Petrus Jod, Zachaus Thomas and Marcus Witbooi
Active from 1946
African Methodist Episcopal Church
The three evangelists of the Rhenish Mission Church who lead the Nama secession in the south in 1946 were Pastor Petrus Jod (Maltahöhe), Pastor Zachaus Thomas (Keetmanshoop) and Pastor Marcus Witbooi (Gibeon). Although there were already some pastors ministering to the African Methodist Episcopal Church membership in the Luderitz area before 1946, these three leaders can be seen as the founding fathers of the African Methodist Episcopal Church (AMEC) in Namibia (Christians 2002; Witbooi 2002).
Pastor Zachaus Thomas was born in the south of Namibia, where he grew up. He was a gifted leader and became the leading evangelist of the Rhenish Mission Church in the southern regions. He became a Morse code operator, appointed by the government. With the Nama secession in 1946, he joined the AME Church, and became the first indigenous pastor to be ordained in the AMEC in Namibia. He became the first "presiding elder" of the AMEC in Namibia. He was instrumental in the appointment of Pastor Nicolas Christians from South Africa, who became his successor at the "Trinity" AME Church in Keetmanshoop in 1953.
Pastor Marcus Witbooi was the pastor at Gibeon, and the father of the current AMEC leader, Dr. Hendrik Witbooi of Gibeon, a minister in the first independent government of Namibia. (Witbooi 2002)
Gerhard Buys and Shekutaamba Nambala
1. This story is taken from Buys & Nambala 2003, p. 205.
Buys, G. L. & Nambala, S. V. V. 2003. History of the Church in Namibia 1805 - 1990, an Introduction.
Windhoek: Gamsberg Macmillan.
Namibia Research Institute (www.nets.iway.na/research)
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by Rev. Coombs, SDA Field President of the Central Region.
Beris, A. P. J. 1996. From Mission to Local Church: One hundred years of mission by the Catholic Church in Namibia, with special reference to the development of the Archdiocese of Windhoek and the Apostolic Vicariate of Rundu. Windhoek: John Meinert.
Buys, G. L. 1983. Die holistiese sendingbenadering in die ekumeniese diskussie met besondere verwysing na die Kerk en Sending in Suidwes-Afrika/Namibië. Unpublished D.Th. thesis, University of Stellenbosch.
Christians, N. C. 1957. Afrikaanse Metodisme, 'n Kort oorsig: Richard Allen, vader van die Afrikaanse Metodisme in Suidwes-Afrika. Keetmanshoop: Unpublished manuscript.
Friesen, R. H. 1994. "Origins of the Spiritual Healing Church in Botswana" in Oosthuizen, Kitshoff, Dube (Ed). Afro-Christianity at the Grassroots, Its Dynamics and Strategies. New York: E. J. Brill, p.37-50.
Hellberg, C.-J. 1979. A Voice of the Voiceless - The Involvement of the Lutheran World Federation in Southern Africa 1947-1977. Lund: Skeab Verbum.
Hoeflich, K. F. 1961. "In und nach dem Zweiten Weltkriege: 20 Jahre kirchliche Arbeit," in Afrikanischer Heimatkalender, pp. 82-85.
Hunke, N. 1996. Church and State: 100 years of Catholic Mission in Namibia. Windhoek: RCC, John Meinert Printers.
Kamburona, A. C. 1975. Church Order of Oruuano. Unpublished manuscript.
Kandovazu, E. 1968. Die Oruuano-Beweging. Karibib, ELK Boekdepot.
Kritzinger, J. J. 1972, Sending en Kerk in Suidwes-Afrika - Band I & II. Unpublished doctoral thesis,
University of Pretoria. (references to pages in the first volume are indicated by normal page numbers, while pages from the second volume are indicated by adding 'b' in front of the particular page numbers).
Lau, B. (Ed.). 1995b. An Investigation of the Shooting at the Old Location on 10 December 1959. Windhoek: DISCOURSE/MSORP Publications.
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Interviews & questionnaires
Christians, N. C. 2002. Unpublished notes forwarded on request to Buys, on 22 May 2002. Rev. Nicholas Christians was the pastor of the Trinity AME Church in Keetmanshoop for an uninterrupted period of 43 years (1953 - 1997). In 1998, he was awarded an honorary doctorate by the Wilberforce Institute of the AMEC in USA.
Mubonenwa, L. 1997. Response of Pastor Mubonenwa on the Questionnaire forwarded by Buys, dated 25 September 1997. Pastor Mubonenwa is the present Field President of the North East Namibia Field of the SDA Church.
Tjijombo, P. 2002. Interview of Buys with Bishop Petrus Tjijombo on 18 January 2002 at his house. Bishop Tjijombo was the founder and still active leader of the St. John's AFM in Namibia when this interview took place, after a ministry which started in 1953. The photo of his ministry starting in that year in the "old location" was unfortunately too bad to use in this publication.
Witbooi, H. 2002. Interview of Buys with the honourable Dr. Hendrik Witbooi, in Windhoek, on the
history of Evangelists Petrus Jod and Marcus Witbooi. Dr. Witbooi is the son of Pastor Marcus Witbooi, who was a founder member of the AMEC in Namibia. At the time of the interview, Dr. Witbooi was Deputy Prime Minister in the Namibian government and leader of the AMEC (African Methodist Episcopal Church) in Namibia.
This article is reproduced, with permission, from History of the Church in Namibia, an Introduction - 1805-1990, Gamsberg Macmillan, Windhoek, Namibia, copyright © November 2003 by Dr. Gerhard Buys and Dr. Shekutaamba Nambala. All rights reserved.