In Zimbabwe – the Diocese of Matabeleland

The Diocese of Matabeleland is linked with the Kingston Episcopal Area, and their Diocesan Bishop, the Rt Revd Cleophas Lunga – who has been Bishop for just over a decade – sent us this video.

As Bishop Cleophas, noted in his video, providing for their six retired clergy, who are quite elderly and some of whom are not very well, can be challenging. The economic situation has made caring for the retired clergy even harder, and priests who are pensioners do not have very much to live on. At a time such when food is becoming scarcer and more expensive, one of the ways in which the Diocese tries to help them out is be providing them with groceries when they are able.

Matabeleland also has a project which it hopes will help make the Diocese more financially secure, as well as providing evangelistic opportunities: a bookshop and Resource Centre near the Cathedral in Bulawayo. Anglicans in the Diocese purchase a lot of their reading materials and liturgical resources from the Roman Catholic bookshops and so clergy, lay ministers and the laity of the area will all benefit. It will aim to offer products at competitive prices and to make it possible for local people and rural parishes to access resources. Owned by the Diocese, the shop will be overseen by the Diocesan Trustees and in order to reduce running costs it will be managed by a volunteer.

The Diocese expects the start-up costs to be USD20,000 and hopes for average monthly sales of USD4,000. It will thus take about five months to recover the initial investment and to start making profits. The bookshop aims to offer high quality coffee and pastry products at a competitive price to meet the demand of the middle- to higher-income local residents and tourists with whom they will seek to share the gospel.

Bishop Cleophas mentioned his desire to help motivate young clergy as well as provide for the elderly clergy and Matabeleland’s bookshop project hopes to do both – with accessible reading material and evangelism for their young clergy and generating an income which can benefit the retired. As with the other Dioceses in Zimbabwe, the funds raised by the Bishop’s Lent Call will bring Matabeleland closer to self-sustainability.

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