During April, the Zimbabwe Presbytery had the privilege of ordaining two men to the office of the ministry of the gospel and of inducting them to their congregations. These are good days for the Zimbabwe Mission. That the Lord has raised up labourers for His harvest is always an encouragement, but this is especially so at this time in Zimbabwe, for now the number of active ministers has been doubled, and two congregations which had been pastorless for a considerable time have their own ministers again.
On 10 April 2003, the Presbytery met at Zenka to ordain Mr Manford Mloyi as a minister of the everlasting gospel, and to induct him as pastor of the Zenka Congregation. Mr Mloyi had completed his divinity studies in Scotland successfully, and his trials for licensing had been accepted as satisfactory by the Presbytery at its meeting on 11 March 2003. The Presbytery met with the Zenka Congregation on March 26, when 37 communicant members and 77 adherents signed a closed call to Mr Mloyi to become their pastor. With no dissents, the Presbytery was most willing to sustain the call, and on that day Mr Mloyi indicated his readiness to accept it. Thus the date of April 10 was set for Mr Mloyi’s ordination and induction, and due notice was given to the congregation.
The pastoral charge of the Zenka congregation had been vacant since the death of the late Rev B B Dube in February 1991. He had served faithfully as the congregation’s pastor for 13 years. There was an evident sense of eager anticipation when the Presbytery met with the congregation on April 10. People came from different parts of Zimbabwe. In spite of the difficulties in obtaining fuel in the country, transport was arranged from the main centres of Ingwenya, Bulawayo, Mbuma and Nkayi, as well as various smaller places. There must have been some 400 people present to witness the proceedings, including three from the Kenya Mission.
The Moderator, Rev K M Watkins, conducted public worship, preaching from Ezekiel 47:10: “And it shall come to pass, that the fishers shall stand upon it from Engedi even unto Eneglaim; they shall be a place to spread forth nets; their fish shall be according to their kinds, as the fish of the great sea, exceeding many”. He spoke of the river of God’s grace flowing in the gospel, and how this river is directed by Christ. It is the sovereign God who brings the gospel to one place, and not to another. And it is the Saviour who makes that river deep with His unsearchable blessings. Then he spoke of the ministers of the gospel, who are like fishermen at the side of this gracious river, casting in their nets and catching souls of all different kinds. God had sent His gospel to Zenka, and now He was sending a pastor, who by God’s blessing on his gospel labours, would be a fisher of men.
When public worship was ended, the Moderator gave a brief narrative of the steps leading to this point. He then addressed to Mr Mloyi the questions appointed to be put to probationers on their ordination and induction to a pastoral charge. Having given satisfactory answers, Mr Mloyi signed the Formula in the presence of the congregation. Then he kneeled down, the ministers of the Presbytery put their hands on his head, and the Moderator ordained him to the office of the gospel ministry by prayer. After the ordination prayer, the Moderator, in the name of the Presbytery and by the authority of the Divine Head of the Church, formally inducted Mr Mloyi to the pastoral charge of the Zenka congregation. All the members of the Presbytery welcomed the new minister to the Presbytery by giving him the right hand of fellowship.
Then Rev Z Mazvabo addressed the new minister suitably, in particular telling him that he was now a watchman for souls. Thereafter Rev P Mzamo, the former interim moderator, addressed the congregation on their new privileges and duties. Mr Mzamo was thanked for his endeavours over the years as interim moderator.
After concluding the formal meeting with praise, the whole gathering was given the opportunity to shake hands with Mr Mloyi at the church door. This was a time for the Zenka congregation especially to welcome their new minister. The Zenka people had very generously prepared a meal. This was appreciated by all, especially because of the food shortages in the country.
We wish Mr Mloyi and his family the Lord’s blessing as they settle into their new home at the manse in Zenka.
Ordination and Induction of Rev Sipho Khumalo to Bulawayo
On 12 April 2003, the Presbytery met again, this time at the Lobengula Church in Bulawayo, to ordain Mr Sipho Khumalo as a gospel minister, and to induct him as pastor of the Bulawayo Congregation. As in Zenka, great efforts had been made throughout the Zimbabwe Church to ensure that as many people as possible could be present, and there must have been some 500 people in attendance, from near and far, including a few from the New Canaan and Kenya Missions. Mr Khumalo had completed his theological studies in Scotland, and on 22 January 2003 the Zimbabwe Presbytery had expressed itself satisfied with his trials for licensing. On that date Mr Khumalo had become a Probationer, open to a call.
The Presbytery had been informed that there was harmony in the Bulawayo Congregation to call Mr Khumalo to be their pastor. Accordingly, the Presbytery had met with them on March 29, when 49 communicant members and 62 regular hearers signed the closed call to Mr Khumalo. With no dissents registered, the Presbytery sustained the call, and put it into the hands of Mr Khumalo, who was present at the meeting. He confirmed his willingness to accept it, whereupon the Presbytery fixed the date of April 12 for his ordination and induction. Due notice was given to the Congregation.
The Bulawayo Congregation meets in three locations: Lobengula, Nkulumane and Mguza. It had been without a minister since the death of Rev Alfred Mpofu in March 1987. Mr Mpofu’s ministry was short, but much valued and still fondly remembered. This city congregation has many young families, and a pastor has been greatly needed.
On the afternoon of 12 April 2003, public worship was conducted by the Moderator, Rev K M Watkins, who preached from Revelation 1:16a, “And He had in His right hand seven stars”. It was explained that these stars in Christ’s right hand are the ministers of the gospel, who come with the message of salvation, and are usually set over particular congregations, as is seen by the seven letters to these ministers in their own places. Firstly, the significance of their being in the right hand of Christ was pointed out. A faithful pastor is a gift straight from the hand of the Saviour. Secondly, ministers are like stars, which are heavenly bodies, giving light and direction. These stars shine best when they do what the star did for the wise men: leading sinners and saints to the Lord Jesus Christ.
When public worship was concluded, a brief narrative of the steps leading to this point was given. Then the appointed questions were put to Mr Khumalo, which he answered appropriately. Then he signed the formula in the presence of the congregation. Mr Khumalo kneeled down, the ministerial members of the Presbytery now put their hands on his head, and the Moderator prayed to the Head of the Church, thus ordaining him to the office of the gospel ministry. Then, in the name of the Presbytery and by the authority of the Divine Head of the Church, the Moderator formally admitted Rev Sipho Khumalo as the pastor of the Bulawayo Congregation. All the members of the Presbytery then welcomed Mr Khumalo among them by the right hand of fellowship.
Rev P Mzamo addressed the new minister, reminding him of Moses, who had been called from caring for his father-in-law’s flocks to the much greater work of taking care of God’s people. Rev Z Mazvabo addressed the congregation as to their new duties and privileges. Mr Mazvabo was thanked for his labours as interim moderator.
The formal meeting having concluded with praise, everyone had the opportunity to greet Mr Khumalo at the church door, which for the people of the congregation meant welcoming him among them as their pastor. The congregation had provided food for all, which was much appreciated, especially by those who had come a considerable distance.
We trust that the Lord will be with Mr Khumalo and his family, as he takes up his new role as pastor of the Bulawayo Congregation. We are thankful indeed for these events, and look to the Most High to give His blessing. May these two new ministers be given grace to plant and water the seed of God’s Word, and may the Head of the Church who has sent them into His harvest field give the increase.
Edward Zikhali, Assistant Clerk to the Zimbabwe Presbytery