Prominent Anglican priests, led by the former bishop of the church, Phiophilus Naledi, are reported to have walked out of a funeral of one of their expelled members, Esau Mosima, in Mahalapye last Saturday.
According to sources, they walked out after some of the expelled members of the church, who had attended the funeral, had been called to carry the coffin of the deceased priest from the house.
This apparently incensed Naledi and his company who then left the service.
”It was quite disappointing to see that happening in front of hundreds of people who were attending the funeral and who included the Vice President, Momphati Merafhe, who is also the Member of Parliament for Mahalapye,” said the source.
Another member of the church said that what the priests did was tantamount to washing their dirty linen in public.
“We know that there are some misunderstandings in the church, but we honestly did not expect that to have happened in front of mourners, some of whom were obviously not members of our church,” he said.
The current Bishop of the church, Trevor Mwamba, did not attend the funeral as he was reported to be abroad attending the funeral of “MmaRamotswe” film director, Anthony Minghella.
Trevor Mwamba played the part of a priest during the shooting of the film co-sponsored by the government of Botswana which is reported to be currently showing in several European countries.
Another church member took issue with this saying that it was very wrong for Mwamba to have left the country to go abroad to attend such a funeral leaving all the responsibilities to one of his assistants who had been expelled from the church. This, he said, just shows that Mwamba has no regard for the church.
“How on earth would one leave a funeral of his own family member to go abroad at such expenses to cover a funeral of a friend and it would be interesting to find out who paid for the trip to the UK,” said the member.
Priests, totaling six, were late last year expelled from the Church on allegations that they were not cooperative and that they had tarnished the image of the church in the country.
The priests, on the other hand, are saying that all they did was to ask Mwamba to give them a hearing on their grievances, which includes their continued marginalization when it comes to provision of good conditions of work in favour of foreign priests.
The priests claim that they had, on several occasions, asked Mwamba to meet them but that he had either ignored them or had sought to meet them in the company of people who had no business in attending such meetings.
The Batswana priests have since filed a case against their expulsion from the church in the Lobatse High Court.