Methodist Church in Zimbabwe
The Methodist Church in Zimbabwe is the fruit of British Methodist mission activity in former Southern Rhodesia which began in 1891, while the United Methodist Church in Zimbabwe is of American origin. The church gained its autonomy from the Methodist Church in Britain in 1977. It suffered greatly during the military struggle for the liberation of Zimbabwe. It is estimated that during the decade of the 1970s church membership declined almost 50 percent. Since independence in 1980, the MCZ has been making strong efforts to build up its membership again. One of its major problems is in fact at present its growth, which necessitates large efforts to nurture the new persons coming into the church and places heavy demands on the church leadership. Another major problem is the high death rate from HIV/AIDS and the many orphans who are in great need. In order to cope with the growing needs of the members there has been a great emphasis on training and about 90 percent of the MCZ clergy have been trained since 1987. Currently there are 116 ordained clergy of whom 14 are women. There are 79 student ministers and probationers of whom 11 are women.
Whereas in 1982 there were just over 16,600 young people participating in church activities, in 2003 the number was almost 54,000. The MCZ has eleven primary and nine secondary schools. In addition, there are four multipurpose community centres which are used for work among women, youth and non-church groups. The schools and centres, though belonging to the MCZ, are used ecumenically. Currently there is one missionary from the UK working with the church.