Story By: David Mandiyanike – Associate District Connectional Ministries Chairperson.
The Bulawayo-Midlands District Superintendent Rev Farirai Nyabote gave a teaching on ‘Protocol in the United Methodist Church’ during the District’s Large Executive Review Meeting at Bulawayo Central Circuit, Matshobana Church recently.
“I am the way and the truth and the life. No one comes to the Father except through me.” (John 14v6 NIV)
Such is the character of protocol as espoused by Jesus Christ. Indeed in today’s world we still need to maintain acceptable norms of conduct and relating.
The teaching was very interactive and members present were intrigued to note what protocol in the church meant.
They listened with awe when DS Nyabote said that:
When addressing a gathering one should always start with the chairperson and then address people from the highest rank and end with the lowest one.
- When introducing people one should start with the lowest rank and end with the highest. If there are clergy and laity one should start with laity and end with clergy.
- A clergy person is introduced by clergy
- At procession, the lower office goes in front and the highest office at the end (staying behind is a sign of shepherding and protection)
- At recession, the highest office goes in front and lowest office at last. This symbolizes the leader going to fight and face all the dangers out in the world first before others follow.
- Communication is hierarchical and should be done by the right person in the appropriate office.
In reference to the United Methodist Church structures, DS Nyabote advised members of the Executive to observe the authority that was vested in their respective offices and that the authority would cease upon expiration of the term of office.
In concluding the presentation, she challenged those who came late to church or left before the recession, “saka imi muri kunonoka, muri kugombedzerwa nani, nemi munopoya svondo isati yapera?”
This indeed sent shivers to spines of many as they reflected on their misdemeanors unconsciously engaged.
During the vote of thanks, the District Layleader Mr Shingirayi Kufakunesu acknowledged “kunzwa tanzwa, chasara kuita” (literally translated we have heard you, we will translate this into action).
The presentation highlighted things we often take for granted, which however deserve our undivided attention.