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EPCO Factions Spoiling For A Fight 

By Leocadia Bongben — The Eglise Presbyterienne Camerounaise Orthodoxe, EPCO, may witness a fight in the days ahead if the injunction to reopen the Yaounde Philadelphia Parish is executed.

The General Secretariat, though may want a peaceful solution to end the crisis in this parish, are determined to prevent the reopening of the church. In this vein, the General Secretariat has dissociated itself from the court injunction to reopen the church in the Ekounou neighbourhood in Yaounde. EPCO Communication Director, Emmanuel Abesolo, flanked by the church administration, made the position of the church known to the press in Yaounde, November 15.

The Senior Divisional Officer for Mfoundi closed the church on April 27, 2012, following a crisis in the church that led to an open fight. The crisis in the EPCO started when a faction decided to break away. It created the parish known as EPCO Yaounde Bethanie. But, instead of going away from the General Secretariat, it decided to bring its pastors from another parish to install at the Yaounde Philadelphia Parish.

It was during the installation that the General Secretariat decided to stop the ceremony, arguing that since the faction had left; they should go and install their pastor elsewhere. Given that the decision of the Senior Divisional Officer of Mfoundi remains valid, the Yaoundé Bethanie faction sought a court injunction. A decision of the Administrative Bench of the Supreme Court of November 5 orders that the church be reopened.

EPCO General Secretariat argues that for such a decision to come from EPCO it has to go through four levels of administration, the parish council, the presbytery, the synod and the general assembly. Since this was not the case, the General Secretariat says parishioners should be patient for the general assembly billed for January 2013, before a decision can be taken. But, in the meantime, they are ready to guard the church and stop its reopening.

First published in The Post print edition no 01391

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