Warm greetings from Southern Africa!
On Sunday May 23 the Evangelical Lutheran Church in Southern Africa consecrated Bishop Naledzani Sikhwari as the first female bishop in ELCSA and the first female Lutheran bishop on the African continent.
Bishop Sikhwari was born in Limpopo Province and after high school obtained Bachelor’s degrees in Commerce and Theology followed by an Honours Degree in Psychology. She served as a pastor and then as Dean for three consecutive terms in Mphome Circuit of the the Northern Diocese.
Following national COVID-19 protocols a maximum of 250 people were invited to gather at the Ngwako Ramatlhodi Sports Complex, Seshego, Polokwane in Limpopo Province for the consecration service which was also live-streamed on several virtual platforms.
Bishop Sikhwari based her sermon on the Epistle and Gospel readings for Pentecost from Acts 2 and John chapter 15, saying: “We need to be taught again by the Holy Spirit to be a teaching church…we are also expected to be united as ELCSA … but unity does not mean uniformity … language should not be a barrier … gender should not be a barrier and COVID-19 should not be a barrier for us to remain in fellowship…Let us allow the Holy Spirit to lead us … to be light and salt for the world.”
Messages of support were shared with Bishop Sikhwari including a greeting from the ELCA Service and Justice Home Area and the ELCA Northeastern Ohio Synod (Bishop Dr. Laura Barbins) which is a companion to the ELCSA-Northern Diocese.
Thank you for your prayers, support and your participation in God’s mission locally and globally.
Rev. Dr. Philip Knutson
ELCA Regional Representative - Southern Africa Johannesburg, April 20, 2021
My blog page address is: https://southernafricanconnections.wordpress.com/