Up close with Bishop Mutamiri. . . Anglican turns new leaf

The Sunday Mail

Tanyaradzwa Rusike

BISHOP Farai Mutamiri was early this month consecrated as the new Bishop of the Anglican Church’s diocese of Harare, Church of the Province of Central Africa.

The 51-year-old took over from Bishop Chad Gandiya who retired last year after steering the Anglican ship ashore through stormy waters that included factional fights within the church.

Coming from St John Parish in Canada where he had been based since August 2017, Bishop Mutamiri has set sights on making sure the Anglican Church continues to be a blessing to the community and wins more souls.

In an interview Bishop Mutamiri said his job was to create a conducive atmosphere for worship.

One of the forgetful experiences for the Anglican Church was the leadership wrangles and court battles that rocked the church for more than a decade as retired Bishop, Nolbert Kunonga broke ranks with other church leaders.

Bishop Kunonga had opposed homosexuality and supported Government’s black empowerment agenda.

The feud degenerated into an all-out tussle for control as rival congregants were barred from church properties, resulting in court battles and skirmishes that ended in a split in 2007.

Bishop Kunonga eventually lost the battle, paving way for Bishop Bakare’s episcopacy who was later succeeded by Bishop Gandiya in May 2009.

Bishop Mutamiri believes he has a lot to learn from his predecessor.

“I learnt a lot from the outgoing bishop, which I think will be of great use in my ministry. Chief among them is being yourself and a down-to-earth person. I respect him (Bishop Gandiya) very much and all the bishops that had saved the diocese.

“I need to spend more time with him so that I get to understand his vision and what he intended for the diocese of Harare. I don’t intend to reverse the gains obtained so far in the propagation of the Christian gospel,” Bishop Mutamiri said.

Born on October 8, 1968 in Glen Norah, Bishop Mutamiri attended Shiriyedenga Primary School and later Glen Norah High for his secondary education.

Raised in a family of devoted Christians, Bishop Mutamiri started ministry as a server before becoming a council member from where he proceeded to be parish secretary within the Glen Norah assembly.

His calling to be a priest came through a note which had been authored by Father Lawrence Mbuvayesango and carried the words, “I believe that God is calling you please apply to the sacress”.

“I was called for what we call selection conference but I did not pitch up because I was praying earnestly during that week for God to show me a sign that he was calling me. During the course of 1995, I received yet another invitation to attend the selection conference.

“I had not applied this time yet I received the invitation to attend the conference and I said wow this is the sign, I have not applied and they still have my records. So it means God is calling me to his ministry and I have to go,” Bishop Mutamiri said.

From then he had the conviction that God had called him to serve his ministry. In 1998, Bishop Mutamiri was appointed a deacon and was posted to St Mary’s parish in Chitungwiza where he worked with the late Reverend Canaan Vasco Musuwacho.

He was to be ordained into the office of priesthood in 1999.

Nine years later, he was appointed deacon serving at the Anglican Cathedral for ten years.