The Rt. Rev. Godfrey Tawonezvi, founding bishop of the Anglican Diocese of Masvingo, Companion Diocese of the Diocese of Fond du Lac, will officially retired on March 25, 2022. The Anglican Church has five dioceses in Zimbabwe. He had served the church for 28 years, 20 of them as a bishop. When appointed bishop in 2002, Bishop Godfrey started with three priests and now the diocese has 35. There were initially two churches, and the diocese now has 38 districts and 148 churches. Vicar General Friar Fungayi Nyandoro will administer pastoral care in the diocese until another bishop is appointed.
During a farewell celebration in December, one speaker noted Bishop Godfrey had "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."
A report in the Masvingo Mirror noted Bishop Godfrey spearheaded many development projects including distribution of 50,000 treated mosquito nets to a malaria stricken area, construction of a clinic, construction and commissioning of a vocational Training Centre, distribution of maize seed to thousands of households, construction of a maternity ward and a weekly feeding program for the less privileged.
At the farewell celebration, Bishop Tawnezvi left people in stitches when he said he "worked with troublesome priests but managed to bring them back into line." He continued "I 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.
"we look forward to continuing to work with our friends in the Diocese of Masvingo," Bishop Matt Gunter shared. "Bishop Godfrey's retirement marks a time of transition in that diocese, which means more opportunity to build new relationships and share in living out the Gospel."
The Companion Diocese Task Force is currently sponsoring an Epiphany Campaign to raise funds for dairy cows in Masvingo.