Expelled pro-LGBTI AME pastor reinstated after annual conference

Teboho Klaas

Teboho Klaas, the African Methodist Episcopal (AME) Church pastor who was dismissed last year for supporting LGBTI rights, has been reinstated to his old position. 

As reported in MambaOnline, Klaas was charged with heresy and suspended in October 2018. He subsequently took both the church, as well as Bishop Paul Mulenga Kawimbe (who headed up the Church’s 19th Episcopal district in South Africa) to court.

It was revealed via legal papers that Klaas, who also works for LGBTI organisation The Other Foundation, accused Kawimbe of “being homophobic and targeting him because of his affirming stance towards LGBTI people.”

Simultaneously, in a dramatic turn of events, Bishop Kawimbe was also dismissed from his position in September over allegations of financial impropriety and for “firing pastors without proper procedure.”

Kawimbe’s dismissal has now allowed for Klaas’s reinstatement at the church’s recent East Annual Conference in Katlehong in Gauteng. At the same meeting, he was also assigned to the pastorate of Robinson Temple in Vosloorus and elected to be a delegate to the church’s General Conference in Orlando, Florida, next year. 

Speaking to MambaOnline, Klaas said he was very excited by the reinstatement, not just for himself, but also for LGBTI members of the church.

“The vindication has come out of the pronouncement by Bishop E. Earl McCloud, Jr about opening the doors of the church to LGBTI people so that they can use the church as a sanctuary and safe space,” he told the website. 

“This doesn’t mean that there are no challenges but there is at least space for engagement and for people to stop making LGBTI people unwelcome in the church.”