Methodist Episcopal Church: Nyakatsapa Mission

Methodist Episcopal Church

Nyakatsapa Mission

Shorty after the founding of Old Umtali (Old Mutare) Mission, early missionaries Dr. Samuel Gurney and Rev. E. H. Greenley attempted to cultivate a friendship with the paramount chief in that area, Umtasa, whose village was 15 miles away.  They eventually “won his favor” and, with a gift of $3,500, arranged to purchase a tract of 4,338 acres adjacent to where Umtasa lived.  This became the Nyakatsapa Mission.

The mission was opened in 1907 by Rev. S. Coffin who arranged for the construction of a brick building.  He was joined in 1909 by Miss Pearl Mullikin. Through her efforts, an educational center was established, included a boarding school. Other early missionaries at Nyakatsapa included Rev. A. L. Buchwalter, arriving 1912, and Mr. R. B. Wallace in 1913.  But their stays were short lived.  Mr. Buchwalter became ill and returned home in 1915.  He died 1917.

After Miss Mullikin transferred to another mission in 1915, Nyakatsapa remained essentially vacant of missionaries for the next 35-40 years.  African pastors and teachers staffed the mission site.   Missionary work at the “out stations” was supported from Old Mutare – only 15 miles away.  Missionaries returned to Nyakatsapa by 1957 with the arrival of Rev. Curtis Thompson.

As of 2006, the “Nyakatsapa Mission Farm” had 103 tenants with about 500 acres apiece.  The farm produces food for the church, mission schools and a variety of outside organizations.  The mission is also the location a primary and secondary (high) school.


  • Mark Loomis