A PASTOR from Zaoga Forward In Faith Ministries confiscated mobile phones belonging to young female congregants, went through their messages and ordered them to dump their “earthly” boyfriends.
“Hamungaiite basa rekunorara nevakomana vekunze uko, muchisiya ma brother muno mu church asina chekubata…munoda kuti vapone neiko chimbondiudzaiwo”
Pastor Themba Phiri, who oversees the church’s Emakhandeni branch, left worshipers dumbfounded when he demanded that every female among the church’s youth hand over their cellphones during the main service last Sunday.
The pastor reportedly went on to go through WhatsApp messages, photos and video gallery before rebuking them for partaking in “earthly” practices.
“We were shocked when suddenly he demanded that we hand over all over cellphones. Initially, we thought that he just wanted to put them aside so that they do not destruct us, but he went on to demand that we unlock the phones and he started scrolling through them.
“He viewed our WhatsApp messages, photos and videos. He then started blasting us, telling us that we are hypocrites and that we should immediately dump all our boyfriends and instead look for husbands within our church, which we feel is unfair and frankly we will not do that,” said a youth from the church.
Another female youth said they had, through the church elders, requested a meeting with the pastor to register their discomfort over his methods.
“My phone is my phone, what I do with it is my own concern. It is private. What he did is uncouth and we will be meeting him this Sunday (today) to register our discomfort. If he really means good, he should find other ways of driving the message.
“What irks me the most is that he did this to us girls only; the boys were not troubled at all. If he was fair, he should have done this to every youth and not handpick girls only,” she said.
Sunday News managed to trace Pastor Phiri while he was conducting an afternoon service at the church’s Lobengula branch and he was resolute about his stance, declaring that he is prepared to do it again as he is doing it for the girls and not for himself.
He said it is unfortunate that some of the youths were expressing discomfort in this, claiming that in the near future they will realise the benefits of his move.
“I actually feel pity for them. They rush to newspapers when in actual fact I am doing this for them. This is actually not the first time that I have done this and it certainly will not be the last.
“What I am simply saying is that we have a whole lot of girls out there that are falling pregnant because of their earthly associations. I love my children and this is all about them, not about me. I am trying to stop them from their current ways of life and it is surprising that they are not realising this,” said Pastor Phiri.
He claimed to have been given the green light by the girl’s parents whom he said clearly understood his ways of tackling the matter.
Questioned on what he had seen on the mobile phones the pastor was evasive. “I have messages from their parents appreciating my methods. If I had done this behind closed doors then I would have understood but I did it in front of everyone. What they should realise is that I am not even at that church on a permanent basis but I might be transferred anytime but I still love them as if I am here forever, which is why I am doing this.
“Besides, I don’t even know why they are panicking because I went through a few phones including that of my 28-year-old daughter. None of the owners protested,” said the pastor.
He said his sermon was about “hanging around the right people in order to improve one’s faith”.
However, after this publication confronted him, the pastor reportedly went on to call all the church’s young female congregants imploring those who had approached this publication to “confess” or face the full wrath of the church.
“We have been told to come forward and confess or else the church is going to get our phone numbers and deal with us,” said the source.
Pastor Phiri denied this
Source: Sunday News