Bp Beleme

+Beleme: Church Won’t Survive

From ACNS: By Bellah Zulu, Photo Credit: Bellah Zulu/ACNS

A bishop from Church of the Province of Central Africa (CPCA) has warned that “a church that is solely dependent on priests and consists of only Sunday church attenders will not survive.”

Bishop of the Botswana Diocese the Rt Revd Metlhayotlhe Beleme said this in his charge to the 17th Session of the Diocese of Botswana Synod held from March 7 to 8 in Botswana’s capital Gaborone.

This was Bishop Beleme’s first Synod since his election in July last year. “I think it will become increasingly necessary for us to consider how we liberate the laity, how they can be used also in public forms of worship so that the liturgy of the Church becomes the work of the collective people of God,” he said.

“I am thankful for the service of the clergy, the band of helpers, and the lay ministers who are serving in the outstations.”

He added: “Ministry is not for the ordained only – everyone of us has a gift and gifts are responsibilities which have to be exercised in the name of God. Our knowledge and love of Him should propel us into proclaiming His name above all others.”

However, the Bishop acknowledged the need to grow vocations in Botswana and for the Church there to “learn to do things for ourselves.”

Synod also acknowledged the shortage of priests throughout the diocese with 13 ordinands currently being trained at their newly established Saint Augustine Theological School.

The Synod, which was held in a cordial and yet frank and open atmosphere, discussed many issues including the need for Christians in the country to give generously and commensurate to their standard of living.

Other motions that were raised but were either unsuccessful or were never concluded included the Mothers’ Union’s request to hold services on Thursdays, and the possibility for the diocese to join the Anglican Church of Southern Africa.

The Synod also considered the Church’s place in a fast-developing economy such as Botswana.

Questions on this issue included: “What should our strategy be for mission now? How should we serve our shifting population? Are we where the people are?”

“Clearly we must be a Church that is a serving Church. One that serves the people among whom we live and the people who are in need who are our neighbours,” said Bishop Beleme.

“Christianity is not a home for self-seekers, but a place for those who are seeking God and where God’s sovereignty is acknowledged. I would rather we were good Christians, rather than just Anglicans.”