Women Leaders in LECSA

LECSA’s first women pastors were ordained in the 1980’s. Since then, the number of women clergy members in the denomination has increased. Now LECSA has a significant number of women pastors serving in a variety of parishes in both Lesotho and South Africa. The parishes range from those located in highly populated areas to those in remote rural communities. As one can imagine, each setting provides its distinct set of challenges both professionally. Many women leaders in the church express that they have faced challenges in balancing their professional and personal lives, especially if they are married and/or have children. Yet despite these challenges, women in Lesotho and South Africa courageously act on their calling to serve the church.

For example, Rev. M. M. Mohlatsane, pastor of Phomolong LECSA in Thaba-Bosiu Presbytery, serves one of the largest congregations in Lesotho’s capital city, Maseru (pictured here on Easter Sunday 2021). She supports large numbers of people in her parish and collaborates with other pastors in the city, addressing local social and political issues that affect her congregants.

Rev. M. M. Mohlatsane at Phomolong LECSA on Easter Sunday 2021

In contrast, Rev. J. M. Letsie serves Mohlanapeng LECSA, which is part of a rural parish located high in the mountains in Mantšonyane Presbytery. Her parish stretches over a vast geographic area and includes congregations that are located in extremely remote communities in the mountains. For example, she recently rode 52 kilometres on horseback to visit one of her congregations (pictured here), because there is no road passable by motor vehicle that goes to that community. Her duties also include helping manage a local LECSA health institution, Mohlanapeng Health Centre, which serves 14 surrounding villages.

Rev. J. M. Letsie on horseback, visiting a remote congregation

In addition to serving as clergy, women occupy various other leadership roles in LECSA. Six out of the 12 LECSA presbyteries are led by women moderators:

  • Rev. Rosalea Mat’sepang Seotsanyana for Morija Presbytery (she is also Deputy Secretary of the LECSA Synod).
  • Rev. Mareabetsoe Mariam Adoro for Molumong Presbytery, which is the most rural presbytery, stretching from Mokhotlong district to Thaba-tseka district.
  • Rev. Victoria Mantsubise Mopeli for Mant’sonyane Presbytery, which is in the district of Thaba-tseka, a very rural and mountainous district.
  • Rev. Alphpncina -Makatleho Thatho, for Masitise Presbytery.
  • Rev. Ellen Mamapetla Mapetla, for Qalo Presbytery.
  • Rev. Joyce Matale Tale, for Leribe Presbytery, one of the biggest presbyteries with 12 parishes.

LECSA thanks God for their dedication and quality leadership.

Administratively, women serve on both local-level as well as national-level committees and commissions that act as advisory bodies to the Executive Committee, LECSA’s chief decision-making body. Over the years a handful of women have served as members of the Executive Committee itself, such as current Deputy Secretary, Rev. M. R. Seotsanyana, mentioned above (pictured here, preaching at the 2019 LECSA Synod Meeting).

Rev. M. R. Seotsanyana, preaching at the 2019 LECSA Synod Meeting

On an educational level, Morija Theological Seminary (MTS), has seen some Basotho women instructors since it was established in 1882. Rev. M. M. Fotho (pictured here) was one of the very first Basotho women who started teaching at the seminary in 2006, continuing until her retirement in 2020. She served most recently as the chaplain at NUL-LECSA in Roma. She was also the second ever woman pastor to be ordained in LECSA in 1989. Almost half of the students currently enrolled at MTS are women.

Rev. M. M. Fotho, the second woman pastor in LECSA to be ordained

Finally, it is especially important to note how women contribute significantly as lay leaders in local churches both formally and informally. Regardless of whether these women occupy visible positions of leadership, they are often the ones who make church events run smoothly – they plan for them, staff them, and cook and clean up for them. There are also the official women’s groups, such as Bo-Mabana and MBBK, that organize fundraising events, worship, and provide numerous other kinds of support for their congregations. They not only meet at the parish-level, they also have presbytery and national-level gatherings each year.

Bo-Mabana Women’s Guild
MBBK Women’s Guild

We lift up the various roles in which women serve in LECSA to show the integral part women play in the life of the church. Those women mentioned above by name are specific examples of the kind of gifted, resilient, passionate, hard-working women serving within LECSA, but they represent countless others who also serve. It goes without saying that the work of women leaders is vital to the life and culture of LECSA and that their service is a blessing to the community.


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