Rev. Tomas Ndawanapo Consecrated as First Bishop in IELA History
By Rev. Isak Malua (IELA) | August 15, 2012
Ondjiva, Angola---August 5th, 2012 has been recorded as a joyous day in the history book of the Evangelical Lutheran Church in Angola (IELA). This day marked the consecration of the first ever bishop in church history! Rev. Tomas Ndawanapo. Rev. Ndawanapo was elected as a bishop by the VII General Synod of the Church, held at the end of 2011. It’s no doubt that this Synod brought significant changes, both on the leadership and on the work of the church. For all of the six last synods the church has been electing presidents of the church. But this time IELA made the shift from presidential leadership to the episcopal office.
The consectration took place at IELA Ondjiva Parish. The service started at 08h30AM with the procession of the clergy from the church building to the newly completed plaza de igreja. Ideally, the consecration would have been officiated by the Presiding Bishop of the Evangelical Lutheran Church in Namibia (ELCIN), The Rt. Rev. Dr. Shekutaamba V.V. Nambala, but because of other commitments he was represented by Bishop Josaphat Kashindi Shanghala, bishop of ELCIN Western Diocese, assisted by Bishop Zephaniah Kameeta of ELCRN (Namibia), Bishop Johannes Ramashapa (Executive Director of LUCSA), Bishop Emeritus Kleopas Dumeni of ELCIN (Namibia), Bishop Kosmos Moenga of ELCB (Botswana), Bishop José Mabasso of IELM (Moçambique) and Rev. Noa Ndeutapo the first IELA President.
During the opening homily, the presiding bishop of the concecration, Bishop Josaphat Shanghala, reminded Rev. Ndawanapo that: “You have been elected as bishop to lead Christ’s Church, therefore, the power of His Spirit will be always over you. You do not need to lead as a boss, but as servant”. This event attracted many people from all the corners of the region, including pastors and members from churches of all parishes of IELA, to government and traditional authorities, as well as from neighbouring countries, mainly Namibia.
In his sermon based on Luke 12:42-48, Bishop Ndawanapo stressed the importance of human responsibility to life. He highlighted three important areas where God calls everyone to participate faithfully in His mission: family, church, and society. “We are all called to be good stewards in the Mission of God, and therefore, be it who we are and wherever we are, we all need to uphold good Christian principles in the society” – said Bishop Ndawanapo. He also reminded all Christians of their social responsibility to wilingfully participate in the upcoming national elections. Later on, in his speech of thanksgiving, Bishop Ndawanapo also thanked all who participated in the preparation of the largest event in the history of IELA. He also thanked the IELA members who were delegates of the 7th General Synod which entrusted him the bishopric office.
At the ocasion different dignitaries like: Rev. António Mussaqui – General Secretary of the Angola Alliance of the Evangelicals (AEA), Rev. Maija Kuopala – the Southern Africa Regional Representative of the Finnish Evangelical Lutheran Mission, Rev. André Cangovi – Angola LWF Representative, Bishop Johannes Ramashapa – the Executive Director of LUCSA, Mr. Avelino Rafael – Representative of ISTEL, and Rev. Alpo Enkono – ELCIN General Secretary, brought their messages and greetings. In his speech, the Governor of Kunene Province, Prof. Dr. António Didalelwa aplauded IELA for taking such an important step in the history of churches in Angola. Dr. Didalelwa stressed the importance of the social role of the church in the community, assuring the that the relationship and partnership between the church and government will always continue. “The Angolan Government will always count on and walk with IELA” – said the Governor. The service lasted seven hours and ended with the blessing by the newly consecrated IELA leader, Bishop Tomas Ndawanapo.
The Procession The Faithful Gather in Support of Their New Bishop
Bishop From Around the Region Bless Bishop Ndawanpo One of Many Regional Choirs Joyfully Sing
LUCSA’s Executive Director, Bishop Ramashapa presents the new Bishop of IELA
Ma Bishop Shanghala & Ma Bishop Ndawanapo Join in Prayer Bishop Ndawanapo Greets The People of IELA
Photos: Kristen Opalinski/LUCSA