A new beginning for the Diocese of Bo
Written by Alex Bjergbæk Klausen

The atmosphere is euphoric. The small cathedral in Bo is filled to the brim with delegates, observers and curious people. A uniformed policeman is carefully watching the situation. There are many feelings involved

The two candidates, who are contesting to become the next bishop of the diocese, are sitting side by side. They are listening while the delegates' votes are counted and carefully recorded on a blackboard. Yainkain’s name is called out, while the ballot paper is presented to two observers, and then Scott-Manga’s name. It takes a long time because there are many delegates. But it is important that it is done in the right way, because the church needs a new beginning after more than two turbulent years, during which a large number of leading people have been charged and later convicted in a major corruption scandal.

Gradually, it becomes clear that Rev. Canon Solomon Scott-Manga overtakes Rev. Canon R.N.B Yainkain. But the question is whether he will get enough votes to win in the first round. It requires more than 2/3 of the total number of votes. The ballot papers are read aloud one by one, and suddenly the cheers break out in the church. Scott-Manga has reached the magic number. The church is overwhelmed with joy. A new bishop has been elected, and thus there is also a new beginning for the church.

The two candidates embrace each other, and both have the opportunity to speak to the crowds. Scott-Manga makes it clear that it is a victory for the church and the diocese and not just for him personally. As a bishop, he will focus on the spiritual development of the church, but also on development work in the local communities. The following day he also states that he wants to work in favour of the ordination of women. In other words, a new day is dawning in the diocese of Bo.

Scott-Manga is facing a very difficult task. He must rebuild confidence in the diocese, both vis-à-vis foreign partners, but also in the local community. The diocese is struggling to make the financial ends meet, and there is a need to rethink. Fortunately, Scott-Manga has many years of experience with administration through his profession as a school principal in a major school in Bo. He can use this experience in his new assignment. But if he is to succeed in his goal of rectifying the situation in the diocese, he will need a lot of support during the coming years. In Relay Trust we hope to be able to contribute to the positive development in close cooperation with other partners.

Scott-Manga will be consecrated as the new bishop of Bo Diocese on the 20th October. The event will take place in the cathedral in Bo. It will be a special day as many partners and bishops are expected to be present. Mette and I will also attend on behalf of the Relay Trust, and of course we will share the experiences in the next newsletter.