Thursday, 30 October 2008

Zimbabwe - Kairos and prophetic action

Methodist Bishop Levee Kadenge, the convenor of the Zimbabwe Christian Alliance, was in Geneva this week. The mission of the Christian alliance is is to work to resolve the crisis in Zimbabwe by bringing about social transformation through prophetic action. Ecumenical News International has an article about the bishop, who has been detained five times by security officials. In the article, Bishop Kadenge was asked why he thought so many church leaders had remained silent while Zimbabweans had suffered. "I think it is a question of fear ... If that means they are silent and they choose to be, that is their choice," Kadenge said. "But they can go for it. Truth bearers are not often welcome. The scriptures say so."

In 1988, Bishop Kadenge chaired Ecumenical Support Services, the group that drew up the Zimbabwe Kairos Document in advance of the World Council of Churches assembly in Harare. That document contained trenchant criticism of the record of President Mugabe's ruling ZANU (PF) party, and was also critical of some of Zimbabwe's churches, stating that while some churches "have constantly challenged injustice, both before and after independence, many have failed to educate their members about abuses of power by authorities". Ten years after the Kairos document, Zimbabwe remains gripped by a political and economic crisis. Launched in February 2006, the Zimbabwe Christian Alliance is an association of like-minded Christian leaders in Zimbabwe who feel called by God to be instrumental in resolving the Zimbabwean crisis through non-violence. The bishop was asked during his visit in Geneva if he also was not afraid to speak out. "Yes I fear. God yes, I fear, I am a human being. I'm afraid. That does not stop me doing what I have to do," he said. "That is the difference ... But I'm convinced there is a bigger force beyond me that takes care of those things."

Photo (c) Peter Kenny/ENI

Meanwhile the Evangelical Church in Germany (EKD) and the Association of Protestant missions (EMW) have issued a prayer for Zimbabwe, so far only in German.