The Rev. Mandla John Khumalo, bishop of the Confessional Lutheran Church of South Africa (CLCSA), died on March 1. He was 60 years old.
Before becoming a pastor, Khumalo fought against the apartheid system in South Africa. While attempting to flee the authorities, he and his companions took refuge in a church. At the pastor’s invitation, they attended a worship service, and Khumalo eventually converted to Christianity. He returned to his hometown of Middleburg, South Africa, and turned himself in to the police, explaining that his faith in Christ had led him to do so. He was not taken into custody but freed, and thereafter began sharing the Gospel, leading to the establishment of a congregation in his hometown.
Khumalo graduated from the South African School of Theology in 1981. He was exposed to Lutheran theology and began studying at Concordia Theological Seminary, Fort Wayne, in 1988. The Middleburg congregation became Lutheran and from it sprang an extensive school ministry, job programs, a clinic and an orphanage.
Today the CLCSA has more than 22,000 members throughout South Africa. In 2018, Khumalo led his church body into observer membership in the International Lutheran Council (ILC). He further represented the CLCSA in recent unity talks with the ILC’s two other member churches in South Africa: the Free Evangelical Lutheran Synod in South Africa and the Lutheran Church in Southern Africa (LCSA). Most recently, Khumalo served as a missionary at-large for the LCMS Michigan District.
A funeral service for Khumalo was held on March 6. The Rev. Manqoba Zungu will serve as acting bishop of the CLCSA until formal elections take place.
“At some point, we will depart this world,” Khumalo wrote in a reflection on Facebook a few months ago. “I pray that, when I depart from this world, I should do so having served my God, my people to the best of my ability.”
“We are saddened to hear about the loss of Pastor Mandla yet find comfort in the sure and certain hope of the resurrection of our Lord Jesus Christ,” said the Rev. Dr. Timothy Quill, ILC general secretary, in a letter of condolence. “The CLCSA will miss the remarkable leadership of Bishop Mandla, yet we give thanks to God for the blessings our Lord has bestowed on so many through his faithful witness.”
Posted April 8, 2021