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Botswana welcomes first home-grown bishop

Posted on: July 15, 2013 12:33 PM
The first Botswana-born bishop since 1972, the Rt Revd Metlhayotlhe Rawlings Beleme
Photo Credit: Abednico Mogorosi
Related Categories: Botswana, Central Africa

By Bellah Zulu, ACNS

[Photos from the consecration will shortly appear on the photo gallery section]

Thousands of Christians from Botswana and beyond yesterday attended the enthronement and consecration of Botswana’s new and fifth bishop, the Rt Revd Metlhayotlhe Rawlings Beleme.

The five-hour long service, presided over by the Primate of Central Africa the Most Revd Albert Chama, was held at the Holy Cross Cathedral in Botswana's capital Gaborone. It was described as a “wonderful mix of deep Anglican liturgy and rich Setswana culture.”

Invited guests included bishops from the Church of the Province of Central Africa (CPCA), some bishops from the Anglican Church of Southern Africa, Primate of West Africa Solomon Tilewa Johnson and bishops and clergy from other provinces of the Anglican Communion including the Church of England. 

“I think the pastoral office of the bishop is a great instrument for bringing together divided Christians,” said Bishop Beleme. “It is necessary to keep in mind that visible unity is imperative, but not primary.  The first consideration of all must be the integrity of the gospel and truth and honesty in theology.”

The bishop also thanked God for giving the diocese all its predecessors and prayed that “as a Diocese, we will truly appreciate what has been done before us and will build upon that firm foundation so that we will help the extension of God’s kingdom in this part of the world.”

Archbishop Chama gave Bishop Beleme the charge to tend his flock and assured him that God will give him grace and strength to lead the people well.  He said, “It is a difficult job but it can be done with God's grace and the assistance of the people to build the diocese.”

After the consecration, one of the congregants, Mr Moroka Moreri dressed up in traditional clothing and presented a poem in the Setswana language, much  to the delight and applause of the congregation.

Bishop Beleme will be the first Botswana-born bishop to lead the diocese since its formation in 1972.