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Feud continues to bedevil church's rituals

By unknown | Jul 23, 2007 | COMMENTS [ 0 ]

Namhla Tshisela

Namhla Tshisela

The feud bedevilling the St John's Apostolic Faith Mission in Katlehong, Ekurhuleni, resulted in the church holding two "washing of the feet" ceremonies yesterday.

The historic church, believed to have six million followers nationwide, is divided into two rival factions.

The faction, led by the Reverend Paul Mabothe, was once again allegedly barred from partaking in the ritual. The group, who regard themselves as followers of the late prophet, Petros Masango, held a separate ceremony at the prophet's former residence in Phelandaba, Pretoria.

"We regard this as the place where the spirit of the prophet dwells. It is also where we hold our prayers," said Mabothe.

Mabothe and some senior members of the church applied to the Johannesburg high court in 2005 to be allowed back into the church.

He said that the rival group, consisting of followers of the late Jacob Maragu, had prevented members of the congregation from participating in the ceremony at the church premises. Mabothe accused the group of contravening a court order that allows his group to worship and participate in the church's festivals without fear or intimidation.

"Violence has become our daily bread as 95percent of our congregants, regarded as our supporters, are not allowed at the church."

Mabothe said the ceremony at the church premises was "illegitimate" because it was officiated by a "bogus committee" and consisted of a small percentage of the congregation.

The "washing of the feet" ceremony is a cleansing ritual in preparation for the "burnt offering" festival to be held next month.


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