MASVINGO – The Rt Rev Godfrey Taonezvi, the founding bishop of the Anglican Diocese of Masvingo has retired.
He bid farewell to serving and retired bishops, friends and tens of congregants at a mass held at Masvingo Showgrounds on Saturday last week. He had served the church for 28 years and 20 of them as a bishop.
Although the farewell was on Saturday, Bishop Taonezvi will officially step down on March 25, 2022.
He was appointed bishop in 2002 and started off with only three priests and now the diocese has 35 priests.
He found the diocese after serving his first eight years in church as a deacon and priest at several churches.
Congregants and the clergy close to Bishop Taonezvi gave glowing testimonies about his service to the church.
The farewell mass was attended by Bishop Cleophas Lunga of Matebeleland Diocese, Bishop Farai Mutamiri of Harare Diocese, Bishop Eric Ruvona of Manicaland Diocese and retired Bishop Ishmael Mukuwanda. Central Zimbabwe Dioceseís Bishop Ignitious Makumbe who chairs the Bishops Council was represented by his wife.
The Anglican Church has five dioceses in Zimbabwe and Masvingo Diocese covers Beatrice, Chivhu, Buhera, Masvingo Province to Beitbridge, Zvishavane and Shurugwi Rural.
The Vicar General Frair Fungayi Nyandoro will administer pastoral care in the diocese until another bishop is appointed.
ìIt is hard to bid you Bishop and Amai farewell after what you have done for us in the past 20 years. You have continually strengthened us in prayer and spirit and have been at the centre of development in our diocese.
ìYou have fostered discipline in the clergy and congregants, the construction of buildings including maternity wards, church buildings, drilling of boreholes, feeding the disadvantaged in community among other works. We can never replace you,î said one speaker.
Bishop Taonezvi began Masvingo Diocese with only two churches and the diocese now has 38 districts with 148 churches.
He spearheaded many development projects including distribution of 50 000 treated mosquito nets to malaria stricken Buhera District, construction of a clinic at St Bernard Mission in Buhera, construction and commissioning of a Chidzike vocational Training Centre in Summerton, distribution of maize seed to thousands of households, construction of a maternity ward at Daramombe Mission in Chikomba and a weekly feeding program for the less privileged.
Bishop Taonezvi was born in Gweru on March 25, 1957 and he learnt at Catholic run Holy Cross Mission before he proceeded to Chikwingwizha Secondary. He then studied at Gweru Teachers College and taught at Catholic run Regina Mundi High School for eight years before he studied to become a priest at Bishop Goal Seminary and became a deacon in the Anglican Church in December 1994.
He was stationed at several churches before he was elevated to the position of bishop and became Masvingo Diocese founding bishop in 2002, a position he held until his retirement.
bishop Taonezvi left congregants in stitches when he said that he worked with troublesome priests but managed to bring them back into line.
ìI leave this diocese a happy and satisfied man with happy memories. It is hard to lead a diocese with limited resources but you supported me.
ìI worked well with priests though some of them were troublesome and I had to whip them back into line. I advise the clergy not to go off the rails because in their actions and thoughts because they will confuse the congregation,î said Bishop Taonezvi.
He urged the church to support the next bishop. –https://masvingomirror.com