Archbishop saddened by church fire

Photo: ntuntu dweba Anglican Church of Southern Africa Archbishop Thabo Makgoba addresses congregants at the Umzimvubu Diocese on Monday.
Photo: ntuntu dweba Anglican Church of Southern Africa Archbishop Thabo Makgoba addresses congregants at the Umzimvubu Diocese on Monday.

ntuntu.dweba@media24.com

THE Anglican Church of Southern Africa congregants watched helplessly on Friday as the headquarters of the Umzimvubu Diocese in Kokstad was reduced to a burnt-out structure­ by a mysterious fire.

Fire fighters couldn't stop the blazing fire which destroyed an old cathedral, the Glenthorne Dio- cesan­­ Centre and houses on the premises.

The disaster prompted a visit by Archbishop Thabo Makgoba and Mthatha Bishop Sitembele Mzamane­ to the Umzimvubu Diocese­ on Monday.

Makgoba said he was in Swaziland when he heard what had happened.

“I was deeply saddened and disturbed when I heard what had happened in Umzimvubu Diocese. I decided I couldn't go back to Cape Town without coming to see the place. That which was built in love is now destroyed - we are handing over everything to God,” he said.

The fire comes at a time when a new diocesan council was appointed for Umzimvubu after Bishop Mlibo Ngewu was suspended following complaints to Makgoba about his leadership style.

“It's very sad that over R1 million­ has been spent in litigation­ because of the turmoil in the Umzimvubu diocese.

“I am sorry that the church of God had to go through this,” Makgoba said.

Mzamane, who now leads Umzimvubu­ Diocese as the archbishop's vicar general, said they would wait for a police report before claiming from insurance.

“We were at a meeting when we saw huge flames coming from some houses. Fortunately, no one was injured and everyone in the building was safely evacuated.

“This is a new start - it is the start of the resurrection of this diocese.

“The new council will treat everyone­ the same, everyone will be welcome, this is the beginning of an era of unity and peace,” Mzamane­ said of the new diocesan council.

Makgoba and Mzamane also performed a cleansing ceremony at the diocese in which incense was burnt and holy water sprinkled in all diocese offices on Main Street.

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