Original Research

Using ecumenical experiences to respond to new public life challenges

John Gaga, Gift Masengwe, Bekithemba Dube
In die Skriflig/In Luce Verbi | Vol 58, No 1 | a2994 | DOI: https://doi.org/10.4102/ids.v58i1.2994 | © 2024 John Gaga, Gift Masengwe, Bekithemba Dube | This work is licensed under CC Attribution 4.0
Submitted: 19 June 2023 | Published: 17 January 2024

About the author(s)

John Gaga, Department of Education Foundations, Faculty of Education, University of the Free State, Bloemfontein, South Africa
Gift Masengwe, Department of Education Foundations, Faculty of Education, University of the Free State, Bloemfontein, South Africa
Bekithemba Dube, Department of Education Foundations, Faculty of Education, University of the Free State, Bloemfontein, South Africa

Abstract

The description of the history of the church in Zimbabwe highlights the presence of a visibly united church that has been actively involved in supporting public life since the colonial era. The division within the Christian community is not a recent phenomenon but has existed throughout colonial history. The Zimbabwe Heads of Christian Denominations (ZHOCD) serves as an umbrella organisation that aims at re-uniting Christian efforts of Catholic, Protestant, Evangelical, and Indigenous traditions, in order to have a collective influence on democratic processes in Zimbabwe. The ZHOCD takes a combative approach towards state tyranny and is proactive in seeking solutions for public life challenges. This active engagement is beneficial for national agendas, that allow citizens to freely choose and join political parties of their preferences. The individual actions and activities of the ZHOCD members contribute towards the overall work of the churches in Zimbabwe. This demonstrates religious confidence in addressing the political and economic impacts on human well-being. By fulfilling its mission and tasks, the ZHOCD actively participates in the shaping public life in Zimbabwe.

Contribution: The article contributes towards alternative ecumenical responses to national crises, using the case of the Zimbabwe Heads of Christian Denominations. These responses can be used by any ecumenical Christian bodies to deal with challenges arising in a state due to political differences and challenges.


Keywords

Christian unity; Zimbabwe Heads of Christian Denominations; public life; civil society; political violence; democracy; ecumenism

Sustainable Development Goal

Goal 16: Peace, justice and strong institutions

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