Apostolic Faith Mission in Zimbabwe’s newly-elected president Amon Madawo (pictured below) has blamed the divisions rocking the church on greed and people pursuing personal interests.
BY XOLISANI NCUBE
Madawo told The Standard in an interview on Friday that pastors from affluent congregations were against proposed reforms that would see the management of church funds being centralised.
He said the proposals were among the reasons that saw former AFM deputy president Cossum Chiangwa leading a break-away outfit.
“To be honest, the issue at hand here is in two phases, one it is about power and access to resources,” Madawo said.
“If you look at pastors who are on the other side led by Baba Chiangwa, you will find that most of them are from the affluent areas and our side has the church members, deacons and many workers’ council membership.”
Church insiders said the reforms include a new grading system for all pastors and this would see preachers earning the same salary.
Presently, pastors of churches in affluent communities earn more than those in less wealthy areas.
The proposed reforms would also strip pastors of powers to run the day-to-day activities of the church, with elders and deacons assuming more responsibilities.
Madawo succeeded Aspher Madziyire last month after Chiangwa led a revolt against the former church leader.
“It is a very difficult time for the church and we have engaged our former presidents and other leaders to come and mediate so that we can unite again as a church,” he said.
“Yes, we might win legal challenges, but what is important is winning back the love and unite as a church. I have engaged AFM International so that they can facilitate dialogue.”
On Thursday, the AFM International leadership led by its president, Frank Chikane, Madziyire and the secretary, George Mahlobo, were in Harare to mediate between the two factions.
“The idea of reforming our constitution was agreed upon long back before I was in national leadership myself,” Madawo said.
“The workers council agreed on this process. We must understand that change is not easy to embrace because it could in one way or the other affect some people.
“So, we have agreed to go back to the consultation process and agree on what should be reformed in our current constitution.”
The mega church has been rocked by infighting for years leading to the recent split.
Chikane held marathon meetings to build bridges between two warring camps pitting Madawo and Chiangwa.
Madziyire left office after serving as church leader for 15 years, following accusations he wanted to extend his term illegally.
Madawo said some pastors who were against the draft reform document had not even read it but were being misled by those pushing to protect their turf and not doing so in the interests of the congregation.
After his elevation, Madawo said he had managed to win back some pastors to his side and was willing to talk with Chiangwa, whom he described as a “father and brother”.
As a temporary measure, AFM International ordered that the factions must not bar each other from using church facilities.
“To our leaders who have gone to the other side, the door is open for reconciliation, come back so that we sit down, talk and iron out our differences. We need to move on as a big, united family,” Madawo said.
“I plead with the AFM congregation to support us, pray for the church and understand that we are in a difficult time, but we should remain united and calm.”