Bishop Paul Verryn is a Christian hero of our time!

It’s very sad and embarrassing to hear that the Methodist church leadership has done such an unthinkable thing by suspending Bishop Paul Verryn. When other churches suspend their pastors for having sex with little boys, prostitutes, or gay men, here we have the Methodist church suspending their pastor for taking little boys and girls into his church and giving them shelter at the expense of his flourishing congregation. Surely something is wrong here, especially when the reasons for his suspension are covered under the unbiblical subjudice cover up.

In the aftermath of the Zimbabwe crisis when more and more Zimbabweans left their country for South Africa and other neighbouring countries, Bishop Paul Verryn voluntarily took in more than 3000 Zimbabweans who came to South Africa with almost nothing, and have gave them shelter in a church that has a large congregation. He was prepared to face the displeasure of his congregation, so he can offer a shelter to destitute children and women. He knew that neighbouring businesses would not be very pleased with the influx of Zimbabweans, especially those foreigners who had nothing to fall back on as they were likely to fall into crime and prostitution to survive, yet he took heart and put the lives of these Zimbabweans ahead of his neighbours. With the South African government doing their best to control the border post to ensure a minimal influx of Zimbabweans, Bishop Paul Verryn knew that he would face the ire of the government if he accommodated the foreigners, especially when most are suspected of not having the correct papers. With the locals having committed some of the worst xenophobic attacks against foreigners, whom most were Zimbabweans; Paul Verryn’s decision must have been very tough, if not suicidal to his work at the Methodist church.

Paul Verryn took a decision that no other pastor or charity organization in South Africa was willing to take – he gave shelter to the homeless and he helped them at the expense of his church’s wellbeing. (This does not mean other pastors and charity organizations were compelled to do the same). But everybody knew that the situation is not going to be a fairytale ending for Paul Verryn or the Methodist church. We knew that it’s only a matter of time before criminal elements took advantage of the situation, and they did. We also knew that other people, out of envy, would want to see the situation deteriorate so they can say ‘we told you so’. It was obvious that the business people surrounding the Central Methodist church would find ways to protect their business, and rightly so they did. With unaccompanied children being in large numbers at the church, Paul Verryn was always going to face a lot of criticism from child rights organization and the government. But what must have really shocked Paul Verryn is the fact that his own colleagues in the Methodist church would abandon him when he needed them the most.

The people who suspended Paul Verryn are supposed to be the preachers of the bible, and if they considered the bible for advice on the matter, then they would not have found any reason to suspend to Paul Verryn.

The bible says “Religion that God our Father accepts as pure and faultless is this: to look after orphans and widows in their distress and to keep oneself from being polluted by the world” (James 1:27 NIV). The Bishop looked after orphans, the same orphans that he is accused of neglecting and failing to protect against sex wild teachers. Since when is it the job of the pastor of a church to ensure that teachers don’t sexually abuse children? Instead of the South African government and children rights activists condemning these teachers, who abused these children under the care of the Bishop, they instead decided to blame the good Bishop and paraded him as a reckless man with selfish ambitions. But wait a minute, isn’t this the same Bishop who took this kids when the government wanted nothing to do with them, when no charity organization opened their homes to them, when no children rights activist came forward to challenge the government to secure a place of safety for them? Bishop Paul Verryn must have known that he is not going to get thumbs up from the government or children rights activists, but he must be gutted that his fellow men of God have decided to ignore all the good work he has done for these orphans and widows but rather decided to believe misguided media reports purported by children rights activists and the government, and use them against him to the point of suspending him. The bible qualifies Paul Verryn’s religion as authentic, yet his colleagues decided to subject him to embarrassment by putting him in the same box as suspended paedophiles that grace our churches. 

There’s no doubt that Paul Verryn acted in the outmost regard for his faith, and his faith qualifies him as having a pure and faultless faith. His unjust suspension, which I think is sinful and demonic in nature, doesn’t change the fact that he displayed the characteristic that his master, Jesus Christ, had and expected him to have. Jesus had compassion for the suffering people of His time, to a point where he fed 5000 men (excluding women and children). He had compassion for the homeless that He once said ‘I was homeless and you gave me shelter’ (Matthew 25:35). The world might not remember the compassion that Paul Verryn had by taking those homeless people in, but God does remember and will one day reward him for what he did. He is probably going to be excommunicated, but God is not going to excommunicate him from His book of life.

Jesus promised to one day say the following to Paul Verryn :

Come, you who are blessed by my Father, take your inheritance, the kingdom prepared for you since the creation of the world. For I was hungry and you gave me something to eat, I was thirsty and you gave me something to drink, I was a stranger and you invited me in, I needed clothes and you clothed me, I was sick and you looked after me, I was in prison and you came to visit me. (Matthew 25:34-36 NIV). 

Bishop Paul Verryn is a Christian hero of our time; he took his belief and put it into practice. He might not be remembered like Mother Theresa is, but his impact would be felt for many decades to come in Zimbabwe. Unlike our popular big mouthed preachers whose faith only exists in their minds, mouths and later pockets.



  1. Steve said

    Well said! Let’s hope that this is resolved soon, for Paul’s sake, and for the sake of the refugees he has cared for.

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