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Anglicans set to have new leader in Zimbabwe as Bishop Gandiya steps down

by reporter263
Stepping down ... Bishop Chad Gandiya at his ordination in May 2009

HARARE – The Anglican Church is set to have a new leader in Zimbabwe after it was announced that the Bishop of the Diocese of Harare, Chad Gandiya, is retiring.

Stepping down ... Bishop Chad Gandiya at his ordination in May 2009

Stepping down … Bishop Chad Gandiya at his ordination in May 2009

Gandiya took over as bishop during a tumultuous period for the church in Southern Africa following the 2007 excommunication of Bishop Nolbert Kunonga during a row over homosexuality.

Bishop Sebastian Bakare was in caretaker charge before Gandiya’s consecration in May 2009.

John Inge, the Bishop of the Diocese of Worcester, in England, has extended an invitation to Gandiya to become his deputy.

Gandiya is credited with unifying the church after the acrimonious fallout with Kunonga, which led to a lengthy court battle over the church’s properties which the latter – who had led a breakaway – eventually lost in 2012.

In his departing message on Sunday, Gandiya said part of his legacy was encouraging clergymen under his leadership to empower themselves through education.

An acrimonious fight for the soul of the church in Zimbabwe prompted a “healing visit” from the then Archbishop of Canterbury, Rowan Williams, in October 2011.

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Gandiya’s consecration intensified the Church of the Province of Central Africa’s reassertion of its authority in the Diocese of Harare, which Kunonga attempted in 2007 to withdraw from the province, which he believed was compromising on the issue of homosexuality.

Kunonga had significant support from the government of President Robert Mugabe, and during 2008 Anglicans were beaten by police and forced to worship in other venues, prompting public expressions of support from the 2008 Lambeth Conference and Anglicans worldwide.

The Mugabe government’s hostility was commonly attributed to a perception by the ruling Zanu PF party that Anglicans were sympathetic to the opposition MDC in the run-up to the March 2009 national election.

Gandiya’s father, David, also retired, served in the Diocese of Manicaland and the earlier Diocese of Mashonaland.-Zimlive

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