Monthly Archives: Feb 2020
ACSA is celebrating its 150th anniversary as a Province of the Anglican Communion with the news that dioceses in Angola and Mozambique are planning to “multiply”, with plans eventually to form a new Province.
Since Portuguese is an official language in both countries, such a development would create the Communion’s second Lusophone province, after the Igreja Episcopal Anglicana do Brasil. (The Lusitanian Church in Portugal is an extraprovincial diocese under the metropolitical authority of the Archbishop of Canterbury.)
There are at present four dioceses in the two countries: one covering the whole of Angola, and three – Lebombo, Niassa and Nampula – in Mozambique.
A communique released after the February session of the Synod of Bishops said that after a comprehensive overview of these “vast” dioceses, “the vision to multiply the number of Dioceses in Angola and Mozambique was motivated with conviction.”
The communique added that the plea for expanding the number of dioceses “was enthusiastically received and endorsed by us. In time it is envisaged that growing the number of Dioceses in both areas will enable them to apply to form a united new Province.”
ACSA was formed as the Church of the Province of South Africa in 1870.
In other news from the recent Synod of Bishops:
It agreed to declare a “state of emergency” both over the scourge of gender-based violence and climate change. The bishops said both crises should be addressed urgently by putting strategic programmes in place at provincial, diocesan and parochial level. The Synod heard from an Archbishop’s Commission on the election of women to positions in the church and noted that there is a “large number of ordained women in contrast to the few ordained women in senior positions.” The commission was set up by Archbishop Thabo Makgoba after voicing concern last year at the paucity of women nominated in recent episcopal elections. The bishops resolved to support an initiative of Zimbabwean church leaders called the “The Final Sabbath Call”, which appeals for a moratorium on all elections to create space for “re-imagining a new future for the country and its people.” ACSA will take a number of steps including making solidarity visits to Zimbabwe.
HOPE Africa has produced special posters for parishes and organisations for this year’s church-wide Lenten Appeal.
The appeal is dedicated to helping Mozambican Anglicans to rebuild their lives, homes, schools and churches after last year’s Tropical Cyclones Idai and Kenneth.
The Appeal was mandated by Provincial Synod last September. Relevant paragraphs of the Synod resolution follow:
Synod Acknowledging that:
(a) International aid agencies only intervene in crisis situations for a limited time and are not part of longer- term reconstruction in the community.
(b) The church belongs to the community and will be a part of the longer-term reconstruction, recovery and healing of the community.
(c) Disasters of the magnitude of cyclones Idai and Kenneth need a longer intervention with a holistic developmental plan for the communities.
Synod hereby resolves to respectfully request the Archbishop to:
(a) Declare that the Lenten collections for 2020 be taken in all Dioceses and Parishes for the reconstruction and development work in Mozambique, and that materials for Bible study and discussion to be disseminated throughout the Province.
(b) Request HOPE Africa to support the work of reconstruction and development in collaboration with the three Dioceses in Mozambique.
(c) Request HOPE Africa to produce information on the relief work to be communicated to ACSA and our partners in collaboration with ACSA media.
The poster appearing below is not the full-sized version. Download the full-sized version for printing from the link above.
To the beloved People of God,
Grace and Peace to you!
The regular February session of the Synod of Bishops convened in The Outlook Lodge at Kempton Park, Gauteng, in the Diocese of the Highveld from Sunday 9 February to Thursday 13 February.
Bishop of Table Bay
On Sunday, an Electoral College to elect a Bishop for Table Bay was constituted, during which the Bishops considered the unique challenges facing the Diocese of Cape Town. After discernment the Venerable Joshua Louw, Rector of St Paul’s Church and Archdeacon of the Waterfront in Cape Town, was elected as Bishop of Table Bay.
States of Emergency
The Synod of Bishops met from Monday 10 to Thursday 13 February. Formal sessions of the Synod were preceded by a unique first: a joint meeting of the Provincial Guilds and Organisations, Hope Africa, and Green Anglicans. This historic gathering reflected on ways to implement the resolutions of Provincial Synod 2019. We agreed to declare a “State of Emergency” with regards to Gender-Based Violence and Climate Change, which must be addressed by putting strategic programmes in place as a matter of urgency at Provincial, Diocesan and Parochial level.
Our worship, as always, was inspiring and challenging at the same time. We were made to think hard about the creation of “holy spots” in our churches (Mark 6:53ff); Then we were invited into the reality of “doubting certainty” as reflected in Solomon’s prayer (1 Kings 8:23ff) and a consideration of the tensions between reason and faith, often being tested by hard questions requiring great wisdom to answer, just as Solomon was tested by the Queen of Sheba (1 Kings 10.1). Finally we were challenged both to recognise the power of humble faith to courageously break through barriers to reach those among the marginalised who are seeking healing, as in the case of the Syrophoenician woman in Mark 7:24-30, and to overcome our own prejudices by God’s grace to open the way for healing to take place.
Welcomes and recognition
The Archbishop welcomed everyone, especially the Bishop of St Mark the Evangelist and the Bishop of Mzimvubu, who were attending the Synod of Bishops for the first time as Diocesan Bishops. The Vicar-General of Kimberley and Kuruman, the Revd Canon Carol Starkey, and the Vicar-General of Natal, the Very Revd Ndabenzinhle Sibisi, were also especially welcomed. A moment of silence was observed in memory of Bishop Mlibo Ngewu.
After evening prayer on Monday, the Archbishop honoured Ms Tricia Sibbons with the Archbishop’s Peace with Justice Award for her service to the Diocese of Johannesburg spanning thirty years.
The Role of Women in the Church
We valued assistance given to us when we considered our role as transformational leaders. Findings arising out of the Archbishop’s Commission on the election of women highlighted the large number of ordained women in contrast to the few ordained women in senior positions. An appeal was made to the Synod of Bishops to forward more comments, suggestions and questions to the Commission to assist them in carrying out their work, to chart a more proactive way, subject to the guidance of the Holy Spirit, of getting women elected as bishops. The Bishops concurred that gender equity is not about women but about justice.
The theology and vocation of the Episcopate
Synod spent some time reflecting on the theology and vocation of bishops. The physical endurance, depth of spirituality and mental strength required of the bishop was brought into sharp relief by exploring an example of surviving solitary confinement and complete reliance on God as the supreme source of hope and strength in adversity through a presentation by Mr Thabo Ndabeni. He highlighted the importance of self-care. Bishops were given time for personal sharing and asked to support each other in the exercise of the onerous responsibilities the episcopal office demands of them. Bishops were made to realise that weakness is not a sign of failure and to seek help when needed. The sharing gave rise to the adoption of a Mutual Accountability Pro-Forma to be shared at every Synod of Bishops meeting.
The Final Sabbath Call
The Revd Dr Kenneth Mtata addressed Synod on “The Final Sabbath Call” issued by the Zimbabwe Heads of Christian Denominations. Zimbabwe’s tortuous history has created deep insecurity within those with power who hold political office. This insecurity has led to years of oppression. The past has not been dealt with and all leaders are haunted by the past, resulting in a nation in pain.
Zimbabwe’s fortieth anniversary is seen as symbolic of Israel’s journey in the Wilderness. The Sabbath calls for a moratorium on all elections in order to create space for re-imagining a new future for the country and its people. Synod responded to the call for ACSA to stand in solidarity and support of the Sabbath Call by appointing a liaison Bishop to the Zimbabwe Council of Churches; by agreeing to make prayer and action a standing item on the agenda of Synod of Bishops, by participating in solidarity visits and by sponsoring an ordinand to attend the College of the Transfiguration.
A discussion on the experience of using the revised Ordination Liturgies was engaged in. Although they were widely used and enthusiastically received, written responses requested by the Liturgical Committee were still awaited. The pressing need for succession planning to identify and train future liturgists was noted as an urgent need that must be addressed. The report from the Advisory Board on Theological Education highlighted the need for lifelong learning and ministerial formation. The key goal of the Board was the ongoing professional, ministerial and spiritual development of the clergy.
A new Lusophone Province
We were given a comprehensive overview of the vast Dioceses of Angola and Mozambique. The vision to multiply the number of Dioceses in Angola and Mozambique was motivated with conviction. This deep plea by the Portuguese-speaking Dioceses was enthusiastically received and endorsed by us. In time it is envisaged that growing the number of Dioceses in both areas will enable them to apply to form a united new Province. Significantly our agreement to set the process in motion comes when ACSA is celebrating its 150th anniversary as a Province.
Further Synod Business
After an overview of the social development programmes and projects run by Hope Africa, and the dire financial situation within which Hope Africa finds itself, the Bishops were asked to consider proposing a Provincial Synod Resolution that all Dioceses contribute 0.7 percent of their annual income to Hope Africa, and making it a development resolution of permanent force.
The Bishops grappled with the funding of Youth Ministry after a comprehensive report on the challenges experienced by our Provincial Youth structures.
Resolution on Palestine
Resolution 4 of Provincial Synod 2019, declaring solidarity with Palestine, caused consternation in many quarters. A sobering presentation was given by Mrs Dudu Mahlangu Masango, World Council of Churches’ coordinator for the Southern African Ecumenical Accompaniment Programme in Palestine and Israel. She gave us a heart-rending description of what Palestinians go through as seen through the lens of the Accompaniment Programme.
Pastoral guidelines on human sexuality
The preparation of these Pastoral Guidelines is ongoing. A small committee was formed to do preliminary work to develop terms and references in line with last year’s Provincial Synod resolution.
Recognising the devastating detrimental effects of abuse, including sexual abuse, on the lives of vulnerable children and adults, the Bishops have spent a great deal of effort in recent years on putting systems in place to deal with this scourge. Apart from the overriding importance of ministering to the victims and disciplining the perpetrators of such abuses, the cost to the Church if found wanting in the case of a law suit could be crippling financially and reputationally. Ensuring that all churches in our Province are Safe and Inclusive Church compliant is a matter of great urgency. By September this year all ministers, ordained and lay, must be compliant or their licences will no longer be valid.
Clergy in political office
The Bishops have crafted a set of pastoral guidelines to apply when Clergy want to participate in party political activities. We agreed they were a work in progress and they will be published in due course.
Expropriation of land without compensation in South Africa
We were reminded that land expropriation without compensation is a burning issue potentially affecting our parishes. Dioceses must ensure that they have an up-to-date register of church properties and note whether they hold title deeds or permission to occupy these properties. Theologians will be requested to produce a theology underpinning Church ownership of land. We also need to develop practical guides on how to develop land which is owned by the Church.
Amendments to the Canons
The Bishops spent time making sure that the Canons amended at Provincial Synod are understood. These include Canons 4, 34, 35, 38, 39, and 42.
The Bible Society
The Bible Society, celebrating its two-hundredth anniversary this year, made a presentation to Synod detailing the impressive milestones they have achieved in their ministry of Bible translation and making Bibles accessible to more and more people. ACSA was thanked for its ongoing financial support and an appeal was made for us to continue our support of the Bible Society.
The leading South African social and business entrepreneur, Mr Isaac Shongwe, chairman of Letsema Business Management Consultants, gave an inspiring concluding presentation on “Journey on Management, Administration and Leadership”. It was stimulating, thought-provoking and challenging in terms of what is expected of Bishops and the roles they have to fulfill in the exercise of their episcopal ministry and the many demands on their time. It highlighted the need to be equipped with skills that high-level leadership requires to be effective and efficient, given the demands of the challenges we face in today’s world.
The Dean of the Province, Bishop Stephen Diseko, proposed a vote of thanks. Archbishop Thabo Makgoba gave the Benediction and declared the Synod of Bishops dissolved.
“So I have looked upon you in the sanctuary, beholding your power and glory. Because your steadfast love is better than life, my lips will praise you as long as I live. So I will bless you as long as I live; I will lift up my hands and call on your name.” – Psalm 63:2-4
A printable PDF copy of this Communique is available here >>
The Ven Joshua Louw, Archdeacon of the Waterfront in Cape Town, has been elected the new Bishop-elect of Table Bay.
Bishop-elect Louw was chosen on the third ballot in an Electoral College for the Diocese of Cape Town, held at the Synod of Bishops in Gauteng.
The Bishops considered seven candidates for election, four of them women.
Provincial Executive Office
It is with a heavy heart, and following consultation with Mrs Mpumi Ngewu, that I announce the death of Bishop Mlibo Ngewu, formerly of Mzimvubu.
On behalf of the Synod of Bishops — now in session — my wife Lungi, my family and the whole of ACSA, we send our heartfelt condolences to the family.
Mlibo will buried on Friday, the 21st February 2020 from Qumbu parish. The requiem will start at 11 am.
Please continue to pray for Mpumi and the children and whole family as they mourn the loss of Bishop Mlibo .
The Most Revd Thabo Makgoba
Archbishop and Metropolitan
TEE College is looking to appoint an academic programme coordinator with responsibility for the Diploma in Theology programme. The person in this role is responsible for the preparation, delivery, and review of this programme in the distance-mode.
Advantages will be:
- Membership of one of the College’s partner churches and experience with both theological education and church-based training for ministry.
- A qualification and/or experience in higher education.
- Experience in distance education.
- Experience in using technology for education.
The position is based in Johannesburg. Job description and application form are available on the College website – www.tee.co.za/vacancies.html
Homily for the Installation of Bishop Tsietsi Seleoane as Bishop of Mzimvubu – by the Revd Lynda Wyngaard, Diocese of Natal
Jehovah thel’ uMoya , oyincwele
Umoya oyincwele, oyincwele
God’s wind of change is blowing. The wind of a new decade. The wind of a new year.
For the Diocese of Mzimvubu, a new Bishop. For Bishop Tsietsi, a new ministry.
This should be good news. But the wind of change does not always feel like good news to us.
The wind of change blows us out of our comfort zones. The wind of change can be frightening.
The wind of change can stir up a storm in our hearts.
Then we are like the disciples in today’s gospel story. We are not sure if we will make it to the other side of this storm.
Today we are in the presence of an awesome and sometimes frightening God.
David was a king. He had power. He thought he could do what he liked with his power.
But he was wrong. God saw how David used power to hurt other people.
God saw David’s sin with Bathsheba and his murder of her husband.
God sent the prophet Nathan to confront David with his sin.
Nathan told David: “By this sin you have scorned God. You have despised God.”
God cares about how we use our power.
When we use our power to hurt other people, like David, we scorn God, we despise God.
This is the God to whom all hearts are open, all desires known, and from whom no secrets are hid.
I can try to close the door of my heart, but God can see through that closed door.
God knows the desires of your heart and my heart today.
You and I cannot hide secrets from God.
This God sees you, sees me, sees us gathered here.
This God knows our deepest secrets.
This God knows our fears and hopes, as we face the wind and the storm of change.
But there is good news. This God can calm a storm with a word from His mouth.
“Peace, be still!”, said Jesus. And the wind ceased, and there was a great calm.
This same God whom we worship, is the one to whom all hearts are open.
This same God whom we worship, can calm the wind and the storm in our hearts.
This same God is the God of our baptism. That is why today, we renewed our baptismal promises.
When we are facing the winds and the storms of change, it is good to remember the God of our baptism.
So today, together, we stood before the God of our baptism and we said some powerful things.
We said that as members of God’s Church, we would turn away from the wickedness of the world and its greed for possessions, power and status.
We said we would turn away from all that corrupts us – pride, selfishness and lust.
And we renounced Satan, the author of evil and the author of lies.
These are powerful statements as God’s wind of change blows among us!
And then we spoke out our faith in God.
We said that we believe and trust in God the Father, the Maker of all.
We said that we believe and trust in God’s Son, Jesus Christ, the Redeemer of the world.
We said that we believe and trust in God’s Holy Spirit, the Giver of life.
We made some promises, too.
We promised that we would faithfully play our part in the life and fellowship of the Church.
We promised that we would gladly obey the commandments of God and seek to do God’s will.
We promised that by our lives and witness, we would share in the Church’s mission to proclaim the gospel and to set forward peace and justice among all people.
As the wind of change blows, we have gone back to the God of our baptism.
We have gone back to stand on the Rock of our Salvation. This Rock is Jesus Christ.
It does not matter what has happened in the past.
Jesus is my Rock. Jesus will calm the wind and the storm in my heart.
Jesus will calm the wind and the storm in your heart.
Jesus will calm the wind and the storm in the hearts of all who love God in this Diocese.
And Jesus is the one who is sending His new Shepherd, Bishop Tsietsi, to you.
The God to whom all hearts are open – this God:
This God is speaking to us today as we stand in the wind and the storm of change.
He says, in the words of Jesus, ““Why are you afraid? Where is your faith?”
What is your answer?
Will you respond, in the words of Psalm 51:10
“Create in me a clean heart, O God,
and put a new and right spirit within me.”
Will you believe and trust that God has this Diocese in His powerful hands?
Will you have faith in the God who calms the wind and the storm?
Will you fulfil the promises you have made today?
God’s wind of change is blowing.
God’s wind of change can stir up a storm in our hearts.
But we will make it through this storm with Jesus, and in the power of the Holy Spirit.
And so I will end with a prayer for you, my dear brothers and sisters of the Diocese of Mzimvubu:
O God, our hearts are open to You:
thank You for Your beautiful people of the Diocese of Mzimvubu.
Thank You for sending Bishop Tsietsi to be their Shepherd.
Thank You for Your wind of change, the wind of Your Holy Spirit, blowing on them.
Jesus, calm the storm in their hearts.
Say ‘Peace, be still”, to them.
Give them faith to trust in You.
Give them faith to serve You.
Give them faith to love one another
in the Name of Jesus Christ who calmed the storm. Amen.
The Revd Lynda Wyngaard
01 February, 2020