News Archives

Bishop marks 60 years in ministry with call to share Christ

LINK: Click to open full size version of image
A UMNS photo by Kathy L. Gilbert

Bishop Abel T. Muzorewa says "the world is ripe for harvest."
Aug. 15, 2005

By Kathy L. Gilbert*

MUTARE, Zimbabwe (UMNS) — Bishop Abel T. Muzorewa wants Christians to “climb out of their comfort zones” and bring people to Christ.

His message was loud and clear on a day that brought people from all over Africa and the world to celebrate his 60 years of ministry. The celebration at the Old Mutare Mission also marked the launching of the Bishop A.T. Muzorewa Evangelism Foundation.

Muzorewa, 80, told the crowd that he had recently come across some disturbing statistics.

“Out of the world’s population of 6 billion, only 2 billion are Christians,” he said. Of those, only half have a real personal knowledge of Christ, he added. “The rest are members of the church who know nothing about Christ.”

It is time to stop saying numbers don’t count in our church, that only quality counts, he said. “The early church counted the converts and so should we.

“Why an evangelism foundation? Because the world is ripe for harvest,” he said. Using the example of witchcraft growing in Africa, he said, “The only effective counter-measure that is required is Jesus, the light of the world.”

Muzorewa’s celebration July 23 brought hundreds of pastors, bishops, choirs and people whose lives he has touched. A weeklong celebration led up to the event, with crusades at various churches July 18-22 and a dinner in his honor July 22. The events ended with a harvest thanksgiving service at Muziti United Methodist Church, his home church in Rusape.

LINK: Click to open full size version of image
A UMNS photo by Kathy L. Gilbert

Bishop Felton May (left) says when he met Bishop Muzorewa "it was almost as if Dr. (Martin Luther) King lived in him".
Bishop Felton Edwin May, a retired bishop for the United States and now dean of the Harry R. Kendall Science and Health Mission Center at Philander Smith College, was the guest preacher.

When he first visited Africa in 1974, May said he came to Zimbabwe, which was then Rhodesia. He met Muzorewa six years after the assassination of the Rev. Martin Luther King Jr.

“When I saw Bishop Muzorewa he walked like Dr. King, he talked like Dr. King and he preached like Dr. King,” he said. “It was almost as if Dr. King lived in him.”

May told the crowd he was a successful and respected ordained United Methodist pastor when he first came to Africa, but “I lacked the power of the Holy Spirit.”

“I found the Holy Spirit at a convention at Epworth Theological College in Harare when Bishop Muzorewa preached,” he said. Even though Muzorewa was preaching in his native language of Shona, May said he “felt the ground shake.”

Since that day, May said the fire within his soul keeps him preaching.

Both May and Muzorewa spoke to the people about the problems facing the country because of the government.

LINK: Click to open full size version of image
A UMNS photo by Kathy L. Gilbert

Muziti United Methodist Church choir sings during the celebration for Bishop Abel T. Muzorewa's ministry.
Muzorewa said he knew many of the people sitting in the audience had no homes, no food and no fuel because of the “manmade tsunami” crippling Zimbabwe.

“Your being here is an act of evangelizing Africa.”

Months before the celebration, the president of Zimbabwe, Robert Mugabe, ordered the destruction of many homes in a move called “Operation Restore Order.” A U.N. report on the fallout of the order said 700,000 people are without homes or jobs and 2.4 million others have been affected.

“Things were bad 31 years ago, but my heart is breaking because things are just as bad today,” May said. “There is hope, and that hope is Jesus Christ!”

“The people of God must stand up, rise up and speak the truth. The truth is God’s children should not be hungry and without resources. God’s children must be fed and protected.”

In concluding words, Muzorewa said, “In spite of the poor economy, the drought, the economic hardships, go and evangelize. In the face of global terror, go and evangelize.

“Make no apologies for evangelizing because it is Jesus’ commandment and mission.”

*Gilbert is a United Methodist News Service news writer based in Nashville, Tenn.

News media contact: Kathy L. Gilbert, Nashville, Tenn., (615) 742-5470 or newsdesk@umcom.org.

 

Video Highlights

Bishop Abel T. Muzorewa: "The Gospel must satisfy the whole person."

Bishop Felton Edwin May: "There is hope."

Related Articles

Foundation to continue bishop’s ministry of evangelism

Bishops challenge church with vision for 'beloved community'

New Zimbabwean bishop offers vision for church

Resources

Bishop Abel T. Muzorewa Evangelism Foundation

The United Methodist Church in Zimbabwe

Africa University