Christmas card campaign in support of Harare

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This Advent, Canadian Anglicans are being invited to send a Christmas card as a show of solidarity to the new bishop of Harare, Chad Gandiya/Bishop Gandiya and members of his diocese continue to face challenges resulting from internal church divisions and political violence in Zimbabwe. The diocese of Keewatin is sending a personalized card that is a print of a painting by its bishop, David Ashdown. The card, which can be downloaded here, depicts a winter landscape in Canada’s north. “We invite you to download the [card], add your personal greeting, sign it and send it electronically to Bishop Gandiya at chadgandiya@googlemail.com or by surface mail to: The Right Reverend Chad Gandiya, 9 Monmouth Road, Avondale, Harare, Zimbabwe. Bishop Gandiya was at the meeting of the Canadian House of Bishops last fall and talked about the challenges faced by his diocese, which has been locked in a legal battle with excommunicated former bishop Nolbert Kunonga, a supporter of Zimbabwean President Robert Mugabe. “The situation continues to deteriorate,” said Archbishop Ashdown, who is also the Metropolitan of the Ecclesiastical Province of Rupert’s Land. Archbishop Ashdown has been in communication with Bishop Gandiya and with the latter’s permission, email updates about the situation in Harare have been posted on the diocese of Keewatin website, www.dioceseofkeewatin.ca/news#harareIn a letter to his diocese, Archbishop Ashdown noted that since being deposed, Bishop Konunga and his followers have claimed ownership of Anglican church buildings in Harare, “denying access to the majority of the city’s parishioners.” In some instances, parishioners have been attacked by Bishop Konunga’s supporters, “forcing them to hold church services in the open, or in buildings provided by other churches until the High Court ordered the two groups to share church facilities,” he added.However, a recent email from Bishop Gandiya said that despite the High Court’s order, the people of his diocese continue to be harassed and denied access to the church buildings by Bishop Konunga’s supporters.

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Marites N. Sison
Marites (Tess) Sison was editor of the Anglican Journal from August 2014 to July 2018, and senior staff writer from December 2003 to July 2014. An award-winning journalist, she has more that three decades of professional journalism experience in Canada and overseas. She has contributed to The Toronto Star and CBC Radio, and worked as a stringer for The New York Times.

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