Light of Life Christian Group as a New Religious Movement in Zimbabwe

Essential Steps Towards Eucharistic Intercommunion

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The birth and rapid growth of new religious movements in Zimbabwe is a marked phenomenon in the history of Christianity in Africa. Ever since the Reformation that split the Western Church in the 16th century, a number of efforts have since been made by various new religious movements to try and foster ecumenism amongst the deeply divided ecclesiastical communities. Whilst great strides have since been made in critical areas such as common witnessing, inter-religious dialogue, common prayers, mixed marriages, ecumenism in faculties of theology, among other areas, one key element of ecumenism, namely, the common celebration of the Eucharist has always remained very remote and a no go area. To a greater extent, the Roman Catholic authorities in particular have been accused of dragging their feet or taking a ‘distant and detached’ approach to the same practice.1 This current article specifically examines the Light of Life Christian Group’s (llcg) vision of ecumenism, particularly its practice of Eucharistic intercommunion that dates back to the early 1970s. The main argument developed in this article is that, whilst llcg may stand in sharp opposition to the traditional Christian (particularly Catholic) view with regard to sharing the Eucharist with non-Catholics and norms governing the formation of public associations, it has made a breakthrough in the realization of the highest goal of ecumenism. To a greater extent, it has also succeeded in uniting the various denominations that for centuries had been separated by doctrine, history and practice. The article also argues that whilst llcg’s breakthrough is of pinnacle importance in the history of Christianity in Zimbabwe in particular, it is also unique in the sense that, instead of starting from above, from popes and bishops as is always expected and canonically constituted, the breakthrough has started from below.

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Journal of Contemporary Christianities in Context

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References

1

Dick Akerboom, ‘Ecumenism of the Future-The Future of Ecumenism’, Grace and Truth 19/3 (2002), 5.

17

From 1964 to 2003, Father Urayai was never appointed priest-in-charge of any Mission in the Diocese of Gweru despite the fact that he was among the Diocese’s first black priests.

63

Ironically, the same year (2003) that Matenga closed phase one of communicating through mediums, Fr. Urayai succumbed to diabetes. He was buried at Driefontein Mission in August 2003.63

71

Alphonce Kugwa, ‘Super Roma Revisited’, Moto Periodical 255 (March 2005), 3.

83

Mervyn Abrahams, ‘Ecumenism: Councils and Contexts’, Grace and Truth 19/3 (2002), 3.

96

Gerard McCabe, ‘Doctrine Divides-Service Unites’, Grace and Truth 19/3 (2002), 21.

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