The Zimbabwean flag is one of the ones proudly on display in our church, because at least two of our church community are Zimbabwean. One of them, Shelter Kasirori, has been instrumental in setting up a monthly gathering at St James' by the Park for other Shona-speaking Christians in the region.
With 10 other branches around the country, the Zimbabwe National Anglican Fellowship (ZINAFE) encourages Christians to be an active part of their own churches as well as attending the Shona-speaking services. Arthur Chagadama from Poole explains: “Coming together to worship in our language is an experience that allows us to learn, gain strength and grow in our faith. The lasting friendships provide us with strength and a sense of belonging. We can laugh together, and support one another through life's struggles.”
Most services are led by Zimbabwean clergy working in the Church of England. One of them, Father Lamech, reflected on why ZINAFE was started. “Because we were scared of our people losing their faith in this country."
For Shelter, not having to travel to Bristol for these services saves time and money. “Meeting here will be a boost to my fellowship and growth in my faith. The Shona services will strive for our young generation not to lose their culture when it comes to worship and belonging.” She adds: “Thumbs up to my family (my cell group) for their prayers and support.”
“Zimbabwe is always in the news for wrong reasons,” says Arthur. “The state of our nation is disturbing and discouraging. As a Zinafe community, we ask for prayers that we remain united, faithful, informed and thoughtful, and for God’s wisdom and righteousness to be evident in our nation’s policies and leaders.”
Shelter and others at a ZINAFE service.
“we were scared of our people losing their faith in this country.”