|Zion Christian Church|
|Zion Christian Church|
The Zion Church
|Past bishop(s)||Nehemiah Mutendi|
|Construction cost||USD $ 2 Million|
The Zion Christian Church is one of the oldest African independent churches in Zimbabwe. The church is headquartered in the Defe area of Bikita in the Masvingo Province of Zimbabwe and boasts has several churches abroad. In the recent years, the church grew and extended its boundaries o countries such as South Africa, Zambia, Mozambique, Botswana, Malawi, DRC, the UK, USA and Australia.
The church was formed after Samuel Mutendi led the expansion of the church from its founding country in South Africa, to the then Rhodesia.
Mutendi is said to have started having dreams and visions whilst he was still a young man. Whilst he was working as a migrant labourer in South Africa, Mutendi became a member of the Zion Apostolic Faith Mission led by Edward Lion and Enginase Lekganyane. He was baptized in 1923 in the Zionist Jordan by Enginase Lekhanyane a member of the ZAFM. In 1925, he was part of a breakaway group led by Lekganyane who went to form Zion Christian Church.
He then came back to Rhodesia to pursue his religious career in the ZCC. His first sermon was at Gumunyu where a number of people were possessed by the Holy Spirit and some became scared and ran away. He was ordained minister in 1925 as the Rhodesian Representative of the church. However, restricting measures on mobility by the Rhodesian government in the late 1940s made it difficult for the local Zion Church under Mutendi to report directly to South Africa. The church effectively became independent.
Two of Mutendi's sons, Nehemiah and Ruben, had ambitions to leader ZCC following his death in 1976 and an internal power struggle ensued. Nehemiah Mutendi was eventually appointed as the new Bishop in 1977. Ruben Mutendi (1934-2010) split from the ZCC with a small following.
The church has its foundations in the Word of God through the biblical law. It also believes in the life of Jesus Christ.
Z.C.C. has built more 11 schools in Zimbabwe. To date the schools have produced over 5000 graduates. They undertook several projects the first of which was the purchase of the farm called Mbungo in 1981. They went on a school building programme beginning with Mutendi Primary in 1982 and followed by Mutendi High School in 1983 and then Hebron High in Mwenezi in 1986. To date they have established 11 schools and they built four schools in different parts of the country such as Belvedere in Harare where they are built a state-of-the-art high school called Samuel Centenary Academy.
Education is one of the greatest passions Nehemiah inherited from his late father Rev Samuel Mutendi who put up nine schools in Zimbabwe during his time. Six of those schools were burnt down by the colonial authorities in 1932 as the schools were mistaken for political bases because adults came for literacy lessons so they could read the Bible. Three of the schools are still there today. During the Nehemiah Mutendi era the church has put up six secondary schools, four primary and one College of Music, Resource Units for inclusive education and an Adult Literacy programme called Dzidzai. In two of their schools they offer special needs education to the disabled and the visually impaired pupils.
The church has established a scholarship programme to assist orphans and vulnerable children by paying for their education from primary to university level. This has led the church to form a non-profit organisation called Rucors (Rugare Community Relief Services) aimed at addressing the plight of orphans and the vulnerable in the communities. The church has also embraced the idea of vocational skills development and annually they sponsor the training of church members in various skills such as building, welding, carpentry and joinery, plumbing, dressmaking, computing and so on. All these efforts are meant to empower the members and non-members so that they can become economically self-reliant and become productive citizens of Zimbabwe.
Between 2006 and 2011, the church embarked on a massive project to build their headquarters in Masvingo. In 2013, the church celebrated its centenary anniversary. The church has a capacity of 15 000 and was commissioned by President Robert Mugabe. The leader of the Church Rev Mutendi was awarded an honorary PhD by the University of Zimbabwe due to the church's promotion of education in the country.
- , History,ZCC, retrieved:16 Jun 2015"
- M.L Daneel, Samuel Mutendi 1890 to 1976 Zion Christian Church (ZCC)Zimbabwe,DACB, retrieved:9 Jun 2015"
- Vincent Gono, , The Sunday News, Published: 11 October, 2015, Accessed: 19 August, 2020