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Anglican Church Congregations In Zimbabwe Roiled By Doctrine And Politics

Anglican parishioners in Marlborough, Harare, had to abandon their Christmas church service on Tuesday when a row erupted between supporters of the former bishop of Harare diocese, Nolbert Kunonga. and its interim head, Bishop Sebastian Bakare.

Eyewitnesses said a priest suspected of being an agent of the government's Central Intelligence Organization beat up a parishioner who was praying for the well-being of Bishop Bakare, and the service was abandoned after police were called in.

Some congregation members said they have resolved to stop collecting offerings.

The Borrowdale, Harare, Anglican church was also said to have been in an uproar on Sunday when the head of the parish barred Bishop Bakare from leading mass, resulting in intervention by the police..

Kunonga, considered close to the ruling ZANU-PF party, is under pressure to give up possession of Harare diocese assets following his withdrawal of the diocese from the Province of Central Africa over the question of the ordination of homosexual priests and homosexuality in general which has rocked Anglicanism worldwide.

Anglican Church member John Masuku told reporter Carole Gombakomba of VOA's Studio 7 for Zimbabwe that parishioners of Saint Peter’s Church in Mabelreign walked out of church Tuesday as the Kunonga controversy flared in that congregation.

More reports from VOA's Studio 7 for Zimbabwe...