By Wilson Kakurira
Apostolic faith mission in Zimbabwe president Amon Madawo has urged members of his church to remain united and resolute after the High Court ruled that he is the legitimate leader of the Pentecostal church.
Speaking to H-Metro in Harare, Madawo said when his team was elected into office in 2018 he made a plea for reconciliation and uniting the church and is still standing by his word.
“When we were elected into office in November 2018 I made a plea for reconciliation and unity in the church, I am still repeating my words, this is still our position as AFM in Zimbabwe. To everyone who left the church, to everyone who followed pastor Chiangwa our hands are still open for reconciliation the doors of the church are open for them, this includes pastors, elders and congregants alike, ” he said.
Added Madawo :
“Some people were led astray. They were ignorant of what was happening and they did not know of the legal implications of what was taking place. From that time, even when I had opened my hands together with the executive of the church for reconciliation and unity they did not take advantage of that call and they continued acting contrary to the constitution of the church. They declared war against us, insulting us, humiliating us, vilifying us and demonizing us but we kept saying that as Christians we should not act like people who do not know God.
“Despite all that happened I am still saying AFM in Zimbabwe is their church and those who have gone astray should come back and I assure them that nobody is going to victimize or attack them. However I got to state that the reconciliation and unity and the call for people to come back which we are making has to be explained, for example pastors who followed pastor Chiangwa were legally and properly dismissed because the constitution of the church makes them employees of the church.
“The same way we used labour laws to dismiss them we are going to use the same labour laws to integrate them back into the church because for employees there are legal implications. Our hands are still open and I am still making this clarion call to everyone who followed pastor Chiangwa including pastor Chiangwa ,to come back to their church sit down with us so that we reconcile,” he said.
On why matters of the church end up at courts Madawo said when there are misunderstandings and conflicts in the church that cannot be resolved internally, it is prudent to seek help from courts.
“Many Christians act out of emotions, subjectivity and ignorance ,while the bible implores us not to take our matters to the courts we must understand that churches are organisations of people and people are citizens of particular countries and in those countries there are laws that are supposed to be followed ,when you fail to agree on certain matters internally it is prudent to find someone who is not an interested party and is not biased to any of the parties to look into your matter and deal with it ,we felt that the courts of the land were the right people to deal with this matter.
Madawo also urged members of his church and also the leadership to use social media platforms responsibly.
“Social media is not the official channel of communication in our church and I think in any organization they do not use social media to relay information and correspondences to the church, we have our inner structures we have the secretary general and his office and the secretariat who communicate official information in the church.
“However, we in the era of technology and to be honest it is difficult to control how people use social media, we have tried and asked our people not to circulate information on social media but I think we have to come up with regulations as a church so that our leadership does not circulate official information on social media platforms.
“For ordinary members even if we make this announcement for them not to circulate rumors and fake news on social media truly it is out of our control and there is nothing we can do about it. My words however to the AFM in Zimbabwe congregants are that let us desist from the habit of believing all the lies that we read on social media and let us not use social media to attack each other and make negative and derogatory comments about our brothers.
“The church has gone through a painful period, we pray that people embrace this change, this amended constitution and what it prescribes, we pray that we continue looking unto Jesus ,preach love, peace and reconciliation as we move forward.” H-Metro