A year before a major evangelistic series in Harare, more
than 34,000 local Adventists have packed a stadium in the Zimbabwe capital to
celebrate religious freedom.
Some 4,000 Seventh-day Adventist young people marched from downtown
Harare to the Glamis stadium, where they joined more than 30,000 waiting
The Zimbabwe prisons band played for the Pathfinders, who
carried banners reading, “Celebrating Religious Liberty in Zimbabwe.”
The guest of honor, State Minister Miriam Chikukwa, spoke about the government’s
commitment to protect the constitution, which guarantees religious liberty.
She said the government would not hesitate to arrest anyone
who perpetrated violence in the name of religion.
Paul Charles, communication director for the denomination’s
Southern Africa-Indian Ocean Division, told the gathering in late June that the
purpose of the function was for Adventists to express appreciation to the Zimbabwe
government for the religious freedom the church was enjoying.
He also urged the Adventists to respect those from other
“The reason why we love each other even though we do not know each other is
that in you I see the image of God and in me you see the image of God,” Charles
The function was organized by the East Zimbabwe Conference,
which is also preparing to welcome more than 40,000 people to a two-week
evangelistic series led by world church President Ted N.C. Wilson next May.
The 2015 event promises to be one of the most ambitious
efforts to share Jesus under the auspices of the world church’s “Mission to the
Jonathan Musvosvi, president of the East Zimbabwe
Conference, which is organizing the event, said earlier that the first week of
the evangelistic series would see Wilson speaking to businesspeople and
government officials at the Harare International Conference Center, an upmarket
venue in the affluent section of Harare.
“This is a segment of the population which is difficult for
us to reach and where the church is not growing as fast and strong as we would
like to see it,” Musvosvi said.
Conference leaders are looking at working with wealthy local
Adventists to invite people to the meetings, similar to what was done for “Hope
Manila 2014: iCare,” a two-week evangelistic series that resulted in more than
2,000 baptisms in the Philippine capital in May 2014.
For the second week, the evangelistic series will move to
the 60,000-seat National Sports Stadium in a densely populated area of Harare.
“We expect attendance to be in the range of 40,000,” Musvosvi
About 860,000 Adventists live in Zimbabwe. The Adventist Church entered the region
near Bulawayo in 1894 and has long enjoyed the support and protection of the
Adventist Review, June 16, 2014: “Over 40,000 Expected at Major Evangelistic Series in Zimbabwe”