Hundreds of believers are praying for the arrest of the killers of Bishop Thembinkosi Fandaleki.
This was said by his Methodist Church of Southern Africa (MCSA) district leaders at his memorial service.
Believers from different churches also called for a thorough investigation during an emotional memorial service in Mthatha on Tuesday.
The service was attended by hundreds, including parishioners from different churches, civil society, and government and municipal leaders.
The 54-year-old Fandaleki, who was serving as bishop of the Clarkebury district, was shot and died in his vehicle in the Mthatha CBD on August 1.
“Speedy arrest of the killers of our beloved bishop will be a good step towards closure.
“We pray not only for the arrest but for the conviction of those who killed him,’’ said the church’s district co-ordinator, the Reverend Zibangele Nogonyothi.
Speakers calling for prayers to have the killers arrested said this would bring relief to his family members, his church and the wider Christian community.
Fandaleki was described as a family man, a God-fearing man, a unifying figure, conciliator, peace-lover, spiritual councillor, people’s person, good samaritan, good shepherd and good administrator.
OR Tambo district mayor Nomakhosazana Meth praised his contribution to the municipality, but lashed out at infighting in SA churches.
She lambasted “those unholy rows which misrepresent God and dent the integrity of Christianity”.
These fights had to be condemned and quelled because they fuelled moral decay and caused social ills.
Saying the church represented “Heaven and God” Meth added it was becoming like political organisations with “nasty infighting, at times costing loss of human life”.
Nogonyothi said: “He was the glue that held the church together. He treated everyone as an equal.
“He brought stability and unity to the district and boosted the morale of his congregants.”
Nogonyothi warned there were many untruthful rumours circulating around the killing.
“There is no leadership row nor any infighting of any kind,” he stressed.
“As proof of this, the district synod was unanimous in re-electing him for the second term as bishop of the Clarkebury district.”
“We as the church will not entertain baseless, mischievous rumours aimed to deliberately tarnish the good name of our bishop and that of the Anglican church.
“Everyone with tangible information must work with the police,’’ Nogonyothi urged.
“For years one of our priests was totally blind after an illness. Bishop Fandaleki urged all church members to contribute to his medical bills for expensive eye specialists.
“Bishop Fandaleki even went out there and solicited further funding. Today this priest has sight in one of his eyes restored, and this brought joy to all of us,’’ said Nogonyothi.
“Dabazana (the bishop’s clan name) was a joyous person, down-to-earth and not aloof to his congregants.”
Fandaleki will be laid to rest at his home near Mount Frere today. — firstname.lastname@example.org