Right Reverend Cleophas Lunga, the Bishop of Matabeleland Province, has taken his gospel to the Wales in the UK, where he was invited to take a ride on the Talyllyn Railway.
He joined the engine crew on the footplate of Loco No 7 “Tom Rolt” for the journey to Nant Gwernol and was pleased to be able to thank the Railway for the support that members and friends have given to his work.
Right Rev. Cleophas Lunga was born in Bulawayo in 1966. He was educated in Roman Catholic schools and was temporarily employed by the Catholic Church but joined the local Anglican Church in 1986.
He worked as a clerk in a legal office for three years before pursuing theological studies at Bishop Gaul Theological College, Harare. He was ordained Deacon in 1993 and posted to St Andrew’s in Bulawayo.
The following year he was made a priest and assigned to the Cathedral in Bulawayo as assistant priest and Diocesan youth chaplain.
In 1999 he was appointed rector of All Saints and St Modwen in what was a multi-racial parish in the same city.
In 2003, he accepted a post as team vicar for St Catherine’s United Kingdom, the job evolved and he became Team Vicar with special responsibility for Holy Cross and St Michael’s, within the Caludon Team Ministry.
Since his time in Coventry Cleophas has undertaken post-graduate study at Coventry University, attaining an MA focusing on Peace and Reconciliation.
He was enthroned Bishop of Matabeleland on 1 March 2009.
Following his election as Bishop of Matabeleland, Bishop Cleophas’s former parishes in the Coventry area have maintained an interest in and support for his ministry in Zimbabwe.
The Talyllyn Railway has held a special event called “Stations at Stations’ on Good Friday over the last ten years. Last year these services were conducted by the Right Reverend Michael Langrish, the former Bishop of Exeter.
The service of the ‘Stations of the Cross,’ normally takes place in a church, but has been adapted as a spiritual pilgrimage at the stations along the line from Tywyn Wharf to Nant Gwernol. On some of these occasions, those taking part in have given donations to support the work of the Matabeleland diocese.
Bishop Cleophas also has an episcopal crozier that was given to him made from the branches of a tree at Brynglas, one of the smaller intermediate stations on the line.
While he was in the UK attending meetings in London recently, Bishop Cleophas visited his former churches in Coventry and he also made a visit to Tywyn. He addressed ‘Churches Together in Tywyn’ to tell people about his work in a very different and often challenging diocese. RailAdvent