By Hilary White
TATTENHALL, Cheshire, UK, November 16, 2007 (LifeSiteNews.com) – While the news is full of indicators of the impending end of religious practice in Britain and the “post-Christian” west, one Anglican minister offers a word of encouragement. In a tiny rural village eight miles south of the ancient town of Chester, Rev. Lameck Mutete says the faith of the people is growing and that persecution will do nothing to stop the word of God.
The much-reported secularization of Britain does nothing to dampen Rev. Lameck’s conviction that what people want most is God. “I feel people are searching in terms of spirituality,” he told LifeSiteNews.com in an interview at his home. “That is what is missing in people’s lives. If you are worried about the levels of spirituality of the people of Britain, I can agree with you. But I think God allows us to have a bit of free will, and to search around, to find Him.”
Rev. Lameck came three years ago from Zimbabwe’s capital to serve in the small rural village of Tattenhall, eight miles south of the ancient town of Chester, as the Anglican rector of St. Alban’s church. He describes himself as “a man on a mission,” and talks enthusiastically of his plans to hold “family services” of prayer and singing in the local pub.
Rev. Lameck, a tall, physically imposing man with a strong handshake and a musical accent, said from his home office, “Whatever is happening now, people will come to a point of searching for God.” The current situation is a phase, and in it, people of faith are being asked by God to find a place to fit and address the spiritual vacuum. “Ask God, ‘how best shall we work and operate in this particular phase’”.
“As much as we would like to fill the church, as much as we need money and numbers, the Church is about the word of God,” he said.
He told LifeSiteNews.com that the dismal official statistics are not as important as the faith of the people. After 20 years in the police, he left the force when it became clear that police were being used for political ends in Robert Mugabe’s regime. He is familiar also with the threat of clergy and bishops collaborating with governments. His bishop was the disgraced Bishop Norbert Kunonga of Harare who received land and financial rewards for his support of the Mugabe regime and was accused by parishioners of inciting to murder.
Clearly identifying abortion as murder, Rev. Lameck said it is the job of the Church to oppose evil in every situation. Opponents of abortion and other threats to human life and dignity are right to expect the support of the clergy, he said. “It’s not just the utterance of the commandment, to say ‘do not commit murder’ but we want action as well.”
“I don’t think we have sufficient emphasis from the men of the cloth or from the pulpit. I feel that we do lack this strong emphasis to make not just the utterance of the commandment, but we need to see (preaching) being used in society.”
When the state refuses to uphold the moral law, however, Rev. Lameck believes individuals should not be deterred from speaking out. “It comes down to the personal conscience of the individual. Our teachings have not been watered down by what laws the government can pass because there’s no way I’m going to stand up and teach that abortion is all right. There’s no way I can say that.”
“Those who have the responsibility of leading God’s people, they are mandated to speak the truth. Nothing else but the truth.”
While Christians and other traditional believers in Britain warn of growing state restrictions on religious expression, Rev. Lameck says, “Let them persecute the Church. The word of God cannot be killed. Paul said, ‘even when I was in chains, then, the word of God. The more they make me suffer, the more the word of God was spread’.”
“Let them do what they can do, let them persecute the Church,” he said. “When I talk in terms of persecution, I don’t mean the sword. People of faith are persecuted every day. By the things you see. That’s what I call persecution. It is not necessarily being killed. We die every day. But we rise again with Christ. “
In conflicts and disagreements over issues like abortion and same-sex marriage, Rev. Lameck firmly sides with the message of scripture over popular opinion. “My message is always to do with what is written in the bible, and I speak the word of God.”
This, he adds, means he is not really a “nice” minister. “No, I don’t think I’m nice”.
“I don’t think you can be a minister who lives life without conflicts. If a leader, a normal leader in any kind of organisation, if you are too nice, there must be something wrong with you.”
By Hilary White