UCCSA goes fire

UCCSA Trinity choral singing. KEBOFHE MATHE
UCCSA Trinity choral singing. KEBOFHE MATHE

It is traditionally considered a Main-line Church, but today’s UCCSA has changed its face. Not by paint and brush.

From the traditional London Missionary Society (LMS) days when it was known as the church for hymns sung from the hymn book dubbed Difela tsa Lontone (LMS Hymns), the UCCSA has taken an about turn in recent times, much to the chagrin of its traditional conservative follower.

Even the famous city centre church, known as Trinity, led by Rev Mompati Aaron, has not been sparred by the winds of fire blowing across the UCCSA spectra.

Come any Sunday, the traditional hymns have been replaced by live band music, loud choruses, loud worship, the so-called speaking in tongues, you would think the building has been rented out to an evangelical church.

It is not just the music or the worship that has irked the traditionalists. Recently a Serowe pastor of UCCSA came to Gaborone and shocked the traditionalists with his prophetic sessions, evening prayers, anointing oils, they labelled him a copycat of the Nigerian type of fire churches.The chairman of the UCCSA synod, Rev Thuso Tiego, also a charismatic leader himself, estimates that all the 60 or so heads of the UCCSA’s respective branches in Botswana  have caught the fire.. While traditionalists would love to see the back of the new generation pastors and the return of the good Lontone days, Rev Tiego, who also heads the Broadhurst church, says transformation has arrived, and has been welcomed by the UCCSA’s young people.

The strategy to go evangelical and charismatic by the various UCCSA branches appear to have been borne out of the realisation that the new charismatic churches also known as fire churches, were weakening the UCCSA’s membership, as more and more young and middle aged joined the new churches in such of a miracle in their lives.

According to Rev Tiego their membership of young people is now solid. They offer them bible studies everyday, prayer meetings, deliverance sessions, anointing oils, and sometimes the church go all out pitch a tent for a crusade, attracting more followers like their  fire churches rivals, and their membership love it. Tiego says it was easy for the UCCSA to take the new route because each branch is empowered to do as it pleases, so long as the activity is supported by the bible.

He is however alive to the fact that there remains    some, especially the elderly who cannot stand the new changes in the church. They do not like the new music, or the prophetic and healing sessions which have now become the new norm and practice in the UCCSA.

The synod chairman however says in going evangelical, his church has not left behind the traditionalists. “ We still have Methodist oriented group, known as soldiers of Christ, they still keep their tradition of worship today; the UCCSA changed from LMS, when many churches came under one roof. Our constitution recognises that the local church’s tradition is supreme, it is not a top down management style.” explains Rev Tiego.

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