4 December 2012

Namibia: Congregation Won't Have Pastor Shau Removed

Oshakati — In what is described as a personal vendetta, a congregation in the Omusati Region is up in arms over their bishop's decision to move their female pastor to another church.

Aggrieved members of the Okahao ELCIN Church are accusing Bishop Josephat Shanghala, a former pastor at the same church, of allegedly bullying pastor Hulda Shau, the younger female pastor, who replaced Shanghala when he was ordained as Bishop for the ELCIN Western Diocese. Okahao falls under the Western Diocese.

Bishop Shanghala wants to transfer Shau to Okambebe ELCIN Church in the Ohangwena Region.

It is the transfer that the church members regard as the final straw and have now written a letter to ELCIN's presiding bishop in an attempt to block the transfer.

Pastor Shau refused to comment on the matter when approached by New Era, maintaining that the issue is still in the hands of the church's higher authorities.

Bishop Shangala also refused to discuss the matter with the media. "If they [congregation] prefer to work with the media, that is their own issue. But I cannot comment," said the bishop.

The church members allege that pastor Shau is being transfered only now that she is close to completing a parish house to accommodate the pastor. The pastor lives in a single-room building in the church's backyard with her family.

Members of the congregation allege that the bishop refuses Shau full access to the parish house, hence her decision to live in the single room. They are unhappy and say the living arrangements are undignified and place the safety of their pastor and her family at risk, given that the parish was robbed not so long ago.

"We understand that she has been officially posted to Okambebe, even if she is still here in Okahao. But if they post another pastor here you will hear of a revolution in Okahao. We are not going to work with whoever they will impose on us, because we as members of this congregation, we also have rights. After all that child (Shau) has united our congregation which has been in disunity for a very long time," the agrieved church members said.

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