Feast day at Molepolole

Today St. Paul’s Church in Molepolole is celebrating the feast day of the Conversion of St. Paul, which was Friday.

I travel to Molepolole, some forty miles west of Gaborone, with Bishop Trevor Mwamba and the new dean of the cathedral, James McKeran. It’s a beautiful, sunny day, already getting hot. The Bishop’s car’s air conditioning works better than mine.

The service is superb, wonderful choruses in Setswana, a fine ‘farewell’ sermon by Bishop Trevor, even special prayers for the paramount chief of the Bakwena, who stands before him.

                                                                Bishop Trevor, censing the altar at St. Paul's, Molepolole

It is commonplace to ask guests to bring greetings, and I do so, naming the Bishop of North Carolina, Michael Curry. But I also mention that North Carolina just held its annual convention Friday and elected a suffragan bishop, Anne Hodges-Copple, and so I bring greetings from her too. I make sure gender is not lost on the congregation; I mention ‘her election’ and ‘she’ to underscore the point.

This will not be disturbing to the people in the Diocese of Botswana. They have wanted to be able to ordain women for quite some years, and there has been some complaint that there are no women in our first intake of students at the St. Augustine Theological School. The Diocese is asking once more that the Church of the Province of Central Africa – which includes not just Botswana but also Malawi, Zimbabwe and Zambia – permit dioceses who wish to do so to ordain women. This has been a successful practice elsewhere; Kenya is a case in point. We’ll see. The provincial synod is in February.

There’s a good meal afterward. The chicken is tender and spicy, with a good dose of vinegar and pepper, like my Mama used to fix.