Bishop Shava handing stuff to Bishop Kenneth Sibanda during concecration while LUCSA Director David Tswaedi (left)and Bishop Emeritus J.C Shiri (right) looks on
ZVISHAVANE – The local branch of the Evangelical Lutheran Church in Zimbabwe (ELCZ) celebrated 500 years of the church's reformation with colourful ceremony held at 1894 Izaya Park Zvishavane a few days before Christmas.
The two-tier event combined the farewell party for Bishop Emeritus Naison Shava and the consecration of Kenneth Sibanda as new Bishop of the Central Diocese.
The event was graced by seven bishops consisting of the Evangelical Lutheran Church of America, Upsala Diocese of Sweden and Lutheran Church of Southern Africa.
The outgoing Bishop Shava left a great legacy as witnessed by testimonies of those who attended the ceremony.
He was praised for leaving tangible success in leading the local church as a pastor, youth director, dean, bishop and president of Zimbabwe Council of Churches (ZCC).
Reverend Dr. Kenneth Mutata, the secretary general of ZCC, said one mark of leadership was to understand the responsibility that a leader owes to the local church and to the universal church.
"We want to recognise Bishop Shava as an ecumenist leader of the local church and the universal church," said Rev Mutasa.
On his part, Bishop Shava praised God for directing him and guiding his leadership when he was still in charge.
"I glorify the Lord. I am happy to retire after 41 years of service. I still know that God has not finished calling me so I will wait for his future call. My plan was to retire, rest and be available to my family which has missed me over the years.
"I have achieved my dream; delivered the message God entrusted me with and accomplished my mission. I am satisfied. I don't owe the diocese anything and it doesn't owe me anything either. I will be available to give the incoming bishop advice and support," said Bishop Shava.
In his remarks, Bishop Sibanda said he was humbled by the occasion, adding that he was not qualified for the position on his own but by the endless grace of God.
"I thank God for choosing me and giving me this responsibility. The joy of the Lord is my strength," said Bishop Sibanda.
A visitor from Lutheran Media Forum in Zambia hailed local worshippers for their unity and togetherness.
"I would like to salute our brethren here in Zimbabwe for the harmony and togetherness. When leadership exchanges hands flawlessly, there is reason to be joyous," the representative said.local