New Era (Windhoek)

Namibia: ELCRN Leaders Remain Unchanged

Windhoek — The Bishop of the Evangelical Lutheran Church in the Republic of Namibia (ELCRN) will lead the church until August 2013.

ELCRN Bishop Zephania Kameeta and Deputy Bishop, Paul Hatani Kisting, will lead the church after the 24th Ordinary Synod, held in Walvis Bay recently, unanimously expressed its confidence in the leadership of both.

The synod adopted a motion of confidence for full support until the current elected term ends in August 2013.

Certain concerned members of the church on many an occasion termed illegal and unconstitutional the election of the church's bishop and his deputy bishop in 2007.

According to the allegations, only one candidate was nominated at the 2007 Synod, instead of three as is normally or procedurally done.

Kameeta reportedly said at the Lüderitz Synod in December 2005 that he would only serve until 2011, when he would be 66 years old. However, the 2007 Synod extended his term until 2013.

However, Kameeta said what he says is not the final word, but what the synod, the highest body of the church, decides is the final word.

The church dismissed the many allegations saying that some individuals are just trying to drag the name of the church and its leadership through the mud and merely fuelling hatred and tribalism in the church.

The synod also condemned false and baseless, attacks on the bishop's office and on the bishop's person and character, and mandated the church council to institute disciplinary and criminal procedures against anyone found guilty of such actions.

In addition, a vote of no confidence was tabled and discussed against five serving deans and a theologian.

The theologian, George du Toit, and the three deans, Paul /Gôagoseb from Otjiwarongo circuit, Josef /Gôagoseb from Keetmanshoop circuit and Dean Lesley du Toit from Windhoek circuit resigned before a final vote of the synod on the motion took place.

The remaining two deans, Albertus #Nauseb from Keetmanshoop circuit and Hans Christian from Usakos circuit lost their positions after the vote of no confidence was passed unopposed.

At a media briefing held yesterday, Pastor Wilfried Diergaardt said the vote of no confidence came from circuits and individual congregations such as Tsumeb, Mariental and Otjiwarongo.

The clergymen are accused of not executing church resolutions, unending quarrels and "no work", amongst others.

The synod further unanimously adopted a resolution establishing an internal auditing function to further enhance its financial and institutional accountability and transparency, and on the sustainability of the church.

According to the church body, many international partners that supported its works and institutions from since before independence have increasingly withdrawn their support due to changing priorities in their home countries and more recently because of the global economic crisis.

It said the classification of Namibia as an "Upper Middle Income Country" by the World Bank has resulted in most donors withdrawing support from Namibia and the crisis has also severely affected the ELCRN institutions, other development agencies and non-governmental organsations.

In this regard, the synod resolved that responsibilities and programs that can be taken over by government or other stakeholders must be identified and negotiations undertaken for the transfer of those responsibilities.

T

he synod made an urgent call on all its members to work towards financial sustainability of the church by launching fundraising efforts and to support the work of the church and all its institutions.

In terms of long-term financial sustainability, the synod resolved to transfer all properties of ELCRN to the ELCRN Property Company (Pty) Ltd and urged the company to employ these properties in such a way that it leads ELCRN towards the realisation of financial independence and self-sustainability.

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