Rural pastor in Zimbabwe

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The Rev. Annamore Kahlari walks home from Nemanje United Methodist Church, one of five congregations she serves near Makoni Buhera, Zimbabwe. The church is about 15 miles from her home. Photo by Chenayi Kumuterera, UM News.

By Chenayi Kumuterera
July 23, 2021 | MAKONI BUHERA, Zimbabwe (UM News)

Every Sunday, the Rev. Annamore Kahlari awakens before sunrise to pack a bag for her long walk. She is the pastor in charge of Zimbabwe’s Chikore Circuit, Makoni Buhera District.

She journeys about 15 miles each way, carrying a satchel containing a Bible, hymnbook and bottle of water. Her destination is not just one local church, but five.

Chikore Circuit includes Chikore, where the parsonage is located, Nemanje, Chitsiwa, Manyere and Nyamazira United Methodist churches. “I feel renewed each day,” Kahlari said, “as I walk from local church to local church, conducting my door-to-door visitation to the elderly members and their grandchildren.

“The weather is very hot, especially in summertime, and very cold in winter season; moreover, we do not have electricity,” she continued.

Only one of the churches, Chikore, has an actual sanctuary. At the other four churches, the congregation gathers outdoors for worship.

“Rev. Kahlari is such a strong woman of God,” said Sekuru Edward Haparimwe of Nemanje United Methodist Church. Along with visiting members, she conducts funerals and provides counseling. “This pastor is always there for us,” he added, “despite the distance she walks alone or sometimes accompanied by her lay leaders or a pastor-parish committee member.”

Mbuya Loveness Chikotora, 82, described Kahlari as a visionary, loving pastor.

“Since the COVID-19 lockdown, Rev. Kahlari has been there for us,” Chikotora said. “She schedules quality time to be with us, the old-aged members in the circuit, teaching, counseling and praying with us.”

Transportation is an ongoing challenge, Kahlari said, noting that travel can take five to six hours each way.

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