The Shurgwi Parish

Our Companion Synod/Twinned Parish

The Shurgwi Parish

Evangelical Lutheran Church in Zimbabwe (ELCZ)

Shurugwi Parish Profile

The Upstate NY Synod entered into a Companion Synod relationship with the Evangelical Lutheran Church in Zimbabwe (ELCZ) in 2000. Congregations in our synod were assigned Lutheran parishes in Zimbabwe to “twin” with. BLC is twinned with the Shurugwi Parish located in the south central part of Zimbabwe. The parish consists of seven congregations or preaching points. The town is located at a higher elevation with mining of gold and chrome being the central industry. Shurugwi is the site of the first Lutheran mission commemorated by a chapel at the Ester Helden congregation site. When Missionary Helden’s wife died of malaria in 1903, she was buried at this site and the grave tended for 100 years until another Lutheran pastor was assigned. Shurugwi is currently again without a pastor due to the financial inability of the congregations to provide his or her salary.


In 2010, three members of Bethlehem traveled, with a group from the Upstate NY Synod, to Zimbabwe to greet our twinned parish and get to know these partners in Christ. The focus of a twinning relationship is on accompaniment as we each learn and grow in faith. Prayer concerns are regularly exchanged as well as milestones within the congregations. Communication occurs predominantly through cell phone texts. BLC pledges $500 a year to the Shurugwi Parish as a way to share our gifts. In 2012, Bishop Stephen Dube of Zimbabwe preached at BLC during his tour of the Upstate NY Synod.


  1. Church Body             Evangelical Lutheran Church in Zimbabwe (ELCZ)

  2. Name of Parish            Shurugwi
  3. ELCZ National Bishop        Rev. Stephen Dube as of 1/1/11


  4. Central Diocese Bishop         Rev. N. Shava
  5. Western Deanery Dean        Rev. A.K. Marova
  6. Shurugwi Pastor            Currently without a pastor due to lack of financial resources.
  7. Address                Box 197, Shurugwi

    Zimbabwe, Africa

  8. Shurugwi Parish Chairperson    Engelbert Hungwe 0777514864
  9. Shurugwi Vice Chairperson     Antony Zhou 0772939452
  10. Shurugwi Treasurer        Sibonile Gumbo 0775163920
  11. Shurugwi Youth Leader        Unknown
  12. Overall parish concerns:
  • Low male membership.
  • Desire to involve 16-30 year old married and unmarried members.
  • Meeting the needs of poor and widowed parishioners.
  • Lack of pastor. Communication is with parish chairperson.
  • Parish covers the size of Monroe County. Pastor travels on foot, by public transportation, and by borrowed rides.
  • Parsonage has been completed near Shurugwi Urban site and is currently being rented to raise money.
  • Lack of financial resources to support a pastor.
  • Congregational sites without parsonages or live in caretakers are open to vandalism.


Pastor Comfort Shumba was the pastor in Shurugwi when we began our relationship. He poses here at his recent undergraduate graduation. He was managing seven congregations, is married, and has seven year old twins and a newborn son. Mrs. Shumba is a lecturer at the university level.


Pastor Shumba’s main mode of transportation was on foot or by catching a ride. The area of the Shurugwi Parish is about the size of Monroe County.


Our congregation sends $500 a year as our pledge to the Shurugwi Parish. We sent some additional funds to help build a parsonage. With the currently inability to support a pastor’s salary the parsonage is being rented out as source of income for the parish.


Members of Ester Helden Congregation, the oldest Lutheran mission site in Zimbabwe (1903) and part of the Shurugwi Parish. The women wear purple outfits to represent their involvement in the Lutheran women’s group.