Apostolic Faith Mission in Zimbabwe President-elect 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, Hmetro reports.
Rev Madawo, who takes over from the outgoing president Dr Aspher Madziyire, said when his team got 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.
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 demonising 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 victimise 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.”
On why matters of the church end up at courts, Rev 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,” he told Hmetro.
Rev Madawo’s call for reconciliation comes a week after the Reverend Cossam Chiangwa-led AFM petitioned the Supreme Court challenging the High Court ruling which confirmed Madawo’s camp as the bonafide leader of the church and barred Chiangwa’s faction from using church premises and property without authorisation from Madawo.
“The High Court erred in failing to find that the adoption of a new constitution by the second to the eighth respondents (Madziyire and others) and their followers on September 15, 2018, was unprocedural and not in accordance with the provisions of the Constitution of the fifth appellant,” said Chiangwa et al in a notice of appeal filed at the Supreme Court.
Chiangwa further said the High Court consequently erred in failing to find that Madziyire and his co-applicants and their followers seceded from the AFMZ as from September 15, 2018, and therefore had no locus standi to challenge the proceedings of the church after that date. Thus, Chiangwa and his followers also wanted Madawo and his group to return all the AFM assets in their possession and to stop using the church’s name when conducting their business.
Meanwhile, the Herald had it under their good authority that the Madawo-led camp admitted to amending the AFM “Confession Of Faith” constitution without consulting AFM International. The faction has since reversed all the changes and agreed to comply with AFM International’s constitution in the spirit of uniting their church.
The development automatically nullifies the Madawo led group’s recent court victory that had nullified the appointment of Reverend Chiyangwa as an overseer.
According to the Herald:
The group that initially resisted AFM International’s call to reverse the flawed constitutional amendments, later made a U-turn and admitted to bungling. AFM in Zimbabwe on August 1 this year undertook to reverse its amendments.
If the church does not honour its undertaking, it risks being expelled from the international church. AFM in Zimbabwe said it was operating without the guidance of the AFM International constitution.
Prior to the reversal of the rushed decision AFM International had written to the local church stating the fact the constitutional breaches were damaging the reputation of the international church.
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