“Making Creation Visible in Liturgy”

Provincial Standing Committee has requested the body which is revising the Prayer Book and drawing up new and revised liturgies for worship to give new emphasis to the environment.

The following resolution was proposed by the church’s environmental coordinator, Canon Rachel Mash, seconded by Bishop Ellinah Wamukoya of Swaziland, and adopted by PSC:

Making Creation Visible in Liturgy

This PSC, noting:

• The excellent work being done by the Prayer Book Revision Committee in addressing “anthropocentrism, patriarchy and dualism” in the revisions, and
• The Fifth Mark of Anglican Mission that strives to safeguard the integrity of creation and sustain and renew the life of the earth;

Requests PSC to request the Liturgical Committee to:

• Include in the penitential rites, the confession of actions that destroy the natural environment, and include prayers for the whole household of life,
• Promote the occasional holding of services outdoors, in natural settings;
• Incorporate the fifth mark of mission in the baptismal vows;
• Incorporate the fifth mark of mission in the service of installation of clergy and bishops;
• Make available on the internet additional liturgies and the new Prayer Book in order to limit the excessive use of paper;
• Encourage churches to reduce their use of paper.


PSC calls for land audit, theological reflection on expropriation without compensation

Provincial Standing Committee has asked that an inventory of all land held by the church be drawn up with a view to making recommendations for the use of vacant land. In a resolution passed at its recent meeting, it also asked for the development of a theological reflection on land expropriation without compensation.

The full text of the PSC resolution follows:

This PSC, noting

1. The national debate in South Africa on amending section 25 of the Constitution of South Africa to allow for land expropriation without compensation,
2. The occupation of vacant land and the associated violence, and
3. That ACSA is a major land owner in the country,

Respectfully requests the Archbishop to establish an ad hoc committee chaired by Bishop Tsietsi [Seleoane, Bishop Suffragan in the Diocese of Natal] to:

1. Do an inventory of all land currently owned and/or managed by ACSA in the Province, Dioceses and Parishes, including the value and current land-use,

2. Make recommendations for use of vacant land, and
3. Develop a theological reflection on land expropriation without compensation to be used at Provincial Synod.

During debate on the resolution, the recent Sunday Times op-ed on land reform by Archbishop Thabo Makgoba was referred to as a useful resource. It was subsequently re-published on the Archbishop’s blog.


Synod of Bishops, PSC address issue of sexual abuse

Recent meetings of the Synod of Bishops and Provincial Standing Committee have addressed the issue of sexual abuse and harassment in the Church.

The following is an excerpt from the Pastoral Letter from the bishops, issued at the weekend:

2) We received a very serious report on the Safe Church Commission. It was emphasised to us that it is urgent and important for every Diocese to:

• Set up a team to deal effectively with allegations of abuse in the church. These teams will receive training for this important ministry, and guidelines for action will be prepared.
• Respond to the questionnaire that was sent to Bishops earlier this year.
• Require police clearance certificates for all people being ordained or licensed, and those working with young people and children.

There are also plans to amend Act XV, on the Pastoral Standards, at Provincial Synod next year, in the light of new developments.

An email address has been set up for those who wish to report abuse that has taken place: safechurches[a] . This may be done anonymously. This is also a call for us to soak the church and all God’s people with prayer.

The following resolution was approved by PSC:


This PSC

1. Noting the work and efforts on the part of the ACC Safe Church Commission as well as its acceptance and introduction into ACSA
2. Recognises the need for the preventative measures of the Safe Church Commission to be implemented while the necessary Canonical amendments to Canon 4 are being prepared for Synod 2019:

Hereby resolves:

That with immediate effect, all ordinations, elections or consecrations of ordained ministers will include the requirement for a police clearance certificate to be obtained from a verified agency.

Should an adverse finding be made in terms of such police clearance, then the Diocesan Bishop or Archbishop as the case may be, should in their discretion determine how to deal with the finding.

In the case of lay ministers, especially those involved in youth and Sunday School teaching, this will be progressively implemented from 1 January 2019.

Arising out of the Bishops’ and PSC deliberations, Archbishop Thabo released the following public statement today (October 3):

The Anglican Church of Southern Africa has adopted new measures to deal with sexual abuse and harassment.

In future anyone wanting to be ordained to serve as a clergyperson will have to provide a police clearance certificate. The church has also set up an email address to make it easier to report allegations of abuse.

This was announced by Archbishop Thabo Makgoba of Cape Town today. He said in a statement:

“At meetings held last week, our church’s Synod of Bishops and our Provincial Standing Committee – which includes clergy and lay people from every diocese in Southern Africa – had their first opportunity to discuss the reports of clergy abusing children which received widespread publicity earlier this year.

“We were made acutely aware of the pain of those who have been hurt by the church. Although the number of cases reported so far is limited, we resolved to take up the issue with the utmost seriousness.

“Experienced lawyers and clergy serving on our Canon Law Council reported that our Pastoral Standards, which are incorporated into church law, set out a sound basis on which to handle complaints of abuse. But the council has said we need to make it easier for complainants to access procedures for laying complaints, and to provide better support for them along the way.

“The council also reported that complaints, especially historical complaints, are not being handled quickly enough. It recommended that we set up a central register of complaints, including details of what action has been taken. Although complaints of abuse can made directly to the Diocese in which it has taken place, we have now also set up a dedicated email address for those who wish to report them through that channel: safechurches[at] . This may be done anonymously.

“The council will propose changes to church legislation at the next meeting of the three-yearly Provincial Synod, our top legislative body, next year. In the meantime, the Provincial Standing Committee has resolved that, with immediate effect, all ordinations, elections or consecrations of ordained ministers will include the requirement for a police clearance certificate to be obtained from a verified agency.

“From January 2019, we will progressively enforce the same rule for lay ministers, especially those involved in youth ministry and Sunday School teaching.

“In addition, the Canon Law Council emphasised to the Synod of Bishops that it is urgent and very important that every diocese set up a team to deal effectively with allegations of abuse. We are arranging training for the bishops at the next meeting of our Synod of Bishops, and have asked each diocese to ensure that its teams also receive training in how best to respond to complaints.

“Most of the half-dozen cases which have emerged this year concern events which occurred more than 20 years ago, which – except in cases of rape – prevents victims from pursuing their cases through criminal courts in South Africa. I therefore reiterate my earlier support for quick action by Parliament to change the law to allow such prosecutions to take place. Victims of sexual abuse need to be able to pursue charges both in criminal courts and in church tribunals.”


African Anglicans issue an urgent cry for ecological justice

Participants from 17 dioceses in 14 African countries have released “An Urgent Cry for Ecological Justice: Reclaiming the Gospel Imperative for All Creation” at the end of their recent meeting in South Africa.

The meeting was held under under the auspices of the Anglican Communion Environmental Network (ACEN).

You can find their full statement on the Green Anglicans website and a news report on the Anglican Communion News Service.

The Chair of ACEN, Bishop Ellinah Wamukoya of Swaziland, centre, with some of the Green Anglicans participants at the conference. (Photo: ACEN)