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    Saturday, 9 September 2017

    RCZ fires entire 400-member Zvishavane congregation

    •  Women barred from attending Morgenster Ladies' Conference

    ALLIEWAY NYONI

    ZVISHAVANE - The Reformed Church in Zimbabwe (RCZ), one of the biggest Christian churches in the country sank deeper into mayhem last week after its national leadership fired the entire Zvishavane congregation which has more than 400 members.
    As a result of the action, women from Zvishavane have since received another letter barring them from attending a National Ladies Conference that will be held at Morgenster Mission beginning this Friday (September 1, 2017).
    The dismissal of the congregation was effected through a letter of August 22, 2017 written to the Parish by RCZ secretary general, Juro. The letter announced the immediate suspension of the entire congregation and the dismissal of a group of members who demonstrated against the church leadership last month.
    The letter however, gave leeway to those who did not participate in demonstrations or sign petitions against the national leadership to apply for readmission. It said that those who apply for readmission must not be seen mingling with the fired members.
    Efforts to get Juro's comment were fruitless.
    A representative of suspended members who declined to be named however, dismissed the suspensions as a nullity as the case is now at the High Court.
    He said an urgent High Court application was also going to be filed against the move.
    "The national leadership cannot take such a stance because this case is pending at the High Court. We are also going to file an urgent high court chamber application against the move," said the representative.
    A spokesperson for the Zvishavane women vowed that they were attending the conference. They said that they had hired a bus and paid for all other costs for the trip and therefore the national leadership cannot stop them from attending.
    "All logistics have been put in place including buying groceries, hiring a bus so who is going to reimburse us. They (leadership) are now treating church activities like a political field. We are going to attend and it is our democratic right," said one of the Zvishavane ladies fellowship members.
    The suspensions appear to have been triggered by a visit last month where the moderator Dr Ranganai Rutoro and his executive were barred from addressing Zvishavane congregates during a Sunday service that was under police surveillance.
    Zvishavane Parish and the national leadership have been at loggerheads following the suspension of their pastor Innocent Munenerwa soon after his appointment to a bigger parish at Pamushana.
    The congregation failed that there were those in the national leadership who were jealous of his rise and were therefore determined to stop him. Munenerwa was appointed to Pamushana by invitation by the Pamushana delegation.
    The Zvishavane congregation then wrote several petitions to the leadership to protest the suspension and these were later followed by demonstrations.
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