Walter Mswazie Masvingo Correspondent
A STORM is brewing at Harvest House International (HHI) after a popular Masvingo-based Pastor Ntobeko Mhlanga resigned to form his own ministry after allegedly falling out with his superiors.
The resignation letter addressed to the founder of the Church, Senior Reverend Collin Nyathi, and signed by pastor Mhlanga and his wife Sithandazile did not give reasons for the move.
The couple said they would be starting their own ministry, but pledged not to do so within the next three months so as not to destabilise HHI.
“We want to express our heartfelt gratitude to you Sir and Mum together with all the reverends for your clear love and care for us as a couple. We write this letter to request for release from our duties as reverends and pastors of HHI. We feel in our hearts a leading to start a ministerial work,” reads part of the letter.
“We will in the following weeks commit to do everything within our ability to assist the smooth transition and handover process to the incoming leader. We also commit ourselves not to start a church or do anything that will disturb the progress of the work of the Lord in and around Masvingo for the next three months.”
Pastor Mhlanga was not reachable on his mobile phone, but yesterday through WhatsApp he said: “no comment.”
Bishop Nyathi confirmed that the church has agreed to “release” pastor Mhlanga.
“Yes it’s true that he has asked to be released and we were seized with his case for three weeks until we agreed to release him. To us, he never said that he isn’t happy. I’m coming to Masvingo on Sunday (yesterday) to make an official announcement to that effect,” said Bishop Nyathi.
The HHI leader was mum when asked about the reasons behind pastor Mhlanga’s resignation.
“I don’t know the reasons. In his letter he hasn’t stated the reasons,” said the bishop.
Information gathered by The Chronicle is that pastor Mhlanga was recently served with a letter of transfer to Bulawayo and objected.
The pastor is alleged to have felt that he was being treated unfairly given the work he has done for the Masvingo congregation that had grown under his stewardship.
Some sources said rumours that he wanted to form his own church were also behind the transfer.
It is also alleged that some pastors were becoming jealous of him after he managed to lure many congregants and under his leadership, the church had since bought a stand where permanent structures are being built in Masvingo.
The news of his resignation has also touched many members across the country with most of them threatening to leave the church to follow him.
A member from Gweru, Mathias Mkomberi, said he has been blessed by pastor Mhlanga and expressed fears that the whole HHI church will “shake” if he leaves.
He appealed to Bishop Nyathi to dissuade him from leaving the church, saying he was likely to leave with many congregates.
“Pastor Mhlanga should be persuaded not to leave the church. The church should desist from behaving like a political party by forcing men of God out. We will miss this man more than he would miss the church but I beg you to write about us in good light,” said Mkomberi.
A female congregant, identified only as sister Petunia from Masvingo said Bishop Nyathi made a blunder by accepting Mhlanga’s resignation as this would destroy the church in Masvingo.
“This is a bad New Year resolution for the church. We want our pastor back and will not tolerate anything to the contrary,” said Petunia.
Bishop Nyathi also circulated his response to all branches and attached pastor Mhlanga’s letter of resignation.
Part of the letter addressed to all members reads: “Attached below is a resignation letter received from Reverend Mhlanga and wife. We’ve been dealing with the matter for approximately two weeks and now this is the final conclusion.
“We thank the Mhlangas for the way they are assisting us in handing over the work to those that will remain.
“We kindly ask you to read out their letter to your hubs and churches as an announcement that will serve to explain their departure.”
Recently a Harvest House International pastor based in Gweru Pastor Tutani Tururu, 45, was found hanging from the church building roof trusses by a member who had gone there to pray.