LWF congratulates South African bishop Naledzani Josephine Sikhwari

Bishop Naledzani Josephine Sikhwari. All photos: David Mang’enda/ALCINET
Bishop Naledzani Josephine Sikhwari. All photos: David Mang’enda/ALCINET

"To build gender justice in the church is our shared commitment”

(LWI) - The Lutheran World Federation (LWF) has congratulated Evangelical Lutheran Church in Southern Africa - Northern Diocese (ELCSA-ND) Bishop Naledzani Josephine Sikhwari as she took office this week, offering encouragement to “trust in God who is with you in the journey of the ministry in your diocese and beyond.”

“The gifts you bring, as the first woman in this position, give witness to the Gospel, enrich the church and inspire women and girls to answer to the call they received in their Baptism,” wrote LWF-Regional Secretary for Africa Rev. Dr Elieshi Mungure and LWF Program Executive for Gender Justice and Women Empowerment Rev. Dr Marcia Blasi on behalf of the LWF leadership.“To build Gender Justice in the church and society is our shared commitment,” Blasi and Mungure wrote.

“The LWF is aware of your leadership capacities within the ELCSA and in the ecumenical settings, hence the wealth of experience, knowledge and relationships that you bring will enrich the entire church in fulfilling its mission of just and inclusive leadership.”

The greeting was presented at the consecration ceremony by Rev. Elitha Moyo, a member of the LWF Council. The Evangelical Lutheran Church in Zimbabwe Presiding Bishop Kenneth Sibanda joined local bishops of ELCSA in the consecration service. ELCSA Interim Presiding Bishop AM Mnisi presided and church leaders and guests from South Africa and other countries participated.

Bishop Naledzani Josephine Sikhwari of Polokwane, SA is a graduate of the University of Venda and worked as a teacher from 1989- 1991. In 1997, Sikhwari completed her theological studies at the University of Kwazulu Natal – Pietemaritzburg and was ordained the same year and soon after served the Carlruhe and Kgapane Parishes. In 2006, she became the first woman to hold office of Dean in the Northern Diocesan Synod where she served two terms. Sikhwari was consecrated bishop of the ELCSA-ND on 23 May 2021.

 David Mang’enda/ALCINET

Bishop Naledzani Josephine Sikhwari

 David Mang’enda/ALCINET

LWF representative and Council member Rev. Elitha Moyo reads,“Close to you and around the globe there are sisters and brothers who will pray with and for you, support you, who will walk with you through the good and the hard times, standing by your side in your new journey of leadership.”

 David Mang’enda/ALCINET

Polokwane Municipality Mayor Thembi Nkadimeng

 David Mang’enda/ALCINET

Lutheran Communion in South Africa Director Rev Lilana Kasper addresses Bishop Sikhwari

 David Mang’enda/ALCINET

Pastors are seated during the consecration ceremony of Bishop Sikhwari in the Northern district of South Africa.

 David Mang’enda/ALCINET

ELCSA Church Assembly Chairperson, Mr. Thelo Wakefield said in his speech, “because of the hard work I saw in her, I am not surprised to see her being consecrated bishop, today.”

 David Mang’enda/ALCINET

Acting Minister in the Office of the President Khumbudzo Ntshavheni.

 David Mang’enda/ALCINET

ELCSA Acting General Secretary Ashmeer Joseph welcomes guests to the consecration of Bishop Sikhwari.

 David Mang’enda/ALCINET

Presiding Bishop Kenneth Sibanda from The Evangelical Lutheran Church in Zimbabwe assists ELCSA Presiding Bishop AM Mnisi in the consecration ceremony of Bishop Naledzani Josephine Sikhwari. Sikhwari is the first woman to lead a Southern African diocese.

 

Photos by David Mang'enda/ALCINET.

 

By LWF/A.Gray. David Mang’enda/ALCINET contributed.


The LWF has four member churches in South Africa including ELCSA, which joined the communion in 1976.