1/19/2008

Madness in Harare

The deposed bishop of Harare, Bishop Kunonga, was the subject of a post by Preludium on January 15th, in which I said, "The real problem is not that Bishop Kunonga is not a nice man, or even a decent one, but that he is deranged. He has made assumptions about his own power that are way out of line with the realities of life in Christian community."

At the time I wrote that I had not had the benefit of Ruth Gledhill's essay in the Times and her blog essay, both written the same day. In her blog essay she also pointed us all to a wonderful YouTube video of Silent Night, which, as she suggested brought tears and also the sad reality of silence regarding AIDS orphans in Zimbabwe and elsewhere in Africa. You can see that video HERE.

The derangement of Bishop Kunonga is even more evident in a report from AllAfrica.com.
AllAfrica.com writes,

"
As more information filters through on the dramatic clashes within the Anglican Church last weekend, it turns out that ousted Bishop Nolbert Kunonga personally resorted to violence, in order to disrupt one of many services in the capital. According to a report by the Zimbabwe Independent a service in Greendale was interrupted when Kunonga, his wife and a number of bodyguards entered the church before the 8am start time. The paper quoted a parishioner saying, 'as our front servers prepared for mass and as we waited for Bishop Bakare and our rector to emerge from the vestry, Kunonga unashamedly, and in full view of the congregation, walked to the altar, grabbed the wine, cups and wafers, threw them on the ground, grabbed a chair, placed it right in front of the altar and sat cross-legged, defiantly gazing at the stunned congregation."

The now retired Archbishop of Central Africa, Archbishop Bernard Malango, backed Bishop Kunonga when he was charged in church court with inciting militants to kill Kunonga's critics.

Kunonga wove a fabric of charges - that his enemies were advancing the homosexual agenda, that his diocese along with several others were withdrawing from the Province of Central Africa in order to retain orthodox values and keep the Province from critical intervention in the affairs of an autonomous church in Zimbabwe supporting the government of Zimbabwe, and finding enemies in his own court who he then threw out, charging them with being disloyal to him.

The Archbishop of Canterbury refused to invite Bishop Kunonga to Lambeth mostly because at the time it was apparent that Bishop Kunonga was in increasingly bad standing in the Province and had too close a relationship with the government of Zimbabwe and its President. Now the Archbishop has easier reasons: (i) Kunonga is no longer bishop of Harare, by decision of the Province which has placed Bishop Sabastian Bikare in his stead. (ii) Bishop Kunonga is increasingly unstable and his behavior has reached the point where he is mentally unbalanced.

There are indeed reasons not to invite particular bishops to Lambeth, and actually the Archbishop of Canterbury doesn't have to have any. It's his party. Still, if one needs reasons it would appear that being deposed in one's own province or being mad will do.






2 comments:

  1. All sides need to pray!!!

    The US has very little leverage with Zimbabwe. The EU is not much better. South Africa could use it's influence but Mugabe is seen somewhat as a hero in the rest of Africa because driving the European decent farmers off the land in land distribution. So symbolically it works well, but it food production plummeted (yet Zambia began to export food for the first time as the displaced farmers implemented modern approaches) unemployment skyrocketed, instead of dealing with the issue next door, Botswana built a fence to keep the Zimbabweans out.


    North Korea, Burma & Zimbabwe are three states the West has almost no influence and those who could exert pressure are turning a blind eye. Prayer is the best (and some what only) resource we have on all three.

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  2. Nolbert Kunonga has ignored Church laws from the day he became bishop. He has persecuted priests and dismissed well trained priests to replace them with untrained persons. He has always treated the church as his own personal posssession. I hope that the Anglican communion will rally around the long suffering Zimbabwean Anglicans and assist them with resources for the better training of thier priests. I am grateful to Mr Stumbles for informing the parishioners in Harare about how Kunonga continued to violate church laws and rules. Pray for Bishop Bakare as he oversees the responsibility of bringing sanity to the Anglican Church in Harare. It is a risk task.

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