Anglican Chief to Visit Church Under Attack in Zimbabwe

Posted October 6th, 2011 at 11:40 am (UTC-5)
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The head of the worldwide Anglican church is due to visit Zimbabwe, where a rebel bishop has been seizing church property.

The Archbishop of Canterbury, Rowan Williams, began a weeklong, three-nation visit to southern Africa on Thursday with a stop in Malawi.

Williams is due to be in Zimbabwe on Sunday, and has requested meetings with Zimbabwean President Robert Mugabe and rebel bishop Nolbert Kunonga. So far, no meetings have been confirmed.

Kunonga and his followers have been taking over Anglican churches, schools and orphanages since early August, when a ruling by Zimbabwe's Supreme Court effectively gave Kunonga control of church properties in the country.

In a statement Wednesday, the Archbishop's office said Williams will meet with local Anglicans who are operating in what the office called an environment of disruption, intimidation, and violence.

Kunonga previously backed President Mugabe's drive to seize white-owned commercial farms in Zimbabwe for redistribution to blacks.

He was once the official head of the Anglican church in the country but broke away to form his own diocese in 2007, citing differences with Anglican leaders.

After Zimbabwe, Williams is due to visit Zambia next week before returning to Britain.