|United Family International Church|
The United Family International Church is one of the most famous and religious movements which rose to fame in the 21st Century Zimbabwe. The church was founded and led by "Prophet" Emmanuel Makandiwa and his wife "Prophetess" Ruth Makandiwa. The Church boasts of thousands of followers in Zimbabwe and has its largest following in the capital city Harare although it has a considerable following in other small towns. Besides having established a number of churches in Zimbabwe, UFIC has also established branches beyond the borders in countries like Zambia, Botswana and South Africa.
Birth of the Church
The church was founded by Emmanuel Makandiwa and his wife Ruth. It was founded after the couple left a famous pentecostal church Apostolic Faith Mission in Zimbabwe under unclear circumstances. The United Family Interdenominational Ministries was launched late August 2008 as a lunch hour fellowship at the Anglican Cathedral, Corner Sam Nujoma and Nelson Mandela in Harare.
The United Family International Ministries comprises of The United Family Interdenominational Ministries and The United Family International Church. The Interdenominational Ministry is the mother ministry of the other ministries and arms which will fall under the United Family International Ministries. The fellowship could only last for a week at the Anglican Cathedral due to limited space as numbers swelled by the day. After one week break, we moved to The State Lotteries Hall (Corner Rezende and Robert Mugabe, Harare).
Evangelism of the Church
The Interdenominational rolled out its Evangelism arm mid 2010 and started a week long crusade at Chitungwiza, Unit 'L' community grounds in May 2010. This event was to redefine 'ministry' from the stand point of the magnitude of the harvest. Over 5000 people gave their lives to Christ with an amazing 1190 doing it the first day, in which Prophet Makandiwa did not preach but just called an alter call of repentance unto salvation. This was to be followed by St. Mary's, Highfield and Muzarabani. Prophet Makandiwa delved into his apostolic gift and planted churches around Harare and in Mashonaland Central. After mass baptisms these churches were officially opened and this was the birth of The United Family International Church.
Agape Family Care
Prophetess Ruth Makandiwa heads the Agape Family Care Department which is committed to offer care and support to thousands of people in need. The main rationale of this ministry wing is to assist widows, orphans, charity organisations, families, hospitals, people with medical needs and others. The help which has been extended to thousands cover various needs across physical, food and sustenance, clothing shelter, health, financial, housing, and many other needs from various people in society. Many donations have been made to individuals and organisations in her drive and commitment to improving the lives of other people.
The Youth Ministry was headed by Pastor Romulus Makandiwa at the time of establishment. The Youth ministry has a service on Sunday Afternoons for single people. This a platform where Prophet Emmanuel Makandiwa addresses issues pertaining to youth and those who are not yet married.
The Evangelism ministry under Emmanuel Makandiwa has held numerous open air crusades in public areas in order to spread the gospel. U.F.I has held crusades in areas such as Chitungwiza Unit L community grounds, St Mary's Chitungwiza, Highfield Zimbabwe grounds and Muzarabani Hoya Primary School. These crusades have witnessed a turnout in excess of 40 000 people per service in Harare with over 4 000 new converts at the Harare crusades. Due to the need to nurture new converts and new members joining the ministry U.F.I has set up United Family Interdenominational Church (UFIC) church centres in these areas. Prophet Makandiwa had a vision of establishing number of 10 sub-assemblies at each of these centres.
The Judgement Night
The Judgement Night is an Annual all night service on the church's calendar. It is known for drawing a considerably huge crowd. In the 2014 edition of the Judgement Night, about 70. 000 congregants gathered at the National Sports Stadium. The 2014 edition of the Judgement Night was dubbed Judgement Night 2. Before the night, members of the Makandiwa led church embarked on a march in the streets of Harare as a precessor to the event.
Miracles and Controversies
The UFIC is generally viewed by the Zimbabwean population as controversial due to the nature of "miracles" and mysterious happenings which take place in the church. In 2013, there were widespread allegations that a member of the UFIC gave birth miraculous four days after being prayed for by Emmanuel Makandiwa. The story was all over the press as people struggled to come to terms with the nature of the miracle. The baby was named after the church leader Emmanuel. The H-Metro newspaper reports that the baby died due to “dehydration” at Harare Hospital and was buried at Warren Hills cemetery on Monday “under tight security”.
In 2013 again, the church was marred in controversy when there were claims of miracle money and miracle gold which appeared in the accounts of the church members. Emmanuel Makandiwa and Uebert Angel were both summoned by the then Reserve Bank of Zimbabwe Governor Gideon Gono on the issue of miracle money.
- , Our Brief History, UFIC, Published: No Date Given, Retrieved:06 Oct 2014
- , Agape Family Care, UFIC, Published: No Date Given, Retrieved:06 October 2014
- , Youth Ministry, UFIC, Published: No Date Given, Retrieved:07 0ct 2014
- , Evangelism, UFIC, Published: No Date Given, Retrieved:07 October 2010
- B. Kanamhora, UFIC in Judgement Night march, Religion Zimbabwe, Published: 14 April 2014, Retrieved:07 October 2014
- Phillip Mbanje, Makandiwa 'miracle baby' dies, New Zimbabwe, Published:22 My 2013, Retrieved:07 Oct 2013
- Musa Gwaunzah, The Curious Case of Miracle Money, The Herald, Published:27 December 2013, Retrieved:07 Oct 2014