Anglican Archdeacon Nangula Kathindi was recognized by the Presbyterian Church in Canada for her work in Namibia.
A dynamic Anglican priest from Africa received an award in June for social action and ecumenical work from the Presbyterian Church in Canada.
Archdeacon Nangula Kathindi, the first woman ordained by the Anglican Church in Namibia, accepted the E.H. Johnson Award on June 3 during the Presbyterian church’s annual general assembly in Guelph, Ont.
Archdeacon Kathindi was honoured for “mission on the cutting edge,” as the award mandate read.
Formerly known as South West Africa, Namibia was under the rule of South Africa until 1990 and was subject to the apartheid system that kept a white minority in power. The churches, in opposing apartheid, needed to band together, so the ecumenical movement there had a strong foundation, she said in an interview.
Now, she said, “one of the areas I am excited about is reconciliation” between blacks and whites. “I thought to myself, ‘I have white friends in Canada, the U.S., Europe, but I don’t know a single Afrikaner (in Namibia). What kind of a Christian am I?'” she said.
At home, she said, blacks and whites still live separately and she was eager to learn about efforts made in the Anglican Church of Canada toward healing and reconciliation between whites and aboriginals. In a meeting at the Anglican church’s national office in Toronto, Archdeacon Kathindi learned about the Canadian church’s New Agape binder from Ellie Johnson, director of the partnerships department, and Jill Cruse, mission co-ordinator for Africa. The binder lists ways that parishes and dioceses can promote understanding between natives and non-natives.
Archdeacon Kathindi, 46, grew up in a Lutheran household with her two sisters and her mother. After high school, she attended secretarial school and English courses in London, then won a scholarship from the Episcopal Church in the United States to study at St. Paul’s College in Lawrenceville, Va., where she earned a B.A. in sociology. She earned a master’s degree in theology at Virginia Theological Seminary and was ordained in 1994. She was elected general secretary of the ecumenical Council of Churches in Namibia in 1999.
The spread of HIV/AIDS in Namibia and other areas of Africa is an urgent issue for the churches, she said. The council has established a voluntary counseling and testing centre in the capital of Windhoek so that people can be tested for the AIDS virus and receive counseling in coping with it and preventing transmission, she said.