Friday, March 24, 2023

Ramotswa’s Evangelican Lutherans lose confidence in Bishop Moenga

There are growing fears that the Evangelical Lutheran Church of Botswana (ELCB) in Ramotswa might split as the congregation defies Bishop Cosmos Moenga’s instructions to his flock to shun services offered by suspended pastor, Thabiso Segatlhe.

This is after Moenga lost an application with costs before Judge David Newman at the end of last month when he sought to suspend the pastor and evict him from the Ramotswa manse. Subsequent to the legal loss, Moenga wrote to all congregants in the country on 4 September that he is still pursuing the matter and pleaded for calm.

In his letter, Moenga warned those who are administered the sacrament of Holy Communion by Reverend Segatlhe that the sacrament is not valid. “It is only ordinary water, wine and bread,” he warned.

But the Ramotswa congregants would not have any of that. So incensed are congregants that they have consequently written a reply to Moenga advising him that “the Holy Sacraments, Baptism and the Eucharist, do not depend or change on the worthiness or unworthiness of the minister who distributes them, or of him who receives them, since, as St Paul says, the unworthy receive the sacrament too”.

“The Ramotswa Congregation is in full support of Pastor Thabiso Segatlhe and will not let him be intimidated by those who do not have the congregations’ view in mind. May we also point out that we do not have confidence in Moenga’s doings. We shall not sit idle and watch our Church be put into disrepute,” wrote church elders at the Ramotswa congregation.┬á

Congregants argue that the Constitution of ELCB does not give the powers of the Bishop to dismiss or suspend the Pastors but rather recommends procedures to be followed.

“These are to be done and recommended by the Ministerial Council and through the Church Council which then refers the matter to the Disciplinary Committee. These have never been followed and it [the suspension] is null and void.”

Congregants are at variance with Bishop Moenga saying there are structures in place to deal with matters of discipline if there are any.

“He does not own the Church as it is indicated in his Filing Notice. It is wrong and a misconception by Moenga.”

In his Filing Notice and Affidavit, Moenga had instituted a power of Attorney in which he himself signed with two other witnesses. He then listed a catalogue of events in which he claimed what led to the Church Council deciding to suspend Segatlhe.  

“Please take note that Constitution of ELCB has procedures and processes to be followed when dealing with these matters. The disciplinary procedures are listed in Paragraph 16 of the Constitution,” the congregants reminded Moenga.┬á

The congregation has been called upon to “stand and fight against the abuse of power, funds and assets by those in the leadership”.


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