American Board Mission: Chikore Mission

American Board Mission

Chikore

Rev. and Mrs. Wilder of the American Board Mission (American Board or ABM) opened Chikore Mission in 1895.  Chikore is located in Manicaland Province, Southern Rhodesia (Zimbabwe), 18 miles northwest of its sister mission station at Mount Silinda (Selinda).  Chikore initially consisted of three farms on a total 18,000 acres on which were located eleven kraals (small villages) and a small school.

Dr. William T. Lawrence joined Rev. and Mrs. George Wilder at Chikore in 1900.  Dr. Lawrence soon opened up a small hospital there and would go on to serve in Zimbabwe for the next 46 years.  A Secondary School was opened at Chikore In 1955.

Before 1927, letters to or from the Chikore Mission were generally mailed through Mt. Selinda. A post office was established in the small village of Craigmore, a little over a mile from the Chikore Mission, in 1927. Thereafter, missionary mail was generally posted at Craigmore, with service by runner from Chipinga (24 miles away).

In the 1960s and 1970s, missionaries from the American Board (now known as the United Church of Christ – UCC) promoted racial integration of education and hospital services and many publicly opposed the policy of apartheid.  This resulted in the deportation of three UCC missionary families in the 1960s. One of those families was Rev. and Mrs. Abbott (at the time Chikore Mission school superintendent) who were deported in 1966.

“One source of trouble for the school and mission station at Chikore where Mr. Abbott and his family were located, was the racial integration of the entire establishment. Chikore had six missionary teachers and 18 Africans.  The secondary school program was headed by an African and was “integrated as much as possible.” This didn’t sit well with the European community at Chipinga, 25 miles away, he explained. “They didn’t like the secondary school because they felt we were educating the Africans beyond their abilities.”.

Today – The United Church of Christ in Zimbabwe (UCCZ) operates a school and 50-bed hospital at Chikore serving a remote area of Zimbabwe consisting of 44 villages.

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Contributors
  • Mark Loomis

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