On Sunday night last I was a guest of the Methodist Church at a service of welcome for the new Minister of Lucan and Blanchardstown Methodist communities, Rev. Tawanda Sungai. Rev. Sungai is from Zimbabwe and arrived in Ireland just three weeks ago with his wife Agnella, and two daughters Mutsawashe and Mufaro to take up his new appointment; his 18yr old son Brendan has started college in Zimbabwe. Rev. Tawanda will also be Chaplain to the Zimbabwean Methodist Community in Dublin.
The service of welcome was held in the Methodist Centre in Tyrrellstown and was led jointly by Rev. Lawrence Graham, Minister of the Dublin Central Mission in Abbey Street and Rev. Andrew Doughtery. Rev. Doughtery is the District Superintendent of the Methodist Church in Dublin and he delivered a fine sermon challenging Christians to accept the challenge of Christ to be his presence in the world, leaving the ‘holy huddles’ that we can inhabit to bring the Light of Christ into the darkness of the world.
The service also comprised hymns sung by members of the Zimbabwean community in Ireland in their native Shona language and was a joyous welcome for the whole Sungai family. I also welcome the family as neighbours, since they live just two doors from me in Beech Park.
“One Lord, one faith, one Baptism….” (Ephesians 4:5)
Lucan is a small village yet we have the presence of the four major Christian churches on the Island within our community. Methodist, Presbyterian, Church of Ireland and Roman Catholic, it could be regarded as a microcosm of Irish Christianity. Thankfully the churches here enjoy a cordial and respectful relationship. The ministers of all the churches meet each month for lunch and enjoy some fellowship together. We come together as Church at Christmas and Holy Week as well as the annual week of prayer for Christian unity to bear united witness to Christ Jesus our Lord.
Thankfully the days when we regarded each other with suspicion and from a distance are well and truly over.
We look forward to Rev Sungai being part of all of that and we welcome him among us as a fellow minister of the Gospel of Christ. It’s a big transition for him and all his family, a new country, a new home, a new appointment, new schools for his daughters, we pray that his ministry will be blessed by the Lord and that his time among us may be both happy and fulfilling.
Fr. Philip Curran