Home | Letters | FORMATION OF WESLEYAN CHURCH OF ESWATINI PREMATURE

FORMATION OF WESLEYAN CHURCH OF ESWATINI PREMATURE

Font size: Decrease font Enlarge font

I would like to urge the splinter group which decided to part ways with the Methodists Church of Southern Africa (MCSA), and form the Wesleyan Church of Eswatini to reconsider their move and come back to the roundtable.

As a civilised Christian body, one would have thought the members of the splinter group were mature enough to bring issues to the roundtable so that members of the church in Eswatini, as a whole, would participate in negotiations and not for just a few individuals to desert the mother body.
Some of the reasons advanced for the formation of the Wesleyan Church of Eswatini, which is independent of the MCSA are valid.

Money

Firstly I agree that there is a money problem. Members of the local churches made offerings and paid tithes which were then taken to South Africa.
The money was paid monthly so our pastors could get salaries. It happened that some members did not afford to pay the offerings and tithes, resulting in them being listed as debtors. Local pastors were not paid due to the owed tithes and offerings and this lasted for months without being attended to.
The local members felt neglected during the COVID-19 pandemic. It was also stated that they, on numerous occasions, the local church members requested from the leaders based in South Africa to solve the issues in Eswatini, but they never attended to them for almost a year before they decided to establish their own church in January 2020.

Benefit

They added that the local pastors did not benefit from stipends (sondlo) once the money was taken to South Africa.
They also mentioned that the local members contributed a lot in building church structures without any help from the church based in South Africa.
They said they therefore, felt duty-bound to establish a Wesleyan Church of Eswatini, so that they could take care of their pastors.
Unfortunately, when Africans took over from the white missionaries, the church simple adopted the arrangement of grouping six countries without interrogating the reasons and consequences.

This arrangement worked for the early church because the missionaries used donations from their own countries to build churches.
However, in the current situation, people cannot afford to contribute money for buildings in addition to tithes and offerings, which are taken by the mother body. Each country now has to fend for itself.

Challenge

Secondly, it is true that the contradiction in laws between South Africa and Eswatini poses a challenge. For example South African laws allows marriage between couples of the same sex, yet such is not the case in Eswatini and as such the local church is operating under a different set of rules from the MCSA. However, having said that, I am of the view that the splinter group should have used a totally different name instead of ‘Wesleyan’ since ‘Wesleyan’ tag is associated with  the Methodists Church of Southern Africa, and this would mislead the uninformed into believing that they a still operating under  the same umbrella body. Otherwise I still believed that there is still room for sitting at the roundtable and resolve the issues which caused the rift in the first place.

Comments (0 posted):

Post your comment comment

Please enter the code you see in the image:

: Gangsterism
Do you agree that gangsterism is becoming more organized?