On Wednesday morning, the 5th of March, a press conference was held by the Lesotho Evangelical Church in Southern Africa (LECSA) at its Sefika church. The purpose of the press conference was to provide the media of Lesotho with background information regarding the upcoming LECSA Thuthuho celebrations to commemorate the 50th Anniversary, or Jubilee, of the occasion when the mission church of the Paris Evangelical Missionary Society (PEMS) , known as the Church of Basutoland, officially became the Lesotho Evangelical Church. This event marked the handing over of the church’s administration and leadership from the mission authorities to the Basotho people. Thus, Thuthuho marks the time of the church’s “coming of age”.
The press conference was opened by the LECSA Executive Secretary, Rev. G. L. Ramatlapeng and then followed by remarks from the LECSA Moderator Rev. Tseliso Simeon Masemene, Deputy Moderator Rev. Jane Timothy Makakane who is one of the members of the Organizing Committee (OC) for the celebrations, and Mr. Thabo Ntai, Chairman of the OC.
In their remarks, Rev. Masemene and Rev. Makakane touched on several points to explain what this Jubilee of Thuthuho means. The theme for the celebrations is from 1 Samuel 7:12 where Samuel set up a stone, named it Ebenezer and said, “Thus far has the LORD helped us.” The Jubilee event is an appropriate time to give thanks for how God has helped the LECSA over the past fifty years. It is also a time to reflect on where the church has come from, where it is now and where it would like go in the future.
It was noted that the church has faced many challenges in the past fifty years, particularly during the political violence of the 1970’s and 1980’s when church members and pastors were persecuted and imprisoned and the editor of the church’s newspaper, Mr. Edgar Motuba, was assassinated. The church has also had its successes, including growing from 49 parishes in 1964 to 109 parishes today.
There will be special recognition of the “Jubilee Children”, meaning those born in 1964 and marking their own birthday jubilees this year. Included among these is the LECSA Moderator Rev. Masemene. Church members who suffered during the political turmoil mentioned above will also be remembered and recognized.
Speaking on behalf of the OC, Mr. Ntai discussed the various events that will take place to mark the occasion. Although the official celebrations will commence over the weekend of the 26-27th of April in Morija, the Jubilee year will run through to April 2015 and presbyteries and parishes will have the opportunity to mark the event as well.