30 YEARS ON: THE MAKING OF A GIANT
Cranborners today are celebrating 30 years in existence, a culmination of a dream realised by families who converged, coming from St Mark Highfield and some from Harare Circuit to form the modern day church.
Starting as a preaching point under St Mark Highfield, the initial attendance on this day 30 years ago was 68 members and fast forward, Cranborne has hit four digits with membership now over a 1000.
Amongst the families responsible in the making of Cranborne are the Muzorewas, Mvunduras, Magoshas, Mazaiwanas, Kadziranges, Chaereras, Makutos and the iconic Mrs Agnes Dlamini, affectionately known as Mbuya Ndizvo.
Retired Rev Zebediah Marowangepo was the then District Superintendent.
The late founding member Mr Archibald Makuto recounts that the distance factor had taken its toll on the few families who were driving to and from Highfield resident within Cranborne hence the formation of the church.
The initial services were held at the Seventh Day Adventist Church, a stone’s throw away from Cranborne’s current location with Makuto and Mr Joseph Kadzirange being the lay leaders.
Kadzirange was instrumental in securing permission to use the church for our services.
14 March 1989 saw the preaching point being officially opened by DS Rev Marowangepo in front of over 400 people.
Reverend Webster Mutamba delivered the very first sermon for the young Cranborne and lay preachers thronged Cranborne giving sermons thereafter, assigned by Rev Kenny Marange.
Amongst the first weddings at Cranborne were those of Mrs and the late Mr V Katema, Mr and Mrs Chimhau and Mrs and the late Mr Mwawa.
The 1989 Annual Conference at Murewa Mission saw Cranborne/Hatfield Circuit being established under a new District Superintendent in Rev Kapfumvuti. Mrs Beatrice Mutasa was the District Lay Leader then.
The conference saw Reverend Remember Masamba appointed as the first Pastor in Charge for our circuit and he went on to be one of the most appreciated pastors in the then Zimbabwe Annual Conference.
The numbers swelled, beyond the capacity of the SDA Church and the church successfully was accommodated across the road again, this time at St Marys Anglican Church.
Relations between Cranborne and the two churches continue to be excellent thanks to a shared history of love.
By January 1990, the circuit had 185 members, 100 from Cranborne and 85 from Hatfield.
By 1991, the membership had grown to 265 full members, 173 probationers and 254 members from the Junior Church thanks to a great evangelistic drive. The late Mr Wilson Mazaiwana and Mrs Chataurwa were now the layleaders.
Hatfield became a stand alone circuit in 1992 with Reverend Banda becoming their pastor from January 1, ensuring Cranborne becomes independent.
Makuto was back as lay leader together with Mazaiwana.
The ensuring years saw massive growth at Cranborne with 24 women being badged for RRW, 11 men becoming full MUMC members and the UMYF growing in leaps and bounds.
Cranborne became the top circuit in the conference on Harvest contributions and the first to purchase a vehicle.
The stand on which Cranborne is now was purchased in 1994 with the ground breaking witnessed by DS Rev Chikoore, District Lay leader Mr Machuma and Rev C Mudede, himself a former youth president at Cranborne.
The ceremony was done in the famous black tent which was stationed were the modern day car park is as the construction went on.
Rev Anne Grace Jumbi became the second Pastor in charge and the first female pastor from 1999 to mid 1999. Rev Makoni covered the remaining six months.
Reverend John Chinyati came along from 2000-2001, a time which saw us leaving Anglican to our new environs at the stand.
Rev Marange was to come from 2002 to 2004 with the church’s construction very much in full swing.
Reverends Matthew Mutidzawanda (2005-2009), Maxwell Chambara (2010-2014) Gift Machinga( 2015-date and Noah Chikuni (2017- date) have all made their mark in Cranborne’s history as our Pastors.
The late Reverend Winnet Chombo made history as she was appointed the first ever Associate Pastor in 2015, with Reverend Chikuni now in that role from 2017.
A total of 20 lay leaders have now served in that capacity with Makuto being the only man to hold the position on multiple times in Cranborne’s fabled history.
The church has continued to grow and is now one of the most recognisable circuits in the Zimbabwe Episcopal Area.
Today is a day many will reflect with fondness the road the Lord has taken the church from humble beginnings laid on foundations of prayer to become the colossus the church is today.