Following severe challenging economic and political situation in Zimbabwe, many people migrated to the United Kingdom. Between 1995 and 2005, there was a great influx of Zimbabweans coming to the United Kingdom. Upon their arrival in the UK, some Zimbabweans joined local Church of England parishes and became full-time members. Some assumed leading roles by becoming Churchwardens, Treasurers, PCC Members, and Bellringers. It was not long before many Zimbabwean Anglicans started to feel uncomfortable in the manner they were handled in some English parishes. Some people immediately opted for a ‘stay and pray at home attitude’.
In the course of time, some Zimbabwean Anglicans started to meet in small groups. The Mothers Union in London was very instrumental in this regard by meeting as Zimbabwe Mothers Union in London. The first Chaplain to the Mothers Union was Rev Chad Gandiya, who later became the Bishop of Harare in 2009. The Revd Canon Mutete took over as chaplain in 2009 when Mrs Gertrude Madowi was chosen as the first chairperson. The ZMU’s intention was to spread its membership across the United Kingdom. They eventually started inviting their families to join in worship and soon people were meeting in three cities: London, Birmingham and Bradford for Shona/Ndebele Communion Services.
The quest for vernacular services continued to rise and members had to travel long distances in search for such services. The Zimbabwean Anglican priests, who were resident in the United Kingdom by then, started offering their services and pastoral care to the Zimbabwean Anglicans. These were Rev Chad Gandiya, Rev Canon Lameck Mutete, Rev Dominic Madzimure, Rev Archford Musodza (working for USPG then) Rev Petros Nyatsanza, Rev James Mukunga and Rev Puvai. The following Anglican events became a yearly feature; Easter, Pentecost, and Bernard Mzeki. Zimbabwe Day was later introduced by Rev Canon Mutete to celebrate together with our English counterparts as Zimbabwean Anglicans in the Diaspora. This service was also mainly in support of the local parishes that had given us access to their church buildings for worship.
In September 2008, The Revd Canon Lameck Mutete, who was the Rector of St Alban’s Tattenhall in Chester, had a vision of forming a fellowship. He later called a meeting at the Rectory in Chester and had a successful meeting with a group of Zimbabwe Anglicans and two clergy who were already living in the United Kingdom. Those present were The Revd Dr Archford Musodza, Rev James Mukunga, Sister Patricia, Mr Anesu Muyambi, Mr Lawrence Kututwa and his wife Mercy. It was at that meeting that everyone unanimously agreed with Revd Canon Mutete’s vision of naming the fellowship as ZINAFE (UK). That fellowship would become the spiritual umbrella body, not only for the ZMU, but for all Zimbabwean Anglicans in Diaspora.
The group also agreed with the idea of forming branches all over the country and coming up with an interim ZINAFE (UK) National leadership. The following was the composition of the interim committee;
Patron- Rev Canon Lameck Mutete
Chaplain – Rev Archford Musodza (served one year before leaving for Namibia)
Chair – Mr Christopher Nikurawu
Vice Chair – Mrs Mercy Kututwa
Secretary – Mr Anesu Muyambi
Treasurer – Sr Patricia
Committee member - Mr Kututwa.
This committee was tasked to run the affairs of Zimbabwe Anglicans in UK until a substantive committee was elected to office. In 2009, the interim committee produced a constitution which was going to set up the operating parameters and to put rules in place on how this organization would operate. The emphasis was on making sure that the organization was not going to be a new Church but a fellowship. The constitution encouraged members to belong to a local parish of the Church of England.
On 18th June 2009 Zimbabwe Anglicans from all over the United Kingdom met for the first time to celebrate the life of Bernard Mzeki in Loughborough at Emmanuel Church. It was during that festival that the first ZINAFE AGM was held. Unfortunately, Mr Nikurawu stepped down as the stirring committee chairman due to work commitments. A substantive committee was duly elected to office:
Chaplain- Rev Musodza
Chair – Mr Phillip Chinyenze
Vice Chair – Mrs M. Kututwa
Secretary – Mr A Muyambi
Treasurer- Sr Patricia
Committee member - Mr Kututwa
This committee was given a three-year term and mandate to build the fellowship and all its branch and guild structures
The following have been the ZINAFE Chairpersons to date:
Priest in-charge – Rev Can Mutete
Chair – Mr Crispen Nyatsuro
Priest In Charge- Rev Nyatsanza (served 2 years before leaving for Kenya)
Chair – Mr Livingstone Murungu
Priest In Charge - Rev Canon Mutete
Chair - Dr T. Zhou
In February 2020, ZINAFE was officially registered as Charity and the first trustees were:
Rev Canon L. Mutete
Dr T. Zhou
Mrs H. Mawire
Mrs P. Kutule
Mr L. Shiridzinomwa
‘’Where there is no revelation, people cast off restraint; but blessed is the one who heeds wisdom’s instruction”. (Proverbs 29:18)