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A men’s soccer team is an outreach ministry of Granary United Methodist Church in Harare, Zimbabwe. Photo courtesy of Granary United Methodist Church Communications.

Photo courtesy of Granary United Methodist Church Communications

A men’s soccer team is an outreach ministry of Granary United Methodist Church in Harare, Zimbabwe.

Soccer leads Zimbabwe United Methodists toward evangelism goal

 

By Chenayi Kumuterera
May 25, 2018 | HARARE, Zimbabwe (UMNS)

 
Courtesy photo of Felix Tangawarima. The men’s fellowship – Mubvuwi We – at Granary United Methodist Church is bringing people to Christ through soccer as impromptu teams compete for fun and fellowship.

Courtesy photo of Felix Tangawarima, FIFA technical instructor, and integrity officer for referees in Africa.

The men’s fellowship – Mubvuwi We – at Granary United Methodist Church is bringing people to Christ through soccer as impromptu teams compete for fun and fellowship.

You won’t find a beautifully manicured soccer field here. The community’s playground is not maintained. Many of the players lack proper shoes and uniforms, but that doesn’t stop them from participating in their favorite game. With no goalposts, the men bring their own nets. Those dressed in green make a team against those without uniforms.  

The men’s soccer team attracts churchgoers and non-churchgoers alike. They gather for entertainment and to promote healthy lifestyles. 

“We need constant game matches,” said Felix Sakanya Dembe, the men’s fellowship entertainment chair.  

The Rev. Josephine Yeukai Hoto, Granary’s pastor, confirmed that two souls have been won to Christ since March. Participation in soccer has proven a great tool for evangelism, resulting in growth of the United Methodist men’s fellowship.

Members of the Granary United Methodist Church soccer team bring their own nets to games on the unimproved field. Photo courtesy of Granary United Methodist Church Communications.

Members of the Granary United Methodist Church soccer team bring their own nets to games on the unimproved field. Photo courtesy of Granary United Methodist Church Communications.

 

Recreation promotes a culture of unity and love as well as community development, said Eric Takura, who chairs Mubvuwi We.

Play fair; then celebrate  

Before every game, Hoto reminds participants of Jesus’ commandment to love one another, Takura said. She “addresses issues of reducing gender-based violence, career guidance, life principles. … We all celebrate the end of the game with braai [roasted meat].”

Swaying hips, stamping feet, nodding heads and clapping to different beats is the order of each Sunday afternoon as community youth and adults flock to the playground.

Douglas Marasha, who was involved in soccer as a youth, is happy to play. “Our captain is very tactful and confident,” he said.

“I would love to see more and more participation of [United Methodist men] competing at conference level like we do in music festivals,” added Felix Tangawarima. He is the Federation Internationale de Football technical instructor and integrity officer responsible for referees in Africa.   

“This can be a very effective channel of evangelism,” he said, vowing to donate a football kit to the Granary United Methodist Church men’s fellowship.

Irenius Mhemba, the congregation’s communicator, said the men hope to participate at zonal and district levels.

Kumuterera is a communicator with the Zimbabwe West Annual Conference.

News media contact: Vicki Brown, news editor, newsdesk@umcom.org or 615-742-5469. To read more United Methodist news, subscribe to the free Daily or Weekly Digests.