New Leadership takes over in the Lutheran Church in Zimbabwe

Bishop Fiandi Chemist (left) during Installation of Bishop Vushebwashe Mhaka

The Evangelical Lutheran Church in Zimbabwe (ELCZ) installed new leadership, Bishop Kenneth Sibanda who took over from Bishop Chemist Fiandi who is retiring.

Bishop Fiandi was the Bishop for Eastern Diocese in the Church in Zimbabawe before his retirement, in his place Bishop Vushebwashe Mhaka was consecrated by the new presiding bishop as the Bishop of Eastern Diocese. The consecration of the new Bishop took place in Mbare congregation in Harare and was attended by both serving and retired bishops of the ELCZ.

Due to Coronavirus (COVID-19), attendance at the in-person event was restricted. Most of the participants joined online via Zoom and Facebook as Zimbabwe is still on COVID-19 lockdown.

At the occasion, the Church in Zimbabwe received goodwill messages from partners and friends abroad including greetings from the Lutheran World Federation (LWF), the Evangelical Lutheran Church in America and the Church of Sweden congratulating Bishop Sibanda and Bishop Mhaka. The LWF message was delivered by Rev. Elitha Moyo, an LWF council member.

The new Presiding Bishop has served on the ELCZ youth desk, as a dean and as bishop of the Central Diocese in 2017.

Bishop Kenneth Sibanda said, “As the new presiding bishop my focus will be to conclude the church’s renewal process.” He explained that in the renewal process the church is guided by pillars:  doctrine and identify, liturgy and worship, and sustainability and governance.” Bishop Sibanda said that although the church agrees on “doctrine and identify” they will continue to work together to ensure that there is a deeper understanding.

Bishop Sibanda expressed his appreciation to the church and ELCZ partners by following the event virtually. “I salute all our partners who could not be with us physically due to COVID 19. Speaking to the Church of Sweden, LWF and the ELCA, Bishop Sibanda said, “We greatly appreciate your partnership with us.”

He highlighted the ecumenical body in Zimbabwe, the Zimbabwe Council of Churches for pursuing ecumenical fellowship.  “I thank the Zimbabwe Council of Churches for their presence and their ecumenical agenda that has brought churches together in the mission of the Lord.”

Bishop Sibanda thanked retired Bishop Chemist Faindi for providing leadership to ELCZ at critical times and urged him to continue to support the Church with his wealth of experience. “I thank Presiding Bishop C.K.Faindi for his leadership that kept the ELCZ united as one despite having three dioceses.”

Bishop Sibanda called on the new bishop of the Eastern Diocese to avail himself for the work and bring the Diocese to new heights. “The diocese has the greatest potential for growth.”


Story and Photo Contributed by David Megenda, Zambia