Biography of the Rev'd Fr Lankiri Thaba
I was born on the 9th of September at Mafeteng district in the village called Paballong, Lesotho. I am the third child in the family of seven. I married to Makay and we were blessed with three boys, Kay, Charles and Theo.
At the early age of twelve I started to discern the calling to the ordained ministry. For the better part of my youth, I was involved in active youth ministry.
I was the youth chairperson of the South Archdeaconry in the Diocese of Lesotho. I also served at Diocesan level. I was an altar server until the age of 19 years when I joined what was called Selekane Sa Pitso (Fellowship of Vocation). I also sang in the Parish Church Choir until I left for the Seminary.
My father worked at the mines like many Southern African fathers then. As a result, early 1970’s, during the Apartheid era, the family migrated to South Africa. We stayed at Springs in the East Rand.
My father did not approve of the fact that his children were growing in the country where mother tongue was not taught and therefore decided to move back the family to Lesotho again.
Growing in church, as alter server; youth ministry and in the church choir, this moulded me until I was sent to Seminary where I started my Theological studies. I studied at Lelapa La Jesu Seminary in Roma, Lesotho. A year later the institution was closed because of financial constraints. I then furthered my remaining two years at the College of the Transfiguration (COTT).
I was ordained as Deacon in 1996. I served at the Church of the Epiphany in Botha Bothe district of Lesotho. In 1997 I was ordained as priest. I moved to St. Stephen’s Church in Mohale’s Hoek. One of the challenges in the ordained ministry in Lesotho is the Mountain areas where there means of transport is horse and no telephone/cellular connection. Things have changed a great deal by now. I was made Rector of St Michael & All Angels in Mokhotlong (3482 m high above sea level) an area that stretches to the borders between Lesotho and KwaZulu Natal Province. This was a true test in the sense of it. No roads, no parish car; only a horse, no cell phone, rivers flooding in summer and snow hampering any possible travel in winter. The parish had twenty-one outstations that I had to visit every now and again.
After five years of ministry in the mountains I was moved to Maseru in the area called Masite where I not only looked after a parish of thirteen outstations but after the Society of the Precious Blood (Anglican Order of contemplative sisters) and a high school. I had to distribute my time among all these bodies.
In all this, I furthered my studies in theology at the University of Natal and obtained my Bachelor of Theology Honours Degree.
At the end of July 2006, I moved with my family to join the Diocese of Johannesburg. I started as Assistant priest at St Stephens Church in Sunninghill for almost one year. I then moved to St Michael & All Angels in Alexandra as Rector for four years. In August 2011 I moved to Holy Cross, Orlando West where I am currently the Rector.
When my father moved the family back in Lesotho, I was fond of the altar servers who were my peers. What they did at the sanctuary really steered something out of me such that one day after the service, I was a boy then, went home and made an alter out of clay and also made a thurible out of tins and burned some dry cow dung for a smoke and pretended to be a priest and sensing the altar and chanting what was sung at the church. The following Sunday I was asked to join the servers group which I accepted with two hands as it was like a dream come true. To this day I am passionate about the servers as this is for me associated with the dawn of my ordained ministry.
Since my ordination, I have realised that being a priest one is blessed with all the knowledge and tools that help one to know just a lot about the Bible and its world. Enjoying this privilege would mean that “The shared vision of the ministry of all believers” as outlined in the Diocesan Vision remains only a phrase. At times being knowledgeable about something could lead into assuming that everyone knows about it. Therefore my approach in ministry is that everyone is a player and as such should be equipped with the knowledge that would help them gain confidence in what they do. My approach to preaching is more inclined towards “teaching” in an attempt to equip believers to be the best at their approach to the word of God and in ministry at large.
The Bible is the text that has helped keep many people’s faith going. Its availability in vernacular is key to the spread of the Gospel. My goal is to equip all believers to better understand the word of God so that it is well appropriated in life. I am a team player who believes that working together is important in life. I would love to see the world where people can have their problems solved and dealt with immediately. I am a good listener, which skill I acquired as a result of basic counselling over the years. I love helping people with their problems. Where I cannot help, I refer people to those who are in a position to do so. My ministry style is that which involves everyone because I only see myself as a team leader who leads people with wealth of skill, experience and wisdom.
Reading theological writings, critically engaging with the Bible and writing articles that respond to some issues of faith in life is what helps me to be spiritually sound. Daily Morning Prayer has become part of my life over the years. Leading Bible study sessions has always been my passion. I simply love Bible related discussions.
What inspire me about Holy Cross are the people. The warmth, vibrancy and commitment shown at all times. The team work and team spirit have and still continue to make things happen at Holy Cross. Indeed the slogan “Holy Cross ke legae” best describes who this community really is – The Home at all times.