Church of England: St Augustine’s Mission

Church of England

St Augustine’s Mission

Bishop Knight-Bruce founded St. Augustine’s mission near Penhalonga, Manicaland, in 1891.

With financial support from the Society for the Propagation of the Gospel (SPG) and the Society for the Propagation of Christian Knowledge (SPCK), and volunteers who arrived from England, an industrial training school was opened in 1899.  Revd Edward Harold Etheridge was appointed Principal in 1900.  Other early missionaries included Reverands W. J. Roxburgh, Ronald Alexander, W. Johnson, W.A. Davies, and H. Buck.

A turning point in St. Augustine’s development occurred in 1915 when, in response to a request from Bishop Beaven of the Diocese of Southern Rhodesia, priests from the Community of the Resurrection (an Anglican religious order – CR) based in Grahamstown, South Africa, took over operation of the mission.  Their arrival lead to raised standards of education and ministerial training.  CR Father Bertram Barnes was the first Priest in Charge, succeeded by Fr. Robert Baker.

Under CR’s direction, St. Augustine’s (also known locally as “Tsambe”) became a leading academic institution.  Teacher training was introduced with the first African teachers graduating 1923.  By 1937, the three-year program had 78 students in training.  In 1939, after much internal debate and without support from the government, St. Augustine’s became the first mission to introduce secondary (high school) education.  As C.J.M. Zvobgo explains, “The launching of a junior secondary education course for Africans by the Anglican Church at St. Augustine’s … was a milestone in the history of African education in Zimbabwe and its significance cannot be over-emphasized; hitherto Africans who aspired to acquire secondary education [could only do] so outside the country…”   A Theological College was started in the 1950’s – later closed.

The Community of the Resurrection withdrew from St. Augustine’s in 1983.  The mission is now under the control of the Anglican Diocese of Mutare, which runs a primary and secondary school (St. Augustine’s High School), a health clinic, mission chapel and orphanage.

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References

Contributors
  • Mark Loomis