• April 19th, 2019
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Congregation boos Bishop Shanghala out of church

ONGWEDIVA – The Sunday church service at Okahao ELCIN parish turned chaotic with the congregation booing the bishop who had come to visit them, eventually ushering him out of the church, and thereafter turning on a newspaper journalist who had arrived in the town to cover the visit of the bishop.  Eventually the church service was abandoned as the church elders worked to diffuse the situation among the congregants. The sin of the journalist, Placido Hilukilwa, was apparently because he has previously written stories that favours the visiting bishop. The normal quite Sunday morning at Okahao turned to high drama when Bishop Josaphat Shanghala, the outgoing head of the Western Diocese of Elcin (the Evangelical Lutheran Church in Namibia), arrived at the church. Congregants who were in the church at Okahao related to New Era how the church service got disrupted immediately after an announcement that Bishop Shanghala is visiting to conduct a special service at the church. Although the visit was a planned one, the congregation “refused to be addressed by Shanghala, replying immediately to the announcement that they cannot be addressed by Shanghala with whom they have a problem.” According to the congregants Shanghala did try to give his sermon, but the booing of the congregation continued which forced him to exit the church and leave the church premises. The Western Diocese has seen much infighting since last year when Shanghala unsuccessfully tried to transfer the Okahao Pastor Hulda Shau-Aitana to another parish. Shau-Aitana refused the transfer, alleging that the transfer is more of a punishment to the pastor for standing up to Shanghala’s repressive rule. This pitted two camps in the diocese, with the Shau-Aitana group aligning itself to bishop Shekutamba Nambala, and the other rallying behind Shanghala. Hilukilwa who yesterday was heckled by the churchgoers and had to flee the scene to safety told New Era that he had approached pastor Shau-Aitana to comment on what had transpired since he had arrived late. However, the pastor, after learning his name and the newspaper he works for, said she “does not want talk to him because he has previously written stories that are in favour of bishop [Shanghala]. While we were talking a group of congregants arrived and surrounded me, and started shouting at me angrily, accusing me of this and that. I hurriedly made my way out of the church to the car and left.” All attempts to get hold of Shanghala yesterday proved futile. According to information obtained by New Era the congregation does not want any form of meeting with Shanghala even though the Western Diocese is said to have written a letter to the Okahao parish last month in which it informed the parish of the visit of the bishop. The congregation is said to have replied to the letter with an objection to the visit, saying they did not wish to be addressed by a prophet with whim they have a problem. The diocese allegedly wrote back the second time, but the letter was ignored. In the past Shanghala had tried to get Shau-Aitana removed from the Okahao church to the Okambebe Elcin church. The congregation protested against the transfer of Shau-Aitana to the Oniipa Elcin head office and demanded that Shanghala be suspended instead.   By Kakunawe Shinana
New Era Reporter
2014-02-10 08:47:34 5 years ago

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