THERE was chaos yesterday at the Apostolic Faith Mission (AFM) in Zimbabwe Domboramwari Assembly when church members blocked the introduction of a new resident pastor.
A provincial church leader, identified as Pastor Hungwe, was forced to halt the introduction, as congregants shouted at him to leave the pulpit.
They waved placards written, “We want Chazika”, “Leave politics to politicians, kana vafundisi venyu vasina mabasa, ngavatsvage mabasa”.
Some people believed to have been hired to disturb the announcement confronted Pastor Hungwe and forced him to leave the pulpit.
Pastor Hungwe had preached briefly, but all hell broke loose when he announced that he had been sent to introduce a new resident pastor, as their incumbent, Pastor Pride Chazika, had been reassigned to the Stoneridge Assembly.
“We serve a God of seasons. Today I have come to announce a message from the provincial headquarters about a new pastor who will take you through this season,” said Pastor Hungwe.
Church members instantly jumped onto their feet, whipping out placards that were hidden in their bags and chanted words of protest, demanding that Pastor Chazika be retained.
“We want our pastor back; stop that autocracy. We do not want church politics here, deal with issues facing you without involving us,” a member shouted at Pastor Hungwe.
The Domboramwari Assembly chairperson called for order to give Pastor Hungwe a chance to respond to the congregants’ demands.
“Thank you for understanding. As children of God, since we are of the same faith and church, I have heard your message and I will take it as it is to the province.
“I cannot say it is good or bad, but I will present it to the provincial leadership as it is that you do not want Pastor Chazika to be removed from this assembly,” Pastor Hungwe said.
The new pastor and his wife, who were awaiting to be presented to the church, walked away and congregants continued voicing their opposition.
“It doesn’t mean that we are against you, but the church leadership failed to address the matter of Pastor Chazika.
“Pastor Chazika has been reassigned to Stoneridge, not as a routine change, but as punishment for reprimanding one of the church board members’ wife for misbehaving at a meeting in Masvingo.
“He was humiliated last Tuesday over this, and forced to pack his belongings. He cried as he was not even allowed to say goodbye to his flock. That is unacceptable, musatambe nesu muchidaro.
“Pastor Chazika has been with us for two years only and another pastor was also removed from here for preaching the true gospel and calling a spade a spade.
“If we continue to allow leadership to treat people and junior pastors in this manner, we will also be held accountable for not defending their rights and instead siding with lies,” said one senior church member.
Pastor Hungwe promised to return with the provincial leadership’s decision next Sunday.