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ZCC commemorates Mutendi’s death

By Patrick Chitumba

Thousands of the Zion Christian Church (ZCC) members led by Bishop Dr Nehemiah Mutendi converged from July 31 to August 7 at their Holy Shrine at Defe in Gokwe District to celebrate the 40th anniversary of the passing on of the church’s founder, Reverend Samuel Mutendi.

Bishop Nehemiah Mutendi takes part in a procession at the massive church on the Mbungo Estate
Bishop Nehemiah Mutendi takes part in a procession at the massive church on the Mbungo Estate

Rev Mutendi passed on July 20, 1976 at the age of 96 shortly after revealing to his followers at Sote in Gutu District that he had “fought a good fight, finished his course and kept his faith”.

Traditionally, ZCC members used to commemorate Rev Mutendi’s death on July 20 or the closest weekend to that date. However, this was moved five years ago to coincide with the Heroes Day holidays.

Although his followers have been commemorating his death every year, this year’s ceremony had a biblical significance.

The number 40, which is mentioned about 146 times in the scriptures, is symbolic of an end of an era, usually an inevitable change of fortunes after every 40 days, or 40 nights or 40 years.

The church masses in celebration as the bishop is driven by during the long procession around church premises at Mbungo farm
The church masses in celebration as the bishop is driven by during the long procession around church premises at Mbungo farm

Members of the ZCC kicked off this year with a lot of joy and hope for anticipated blessings to coincide with the 40th anniversary of the death of their church’s founder.

Bishop Mutendi has led the church since his father’s death. He declared 2016 “Gore renhaka — the Year of Inheritance”.

A former teacher, Bishop Mutendi has taken the church to greater heights, spreading the ZCC to neighbouring countries like Botswana, Lesotho, Malawi, Mozambique, Namibia, South Africa, Tanzania and Zambia. The church has also established branches in Australia, Canada, China, New Zealand, the United Kingdom and the United States of America.

Students from Mutendi Mission high school during an evening study
Students from Mutendi Mission high school during an evening study

The church now has 12 schools, including the state-of-the-art Samuel Centenary Academy in Belvedere.

This year’s week-long celebration was dedicated to the memory of Samuel Mutendi, particularly his legacy as espoused in Hebrew 13 v 7 which says, “Remember your leaders, those who spoke to you the word of God; consider the outcome of their life, and imitate their faith”.

The church leadership served the first Holy Communion on the opening day of the conference.

Throughout the whole conference, members flocked to their morning prayers as early as 4am every day. During these early hours, they would sing a popular tune ‘‘Nguva yakanakisisa yokukurumbidza’’.

Thousands of Zion Christian Church members line-up the streets around the church at Mbungo Farm during an early morning procession to celebrate the rise of Jesus Christ
Thousands of Zion Christian Church members line-up the streets around the church at Mbungo Farm during an early morning procession to celebrate the rise of Jesus Christ

By Friday, Defe was packed as those who had been held behind by other commitments converged at the Holy Shrine. Friday also witnessed a big Holy Communion gathering.

Saturday morning saw a Procession of the Saints in which people were grouped into their 46 centres in Zimbabwe and the diaspora.

The Zuva raSamere Procession of the Saints is one of the most important events on the ZCC calendar as it allows the Bishop to get close to many of the members. The climax of the conference was the prayer retreat to the Holy Tabakoni Mountain where the Bishop made a special prayer.

The last Holy Communion of the conference was held during the evening. In his address, Bishop Mutendi made a passionate appeal to church members to preserve the peace that the country has enjoyed over the years. He also urged members to work hard for their families, church and country.

And in his pursuit for peace with all men as read in Hebrew 12 v 18, Bishop Mutendi invited Prince Hlanganiso, one of the sons of King Zwelithini, King of the Zulu nation in South Africa, to Defe. He has established cordial relations with the King and has met him three times so far. The Sunday Mail

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