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Evangelical Lutheran Church sues former pastor over training expenses

The Evangelical Lutheran Church in Zimbabwe has petitioned the High court seeking an order to compel one of its former pastors to pay back US$15 040 which the religious institution incurred whilst training her to be a pastor.

According to court papers, the religious institution accuses Reverend Linah Simimba Ndlovu of abandoning her station of employment after three years instead of the mandatory five and a half years.

The religious institution also accuses Ndlovu of abandoning her duties to further her studies without seeking the consent of the church.

“The defendant (Ndlovu) was ordained on 18 December 2005 as a Deaconess and on 16 December 2010 as a pastor. Contrary to her agreement to bind herself to the church which she took under oath and in violation to the Evangelical Lutheran Church of Zimbabwe conditions of service, she abandoned her station of employment to further her studies in September 2014. It should be noted that the defendant went to further her studies without seeking the consent of the church as is required before one is ordained to be a pastor.

“Defendant had served three years of her mandatory five and a half years and that abandonment automatically triggered the obligations on her part to pay back all that the church incurred in her training expenses. As a result, the plaintiff incurred expenses to the sum of US$15 040.00 which included a monthly allowance, travel expenses on semester breaks and college fees and deacon training fees. As contained in the plaintiff’s by-laws, once a pastor abandons her duties as done by the plaintiff, she is obliged to pay back what the church paid her, “the church said.

The matter is still pending.

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