Belfast Telegraph

Tuesday 29 July 2014

Archbishop gives Mugabe abuses file

Dr Rowan Williams is urging Robert Mugabe to use his powers to stop the abuses of Anglicans in Zimbabwe

The Archbishop of Canterbury has presented Zimbabwe president Robert Mugabe with a dossier of abuses Anglicans have suffered in his country.

Dr Rowan Williams, the head of the worldwide Anglican Church, was joined by Anglican leaders in Africa in urging the president to use his powers to stop the abuses.

Dr Williams and the Archbishops of Central Africa, Southern Africa and Tanzania issued a statement, saying: "We come here to be in solidarity with our Anglican sisters and brothers at the invitation of the local church - the Anglican Province of Central Africa, which includes the five dioceses of Zimbabwe."

They continued: "As you know this has been a time of immense trial.

"Since 2007 Anglican congregations in Zimbabwe have suffered serious persecution at the hands of the police. They have been intimidated. Their churches have been closed. Properties, including schools and clinics, have been seized."

They added: "As representatives of the Anglican Communion, and with the support of ecumenical friends worldwide, we strongly and unequivocally support the efforts of ordinary Anglicans to worship in peace and to minister to the spiritual and material needs of their communities.

"Today we were able to present President Mugabe with a dossier compiled by the bishops in Zimbabwe which gives a full account of the abuses to which our people and our church has been subject.

"We have asked, in the clearest possible terms, that the president use his powers as head of state to put an end to all unacceptable and illegal behaviour.

"We are proud of our church and our people who have suffered so much, but who continue to serve with love and with hope. For our part we pray, and invite you to join us in praying, that the Anglican Church in Zimbabwe be allowed to carry out its mission in peace, and serve its communities with love."

Dr Williams has praised worshippers in Zimbabwe for being courageous in the face of a bitter dispute between mainstream Anglicans and a breakaway group. During his pastoral visit, he said Anglican worshippers were constantly "tortured by uncertainty and risk of attack" and had endured "mindless and Godless assaults" in the African country.

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