The Gift of Presence
For nearly two weeks, those of us in the Saint Paul Area Synod have been blessed by the presence of ou[...]
"Ask the Lord of the harvest, therefore, to send out workers into his harvest field." - Mt 9:38
Yesterday, 600 leaders from across the Iringa Diocese gathered together at Ipogolo Parish for a Special General Assembly. The primary aim of the day was the election of a new Dean or Assistant to the Bishop after that office was vacated earlier in the year. Joining the Bishop, General Secretary, and Treasurer as a member of the DIRA Management Team, the Dean's office works closely with seven District Pastors to support parish pastors, evangelists, and the overall spiritual life of the diocese.
Organized around Matthew 9:38, the day began at 8am with opening worship and Communion. That was followed by a moving speech from the District Commissioner and introductions from other government officials, institutional partners, and foreign visitors. A study on the theme verse and instructions for the day preceded our 3pm lunch. While voting delegates and visiting guests ate, a nominations committee comprised of 14 people was whisked away to a secure room where they considered names to put before the assembly in secrecy - with no cell phones, campaigning, or outside interactions allowed.
The assembly resumed and voting began at 4:30. The General Secretary summarized the nominating committee's deliberations, noting that the new Dean should be a reconciling force who works in harmony with Bishop Gaville and his vision for the Diocese. As permitted by their constitution, the nominating committee forwarded one name to the assembly for an up or down vote. Shortly thereafter, with 430 'yes' votes out of 457 cast, Pastor Askali Mgeyekwa was elected to the office of Dean of the ELCT Iringa Diocese.
Coming from a remote community, Dean-elect Mgeyekwa has extensive experience serving in multiple parishes and several districts. Our thoughts and prayers go with him and his family as this faithful worker prepares to begin work in the new field to which he has been sent.
The Rev. Peter Harrits
Director of Bega Kwa Bega and Assistant to the Bishop