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Church disputes worrisome -Judge Mothobi

Church disputes worrisome -Judge Mothobi
UNDER FIRE: Thabiso Segatlhe

High Court Judge Michael Mothobi says the rising number of church disputes that are brought before court are a cause for concern.

Mothobi expressed the displeasure during a case in which Evangelical Lutheran Church in Botswana was seeking interdiction and restraining order to stop Pastor Thabiso Segatlhe of Ramotswa congregation from conducting pastoral duties.

The Judge gave an example of the recent Zion Christian Church members and their Bishop Barnabas Lekganyane saying churches should find a way of resolving their disputes internally.

The court heard that Segatlhe was temporarily appointed as Ramotswa Congregation Church leader in 2006 by the church council and he was asked to vacate the seat, which he refused to do.

The council expelled him but he kept doing his pastoral duties.

The church is currently divided because Ramotswa members who want Segatlhe to continue being their leader.

Speaking to The Voice the church General Secretary, Dickson Moyambo, said the matter would not have reached court had Segatlhe been cooperative.

He said they expelled him from church but he has ignored the decision by his superiors.

“We do not recognize him as a pastor and we have terminated his membership. The council engaged him temporarily while we were looking for a qualified pastor. We did not want to fire him at first and asked him to be the right hand man of the new pastor but he refused,” said Moyambo.

Ramotswa Congregation Secretary, Joyce Sengati, said the council cannot make a decision of bringing a new pastor without their consent as members.

She said they cannot afford to pay a full time pastor so they prefer to work with Segatlhe because he is just a volunteer who gets an allowance.

“We told the council that we are still building a church and our budget does not allow us to hire a pastor. They cannot decide to bring a new pastor without engaging us first. We are happy with the job done by Segatlhe and he is not going anywhere,” she said

The court is expected to issue a ruling on the 24th of this month.