The Right Reverend Godfrey Taonezvi, the founding Bishop of the Anglican Diocese of Masvingo has retired.
Bishop Taonezvi bid farewell to serving and retired bishops, friends and tens of congregants at a mass held at Masvingo Showgrounds just over a week ago.
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.
The Central Zimbabwe Diocese’s Bishop Ignatius Makumbe who chairs the Bishops Council was represented by his wife.
Bishop Taonezvi will officially step down on 25 March 2022 having served the church for 28 years, 20 of them as a bishop.
He was appointed bishop in 2002 and started off with only three priests and now the diocese has 35 priests.
Before establishing the diocese, he had served his first eight years in the Anglican Church as a deacon and priest at several churches.
Anglican church members and the clergy close to Bishop Taonezvi spoke well about his service to the church. One of the speakers said:
It 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.
You have fostered discipline in the clergy and congregants, the construction of buildings including maternity wards, church buildings, drilling of boreholes, feeding the disadvantaged in the community among other works. We can never replace you.
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.