Morija was the focus of attention over the weekend of 26-27th April as the Lesotho Evangelical Church in Southern Africa kicked off its year of its 50th anniversary of Thuthuho celebrations with a major event beginning on Saturday morning and ending on Sunday afternoon. In April of 1964, the Paris Evangelical Missionary Society handed over the leadership of its mission church, the Church of Basutoland, to the Basotho church leaders. This marked the beginning of a new era for the church, including a new name: the Lesotho Evangelical Church (LEC), which in 2013 became the Lesotho Evangelical Church in Southern Africa (LECSA). Thuthuho is a Sesotho word meaning “Coming of Age”. The theme, “Jehova O re thusitse ho fifhlela mona” (Thus far has the LORD helped us), from 1 Samuel 7:12, was frequently referenced in sermons and addresses over the weekend.
The events kicked off early on Saturday morning with a service of worship. The sermon was preached by Rev. John Mokhahlane, former Moderator of the LECSA. In his address, Rev. Mokhahlane said God’s purpose for humanity is that man should have abundant life, a life where there is justice and peace, and where people do unto others as they would have others do unto them.
Afterwards there were speeches from many of the dignitaries present, including Her Majesty Queen ‘Masenate, the Right Honourable Prime Minister Tom Motsoahae Thabane and Archbishop Tlali Lerotholi of the Catholic Church.
In his address, the LECSA Moderator Rev. Tseliso Simeon Masemene spoke about the important role played by the French missionaries who brought the Gospel to Lesotho in 1833. Besides sharing the Word of God, the missionaries also worked closely with King Moshoeshoe I to fulfil his desire for peace and security for the Basotho people. Their concern for the Basotho people in all areas of life, including education, health and agriculture, lives on today in the life of the LECSA. Since 1964 the LECSA has continued to preach the Good News as well as playing a critical role in Basotho society. The LECSA has been a voice for justice and righteousness and has intervened in numerous situations to mediate various political crises facing the country. The church has been salt, light and leaven in the society as a whole.
After the speeches, various choirs performed, including one composed of Thuthuho children (those born in 1964) including Rev. Masemene. Birthday balloons were pursued and collected by the children, a number of birthday cakes were displayed and then a mid-afternoon lunch was served. Later in the afternoon the youth of the church presented a play showing various events in the history of the church starting from the arrival of the three French Protestant missionaries from the Paris Evangelical Missionary Society in 1833. They came at the invitation of the Great Chief of the Basotho, King Moshoeshoe I. Concluding the afternoon events was a special presentation of gifts by the church pastors and evangelists to the current Moderator Rev. Masemene, his immediate predecessor Rev. Mokhahlane and The Reverend Dr. A. M. Moseme who was recognized for his many years of service at the Morija Theological School.
In the evening there was a service of worship with several sermons and Holy Communion. Late in the evening special sky lanterns were lit which floated up into the midnight sky, symbolising the sharing of the Light of the Gospel. Then a special solar-powered Jubilee Lamp, positioned at the top of the Makhoarane Plateau, was lit. It will serve as a beacon of light shining through the darkness each evening.
Among other things, a special plaque commemorating the weekend’s events was unveiled which will be installed near the Morija LECSA church. Also displayed was a special stone marker with the names of 50 Thuthuho children.
The gathering was also informed that starting in May, Rev. Nelson Khethang Posholi will be the new Executive Secretary for the church, succeeding Rev. Gilbert Letlafuoa Ramatlapeng who has been in the position for the past four years.