone is urged and encouraged to turn up in larger and larger numbers to swell the size of each congregation where the incumbent has given his written support to the Anglican Diocese of Harare (CPCA) and Bishop Bakare. Such incumbent is a licenced priest and entitled to fulfil all the duties of an Anglican priest (a legitimate priest).

Where more than one priest appears at a service, one of whom is a supporter of Kunonga and therefore not licenced and not a member of the Anglican Communion (illegitimate “priest”), the congregation should en masse follow the legitimate priest, the one who is loyal to the CPCA and Bishop Bakare.

Where there is no legitimate priest present but only a representative of the Kunonga group, the congregation is urged to request that illegitimate “priest” to leave the building and someone else should
conduct a service without the Holy Sacrament (communion) being given. If the illegitimate “priest” refuses to budge, then the congregation should remove itself en masse from his presence in an orderly and
peaceful manner and hold the service in another building, preferably on the church premises, or in the open in a suitable place, again preferably on the premises.

Where there is no priest available, the service should still go on, led by churchwardens or members of the Parish Council.

Each member of every congregation is requested not a receive holy communion or accept as valid, marriage services, confirmations, baptisms or funeral services given by illegitimate “priests”. Anyone participating in any of these services or receiving holy communion must realise that he/she is participating in a charade in which a mockery of the service is being carried out by an illegitimate, unlicenced priest, contrary to the Canons and other Laws of the Anglican Church.

At all times, we are to let our aim be peace and the strengthening of one another’s faith (Romans 14:19) and remember that the law of the church (the Canons and other ecclesiastical law) is something holy (Romans 7:12) and therefore to be respected and upheld.

In ecclesiastical law, the Churches in the Diocese of Harare are Churches of the Province of Central Africa). This is the definition in the Acts (the laws) of the Diocese. By withdrawing from the Church of the Province of Central Africa, Kunonga deserted from our Diocese and our Churches. The Diocese and Churches remain intact within the CPCA and so do the Acts of the Diocese.

Dr Kunonga and those who support him have placed themselves outside the Diocese and have, by their actions, forfeited all their rights and interest in the Churches and the Diocese.

 
R. A. STUMBLES
Chancellor of Diocese of Harare
Deputy Chancellor of CPCA

 

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