Search for new Elcin bishops begins

02 July 2020 | Cultural

ILENI NANDJATO

ONIIPA



The Evangelical Lutheran Church in Namibia (ELCIN) is preparing to elect new bishops at its general synod scheduled for May next year.

The church has sent out a list of possible candidates to congregations to make nominations.

The church is divided into two dioceses, the Eastern Diocese and the Western Diocese, each led by its own bishop, and since 1996 a presiding bishop has been elected to preside over the whole church.

Candidates for the Eastern Diocese are Alpo Enkono, David Iileka, Mateus Kapolo, Eino Nangula, Daniel Ndemuweda, Gerson Neliwa, Martin Ngodji, Eliakim Shaanika and Magdalena YaShalongo.

Candidates for the Western Diocese are Enkono, Iileka, Simon Iitula, Nangula, Daniel Ndemuweda, Neliwa, Ngodji, Gideon Niitenge, Shaanika and YaShalongo.



Election

In an address on Tuesday, presiding bishop Shekutaamba Nambala, who is also the Western Diocese leader, said the church planned to host its synod next year and one of the items on the agenda is the election of new bishops.

Nambala said as of 2018, the church had 853 522 members with 153 congregations, two bishops and 185 pastors.

Bishop Veikko Munyika is currently leading the Western Diocese.

“We are preparing for bishop elections because the current bishops' terms of office are coming to an end.

“The election will take place during the church synod next year,” Nambala said.

“Each diocese has sent a list of possible candidates to its congregations to nominate candidates who will stand for election during the congress.”

Nambala was elected as a bishop in 2012, while Munyika become a bishop in 2014 when Bishop Josaphat Shanghala retired.



Nominations

According to the church spokesperson, Alpo Enkono, each pastor could nominate a pastor.

“The nomination process started with each pastor from the two dioceses giving a name of a pastor whom they wanted to become bishop for their diocese. From the list of those names, each diocese selected nine pastors with high nominations. These names have been sent to the congregations again for each congregation to nominate two candidates,” Enkono said.

“Six pastors with high nominations will be presented at the diocese synod to select three names for the church council. These three names will then be presented at the general synod which will select one person for each diocese. From the two they will then elect a presiding bishop.”