Zimbabwe Blocks Anglican Clergy Retreat

Posted January 3rd, 2012 at 12:50 pm (UTC-5)
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Zimbabwe police have stopped Anglican clergy from holding an annual retreat, saying the religious group did not abide by security laws.

The Anglican Church said authorities broke up a prayer gathering of about 80 clergy on Tuesday at a private school about 75 kilometers east of the capital.

According to Bishop Chad Gandiya of the Diocese of Harare, authorities claimed the group had not obtained police clearance to hold the retreat.

The bishop called the move a “calculated harassment” by police officers loyal to a renegade bishop who is close to President Robert Mugabe.

Breakaway Bishop Nolbert Kunonga claims he is the leader of the Anglican Church in Zimbabwe. Kunonga formed a breakaway faction in 2007 and seized all property from the mainstream Anglican Church in Harare.

Kunonga has claimed he was wrongly excommunicated for opposing homosexuality. Anglican Church leaders say he has used that as an excuse to seize church properties.

The Archbishop of Canterbury met with President Mugabe in October and reiterated that the Anglican Church does not bless homosexual marriage.

Archbishop Rowan Williams asked Mr. Mugabe to stop what he described as the persecution of church followers in Zimbabwe.