The United Congregational Church of Southern Africa met in Mafikeng last week for its 37th General Assembly. At this Assembly, Rev. Dr. Moiseraele Prince Dibeela was honoured at a dinner that was graced by dignitaries from the South African government and civil society, as well as our own Sir Ketumile Masire, former President of the Republic of Botswana for his eight-year service at the helm of the denomination which ends in December 2013.
Rev. Dibeela is minister and General Secretary of the United Congregational Church of Southern Africa (UCCSA), a church spanning the countries of Botswana, Mozambique, Namibia, South Africa and Zimbabwe. He has previously worked as a minister in both rural and urban local churches in Botswana, as Mission Enabler in the URC in the UK and as Principal of Kgolagano Theological College in Botswana.
We are aware as the Umbrella for Democratic Change that during the past eight years Rev. Dibeela has served the UCCSA with distinction, compassion, wisdom and grace. During his tenure, he reignited the justice calling of the church and continued the strong commitment of social justice that has defined the church’s mission and witness. Rev. Dibeela in his administration and leadership of the church demonstrated courage and a commitment to promote a listening church even in the face of difficult issues.
UCCSA is indebted to him for his sound leadership and his name his added to the distinguished men who have led the church. He has been an ardent supporter of gender equality and the equal participation of women in the church in ministry and all levels of leadership. Rev. Dibeela also actively encouraged the young people of the UCCSA church to become even more active participants in the life of their church. It does not surprise that when the Umbrella met its first and momentous challenge in December 2011, he stepped in with other distinguished men like Bishop Dr Cosmos Moenga and Judge John Mosojane to assist Mr Lebang Mpotokwane and Mr Emang Maphanyane in nestling and guiding the Umbrella project.
Rev. Dibeela is a respected church leader and ecumenist, and has served as Moderator of the Council for World Mission; a member of the Assembly Planning Committee of the upcoming World Council of Churches (WCC) Assembly to be held in South Korea this month end, and he is a member of the Central Committee of the WCC. He is also vice president of the Seafarers Association of South Africa.
He is a true servant of God and an Ambassador of Goodwill and Justice for Botswana, the region and Africa. He is a regular speaker and participant at global ecumenical conferences, especially on issues of economic justice, gender justice, ecology and economy, and the Accra Confession (a statement of the World Alliance of Reformed Churches on global capitalism). He is keen in re-reading the Bible from the perspective of those who are on the underside of history.
Rev. Dibeela has served as Commissioner for the Diakonia programme of the WCC; he was in the planning Committee of a Global Gender Conference held in Taipei, Taiwan in October, 2008. He has served as a consultant and resource person in the inauguration of an Education in Mission programme for the Churches of Christ Church in Malawi. He was one of the Coordinators of a global conference on gender justice held in Goa, India. He has been part of a peace initiative of the All Africa Conference of Churches in Rwanda.
He was founding editor of the Fireplace Theology, a journal of theology and religious studies published by Kgolagano Press. He is also founding editor of the Non-Conformist, a journal for current missiological and ecclesiological issues, published by the UCCSA Publications Department. Rev. Dibeela is a regular preacher, speaker, writer and facilitator both locally and globally. His passion is on political theology, missiology and issues of justice. He is also a regular political observer and commentator both in print and electronic media.
The UDC family, Batswana and the Southern African region, join the UCCSA in thanking Rev. Dibeela, his dear wife Rev. Sheryl Dibeela, their daughter Lorato and son Tumelo, for being true missionaries and making the name of Botswana shine. May God bless them.
Mk. Gomolemo Motswaledi
Umbrella for Democratic Change