By David Mandiyanike, Gaborone, Botswana
The 25th May 2014 will go down in the annals of history when St James UMC, Gaborone held the ground breaking service at its new stand in Mogoditsane. The groundbreaking
ceremony was conducted by the Zimbabwe Episcopal Area Resident Bishop Eben Kanukayi Nhiwatiwa.
More than 300 people from all corners of Gaborone including far afield places like Lobatse, Maun and Francistown attended the event. The Bulawayo-Midlands District Superintendent Rev Farirayi Nyabote and Ms Kelebogile Kgabi – the Deputy Permanent Secretary in the Ministry of Labour and Home Affairs representing the Government of Botswana graced the occasion.
The day started off with a tour of the 5000 square metre-stand, the Sunday service and the actual groundbreaking.
During a pre-sermon speech Bishop Nhiwatiwa spoke of the Japanese philosophy – ‘Kaizen’ which simply means ‘good change’. He said that in life we all need to strive to become better people with each passing day. He implored all believers to press on with life and seek to be better and improve relations with all those we are in contact with – family, friends and all.
The Bishop noted that efforts by the St. James congregation to build a sanctuary were encouraging, and it is a step in the right direction. Such progress indicated that the church is making strides in being better worshippers.
The key-note message was drawn from Philippians 3:3-16 “Indeed I count everything as loss because of the surpassing worth of knowing Christ Jesus my Lord. For his sake I have suffered the loss of all things, and count them as refuse, in order that I may gain Christ” RSV
Bishop Nhiwatiwa noted that sometimes in life people get caught up in temporary things – all but vanity.
He implored the congregation, “In whatever you do isa punch nekuti kwakauya mumwe nemasoko akanaka, kuti Jesu wakafira kuponesa vanyangadzi. Even pakuvaka church, isa punch” (devote all your energy to what you can do best – even in building the church”. After this moving sermon, there was a powerful responsive prayer.
Ms Kelebogile Kgabi expressed appreciation for witnessing such a promising initiative and assured the congregation that her Ministry and indeed the Government of Botswana would do everything possible to help the church as they embark on the construction of the sanctuary.
The continued presence of Botswana Government officials at the church’s activities bears testimony of the United Methodist Church’s marked presence in Botswana. This loudly signals that the Church is here to stay.
Ms Kelebogile Kgabi Deputy Perm Sec in the Ministry of Labour and Home Affairs (Govt-of-Bots)