Just as a body, though one, has many parts, but all its many parts form one body, so it is with Christ. For we were all baptized by one Spirit so as to form one body—whether Jews or Gentiles, slave or free—and we were all given the one Spirit to drink. Even so the body is not made up of one part but of many.
On the 19th of October 2022, in the presence of friends and family, I sat at the front as the induction service rolled on. The induction service itself showed that now I was in a new ministry context.
Coming from a Presbyterian family, and comparing the experience of induction I had in Zimbabwe many years ago various things struck me. In Zimbabwe the procession of ministers wearing clerical gowns and stoles would have been welcomed by a congregation of people wearing church uniforms, singing, beating drums, playing instruments, and dancing in a very energetic way.
In the URC prayers were read from written notes not delivered extempore. Worship was expressed more in contemplative and reflective readings than in song, dance, and praise. Elderly, not younger, people formed the bigger part of those who attended. I knew at once that I had to gradually shift from a ministry focused on social justice and prioritisation of humanitarian interventions. In Zimbabwe the context is of high levels of poverty, stress, drug abuses, human rights abuses, droughts, food crisis, and high unemployment. In the UK the focus is on other issues such as rising cost of living, racism, and the legacies of slavery.
Meanwhile my mind, which was used to thinking in Shona with a mix of English, started instructing my mouth that to preach in English alone – and in such ways that I give adequate time for those struggling with my accent to process what l would be communicating. It’s been quite a journey!
Dear Lord Jesus Christ, thank you for reminding me that I belong to a much wider Church that is universal. The Church whose family is of all people, of all claims and statuses. Help us to keep squeezing each other until we all fit harmoniously to each other as the Body of Christ realizing parts we ought to play. Thank you that there is space for all of us to serve and contribute to the good of the world. Teach me and others to adapt to what the Spirit of God wants the Church to achieve and to learn the will of God together. Amen.
The Rev’d Kurauone Mutimwii worked with Masvingo Presbyterian Church in Zimbabwe for 10 years before coming to the UK to work with the Greater Manchester South and Cheshire Missional Partnership in the North Western Synod.