Thursday, 17 June 2010

Glimpses of Zimbabwe

LOVEMORE HOME Lovemore Home is a good place to be – especially as the alternative is to be on the streets of Harare. The home accommodates twelve orphan boys of primary school age, supporting them in every way. Unlike most projects within the Presbytery of Zimbabwe, which are run by individual congregations, Lovemore Home is run directly by the Presbytery. It was one of many projects we visited during a nine day visit to Zimbabwe in March 2010. The boys proudly showed us round. Their rooms, with two, four and six respectively sharing, were in good order, part of the garden is given over to growing their own food and television and football are amongst the activities most enjoyed. The boys attend a local school and will normally move on to the presbytery’s boarding school when they reach secondary age. BACKGROUND The visit, undertaken by Revd. John Marsh (Moderator of General Assembly 2008-10), Mrs. Linda Mead (Commitment for Life Programme Co-ordinator), Revd. Jane Rowell (Secretary for World Church Relations), Mrs. Mary Jeremiah (Commitment for Life Advocate for the Synod of Wales) and Revd. Paul Whittle (Moderator of Eastern Synod), was designed to strengthen links between the United Reformed Church and the Presbytery of Zimbabwe within the Uniting Presbyterian Church of Southern Africa. It focussed on three aspects of that relationship – a desire by the General Assembly Moderator to focus on Zimbabwe, a strengthening of the links with Christian Aid-supported projects especially through the Commitment for Life programme, and exploring how best to develop the specific link between the Presbytery and Eastern Synod. We were given an extremely warm welcome by the Revd. Jonah Masaka (Acting Moderator of Presbytery), the Revd. Tinashe Chemvumi (Acting Clerk of Presbytery), Mrs. Norah Zidyana (Presbytery Administrator) and others – and left with just one regret, that the visit wasn’t longer. LOMAGUNDI Another visit was to Lomagundi Uniting Presbyterian Church in Chinhoyi – and what a breath-taking example of a church engaged in wide-reaching mission. The church’s last minister left over eighteen months ago, but that clearly – and rightly – has not impacted their mission. They run a school with the different forms meeting around tables in a large hall. Conditions are less than ideal, but far better than the ‘no school’ alternative. Allied to this, though reaching a broader group of young people, they run a sports ministry which aims to bring young people together through sport. The premises also house a clinic with staff being funded by the Presbytery of Denver (USA). A big focus at the clinic, as in other clinics we visited in Zimbabwe, is the care of patients who are HIV positive. The church has a vision to turn the manse into a cottage hospital – and purchase a new manse for a new minister in a new location. The manse garage is currently being used to keep chickens! And all this goes alongside a growing congregation.

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