|THE United Methodist Church UK has been thrown into turmoil after an angry worshiper, in full view of the congregation, confronted Rev Tsaurai Kudakwashe Mapfeka, openly accusing the cleric of conducting an adulterous affair with his wife.
Church members said the incident occurred on January 4 at the rented St Peters Church in Vauxhall in front of the cleric’s wife and children.
According to sources it was during the thanksgiving announcement that one Maxwell Chirewa stunned the congregation when he angrily seized the microphone to announce that Rev Mapfeka was having an affair with his wife.
Some church elders quickly intervened and took Chirewa outside for him to cool down. The stunned cleric and his wife followed but it wasn’t long before they came back to collect their children and make a hasty departure for home.
Chiwera remained behind to tell the church members that he had evidence that Mapfeka was having an affair with his wife, Linda Chirewa.
He said at one time Linda lied to him claiming to have gone to Zimbabwe and yet she had gone to Germany on holiday with the reverend.
He produced a picture of the two pausing while in Germany and a number of whatsApp messages.
Among the text messages which Chirewa produced as evidence of the affair are salacious exchanges said to have been between Linda and Mapfeka.
In one of the messages, allegedly between the lovebirds, Linda writes “Am thinking pane varikunakiranawo sesu so lolest (Just wondering if there are any out there who are enjoying each other just as we do ” to which the cleric replied “ukanzwa vamwe undiudzewo (If you hear of any do tell me).”
As the exchanges unfold Linda writes “Musiwa 2 nguva dzino chinenge chakachaya kkk (On the 2nd at exactly this time we will be having fun” to which Mapfeka replies “8 days, wakavhura (Have you opened?” Linda asks: “Kuvhura (Opening?)” and the Revered replies “Ehe! (Yes)”.
Following the incident church members have been clandestinely lobbying for Rev Mapfeka’s dismissal saying his alleged conduct had brought the name of the Church into disrepute.
But Mapfeka launched into a damage limitation drive writing a letter to his superiors asking for a “pastoral statement to help the church understand that the matter is now under consideration and will be dealt with ensuring fairness to all parties concerned.”
Mapfeka said the demand by his accusers that “I stop conducting my responsibilities with immediate effect violates my basic right to normal life until proven guilty.”
The Reverend said he had also sought police advice on how to ensure the safety of his family since the incident.
However, attempts at damage limitation have not stopped the Australian Mission Area from barring Mapfeka from a youth conference which is scheduled for Friday to Sunday in that country.
Mapfeka was due to attend as a guest speaker but Drs Dzimano and Mbano wrote to him telling him to “cancel flight arrangements” as his invitation had been “withdrawn immediately”.
The decision to withdraw the invitation, Drs Dzimano and Mbano said, was taken because “parents have raised concerns with the negative impact and distraction your presence may cause at the conference”.
The Methodist Church UK was set up by Zimbabweans who asked the United Methodist Church in Zimbabwe to second a pastor to lead them and Bishop Eben Nhiwatiwa in Harare obliged by seconding Rev Mapfeka in 2003.
Rev Mapfeka’s term was due to end in 2007 but was somehow extended, a development which led to discontent in the church.
Since then tension has been bubbling under the surface and his alleged affair with a married woman could have ripple effects as sources said there were many allegations against Mapfeka.
Sources said many complaints about Rev Mapfeka had fallen on deaf ears as the Committee on Superintendence which is a bridge between the congregation and the clergy has been protecting him.
Rev Mapfeka confirmed the incident to Newzimbabwe.com and that he had been barred from attending the meeting in Australia.
“Yes something happened but I am in a meeting now and I am due to meet the elders on the issue. I was supposed to meet them on Saturday but the meeting was postponed and so I can speak to you after that,” he said in a quivering voice.
Hours later Rev Mapfeka’s phone was unreachable.
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