n Nuusita Ashipala
Ongwediva – Only a mere 20 percent of Namibians are married, Presiding Bishop of the Evangelical Lutheran Church in Namibia (Elcin) Shekutamba Nambala startlingly claimed.
This, Nambala said in his recent ‘state of the church’ address at Oniipa, signified a general lack of interest in marriage by Namibians.
Namibia has about 2.4 million people.
“This shows maybe that the majority of the population are either children, they have no interest in marriage or they live disorderly,” the bishop said.
He said about 59 percent Namibians have never been married. It is not clear where the clergyman drew the statics from.
Elcin, the biggest denomination in the country with 814 000 members, has for the past seven years presided over 12 519 marriages across its congregations countrywide.
Nambala said his church has also recorded high divorce cases.
According to the bishop, some of the reasons that led to the high number of divorces cases include domestic abuse,
adultery especially amongst men, and family interference into marriages, amongst other factors. Nambala appealed to married couple to seek counselling in order to restore their marriages. “The church is not saying that those who are confronted by abuse and death threats should remain married, and we are not saying that they should leave. It is their choice,” the bishop said.
Nambala also warned against his church congregants from joining the mushrooming charismatic churches.
“We are advising the nation that salvation is not bought,” said Nambala.
He said such churches continue to divide families and communities and pleaded with government to register and regulate such churches.
Bishop Nambala, who deliberated on a number of issues, also pleaded with staff members of the church to desist from bribes and nepotism.
He asked congregants to report staff found wanting to the authorities, saying that the church will deal heftily with such followers.
“Many of the staff members [lack] dedication to assisting the next person,” the bishop, revealing that there are office bearers whose assistance of congregants is determined by how much they have been promised in return.