ZAOGA founder Archbishop Guti dies
Deputy News Editor
ZIMBABWE Assemblies of God Africa (Zaoga Forward in Faith) founder Archbishop Professor Ezekiel Handinawangu Guti has died.
He was 100, having been born on May 5, 1923, in Chipinge, Manicaland Province.
In a special announcement on Ezekiel TV channel last night, ZAOGA national executive chairman Apostle Joseph Guti said Prof Guti had “been promoted to great glory”.
“To the Zaoga Forward in Faith International executive, the national councils of various nations, leaders and the precious saints, I hereby announce to us the promotion to glory of our great iconic leader, Archbishop Professor Ezekiel Handinawangu Guti.
“It is with heavy hearts and deep sorrow that we announce the promotion to great glory of our dearly beloved spiritual father, visionary . . . ” said Apostle Guti.
He called on church members to “pray for our mother”, Apostle Eunor Guti, during this difficult moment. Church members and all others, have been advised not to make any travel arrangements until further announcements are made.
Prof Guti celebrated his 100th birthday in May, with President Mnangagwa and leaders of other Christian denominations praising him for being one of Zimbabwe’s most celebrated pioneers of indigenous Pentecostal evangelism. His birthday celebrations coincided with the church’s 63rd anniversary.
Other church leaders who followed his teachings and leadership such as Kingdom Prosperity Ministries founder, Apostle Rodney Chipoyera, regarded him as a “General in the faith”.
During Prof Guti’s 100th birthday celebrations, 100 balloons were tossed in the air as congregants whistled, ululated and danced in honour.
United International Family Church leader, Prophet Emmanuel Makandiwa and Pastor Tom Deuschle of Celebration Churches International, among others, attended the birthday celebrations.
In his address, President Mnangagwa praised Prof Guti for his 75 years of preaching the gospel.
“On this occasion, we have gathered here to witness history. I am honoured to be part of this occasion. We are also commemorating 75 years of preaching and 63 years of Zaoga Church,” said President Mnangagwa.
“Developments in the church are a clear testimony of grace upon Ezekiel Guti. We join the country in celebrating this historic moment. We are all witnessing this through the works of this great church and I wish to congratulate you on behalf of the country and my family on this centenary celebration of your birth.”
President Mnangagwa also assured the Church fraternity that under the Second Republic, freedom of worship was constitutionally guaranteed.
“My Government will further facilitate an enabling environment for the Church to carry out the great commission and to win souls, heal the sick and proclaim the good news of our Lord Jesus Christ.
“Equally, orphans, widows, the disabled and elderly must be taken care of. Together, as the State and Church, let us also nurture a citizenry, especially the youth, who are patriotic, disciplined, morally upright and loyal to our country Zimbabwe.
“It is commendable, that to date, the Church fraternity has remained a beacon of Ubuntu/Hunhu as well as accelerating social development. Specifically, your ZAOGA churches, educational institutions and Bible schools are churning out graduates who are ably serving in our national institutions, across Government and in the private sector,” he said.
President Mnangagwa said Mbuya Dorcas Hospital, the Zimbabwe Ezekiel Guti University, Ezekiel Television, and the Dress Making Training Centres as well as primary and secondary schools owned by the church, are impacting positively on the lives and livelihoods of communities.