Conference delegates challenged by Zimbabwe bishop

Grantham, Pa. – As Bishop Danisa Ndlovu, head of the 33,000-member Brethren in Christ Church in Zimbabwe, moved to the podium on Sunday evening of the denomination’s June 27 to 30 General Conference, delegates stood to their feet in a spontaneous show of support for their Zimbabwean brothers and sisters. Their applause was also a protest against the corrupt government of President Robert Mugabe and the sham election being foisted on the Zimbabwe people.

In a question and answer exchange with Chris Sharpe, interim executive director of BIC World Missions, Bishop Ndlovu cited prayer as the best and perhaps only strategy for nonviolent change in his country. He referred to opposition candidate Morgan Tsvangirai’s decision to pull out of the run-off election as “probably the right one” in light of escalating violence in the days leading up to the vote. 

“Zimbabwe is a sick nation. There is so much suffering in my land, which means there is much for the churches to do,” Bishop Ndlovu told the conference delegates.  He described church leaders across denominational lines working together as never before. “When we preach, we can’t ignore corruption and suffering,” he stated. “I believe there is pain in worship and children of God must not be afraid of that pain. Those that God calls must rejoice in the pain of reaching out to meet the needs of others.”

The morning following Bishop Ndlovu’s sermon, the front page of the Globe and Mail newspaper pictured a defiant Robert Mugabe, Bible clutched in his hand, being sworn in for a sixth term as president. For the people of Zimbabwe, the pain continues. For Christians in North America, the call to prayer goes on.