MASERU — The Methodist Church of Southern Africa (MCSA) says Reverend Daniel Rantle, the man who claims to be the head of the Methodist Church in Lesotho, is a renegade who was expelled from the church for misconduct in 2004.
Speaking at a press conference yesterday a representative of the MCSA which claims to have jurisdiction over the Methodist Church in Lesotho said Rantle is currently heading the church and controlling its properties illegally.
‘Matjoko Nkhahle said Rantle was expelled after he refused to be transferred to Quthing.
She said according to church rules, a minister who refuses to be transferred is deemed to have resigned.
Rantle, she said, was immediately expelled from the church.
“He later appealed and was reinstated on July 21 2005 as superintendent of Maseru circuit only for the remainder of 2005 and 2006.”
He said instead of complying with the new conditions “Rantle and other members attempted to break the MCSA in Lesotho away from MCSA” and charges were laid against them.
“An immediate suspension was instituted pending disciplinary hearing,” she said, adding that Rantle was ordered not to preach or exercise ministerial duties.
“His followers Matla and Ntjanyana as circuit stewards and Mapheelle as a leader and preacher were also suspended.”
Rantle, she claimed, had also refused to vacate the church’s house in Maseru West.
“His appointment was terminated in July, 2006 and his right to occupy the manse (church house) was terminated on August 15 2006.”
Rantle is currently at the centre of a bitter fight with one Reverend Daniel Senkhane over the control the church’s operations in Lesotho.
A bloody clash between their factions over the use of a hall at Methodist High School left two of Rantle’s followers seriously injured after they were allegedly attacked with knives, sticks, hammers and stones.
Nkhahle told the press conference that Rantle’s attempts to challenge his expulsion collapsed on December 4 last year when the when ‘Mampho Mokuena ruled in favour of the church.
“Rantle has not complied with the subsequent judgments,” she said.
She also accused Rantle of “forming a church in our church”.
“In a letter that was written to Rantle he was reminded of the laws and discipline that he was sworn to when he was appointed a priest. He had sworn that he would not malign this church, its ministers, doctrines or practices.”
“Should he leave this church, he will not encourage any member or adherent of the church to follow him.”
Yet Rantle, she said, had continued to do just that.
But Rantle told the Lesotho Times that he was not answerable to MCSA because it had no control over the Methodist Church in Lesotho.
Rantle said MCSA (Pty) Limited was registered as an independent institution in Lesotho in 1984.
“The church is not part of the MCSA in South Africa.
“Lesotho is an independent country from South Africa and so is the Methodist Church in Lesotho,” said Rantle.
He said he was never transferred from the church because “the head of the church is never transferred but transfers other ministers”.
The Methodist Church has 11 primary schools, two high schools and a hospital in Lesotho.
It has about 10 000 followers in the country with parishes in the country’s 10 districts.