In Rhodesia 12 British missionaries and children were buried in Christian martyrs' graves on Thursday (29 June) at Umtali, within sight of the Vumba mountains on the Mozambique border where they were massacred.
CU Coffins in church
CU Congregation singing PAN TO coffins
The gathering prayed for forgiveness for the killers and also for the lone woman survivor of the massacre, Miss Fisher. She is under intensive care in a Salisbury hospital and is understood to have been blinded. As the three families and two unmarried women were buried in five graves after the service in the Umtali cemetery the church was grieving for further missionary lives lost. Two German Jesuits were killed at St. Rupert's Mission in western Rhodesia on Tuesday (27 June). Again, guerrillas have been blamed by church and state. 31 missionaries have now been killed in the five-year-old Rhodesian guerrilla war.
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Background: In Rhodesia 12 British missionaries and children were buried in Christian martyrs' graves on Thursday (29 June) at Umtali, within sight of the Vumba mountains on the Mozambique border where they were massacred. Reports said relatives, church officials, friends and mourners from Rhodesia and Britain attended the funeral in a spirit of forgiveness for the murders, identified by missionaries and military authorities as black nationalist guerrillas.
SYNOPSIS: Reuters report that there was a high degree of emotion during the funeral service. Rhodesian authorities said the 12 had all been bayoneted, axed and bludgeoned to death.
At the service the South African director of the Elim Pentecostal Mission Church, The Reverend Ronald Chapman, asked that the congregation pray for God's mercy to be shown to the murderers. But the Mayor of Umtali, Mr. Douglas Reed, told mourners that he could not share the Christian ethic of turning the other cheek. He called for the killers to be caught and brought to justice for the slaughter. Special guests at the 80 minute service included South African church leaders and British envoy in Salisbury, Mr. Fraser Wilson, who represented the Foreign Secretary, Dr. David Owen.