Sunday, 16 October 2016

MAWARIRE'S CHURCH CRUMBLES

SELF-EXILED pastor Evan Mawarire’s His Generation Church has dramatically crumbled after he dumped his flock for the United States amid indications that only 40 people are now attending church services. The cleric, together with his wife Samantha, are holed up in the US after leaving the country unceremoniously in July this year after failing to cause civil unrest in the country.

The Sunday Mail Religion has gathered that although Pastor Mawarire was little known with only about 200 people attending his church services when he was still in Zimbabwe, his departure has caused harm to His Generation Church, which was formed in 2010, and is located at number 24 Van Praagh Avenue in Milton Park, Harare.

A maximum of 40 people now attend the church’s services while the church’s Chitungwiza branch has since closed. Pastor Mawarire led a social media anti-Government campaign code-named #ThisFlag which has since fizzled out.

The cleric-cum-political activist has been in hibernation since then. While Pastor Mawarire did not respond to questions sent to him last week, an official at the church premises confirmed that all is not rosy. There are fears that due to the dwindling numbers, His Generation Church is likely to close amid indications that congregants are not happy with the way their leader jumped ship.

The official said, “A number of people have since stopped attending church services ever since pastor Mawarire left. His (Pastor Mawarire) unannounced departure left many people in doubt of his cleric qualities, resulting in a number of people returning to their traditional churches such as Roman Catholic and Anglican.

“Those who are still attending services are mainly his close relatives and friends, not truth seekers.”
However, another church leader who refused to be named defended Pastor Mawarire.
“He is still our senior pastor at His Generation Church and he has to come back at some point, but we are still conducting services,” he said.

He confirmed that the Chitungwiza branch has since been closed.
“We are a church and we are supposed to be out there doing outreach programmes but I am sure you know the circumstances we found ourselves in, it’s a fix.
“We don’t want to be out there too much, just for the sake of protecting our church members,” he said.

The pastor was at pains trying to differentiate His Generation Church and #ThisFlag campaign.
“His Generation Church and #ThisFlag campaign are two different things, our church is not involved whatsoever in #ThisFlag.

“Pastor Mawarire regularly sends videos clips to the congregation on Sundays and on our closed WhatsApp group to prove that we are still together and going strong.”
Commenting on Pastor Mawarire’s woes, Tehillar Christian Network president Reverend Sam Malunga said it was inevitable for His Generation Church to crumble.

“Representing the cleric in the country, we condemn Mawarire’s actions in the strongest terms. The role of the cleric is at the altar and the roles of politician is at the palace.
“We as the cleric, our chief role is to complement politicians by giving them spiritual guidance, not to interfere,” he said.

He said Pastor Mawarire diverted from his calling and created confusion amongst his flock.
“There are five things that he did which affected his ministry. His flock lost confidence in him, he created a dent in the society, and he created confusion among both politicians and his congregation. He killed his spiritual life and lastly, he sinned against God.

“If he is a genuine man of God, he should repent and come back to his sole calling, which is to complement politicians and direct people to God,” he said.
Zimbabwe Association of Traditional Churches general secretary Bishop Takawira Dongo said pastors should desist from meddling in politics.

“Those that God called are known by their fruits, they remain focused in any situation. The problem with people today is that they no longer have time to discern spirits. As a result they just follow, the Bible is very clear when it comes to the role of pastors, bishops and church leaders. If they work against the dictates of the Bible, it is clear that they were not called,” said Bishop Dongo.

Apart from congregants, Pastor Mawarire’s social media followers are also bitter. One of his supporters, Farai Zizhou, recently tweeted, “I thought you were extremely brave and courageous. However fast-forward four weeks later, I haven’t got a clue as to what’s happening anymore.
“Each time I watch your recent videos I feel confused and somewhat betrayed.
“I know there are many people out there who feel the same way, probably half of your followers now.

“And in case you had not noticed, not everyone is calling you a hero anymore for the followers of #ThisFlag are now split.

“A lot of people now think you abandoned the movement and you are a coward.”
Timothy Ngwena posted on Facebook, “There was no need for him to go, if he was doing a good thing he was supposed to stay.” sunday mail

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