Crisis rocks AFM Manchester church as board resigns over money issues

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By Lance Guma

MANCHESTER – All is not well in the Apostolic Faith Mission (AFM) church in Manchester after five members of its board were forced to resign in protest at the way church affairs are being run by Pastor Charles Ranganai Chipere. It’s the second time an entire board has been forced to resign since 2010.

Pastor Charles Ranganai Chipere
Pastor Charles Ranganai Chipere

A source in the church told Nehanda Radio that Pastor Chipere “is more interested in money than God. He has been in Manchester for nearly three years now and since he arrived at AFM he managed to boot the church board that brought him here from Zimbabwe.”

The source said Pastor Chipere “put a new board simply because the old one refused to conform to his corrupt ways. He put a new board that he dismissed a few weeks ago because they also found out his true nature. Please help us expose this man who is hiding under the name of God,” the source pleaded.

Most churches in the UK are registered under the Charities Commission and one of the requirements under the legislation is that organisations must have a yearly independent examination of their accounts. Annual general meetings should also be held at which these financial statements are presented.

Nehanda Radio understands this has not happened since 2010 when Pastor Chipere took over.

“His last general meeting with the church was 3 years ago in 2010 and was only done to force the board at the time to resign. Up to now there have been no general meetings and congregants are being denied the chance to express their views and opinions about how the church is run,” another parishioner told us.

Other parishioners are alleging that Pastor Chipere is abusing his position as the Vice President of the AFM Church in the UK to block any letters of complaints against his administration that are being written and sent to the regional executive. “He has made himself judge, jury and executioner,” a source alleged.

Nehanda Radio contacted Pastor Chipere for comment and he told us “I cannot make any comment. I don’t think I need to respond to you. I only respond to the authorities. I have people who are above me and they can comment.”

Pressed further on why he has not held annual meetings to present financial reports Pastor Chipere said their financial accounts are audited every year and they even hire auditors to do that. Asked which firm handled their audits he told Nehanda Radio, “I can’t tell you off hand, but we do have auditors.”

Asked why parishioners claimed this was not the case Pastor Chipere said “again I cannot comment because I have not been tried over those allegations. I have supervisors and I am not allowed to make a public comment. Those that are making these allegations are just trying to tarnish my name,” he said.

We persisted and asked who could make a comment on the issue. Pastor Chipere referred us to AFM UK General Secretary Pastor Josh Chigorimbo. Nehanda Radio tried to get comment from Chigorimbo but for over four days he has not been answering his phone, despite it ringing continuously.

It is also being alleged that more than 90 percent of the congregants have stopped coming to church in protest at the unfair dismissal of the board without any explanation to the church members.

“Even though Chipere claims we have auditors, nothing has been presented to us the congregants. We also understand that there is no transparency in the use of church funds, with several payments being made without authorisation. Many of us are reluctant to speak out fearing vicitmisation.

“The previous church administrator prepared accounts in 2010 but the pastor did not authorise them and they were not presented in church. We have two previous administrators who were forced into leaving by circumstances. Our current administrator is the third one in three years,” our source said.

A prominent prophet told Nehanda Radio that the problems in the AFM Manchester branch were deep-rooted because there was factional fighting rocking the church even before Pastor Chipere came from Zimbabwe. “That’s why currently you have two AFM churches in Manchester,” he said.

To contact this journalist e-mail [email protected]