Parish group wants priest to go
The letter Saint Paul wrote to the Church of Corinth in which he called for harmony, humanity and unity within the church should be used as a rallying point by the tension-filled congregation of St James' Methodist Church in Vosloorus, Ekurhuleni.
St James is currently being torn apart by allegations of who among the congregation has the right to reappoint the current resident minister, the Reverend Vuyisile Ngxabi, for another five years as priest at the church.
In 1 Corinthians, Chapter 1 verse 10, Saint Paul writes: "I appeal to you brothers, in the name of our Lord Jesus Christ, that all of you agree with one another so that there may be no divisions among you and that you may be perfectly united in mind and thought."
A group known as the Concerned People is strongly opposed to Ngxabi's further five-year term as their spiritual leader.
The group's major complaint against him is that Ngxabi has overstayed his invitation period at St James' and, therefore, his pastoral duties are no longer needed by the disenchanted flock.
The group has 13 members. This includes Thabo Maoke (spokesman), Sello Geuze, Obed Langa and Anna Lechasa.
They told Sowetan at the weekend that a decision taken at a meeting on February 4 last year, which was attended by circuit and society stewards and other leaders, where Ngxabi was re-invited for another term, was unconstitutional because it excluded ordinary members of the church.
"The constitutional rights of the people to choose or have a say as who should serve them was grossly violated by the manner in which this issue was dealt with," the group said in a letter of complaint addressed to the district bishop, the Reverend Brian Jennings, last Tuesday.
"We are not dismissing the minister. We are saying he has served his full term, as per the church policy and we need change."
Other grievances levelled against Ngxabi are that:
l For almost a year, he has not attended the 10am service at St James;
l During the same period he has not administered Holy Communion to members of the congregation;
l He only does selective pastoral visits to a few members;
l Both the spiritual and numerical growth of the church were adversely affected and undermined by this behaviour; and
l The message in his sermons failed to touch the congregation's inner soul.
Several attempts to get comment from Ngxabi have failed.
Bishop Jennings confirmed receipt of documents from the aggrieved group.
However, on Saturday afternoon during a closed meeting held in Benoni, it was agreed that pastoral commission be held as soon as possible.
The meeting was attended by church elders, the Concerned People, and Bishop Jennings.