The Role of the Church in Zimbabwe and the Legacy of Ralph E. Dodge
He who is dominated by another spiritually, economically, academically, or politically, will never develop his full potential.
-- Bishop Ralph E. Dodge, 1963
Part of the purpose of this study is to discuss the role that Methodist Bishop Abel T. Muzorewa played from 1971 to 1979 in the political transformation of Zimbabwe from colonial rule to an African majority government. In order to discuss that role, it is important to review the origins of the Methodist Church in Zimbabwe and the legacy left behind by its leaders, from Bishop Joseph C. Hartzell beginning in 1896 to the end of Bishop Ralph E. Dodge's term of office in 1968. The period that Muzorewa served as bishop of the Methodist Church, from 1968 to 1993, was part of great traditions of Methodist leaders who had left a legacy he was called upon to uphold.
In this regard the challenge that Ralph Edward Dodge responded to in assuming his duties as a Episcopal leader of the Methodist Church in Zimbabwe in 1956 and the record of his accomplishments from then up to the time that the right-wing Rhodesia Front (RF) Party deported him in July 1964, was also part of the Methodist heritage that he felt called upon to preserve. 1 When Bishop Joseph Crane Hartzell2 was elected