Seventh-Day Adventist Church: Zambezi Union Mission

Seventh-Day Adventist Church

Zambezi Union Mission

The Zambezi Union Mission (currently Zimbabwe Union Conference) was responsible for Seventh Day Adventist (SDA) churches and missions within Southern Rhodesia (Zimbabwe) and, at times, adjacent countries. Within the SDA organizational structure, Union Conferences (such as Zimbabwe) report up through a “Division” which, in turn, reports to the “General Conference” – SDA’s highest level of governance.

Initially, the mission fields of Northern Rhodesia (Zambia), Zimbabwe and Nyasaland (Malawi) were administered from the head office in Cape Town, South Africa.  In response to the growth in missions, however, the Zambezi Union Mission was established in 1917 to administer this territory based in Bulawayo.   “It was found easier to call the workers together in Bulawayo than it had been to get them down to the Cape.”  W. E. Straw was appointed as the Mission Superintendent.

The Conference has undergone a number of reorganizations.  At one time, in addition to the Rhodesias and Nyasaland, the headquarters in Bulawayo provided oversight to the Congo (Democratic Republic of the Congo), Portuguese East Africa (Mozambique) and Bechuanaland (Botswana).

In 1921, Zambezi Union Mission was divided into the Southern Rhodesia and the Northern Rhodesia Mission fields. Northern Rhodesia was administered from the Zambezi Union Mission Headquarters in Bulawayo with a Field office at Rusangu Mission.

The name was changed to “Zimbabwe Union Conference” in 1997-98.  The headquarters is still based in Bulawayo and is currently responsible for SDA churches/activities within the country of Zimbabwe itself.  The Conference reports to the Southern Africa-Indian Ocean Division.

Missionaries serving with the Zambezi Union Mission include W. E. Straw; Mr. and Mrs. H. J. Hurlow (as of 1921); Elder and Mrs. F. G. Reid (1957-63); and Elder and Mrs. Parkinson (as of 1987).


  • James Gavin
  • Keith Harrop
  • Mark Loomis