The Right Reverend Godfrey Tawonezvi – Bishop of Masvingo
The Bishop exercises pastoral care over the faithful in the Diocese with the assistance of Deacons and Priests. The Bishop is also the source and foundation of unity for all the faithful and Clergy in the Diocese of Masvingo. He shares with the Bishops of the four other Anglican Dioceses responsibilities for the Anglican Church in Zimbabwe and is part of the world wide fellowship of Bishops within the Anglican Communion.
The Bishop is therefore the Chief Shepherd of the Diocese, preaching the Gospel together with Priests and Deacons [Mt. 16:15], and drawing people to Christ. He presides over the Eucharist and confers other Sacraments including Ordination. The Bishop and Clergy, through their prayers and ministry sanctify the Church.
Bishop Godfrey describes his ministry.
It is my obligation as a Bishop to shepherd the Diocese that was entrusted to me on my day of consecration and enthronement, and to promote the mission of the Church.
What are the greatest challenges faced by the community of Masvingo? Political instability, economic instability, food shortage and disease e.g. Malaria, cholera, HIV/AIDS etc.
How are you striving to meet those challenges?
Pastoral letters are sent from the Bishop’s office to all ecclesiastical divisions in the Diocese of Masvingo discouraging political violence. Since 2008, the Diocese of Masvingo with the assistance of Episcopal Relief and Development embarked on income-generating projects in order to improve peoples’ livelihoods. The Diocese of Masvingo has made a huge contribution towards the eradication of Malaria by distributing treated mosquito nets. This programme is being done with the support of NetsforLife. The Diocese of Masvingo also embarked on a Home Based Care Program for those living with HIV/AIDS. This Programme was possible because of the support we have received from Episcopal Relief and Development over the years.
Please describe a typical day in your week.
Daily Offices, meetings, opening and responding to e-mails, pastoral visits, celebrating Mass and confirmations, marriages and ordinations as required.
Please describe a project/aspect of your work that is particularly close to your heart.
Rehabilitation of dilapidated infrastructure e.g. Churches, Priests’ houses, Schools, Teachers’ houses and Clinics. In some cases the faithful are putting up new structures altogether. We also source learning and teaching material and furniture for the Schools.
Can you tell us about one individual whose life has been transformed by this project?
This project has transformed the lives of many people. The faithful by participating in the construction of their own churches feel uplifted spiritually. They get motivated to continue with their Lay ministry. By improving Clergy accommodation, Clergy become motivated to carry out their Priestly duties. In the case of Schools, both teachers and School children are motivated since learning and teaching conditions will improve. Communities benefit from Church Clinics.
If you were to get more financial support for any part of your work, what would it be for?
Making our churches better places for worship, improving both learning and teaching conditions in the schools, and improving the supply of drugs and other essentials at our clinics.
How do you describe your calling to work for Zimbabwe and her people?
I have been called by God to serve in His Church as Bishop [The Great Commission-Mt. 28:19-20]. I also feel called to participate in the Holistic Mission of the Church together with Lay people and Clergy. As a result of my vocation, I believe Christ has entrusted to me the office of teaching, sanctifying and governing His Church. This is done in the name and power of our Lord Jesus Christ. I am called by God to participate in the Life of the Risen Lord.
Is there a passage from the Bible that expresses your life’s goals?
Mt: 5: 1 – 16
When Jesus saw the crowds, he went up the mountain; and after he sat down, his disciples came to him. Then he began to speak, and taught them, saying: ‘Blessed are the poor in spirit, for theirs is the kingdom of heaven. ‘Blessed are those who mourn, for they will be comforted. ‘Blessed are the meek, for they will inherit the earth. ‘Blessed are those who hunger and thirst for righteousness, for they will be filled. ‘Blessed are the merciful, for they will receive mercy. ‘Blessed are the pure in heart, for they will see God. ‘Blessed are the peacemakers, for they will be called children of God. ‘Blessed are those who are persecuted for righteousness’ sake, for theirs is the kingdom of heaven. ‘Blessed are you when people revile you and persecute you and utter all kinds of evil against you falsely on my account. Rejoice and be glad, for your reward is great in heaven, for in the same way they persecuted the prophets who were before you. ‘You are the salt of the earth; but if salt has lost its taste, how can its saltiness be restored? It is no longer good for anything, but is thrown out and trampled under foot. ‘You are the light of the world. A city built on a hill cannot be hidden. No one after lighting a lamp puts it under the bushel basket, but on the lampstand, and it gives light to all in the house. In the same way, let your light shine before others, so that they may see your good works and give glory to your Father in heaven. (Matthew 5:1-16)