Retired Methodist Pastors Venture Into Farming

More than half of Zimbabwe’s clergy retirees have become involved in agriculture, with the Revs. Zebediah Marewangepo, Kelvin Mwandira, Ananias Mutemeri and John Chinyati embarking on horticultural activities.

Marewangepo (84), who as a young man trained as a carpenter, and then earned various theology and Christian education degrees in the United States, India and the Netherlands, is now into poultry farming. He said:

Poultry, rabbit, goat rearing and fruit farming is my new hobby, together with my wife, Mildred Tapiwa, a retired nurse.

We used to raise more than 500 chickens, but are now downgrading as we age. I am happy to venture into agriculture. I am now mainly into horticulture.

Community members and other clergy applaud the efforts of the clergy-turned-farmers.

Loveness Mutezo, who chairs the Equitable Salaries and Compensation Committee of the Zimbabwe East Conference, said:

Rev. Marewangepo has always been a true reflection of the benefits of hard work.

The Glen Lorne community is benefiting immensely from some of his projects such as maize, vegetables, poultry and fruit farming.

He has remained active even in church programs, despite his busy schedule.

The income-generating projects sustain him and his family and stand true of the Shona idiom ‘unodya cheziya,’ meaning ‘you eat of your sweat.’

(Physical activity) has gone a long way in improving his wellness and health.

Rev. Chris Chikoore, pastor to the Nyanungo family at Waterfalls United Methodist Church circuit said of the former minister:

In my view, the Rev. Lovemore Nyanungo, 88, is another shining example of integrity in all areas, a hard worker who did not just rely on what the church provided.

He has run businesses and done farming to provide for his family.

Retirees agree that sustainable farming has improved their personal well-being.

They eat healthy food and follow the COVID-19 preventative measures set up by the World Health Organisation. Said Mwandira:

Forty-three years of active ministry is really loaded in terms of experience.

I have gone through rough times and good times. I haven’t realized much of a difference (in retirement), except no appointment, no pressure of duty and no fixed remuneration.

Growing mushrooms, he earns US$$50 weekly from local sales in Harare.

The Rev Lancelot Mukundu, Zimbabwe West Board of Ordained Ministry chair said:

The Rev. Ananias Mutemeri owned a grinding mill while serving as a pastor and is now a businessman because the milling business is always in demand.

Retired Rev. John Chinyati also owns a grinding mill, which is giving him a decent living. We continue urging our pastors in Zimbabwe (to do) good planning and investing to avoid dependency syndrome.

Retired Pastor Stephen Musodza is also into farming. He owns a medium-size farm in Mutoko and this year realized a bumper harvest because of the good rains.

Most of the retired pastors serve as torchbearers in their districts, mentoring upcoming retirees.

More: NewZimbabwe.com

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