THE family of a three-month-old baby has reportedly been denied for having buried their child in the cemetery of the Evangelical Lutheran Church of Namibia (Elcin) in the village of Onanyama in the Ohangwena region.
This is said to be because the baby’s mother is a member of a rival church.
According to the baby’s uncle, Gideon Mwatila, the baby’s mother is a member of the Namibia Apostolic Faith Mission, which is located near Omuhongo Elcin Church.
The mission of the apostolic faith has served the village for the past 15 years, but does not have a cemetery.
They say the baby is the first member of this church to die.
Mwatila says the baby died on July 14 and was buried two days later.
He says that because the Apostolic Church does not have a cemetery, the family asked the Omuhongo Church in Elcin for help, but was not assisted.
“The deacon, Cathrine Nepando, said the baby could not be buried in Elcin cemetery because she was not a member of the church,” Mwatila said.
He says the family pleaded with Onanyama village chief Mika Shikongo, but to no avail.
“The chief said he would inquire,” Mwatila said.
He says the family was eventually helped by an elderly person from the village, who offered them land where the baby could be buried.
“He said if we didn’t have a place to bury the baby, we could bury him in his fence, because the grave of a former member of the Namibian People’s Liberation Army was also there. him, the baby would not have been buried. “
Pastor Petrus Timoteus of the Namibia Apostolic Faith Mission said on Wednesday he contacted the assistant to the senior traditional counselor, who allegedly told him Elcin’s church was justified in refusing to bury the baby .
“He told me that he only knew of three churches in Namibia: Elcin, the Roman Catholic Church and the Anglican Church,” Timoteus said.
Elcin’s executive secretary for the Eastern Dioceses, Rev. Aron Kaanana, said this week he was not aware of the matter.
Contacted for comment, Elcin general secretary Alpo Enkono said: “Won’t they have demons if they come and bury their baby at Elcin cemetery? They say we are possessed by demons.
Shikongo said he would only comment on the matter after he consulted the church, while Nepando said earlier this week that the family of the deceased had never approached the church.
“They are not telling the truth. I have not seen them and I have not spoken to them,” she said.
The Bishop of the Eastern Diocese of Elcin, Shekutamba Nambala, was unavailable for comment yesterday, however, his Western Diocese counterpart, Veikko Munyika, said the baby’s remains should have been allowed to be buried at the cemetery.
He said the church does not discriminate against anyone on the basis of their religious beliefs.