‘It is done! Welcome, Bishop Ellinah!’
'It is done! Welcome, Bishop Ellinah!' With these words the Rt Rev Thabo Makgoba, Archbishop of Cape Town and Primate of the Province of Southern Africa, announced the news that the consecration of the Rev Ellinah Wamukoya as Bishop of Swaziland, one of our companion dioceses, had taken place on Saturday 17 November. Nine other bishops, including our own Bishop Nigel , joined with Archbishop Thabo in the act of consecration, surrounding her, praying together and laying their hands upon her.
She emerged from this tight circle wearing her episcopal insignia. Bishop Ellinah confidently proclaimed, 'I, your Bishop, thank you for your welcome and prayers, and I assure you that I will lead my diocese in a godly manner.' Then later there was a thunderstorm and much needed rain – perhaps a sign of blessing and promise of goodness to come. ￼￼￼￼￼￼The previous day just after the rehearsal was finished the heavens opened and with thunder and lightning heavy rain poured down, but the Saturday opened bright and sunny.
The consecration service took place in the Mavuso Trade Centre in Manzini commencing at 9 a.m. The Archbishop reported that between three and four thousand of the faithful were gathered to witness this historic event. The preacher was the Very Rev’d David Dinkebogile, Dean of the Diocese of Christ the King in South Africa. He stressed the fact that though Ellinah is a woman, they were gathered to consecrate and ordain a Bishop in the Church of God: not a black woman, not an African, not a Swazi woman, but a Priest of the Church. She was to be pastor to all, to men and women, to black and white, to Swazis and all others in her Diocese.
The previous bishop, the Rt Rev’d Meshack Mabuza, handed over his pastoral staff to the Dean of the Province, who then passed it to Archbishop Thabo who in turn presented it to Ellinah – a symbolic display of both continuity and change within the environment of the church. Among the guests were representatives of the Africa Desk of The Episcopal Church and of the United Society (formally the United Society for the Propagation of the Gospel) and groups of people from other African countries as well as South Africa. Bishop Ellinah was formally greeted by various more local people including the Chief Executive Officer of Manzini City Council, the Chairperson of the Council of Swaziland Churches, the President of the Swaziland National Association of Teachers, and the Chief Executive Officer of the Mbabane Municipal Council.