Anglican head slams violence

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Visiting Archbishop of Canterbury Rowan Williams indirectly attacked excommunicated Bishop Nolbert Kunonga, dismissing the latter’s actions as “mindless and Godless assaults” on the Anglican Church.

“You know how those who, by their greed and violence, have refused the grace of God, try to silence your worship and frustrate your witness in churches, schools and hospitals of this country. But you also know what Jesus’ parable teaches us so powerfully — that the will of God to invite people to his feast is so strong it can triumph even over these mindless and Godless assaults,” said Williams in his sermon to over 15 000 congregates gathered to celebrate Eucharist at the City Spots Centre on Sunday.

Earlier dismissed by Kunonga as a criminal and gay, Williams called on the Chad Gandiya-led Church of the Province of Central Africa to shun violence or retaliation in the face of attacks from Kunonga, who has wrested control of church property and locked out those opposed to his leadership.

“In this community they can be no place for violence or retaliation. . . You have discovered that it is not the buildings that make a true church, but the spiritual foundations on which your lives are built. And as we together give thanks for the open door that God puts before us, we may even find the strength to say to our enemies and persecutors: ‘The door is open for you! Accept what God offers and turn away from the death-dealing folly of violence’,” he said to applause.

Ahead of his scheduled meeting with President Robert Mugabe, today, Williams challenged political leaders to desist from pushing the nation into violence and anarchy, while admitting Europeans owe Africa after years of colonial rule.

“No European can say these things without being aware of what one of my predecessors, Michael Ramsey, once said about ‘the debt we owe to Africa’ after generations of white rule. For a long period in this country, an anxious ruling class clung on to the power they had seized at the expense of the indigenous people and ignored their rights and their hopes for dignity and political freedom. How tragic that this should be replaced by another kind of lawlessness, where so many live in daily fear of attack if they fail to comply with what the powerful require of them,” he said.

The City Sports Stadium was full to capacity compared to a handful of Kunonga followers who protested against Williams’ visit at a sideshow ealier held by Kunonga at the cathedral.

Two women were, however, ejected from the City Sports Centre after they allegedly started chanting anti-gay slogans from the stands.