ELCRN Members Hand Over Petition

MEMBERS of the Evangelical Lutheran Church in the Republic of Namibia (ELCRN) yesterday handed a petition to the church’s leader Bishop Ernest Gamxamub after he had initially declined it a week ago.

According to Pastor Gotthard Gurirab, the petition was supported by members from Karibib, Okakarara, Otjiwarongo, Tsumeb and Khorixas and signed by about 900 church members.

The petition, which was read out by a church member, Isaack Swarts, called for the church to revoke the appointments of acting general secretary Wilfred Diergaardt and director of finance Leonard de Vries, whose appointments were allegedly unconstitutional.

The petition urged

Gamxamub to re-aertise these positions to give candidates with appropriate qualifications a chance to apply.

De Vries last week said he had been offered the position and it was not given to him in an unfair manner, also Pastor Paul Kisting defended Diergaardt at the time, saying Article 27 of the church’s constitution allowed people to occupy positions one more time after six years on a contractual basis.

The Namibian yesterday reported on a group of members from across the country who last week held a press briefing in which they defended the leadership of the church, saying the suspended pastors should stop claims of a witch-hunt as they can still retain their ordinary membership in the church.

They condemned all acts of indiscipline among church members, saying the architects should stop their current failed campaigns of feeding people with lies, and urged the church to remain united.

The petitioners called on the church council and Gamxamub to provide parishes with qualified pastors and thus address the spiritual decline in the church. Additionally, they asked for division and favouritism to be addressed since the church has lost credibility and its dignity due to these factors.

“We ask the church council to create a platform that would involve pastors and members of the church to find amicable solutions to discuss many of these human-made problems,” read the petition.

The petitioners also distanced themselves from rumours of creating a new church and called for unity.

Gamxamub could, however, not confirm receiving the petition, as Diergaardt allegedly received it on his behalf.

Diergaardt could not be reached for comment.

Gamxamub had refused to receive the petition a week ago, saying he had not known about it and thus did not have enough time to inform the church council. He locked the petitioners outside the church’s headquarters in Windhoek.

He then requested the church members to re-draft the petition and hand it over again, a move which infuriated the petitioners who claimed they had informed him in time and felt he was not being reasonable.

Source : The Namibian