October 2011

Budiriro Update

In this church’s centenary year of 2010 we celebrated that God has been working in and through us as a congregation. We were also very mindful of the large amount of money we had raised and spent upgrading and renovating our buildings in 2007 – around £275,000. So as part of the celebration we decided not to raise funds for another improvement to the fabric (a straw poll suggested new chairs in Caley Hall might have been the project), but instead thank God by encouraging other Christians in their life and witness.

After some too-ing and fro-ing, and some encouragement from our Eastern Synod, we were linked to Budiriro Uniting Presbyterian Church in Harare, Zimbabwe. So during the centenary year we set about raising funds for this young church of around 60 adults who exuberantly worshipped God under a tin roof with no walls on a borrowed peace of land. Well the upshot of a lot of work and giving was almost £9,500 was raised. And they began looking for an appropriate piece of land that would allow them to become rooted in the Budiriro community and a building that could be used on Sunday and other days as both a church and a community resource. Praise God!

In early July this year, Budiriro Church was constituted by the Zimbabwe Presbytery (something like our Synod) as a church it‘s own right rather than a church linked to and under the watchful eye of another older and larger congregation.

In August, the Moderator of our Synod, Rev Paul Whittle, spent almost 3 weeks in Zimbabwe building up the links between our Synod and the Zimbabwe Presbytery. As part of this process on his first weekend there he was able to preach at Budiriro. He was also able to inform them that almost US$15,000 had finally been paid into a presbytery account on their behalf and according to Paul ‘the news of the arrival of the gift was greeted with great exuberance!’

It seems that rather than owning land (in Zimbabwe ‘a stand’) the usual custom is a kind of long-term leasehold from the council, but the council will not grant the leasehold on the land unless a church can prove they actually have the wherewithal to build. So it appears that the centenary gift will not so much purchase the ‘stand’ but enable our friends in Budiriro to lease the stand and also go a long way to the cost of a building, alongside the sacrificial giving and work of the Budiriro congregation. The application to the council by Budiriro Church is far advanced and we continue to pray that they will soon have a stand and a building of their own in which to glorify God.

Some months ago I invited Paul to speak to us about his (then) upcoming trip to Zimbabwe and especially his involvement with Budiriro. Moderators diaries are rather full so the first free Sunday he had is the 8th January 2012 where he will both preach at the 10am service and spend about an hour after the service talking more in depth about his time there. I am looking forward to hearing from him and learning more about our partner church.

So things are developing at Budiriro. And we can thank God that we are a part of that excitement.

October 2011