Bishopscourt Media

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An appeal from Mission to Seafarers

The Revd Moses Muli (Mombasa Chaplain) and his family suffered a devastating fire last Tuesday night, which resulted in the total destruction of their home on the Mission to Seafarers property. 

This was a deeply traumatic experience, especially for the young children.  Moses’ wife Winnie was hospitalised to treat injuries to her back from jumping out of the upstairs window.  Thanks be to God that Winnie is now discharged from hospital.  Moses’ brother, who has been staying with them, was trapped downstairs for a time and suffered severe smoke inhalation.  He is still in Intensive Care recovering.  As Moses has said, it is a miracle that the family survived.

As the Muli family recover from this incident, the following needs are emerging:

  • The biggest practical difficulty they are facing at the moment is the ICU costs for Moses’ brother.  Moses’ brother presently does not have stable employment and as a result does not have medical aid.  As we will all be aware, time in ICU is extremely expensive and the bill presently exceeds US$15,000, with further doctor costs and time to follow.  The insurance policies not cover this cost and Moses is having to settle the amount.  Although the family is doing their best and will be making a down-payment, they do not have the resources to fund an amount of this magnitude.
  • There will no doubt be further expenses as the family get back on their feet.  Fortunately the building and contents are insured.  However, the family have lost everything in this fire and there will be further costs.  We will keep you updated as more information is available.

How can you assist?

The Central Resource Committee requests that you please give prayerful consideration to this appeal. Foremost, please continue to hold the Muli family in your prayers.  We further request support for the family’s practical needs.  The Muli family will welcome any support that is possible and cash donations will assist significantly in meeting the current requirements.   

The following avenues are available for donation:

Mission to Seafarers Stations in Namibia and South Africa

Please make payment to the Mission to Seafarers Africa Region bank account and we will then make onward arrangements to get the funds to Moses.

Banking details: Mission to Seafarers Africa Region

Bank : The Standard Bank of South Africa Limited

Branch : Constantia

Branch Code : 051001

Account number : 071723129

Account type : Business Current Account

Swift Code : SBZAZAJJ

Bank address :   Shop 23A Constantia Courtyard, Main Road, Constantia, Cape Town, South Africa

Mission address : First floor, Cube House, 32 Old Main Road, Hillcrest, South Africa, 3610

Reference: MULI APPEAL

Mission to Seafarers Stations in East and West Africa

Please make payment to the Mission to Seafarers Mombasa Station bank account and they will make onward arrangements to get the funds to Moses.

Banking details: Mission to Seafarers Mombasa Station

Bank account name : Mission to Seamen

Bank : CFC Stanbic Bank Kenya Ltd

Account number : 0100000573897

Branch : Digo Road

Swift Code : SBICKENX

Bank address : CFC Stanbic Building, Nkrumah Road, Mombasa, Kenya

Mission address : Plot No T309 Off Moi Avenue, Mogadishu Road, Kilindini, Mombasa, Kenya 80100

Reference: MULI APPEAL

Individuals

If you would like to support the Muli family in your personal capacity, whether in cash or in kind, please make contact with Moses directly and he will provide you with the necessary details.  Alternatively, you can make payment through one of the channels indicated above depending on your country of residence and the funds will be forwarded on.

We are aware that the amounts involved here are daunting and we acknowledge that it will be very difficult for any one source to meet the need.  Our prayer is that our collective response as a Region, together with support from the local community, will go a long way towards meeting the needs of the Muli family.  We therefore make a heartfelt plea for you to support our brother Moses and his family at this time of desperate need.  Any contribution, whether big or small, will be of great help to them.

We give thanks for the safety of the Muli family and pray for their ongoing recovery, particularly as they deal with these issues.

Yours faithfully

Peter Cottrell

Member of the Mission to Seafarers Africa Region

Central Resource Committee:  Governance and Finance

Anglican Women’s Fellowship (AWF) condemn Gender Based Violence

On 18 October 2019, The Anglican Women’s Fellowship notes with deep dismay the ongoing violence against women in South Africa and Globally and therefore have taken to the streets to campaign and showcase their commitment in full support of ending violence against women.

According to the World Health Organisation, “statistics suggests that nearly one in three (35%) women worldwide have been exposed to physical abuse and/or sexual abuse by an intimate partner. Gender Based Violence is happening at a much higher rate even in our back yards and yet it is underreported.

Let your voice be heard, refuse to be silent,”

We, as the AWF acknowledge that the voice of women survivors is almost not heard. Keeping silent is what most women and young girls including children do after they have been violently attacked, harassed or forced to do a sexually related act against their will. Subsequently, we are aware that finding your voice as a woman requires support and encouragement and therefore the AWF will continue with advocacy work to speak out for those who have lost their voice and dignity.

The recent media reports on the rape, kidnapping and murder of several women and girls represent the small portion of the daily suffering of thousands of women and girls globally. We applaud others who speak out against all forms of violence and oppression.

Speaking up will motivate others to speak

Through this campaign, we are encouraging women to break the silence by sharing their personal experiences. We endeavour to create a culture from which the dignity of each person, created in the image of God is seen, respected and honoured. AWF is encouraging café conversations within and outside the organisation from which safe and non-judgmental platforms will be created, making sure that affected women and girls within our spaces are understood and supported.

Provide information and address the root causes

Gender and social norms are believed to be fueling violence against women. The AWF calls for effective prevention strategies and thus will continue to work with organisations that focus on early childhood development to help challenge gender stereotypes and harmful traditional practices. We will continue with men and women empowerment programmes that will assist with transforming attitudes towards girls and women that perpetuate violence against them.

Lucille Henniker

Provincial President of The Anglican Women’s Fellowship

Let us not lose our roar – Sermon preached at the Consecration and Installation of the Very Reverend Luke Pretorious as 3rd Bishop Of St Mark The Evangelist

October 26, 2019

TEXT: 1 KINGS 2: 1- 4

WHEN THE TIME DREW NEAR FOR DAVID TO DIE HE GAVE A CHARGE TO SOLOMON HIS SON. “I AM ABOUT TO GO THE WAY OF ALL THE EARTH” HE SAID. “SO BE STRONG, SHOW YOURSELF A MAN, AND OBSERVE WHAT THE LORD YOUR GOD REQUIRES. WALK IN HIS WAYS AND KEEP HIS DECREES AND COMMANDS, HIS LAWS AND REQUIREMENTS AS WRITTEN IN THE LAW OF MOSES, SO THAT YOU MAY PROSPER IN ALL YOU DO AND WHEREVER YOU GO, AND THAT THE LORD MAY KEEP HIS PROMISE TO ME. IF YOUR DESCENDANTS WATCH HOW THEY LIVE, AND IF THEY WALK FAITHFULLY BEFORE ME WITH ALL THEIR HEART AND SOUL, YOU WILL NEVER FAIL TO HAVE A MAN ON THE THRONE OF ISRAEL.

Allow me to use a lion as a metaphor. A lion has the following traits:

  • It roars as a sign of bravery, fierceness and being in control of the jungle.
  • Secondly it takes risks while moving up and down the jungle. It may appear brave and in control but it has it at the back of its mind, that strong as it may be, there might be enemies around who might strike at any time. Nonetheless the lion moves without being intimidated and being apologetic.
  • The same lion protects its cubs from its preys for growth and procreation. This allows progress and continuity even when the lion gets older and loses its grip.(Job 4: 10- 11)

Coming back to the text; David was about to exit planet earth. As King and leader in Israel, he gave Solomon his son a road map as Israel’s next leader, which was to push him into his Devine purpose on earth. David had fought and won many battles fulfilling his purpose as a warrior and a worshiper. He specified the following in his charge;

  1. The importance of observing God’s commands.
  2. The importance of walking in God’s ways.
  3. The importance of keeping God’s decrees.

As Solomon pondered on this key words “Observe, Walk and Keep” he needed an in-depth study and exposition, and as an upcoming leader, and therefore he embarked on a journey to Gibeon (1Kings 3:4) to seek knowledge and understanding from God on how to fulfill the task before him. As he wrestled with God, he was granted liberty to ask for anything. From all things he would have asked, Solomon requested for a discerning heart to govern and to know between right and wrong and God granted him his request and more.

Solomon’s spirit was quickened and he recalled that through oral tradition, his father David inherited the throne from King Saul who was rejected by God because he failed to adhere to God’s commands. He had been told “Go and completely destroy those wicked people, the Amalekites, make war on them until you have wipe them out” but Saul did what was contrary to God’s command and was rejected. (Solomon said I don’t want to experience rejection from Jehovah God because it is possible to be rejected by God while still on the throne).

History also recorded that after Moses death, Joshua took reign, “But there arose a generation that knew nothing about their God” (Judges 2 10). The honors were now on Solomon as the next king to raise a generation that will either know or reject God. The secret was either to adopt the tools at hand or craft a new path. It is either St Marks will know or reject God in your turner, therefore watch and pray.

That is why then Solomon asked for a discerning heart from God in order to govern the people and to distinguish between right and wrong. God gladly granted him a wise and a discerning heart, so that there will never have been anyone like him, nor will there be ever on earth.

It is the same wisdom that Solomon used to craft a ‘Curriculum of life’ inscribed in Ecclesiastes, which included time, governess, wisdom and destiny. In Songs of Songs, Solomon gave a curriculum about love, friendship and marriage, while in Proverbs he crafted a curriculum on discipline and a prudent life demonstrated through proverbs, parables and riddles. This was not just for the nation of Israel, but it was to shape his life too.

The unfortunate part is that, with all the wisdom, knowledge and understanding, Solomon lost his roar. He started leaning in his own understanding. He married foreign wives, invited wrong people into his camp and signed treaties with different kings exposing himself to the enemy thus displeasing God. He started very well but he ended very badly. It is therefore important to be in constant check (Bishop) with the one who has mandated you into this office, less you lose your roar.

Let us fast track to Jesus life in the New Testament.

Jesus our greatest leader, mentor and Apostle demonstrated the same wisdom and understanding in the new dispensation. Christ used wisdom and understanding as he handpicked his disciples, and amongst them were Peter, John and Judas.

Peter represented God’s Kingdom that Christ established on earth. Christ destroyed the law of sin and death by offering himself as a sin offering that the righteousness of the law might be fulfilled in us who walk not after the flesh but the Spirit. Peter also represented human frailty as he made many mistakes in life, but through the Spirit of God, he demonstrated a repented heart fulfiling Christ purpose on earth. (Bishop) you need a Peter in your team, in order for the kingdom to be established on earth. Someone with a heart of an evangelist in order to spread the good news of the Kingdom in this Diocese.

Through the same Spirit Christ handpicked John, who represented the sin of pride (Matthew 20:21), remember he wanted the best seats in the Kingdom of God. (Be on the lookout bishop, there will always be John’s in life). Do not throw them away because you will need them in the long run. Remember, it is the same John who unveiled the secret mystery of the Prophet Daniel (Daniel 4:12). Through life in the Spirit, John endured Patmos and opened the seal, giving the Church eternal hope in Christ Jesus our Lord. (Bishop) Pray for more John’s in your team who will unpack the secret mystery of the Kingdom on earth for St Marks to grow holistically.

Lastly Jesus chose Judas Iscariot, an accountant and an administrator who maintained the status core. The same Judas represented the sin of betrayal. But remember my lord bishop that it is the same betrayer that ushered Jesus Christ into his divine purpose of saving the world. No Judas no salvation!!!

Always be on guard, every leader has a Judas. Do not cast him/her out, as he/she will push you and stretch you towards your purpose in the diocese and beyond.

Allow Lady Wisdom, the Holy Spirit to hold your hand bishop. She will help you understand the different dynamics in your team. Always remember to seek the purpose of everyone around you. Never under estimate the power of connection. God has a sense of humor, God may solve a serious problem through a conversation with a grounds man or a cleaner. Be sensitive enough to the Holy Spirit as a leader in order to fulfill your assignment, less you lose your roar.

As I draw to a close, May I address everyone in this arena. Remember that through Christ death on the cross great men and women of God arose and spread the word to the uttermost part of the world. Giving humanity a privilege (through apostolic succession) to be co-workers with him.

Therefore each one of us should seek our purpose in this world in order to fulfill God’s mission too, shying away from the sin of pride, boasting and the attitude of knowing it all. Let us remember that we are still going to account before the Almighty for everything we have done under the sun. The greatest wisdom would be to “Observe, Walk and Keep” God’s decrees and commands at all times. Working tirelessly as it is day time less we lose our roar, and miss the eternal mark.

Let us keep it in mind that the devourer will forever be on the lookout for those cubs, which is the body of Christ. Protect them bishop, shield them and love them for the glory of God who entrusts human beings to be co-workers with God, less they go astray.

In the name of God the Creator, Redeemer and Sustainer. Amen

The Revd Dalcy Dlamini

ACSA Media Committee issues social media guidelines

The Church’s Provincial Media Committee has drawn up guidelines to help parishes and dioceses navigate their way through the fast-growing social media landscape.

Introducing the guidelines, the committee says most non-verbal communication between and among Anglicans in the Province takes place on social media, mostly posted at the discretion of individual Anglicans.

The committee adds:

“Social media have great potential for the Church to connect with people where they are and build relationships with those we struggle to reach through other channels. They provide for instant interaction among different Anglican communities and for spreading news and information quickly.

“The strength of social media outlets is that they are immediate, interactive, conversational and open-ended. This also carries risks. Their pervasiveness can be threatening to those in authority, who may feel that narratives are being propagated outside their control. But in this digital age where communities are formed online, we have no choice but to be part of the conversation and to take advantage of the benefits of social media while avoiding the pitfalls.

“The following guidelines are offered for the consideration of Dioceses and Parishes for their own use and for groups and ministries they supervise…”

The guidelines can be downloaded here >>

Provincial Synod resumes debate on human sexuality

The Anglican Church of Southern Africa’s ruling Provincial Synod continued to wrestle at its 2019 session with its response to appeals to be more inclusive of LGBTQI Christians.

After debates on three separate motions during its meeting this week, the Synod resolved:

    • To establish a “Permanent Provincial Commission on Human Sexuality” to “listen and continue to inform and advise the church on these matters,” and
    • To refer to dioceses for reflection and study a report by an earlier commission which recommended that those dioceses which chose to allow prayers for church members in same-sex civil unions should be permitted to do so for an experimental three-year period.

However, the Synod was evenly split on a motion which proposed that the Province’s Synod of Bishops be asked to prepare guidelines on ministering to people from the LGBTQI community. The voting was 75 for the motion and 75 against, with 14 abstentions.

At the last Provincial Synod, in 2016, a proposal to allow a bishop to “provide for prayers of blessing to be offered for those in same-sex civil unions” was lost by big margins in each House of the Synod: by 16 to six among the bishops, by 41 to 25 among the laity and by 42 to 34 among the clergy.

Commenting on the outcome of the latest Synod deliberations, Archbishop Thabo Makgoba, the President of the Synod, said on Saturday:

“Because the Archbishop’s Commission has sensitised more people to the issue and got the broader church to think and reflect, there has been movement forward since 2016. At least we are now engaging with one another. But the discussion is still painful for everyone, and emotion, prejudice and fear rather than theological substance dominated this year’s deliberations on both sides.

“I am obviously disappointed in this year’s outcome, but take heart that (1) we now have a permanent commission, (2) we have tangible suggestions that we are sending to the faithful, and (3) that we have a year to review the situation. I will continue to soak everyone involved in prayer.”

The Archbishop set up an “Archbishop’s Commission on Human Sexuality” in response to the 2016 Synod debate. It was this body which brought to this year’s Synod the proposal for a highly circumscribed experiment which would have allowed blessings for same-sex unions on a basis similar to that adopted when the Province first allowed the ordination of women in 1992.

In the scheme suggested by the commission, the possibility of same-sex couples marrying in church was ruled out – the Church’s Canon on Holy Matrimony “affirms that marriage by divine institution is a lifelong and exclusive union and partnership between one man and one woman,” and the commission did not propose changing this.

What it did propose was “a middle way” which would allow a bishop to apply for his or her diocese to become a “Civil Union Participating Diocese” (CUPD) – on condition the diocese agreed to this step by the special majority required to pass a “controversial motion” (usually a simple majority in each house, and a two-thirds majority overall).

The commission recommended that in a CUPD, the bishop could give permission to a priest and a local parish “to offer prayers for persons in Civil Unions” – provided the parish first went through “a process of prayer, education, consultation, discernment and consensus development that widely engages the parish community”.

No priest would be forced to take part in the arrangement against the dictates of her or his conscience, and prayers would be offered for couples in same-sex unions only “on the understanding that they seek to live in mutual love and faithfulness in a stable, life-long, committed monogamous relationship.”

The commission’s proposal has particular relevance for South Africa, where civil partnerships for same-sex couples, offering them the same rights, responsibilities and legal consequences as marriage, were approved by State law in 2006. No such provision is made for same-sex unions in the other countries in the Province.

The Anglican Church of Southern Africa includes dioceses in Angola, eSwatini (Swaziland), Lesotho, Mozambique, Namibia, St Helena and South Africa.

After debate, this year’s Synod adopted a resolution saying it “notes, acknowledges and recognises” the work of the Archbishop’s commission, and sent the report to dioceses “for reflection, study and reporting back” to a new commission and to the annual meeting of the church’s Provincial Standing Committee (PSC). The resolution was proposed by Bishop Allan Kannemeyer of Pretoria and seconded by Bishop Steve Moreo of Johannesburg.

In another motion, Bishop Kannemeyer proposed that since “issues of human sexuality are complex, diverse and evolving” the Province needed a permanent commission to replace that set up by the Archbishop. This resolution said the commission’s membership should reflect “the divergent views in the Province on this matter”. The motion, seconded by Archdeacon Moses Thabethe from the Diocese of Johannesburg, was adopted unanimously.

In the third motion, representatives from the Diocese of False Bay, which includes large swathes of the Cape Town metropolitan area as well as rural areas, proposed that the Archbishop and the Synod of Bishops provide guidelines for ministry to people from the LGBTQI community.

Proposing the motion, Archdeacon Lundi Joko said if a same-sex couple in his parish wanted to celebrate the 10th anniversary of their civil union under State law, he needed guidance on how he could minister to them: “Am I allowed to attend? Am I allowed to pray over them? Can I refuse to baptise the child of a same-sex couple… This motion is saying help us to make sure we can effectively minister.”

His seconder, Canon Delmaine Petersen, said that “our brothers and sisters in Christ” from the  LGBTQI community “continue to experience hurt, exclusion and uncertainty about their place in the church… we are in dire need of direction in our quest for complete inclusivity.”

However other Synod representatives, especially those from rural dioceses within and outside South Africa, voiced concern at the implications.

One questioned whether the church would allow polygamy in future, while another expressed the fear that traditional chiefs who had given parishes land to build their churches on might reclaim it.

Some indicated implacable opposition to liturgies for ministry to same-sex couples. But others suggested that adopting the motion would be divisive at this stage in the church’s history, saying: “The time is not yet.”

Since the Synod split evenly in favour of and against the motion, it was lost.


Full texts of approved resolutions:


Establishment of Permanent Provincial Commission on Human Sexuality

This Synod noting that:

1.    The issues of human sexuality are complex, diverse and evolving.
2.    The advancement of science and human development present ongoing areas of need in terms of ethics and welfare.


Resolves to:
   1. Establish a Permanent Provincial Commission on Human Sexuality that will listen and continue to inform and advise the church on these matters.
   2. The Synod of Bishops shall take heed of the divergent views in the Province on this matter, and the membership of the Commission shall reflect this.
  3. The Metropolitan, after consultation with the Synod of Bishops will determine the terms of reference for this commission.

Proposer:  Bishop Allan Kannemeyer (Diocese of Pretoria)

Seconder:  Archdeacon Moses Thabethe (Diocese of Johannesburg)



Receiving of the Archbishop’s Commission on Human Sexuality Report

This Synod notes that the report of the Archbishop’s Commission on Human Sexuality has been received.

This Synod notes, acknowledges and recognises the work of the Archbishop’s Commission on Human Sexuality. 

This Synod refers the report to the Dioceses of the Province for reflection, study and report-back on progress to the Commission and the next PSC.

Proposer:    Rt Revd. A Kannemeyer
Seconder:     Rt Revd. Steve Moreo

[This report has been amended since first published to reflect the wording of the resolution above as provided by the scrutineers of the Synod minutes. The principal change reflects that the Synod “refers” – not “commends” – the resolution to Dioceses.]

Church declares ‘climate emergency’ and calls for ban on plastics

Provincial Synod has declared a “climate emergency” and called on parishes to recycle and to ban the use of plastic in their congregational activities, including items such as plastic straws, cutlery and water bottles as well as plastic and Styrofoam cups.

A resolution on the use of plastic was proposed by Ms Mandisa Gumada of the Diocese of Natal and Bishop Vicente Msosa of the Diocese of Niassa. It read:

PLASTIC

This Synod noting that:

1. The equivalent of one garbage truck of plastic enters our oceans every minute and by 2050 there will be more plastic by weight in the ocean than fish;

2. Plastic is killing marine animals and seabirds, destroying the marine environment as well as people’s livelihoods, infiltrating the human food chain and causing cancers and birth defects. Scientists have found plastic in tap water and even in salt. Microplastic enters our lungs;

3. South Africans use 8 billion plastic shopping bags per year;

4. By contrast 28 African countries, such as Kenya, Rwanda, Morocco and Cameroon, have banned the use, manufacture, importation and distribution of disposable plastic bags.

Acknowledging that:

Plastic debris not only results in high cleaning-up costs but also brings huge losses for the tourism, fisheries and shipping industries. It threatens our health, constitutional rights, water resources and climate.

Resolves to:

Call on ACSA to become a #zerowaste Church and call on Parishes and Dioceses to commit to becoming Zero waste by;

1. Not using plastic bottled water;

2. Not using Styrofoam;

3. Reducing paper as much as possible;

4. Setting up compost heaps and food gardens where possible;

5. Installing recycling bins for church and, if possible, for community;

6. Not using plastic cutlery, cups, water bottles and straws;

7. Displaying a #zerowaste signs at the church

8. “To rethink our consumption practices”.

9. Calls on the governments of South Africa, Eswatini, Lesotho, Namibia, Angola, Mozambique and St Helena to ban single use plastic as a matter of urgency.

The resolution declaring a climate change emergency was proposed by Bishop Msosa, seconded by Bishop Ellinah Wamukoya of Swaziland, and motivated by Canon Rachel Mash, the Province’s Environmental Coordinator.

CLIMATE CHANGE EMERGENCY

This Synod noting that:

We face a triple emergency of climate change, biodiversity loss, poverty and inequality with reference to:

1. The latest Climate Change Report of the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) indicates that we have less than twelve years to make a rapid transition away from fossil fuels to renewables or will face out of control climate change;

2. This is a Kairos moment;

3. Rapid climate change, with its increasingly severe weather patterns is having devastating effects on humanity, with its detrimental effects on agriculture, the increase in diseases and various negative impacts on human health;

4. One million out of the 5 million species on this planet face extinction due to human activity;

5 Our economic system is making the rich richer and the poor poorer. In 2018, 26 people owned the same amount of wealth as the 3.8 billion people who make up the poorest half of humanity;

6. South Africa is the most unequal country in the world;

7 We cannot eradicate poverty unless we tackle climate change.

Further noting:

1. Mozambique has suffered devastating environmental damage and loss of life from Cyclones Idai and Kenneth. “Beira will go down in history as the first city to be completely devastated by Climate Change” said Graca Machel;

2. Parts of KwaZulu-Natal also suffered devastating floods with loss of life;

3. Namibia is suffering from massive drought;

4. Water crises are being experienced in the Eastern, Northern and Western Cape.

Acknowledging:

1. The Anglican Consultative Council (ACC 17) meeting this year, passed three significant resolutions, which pertain to ACSA, calling for Provincial Action on Climate Change, (A17:05), Climate Resilience (A17: 06) and the Sustainable Development Goals (A17:11) and encouraging Provinces to:

1.1 Declare a Climate Emergency;

1.2 Identify Environmental related threats;

1.3 Hold Strategic planning Conferences on the SDGs and Climate Change.

Resolves to:

1. Appeal for ACSA to declare a Climate Emergency for our Province.

2. Respectfully requests the Metropolitan to cause a Provincial Consultation to be convened on Climate Change In collaboration and at the cost of the ACSA Environmental Network and Hope Africa and to encourage as much as is possible the participation of the Bishops of the Province, Diocesan Social Development Representatives, Environmental Representatives, and Gender Representatives.

3. Ensure the participation of young people and women’s voices.

4. This consultation should strive to achieve the following objectives:

a. Identify climate related threats;

b. Develop an action plan for individuals at Parish, Diocesan and Provincial levels on the Environment and Social Development, to include the following inter alia:

b.1 gender and other social considerations;

b.2 policies and procedures to increase the use of renewable energies and incorporate creation care into all aspects of church life, including into liturgical practice;

b.3 mainstreaming eco-theological reflection across all levels of theological education.

c. Report on the implementation of this resolution at the next Provincial Standing Committee and Provincial Synod.

Synod establishes ‘Safe and Inclusive Church Commission’ to combat abuse

In a demonstration of its commitment to eradicate abuse, including sexual abuse, in the Church, Provincial Synod has adopted a ‘Resolution of Permanent Force’ which establishes a ‘Safe and Inclusive Church Commission’ to oversee the process.

The nature of the resolution gives it higher status in church law than ordinary resolutions of the Synod. It is proposed that at the next Synod the ‘Safe Church’ initiative will be entrenched as an Act in the Church’s Constitution and Canons.

The resolution was proposed by the Revd Anastasia Huntley of the Diocese of Johannesburg and seconded by Archbishop Thabo Makgoba of Cape Town. [Corrected ** ]

The full text of the resolution follows:

RESOLUTION OF PERMANENT FORCE: THE ANGLICAN SAFE AND INCLUSIVE CHURCH COMMISSION OF SOUTHERN AFRICA

This Synod noting that:

1.As the Anglican Church of Southern Africa we are called to be people of God and to embody the spirit of God that needs to be nurtured and brought into the fulness of life.

2.Our places of worship and learning have for many caused untold pain, hurt and harm, that has left individuals and families deeply scarred.

3.Ministry is a unique and sacred trust that has been given to us and we need to seek ways to nurture and protect this trust in the way we discern, train, educate and select our ministers and exercise our accountability and discipline as a church.

4.The Pastoral Standards of Ministry, included as Act XV in our Canons has set the foundation for this work, and will continually be expanded upon.

5.The call of the Safe Church Commission of the Anglican Consultative Council (the “ACC Commission”) is to adopt its Charter and implement its Protocol, as far as practicable in accordance with its guidelines;

6. ACSA seeks to establish its own Safe Church Commission to oversee this work, which will include the following:

6.1 to develop recommendations for enhancement of the safety of children, young people and vulnerable adults in the Church,

6.2 to establish a network of those with safe church/safeguarding responsibilities in the Province and;

6.3 to liaise regularly with the ACC Commission in relation to its work.

Resolves to:

  1. Commit itself to a programme of action in which it seeks to improve, through an iterative process, that will be shaped and informed by experience and the implementation of these principles.
  1. To draft an Act consistent with the Constitution and Canons of ACSA as well as the principles, procedures, safe-guards, resolutions of the Anglican Consultative Council and guidelines referred to below:

2.1. the witness of Scripture to God’s love for all members of the human family and the priority given in Jesus’ ministry to children and the vulnerable of society;

2.2 the resolution of the Lambeth Conference in 1998 that each member Church represented make an intentional effort to work toward eliminating abuses affecting women and children (Resolution 1.3);

2.3 the commitment of ACC-13 in 2005 to the highest standards of care for all young and vulnerable people, seeking to ensure their protection (ACC Resolution 13.50);

2.4 the testimony of the Lambeth Conference in 2008 to the many forms of abuse of power within society as well as the church from which women and children suffer disproportionately, and the challenge to reclaim the gospel truth of the dignity of the human person and to exercise power in ways that would always be life giving (Lambeth Indaba: Capturing Conversations and Reflections, paragraphs 47 to 50);

2.5 the call of ACC-14 in 2009 to member Churches to take appropriate steps to assist the healing of indigenous families, including the protection of women and children from violence and human trafficking (ACC Resolutions 14.19 and 14.33);

2.6 the statement of the Primates in 2011 that our churches must accept responsibility for our own part in perpetuating oppressive attitudes towards women, and in penitence and faith we must move forward in such a way that our churches truly become a living witness to our belief that both women and men are made in the image of God (Letter to the Churches of the Anglican Communion): and

2.7 committed itself to promoting the physical, emotional and spiritual welfare and safety of all people, especially children, young people and vulnerable adults, within the member churches of the Anglican Communion, and to this end called upon all member churches to adopt and implement the charter. This charter has been adapted for our own situation and this was formally adopted by the Synod of Bishops in February 2019, and reads as follows:

  1. That the Commission will draft the intended Act in conjunction with the Anglican Canon Law Council.

4. The intended Act will incorporate the Charter for Safe and Inclusive Church passed by the Synod of Bishops in February 2019.

5. To establish a commission known as the Anglican Safe and Inclusive Church Commission of Southern Africa, whose members will be appointed by the Metropolitan after consultation with the Synod of Bishops.

6. That the constitution of the aforementioned Commission, responsible for the implementation of the Charter, will include the following principles.

6.1 The Commission is an integral part of the Church, functioning under and reporting to the Metropolitan and Synod of Bishops (“SoB”). The Commission will table its report from time to time at Provincial Synod, PSC and the Provincial Trusts Board (“PTB”)

6.2 The Metropolitan, after consultation with the SoB will appoint a liaison bishop for the commission

6.3 The purpose and objectives of the Commission are:

  1. To implement the ACSA Charter and the ACC Protocols as its guidelines, to the extent practicable;
  2. To develop for the Province, its dioceses, organisations and institutions, the framework for the implementation of The Charter, its protocols and guidelines;
  3. To serve as the advisory body for the Province, dioceses, organisations and institutions regarding the implementation of the Charter, its protocols and guidelines, and to identify and develop safeguarding measures;
  4. To maintain ACSA’s membership of the ACC’s Safe Church Commission and the Metropolitan to appoint a representative to liaise with that Commission regarding this work;
  5. To develop resources, do training and liaise in all matters relating to The Charter;
  6. To maintain a register of complaints and convictions (both Church and secular);
  7. To develop and implement a management system for records and maintenance of screening clearances;
  8. To provide a framework for dealing with adverse findings on clearance requirements for ministers;
  9. To provide (or advise on, as appropriate) support for those involved in hearings conducted under The Charter; and
  10. To advocate its work throughout the Province.

6.3 The Commission’s governing body will be comprised of:

6.3.1.1 the Liaison Bishop, appointed by the Metropolitan as aforesaid;

6.3.1.2 two legal lay persons, being Provincial or Diocesan Chancellors or Registrars, appointed by the Metropolitan in consultation with the Metropolitan’s Executive and with input as needed for from the Anglican Canon Law Council of Southern Africa (“ACLCSA”) and the Council;

6.3.1.3 two Bishops, Suffragan or Diocesan, appointed by the SoB;

6.3.1.4 two psychologists or other specialists involved in counselling, spiritual guidance or support in cases of abuse, appointed by the Metropolitan from a list of recommended people prepared by the Council (save only that in the first instance the list may be that prepared by the steering committee involved in the preparation and presentation to Provincial Synod of this Act); and

6.3.1.5 the Provincial Treasurer, or alternatively the Provincial Executive Officer.

  1. The terms of office of the Commission’s members will be:
    1. the Liaison Bishop, at the discretion of the Metropolitan;
    2. the two legal lay persons, for periods of three years, which may be renewed for no more than two terms;
    3. the two Bishops, at the discretion of the SoB;
    4. the two psychologists or other specialists, for periods of three years, which may be renewed for no more than two terms; and
    5. the Provincial Treasurer or Provincial Executive Officer (as the case may be), for as long as their appointments endure.
  1. The Commission shall elect its own Chair, Deputy Chair and Secretary at its first meeting each calendar year, and thereafter during a calendar year if and when such an office becomes vacant. The quorum for Council meetings shall be the majority in number of the Council members at the time including the Chair or Deputy Chair.
  2. The Commission shall have no financial powers independently of the Church. All income and expenditure shall be duly authorized, held and paid by the Church, through the office of the Provincial Treasurer. The Council will prepare an annual budget for a succeeding year by the end of March in the preceding year, for consideration and approval by the Provincial Trusts Board, which will cover the Commission’s authorized requirements from the said Board’s own resources, save that where there will be a shortfall in such resources, the same shall be applied for, to the Provincial Treasurer, who may approve such an application.
  3. The Commission shall make such arrangements for meetings and conferences as it shall deem necessary; for publications and consultations as may be required; for research and advice as may be needed; for related travel, accommodation, office and other assistance that may be called for. All such expenses must be costed, included and cleared by the Provincial Treasurer on behalf of the Provincial Trusts Board.
  4. The Commission may make such rules of procedure and byelaws, and establish such sub-committees, as it considers necessary and appropriate for the furtherance of its work.

[** The name of the seconder has been corrected since this item was first posted]

Synod calls for special ‘Day Against Xenophobia’

Provincial Synod has called for the declaration of a Day Against Xenophobia, using resources such as a special liturgy, readings, sermon material and posters and social media materials.

“We should show publicly that the Anglican Church is a safe space for all,” Synod said in a resolution.

The resolution, proposed by the Revd Canon Shearsby Mupfudzapake of the Diocese of St Mark the Evangelist, and seconded by Mrs Helena B. Simone of the Diocese of Niassa in Mozambique, read as follows:

Whereas

  • South Africa has been hit by a wave of xenophobic attacks
  • Recognising that we have the day of 20th June as a day of refugees in our lectionary, but it is often not used as it clashes with June 16th
  • We need to identify the cause of these attacks and identify the role of the Anglican Church as a multi-country church

We ask for the Church to

  • Declare itself strongly against Xenophobia
  • Declare a special Day Against Xenophobia, with readings, liturgy and sermon materials, as well as posters, hash tags etc.
  • We should show publicly that the Anglican Church is a safe space for all.

Provincial Synod speaks on violence against women and children

Provincial Synod has singled out “belief in the dominance of men over women” as one of the causes of violence against women in society.

Proposing a resolution voicing “abhorrence” at violence against women and children, the Very Revd Andrew Hunter, Dean of Grahamstown, said the culture of “toxic masculinity” in society “teaches boys that girls are there for their use and pleasure.”

The resolution passed by Synod said this belief is “an abuse of power and was never displayed by our Lord.”

Synod called on the men present “to examine their inherent belief and practices, and to change whenever and wherever they stand in opposition to Christ with respect to their beliefs and treatment of women and children.”

It also urged men “to speak clearly and boldly” against male domination to other men in society and “to make active space for the voice of women to be heard”. It also sent its love, deepest sympathies and assurance of its heartfelt prayers for all impacted by sexual violence.

The resolution was seconded by Bishop-Elect Luke Pretorius of the Diocese of St Mark the Evangelist.

The full text of the resolution read:

This Synod, noting

1. the current level of gender-based violence against women and children

2. the implied patriarchy and belief in the dominance of men over women

3. that such patriarchy for whatever reason; cultural, religious or implied is an abuse of power and was never displayed by our Lord.

Calls upon the men of this Synod – in the light of the example of Christ

1. to examine their inherent beliefs and practices, and to change whenever and wherever they stand in opposition to Christ with respect to their beliefs and treatment of women and children

2. to speak clearly and boldly in their respective settings, and to conscientize other men to this truth of Christ in his respect and acceptance of women and children

3. to make active space for the voice of women to be heard as they share their experiences

4. to encourage men to speak and define their belief and practise with respect to their treatment of women and children

5. to make a stand in this Synod which displays their abhorrence of the current violence against women and children, and

6. sends its love, deepest sympathies and assurance of our heartfelt prayers for all impacted by sexual violence.

We continue to pray for the perpetrators of these violent acts so that God can edify their hearts, their minds and their lives;

We need to examine our use of scripture and its application that has been harmful to women and children;

We should not be ashamed to ask for forgiveness.

Proposed: Very Revd Andrew Hunter

Seconded: Very Revd Luke Pretorius

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