The Anglican Church is alive and well and living in Mallorca, where it has been for over 60 years. Early-day worshippers created an Anglican Church in the Son Armadans suburb of Palma - a building designed by the architect Carlos Sobron. The St Philip and St James Anglican Church sits quietly in the residential street in between houses and apartments. These, were not even thought of when the church first opened.
The Anglican Church grew and these days is also to be found in Puerto Pollensa. St Andrews Church sits in a busy street in the heart of its community. Both churches conduct their services in English and are part of Anglican Church Diocese in Europe.
In Covid times both churches have been ministered to by a series of locum priests. The interregnums in both churches, coinciding with the lockdowns and restrictions, have been a major challenge for both church communities.
May 2021 sees all that begin to change with the appointment of two new priests to the island. St Philip and St James in Palma are delighted to announce the quarantined arrival of The Very Reverend Dr Ishanesu Sextus Gusha, the Dean of the Cathedral of St Mary and All Saints in Harare. He has been appointed the Chaplain of the Anglican Church in Palma. He is accompanied by his wife Caroline and their three sons Ishenesu Jr, Theopolis and Theodore.
The St Andrews appointment will be announced in the coming months.
Dr Ishanesu is looking forward to being the Chaplain of his first European parish. His experience and progress led him to becoming the Dean of the Cathedral in Harare. We are all intrigued by his life and his appointment here in Mallorca. He tells his story this way.
"I was born into a family of six, five boys and one girl. I am the first born. My father was a prison officer when I was an infant and he later became a priest in the Anglican Church when I was a teenager. Another brother, who is the third born in our family, is also a priest in the Anglican Church and is currently serving in the Diocese of Montreal, Canada.
"I was a very quiet and shy boy but focused on what I wanted to do in life. As a son of a priest who moved from parish to parish I went to three primary schools and two secondary schools. I loved sport, it was my passion. My best subject at school was geography and I wanted to be close to the water. This is a problem in landlocked Harare. I knew one day I wanted to live by the sea and had ambitions to sail a ship and be the captain. This is rather unfortunate because to this day I cannot swim…
"My other ambitions included being a soldier because I liked the uniform! Reality took me into teaching and a career in telecoms. Then my calling to be a minister in the church grew from my work in the church as a deacon in 2002. From then on there was no question about my life’s path and work. I had the passion to preach the gospel and serve the people of God.
"I am passionate about peace building, especially interfaith/interreligious dialogue. Conflict resolution has become my area of passion and I have spent many years building relationships. I am also passionate about environmental issues, especially those of global warming and climate change. These are major areas I have been involved at both local and international level.
"I am fortunate that in my work I have been able to travel and have visited many countries around the world - Austria, Germany, Netherlands, India, Indonesia, Qatar, United Arab Emirates, United States of America, Nigeria, Ethiopia, Uganda, South Africa, Botswana and Mozambique.
"My favourite football team in the world is Barcelona. My boys and I love to watch them play on TV. I am a reader and love to immerse myself in studies. Teaching scripture at all levels is my passion. To be a good pastor to the people of faith in Palma is my ambition.
"I am the father of three boys and husband to a wonderful wife. Our family have changed our worlds to be in Mallorca. We are all looking forward to the family adventures and challenges this will bring.”
Now it’s Caroline’s story. She is the second born in her family. Her family life was in the high density suburbs of Harare where she was passionate about tennis and basketball.
"Her career was in the kitchens of fine hotels in Zimbabwe where she was the chef with a special interest in baking and cakes. This led to opening her own catering business looking after many functions in Harare. Her church life included leading the choir and it is there where we met. I was appointed the Rector of the church where she was choir director. Caroline loves to sing and there is a lot of music in our house. The boys are learning from the best.
"Caroline is fascinated by all that is new and interesting. She knows she is going to love the adventure of Mallorca and what it will add to our family life. Our three boys have the biggest adventure, as school and a whole new world is opening for them. Our home language is Shona but English is everywhere, and Ishanesu Jr speaks great English. The little ones are three years and 18 months, so they have a way to go yet. We are also expanding their minds with the addition of Spanish. Our boys are called Ishanesu Jr, Tarumbidzwa Theophilus and Theodore Mukudzei.
Father Ishanesu outlined to me his goals for the future of his ministry in Mallorca.
"The goals I am setting myself here include ‘Making Disciples’ in the following ways. First, it means spiritual growth for those who are disciples already. Second, it means bringing to the Church those who are out of the church. Third, it means making the Church visible and an embodiment of Christ in the community.
"Fourth, it means making the Church visible among the Christian communities by participating in the events of the wider church (Ecumenism). Fifth, it means making the Church a vehicle of peace and sustainable development in the community by participating in nation building and social cohesion through interfaith dialogue. Lastly, it means making the Church a source of healing to broken communities and families. This is my ultimate vision."
Ishanesu, Caroline and their three sons are very welcome here. The Anglican Church in Palma looks forward to the Official Licensing Service on Sunday May 30 at 11am.
For more information about the work of the Anglican Church in Mallorca, call 971 737 279.