Okahao ELCIN congregation dispute continues

16 Feb 2014 20:40pm
ONGWEDIVA, 16 FEB (NAMPA) - The leadership of the Western Diocese of the Evangelical Lutheran Church in Namibia (ELCIN) will convene for the first time on Monday to discuss Okahao ELCIN congregants’ refusal to be addressed by Bishop Josaphat Shanghala.
Shanghala, who is the head of that diocese, confirmed this on Saturday.
The Okahao ELCIN congregation falls under Shanghala's diocese, but members of the congregation have developed a negative attitude towards him starting last year.
The congregation went to the extent of refusing to attend the church service that was supposed to be led by Shanghala on 09 February.
Although they managed to chase away Shanghala and the secretary of the diocese, Pastor Paulus Heita, the church service of that Sunday was completely disrupted and did not take place.
The incident is the result of a disagreement between congregation members and the Western Diocese leadership over the planned transfer of Pastor Hulda Shau-Haitana from Okahao to the Okambebe congregation in the Ohangwena Region last year.
The Diocese leadership tried to push the transfer through, while the Okahao congregation members continue to oppose the transfer and at the same time accuse Shanghala of an autocratic leadership style.
This news agency understands that a normal church service led by Shau-Haitana took place on Sunday.
Shanghala on Saturday said it was up to the congregation’s leadership whether they would resume with normal services, as the leadership of the diocese has not yet decided on what action should be taken regarding the congregation's negative attitude towards his leadership.
“They humiliated and chased us away like dogs last Sunday. Therefore, I have no mandate to decide at this stage. The whole leadership of the diocese will decide on the way forward,” he said.