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10 Things a Man of Faith can do NOW to end GBV

Download PDF below:

https://anglicanchurchsa.org/wp-content/uploads/2020/07/GBV-MenofFaith.pdf

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News

Join this year’s Manche Masemola pilgrimage online

You won’t have to travel to South Africa’s Limpopo province this year to join the annual pilgrimage commemorating the life and witness of the martyr Manche Masemola – the event will take place as an online e-service.

Find full details of the service on Sunday August 2 at the link below:

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News

Who is speaking for the children?

The Anglican Church of Southern Africa wishes to join its voice to that of the South African Human Rights Commission and others, in arguing for the continued opening and operating of as many of the country’s schools as possible.

We hear that teacher unions are meeting the Minister of Basic Education to press for the closure of the schools; the spokesman of one such is on record as saying, ‘we know what strong method we can use to ensure that we save the lives of learners, teachers and the lives of the community’.

But is this the time for arm-wrestling between the unions and their employers?

We ask: who speaks for the children in these meetings?

Note that:

-Science increasingly shows that children are not super-spreaders of the virus; children should not be stigmatised for what adults are bringing into the schools and spreading.

-Minister Motshekga was correct when she said ‘schools are good for children’; the discourse sometimes sounds as if children who are not in school are sitting in safe suburban homes with food, care and home schooling. But the bulk of this country’s children, if not in school, are vulnerable to all kinds of danger in the streets – including serious infections. If these children have parents surviving, they will now have returned to work (in hazardous taxis) to bring home some income. These parents are not sitting in the house, protecting, feeding and online schooling their children; they are busy surviving. These parents have a right to expect society and its educators to create a safe space for their children during the day while they work. We expect that of our educators.

-Of course schools must be made as safe as possible and many of the disgraceful backlogs in this regard now need to be faced – with toilets, water, roofs and the rest. But it is not for educators, especially in time of national disaster, to fold their hands and wait for someone else to do it all. They need to be modelling responsibility and finding ways to make the school system work, not to make it seize up.

-While it is true that the deadlines with the curriculum are not sacred and the country can well use 2021 flexibly to ensure that essential learning is covered, many children are at the stage of acquiring the basic building blocks of learning, and schools should enable that wherever possible; sometimes what is lost in a crisis is never recovered, and we already have enough of that cumulative damage in our population.

-The emotional and mental health effects of being out of school are accumulating alarmingly in this country’s children; they need to be back in the process of socialisation and professionally supervised development. Educators are good at this and should not be intimidated into deserting their responsibility.

-9 million children in South Africa depend on school feeding for their basic health. In this week’s Nids-Cram report, 47% of households reported running out of money for food in April and 8% of households with children reported child hunger lasting more than 3 days in the past week. In our context, to cut school feeding is to abandon the nation’s children to immediate distress and the long-term effects of malnutrition.
Even in this time of disaster, the rights of child citizens in terms of section 29 (1) of the Bill of Rights cannot be lightly suspended.

This constitutional imperative, and her conviction that schools are good for children, must continue to guide Minister Motshekga’s decisions. We urge her

-1: to ensure that all children can continue to access functional schools;

-2: to ensure that any unavoidable interruptions because of infection or essential maintenance are kept to a minimum; and

-3: to resist pressure for additional closures which are pushed in the interests of employees rather than children.

Who is speaking for the children? Bana pele!

A statement prepared by the Anglican Board of Education, chaired by Bishop Emeritus Peter Lee.

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Provincial Notices

Educational grants for clergy children – 2020

Applications are invited for this year’s educational grants for children of clergy from the Robert Selby Taylor Will Trust.

The deadline for this year’s applications is August 31, 2020.

Under the rules of the trust, grants are limited to the children of stipendiary clergy only. Applications should be submitted to Bishopscourt, endorsed by the Bishop of the Diocese in which the cleric applying for a grant is licensed.

The grants do not cover the costs of clergy studies or pre-school and preparatory education. The Robert Selby Taylor Will Trust Fund should be regarded as “last resort” rather than first port of call for funding.

To download full details and an application form, click on the links below:

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News

Hi-Tech solution planned for PSC, church meetings

The Church is to set up a sophisticated video-conferencing facility which will enable Provincial Standing Committee (PSC) to meet online this year. In future, the system will also enable smaller meetings to be held virtually, saving on the Province’s travel budget.

A meeting of the PSC Service Committee, which plans the Committee’s meetings, heard details of the facility this week. It will enable Diocesan PSC delegations across Southern Africa to be in video contact with Archbishop Thabo Makgoba and Provincial office-bearers in Cape Town and elsewhere.

Agenda papers are expected to be available online next week. The meeting will begin on the afternoon of Tuesday September 22 and continue until Thursday September 24.

The meeting will include a celebration of the 150th anniversary of the constitution of the Province, which was formed by the Dioceses of Cape Town, Grahamstown, Natal and St Helena in 1870.

PSC includes episcopal, clerical and lay representatives from each Diocese in the Province and meets annually. It comprises about 120 people, including representatives of organisations.

During the Service Committee meeting, Archbishop Thabo reported that a number of clergy or their spouses had died of COVID-19 since the last meeting, and a priest had been shot dead in the Diocese of Natal the previous night. He sent condolences to the families of all clergy and members of their families who had died.

The Service Committee asks parishioners to use the following prayer for PSC:

Almighty God, our refuge and strength;
as we face the realities of the Covid-19 pandemic,
keep us mindful of your saving power,
strengthen us to care for one another, and
teach us new ways of protecting your planet,
for you led your people out of exile,
you walked the road to Calvary,
and you continue to equip us for ministry with your Holy Spirit,
One God, world without end.
Amen

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News

Statement on Gender-Based Violence – Diocese of False Bay

In a powerful statement on gender-based violence (GBV), Bishop Margaret Vertue and Canon Cheryl Uren declare:

“We have to first undo, then to build. We need to capture the hearts, souls and minds of the people, this must become the dominant thought, the hegemony of our day: the safe-keeping of women and children. It can never be an issue amidst other issues.”

Read the full text of the 5/6-page statement:

In English >>

In isiXhosa >>

In Afrikaans >>

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News

Schools are good for children NOW

The Anglican Church of Southern Africa’s response to the Department of Basic Education’s announcement on Sunday 31 May 2020, that the planned reopening of schools on 1 June is to be postponed.

When the Minister of Basic Education announced that schools in South Africa were to be reopened on 1 June 2020, the Anglican Church of Southern Africa on 19 May, welcomed her decision and urged all stakeholders to put the interests of the country and its children ahead of their own, for the time being.

We are living in a formally declared National Disaster and we all need to act in light of that.

The Desmond and Leah Tutu Legacy Foundation, at the time of the Minister’s mid-May announcement, lent its support to the call from Nobel Peace Laureate Kailash Satyarthi for all countries to prioritise the good of children during the COVID-19 pandemic.

Of course the Church supports the call for the country’s schools to be made safe, as indeed we have supported efforts to supply water and safe toilets to all schools for many years.

However in South Africa, children who are not at school do not vanish into thin air; thousands of them are left wandering the streets, unprotected and unsupervised by parents who may be absent at work or otherwise. South Africa’s children are safest in the care of educators. Out of school they are exposed to all kinds of infection, abuse and accident.

The guidance of independent bodies like the Paediatric Association of South Africa in this regard should be heeded.

Bringing the nation’s children back into school is not a casual matter, a political football or a ho-hum. It is a pressing moral imperative, a duty of care, an educational priority and practically critical.

As the Minister observed in May, many children especially from poorer backgrounds who became disconnected from school during the 2010 strike never reconnected with the educational process; those young citizens, and the country, were the losers. It would be all too easy to commit that mistake again if we do not, as a country, bend our best efforts to the urgent readmission of our children to their schools. That has implications for all stakeholders who should now be doing all they can to co-operate, develop common plans, and work actively to fulfil them – even if this means going beyond their prescribed minimum obligations as officials or employees.

We must all work to prevent a crisis becoming a disaster.

Provision for home schooling during the lockdown has been partial, difficult to access, inequitable, and increasingly stressful for families who are emerging from lockdown into work and legitimately expecting society to provide a safe place for their children.

The emotional damage of constant chopping and changing of public plans, especially to children who are excited to return to school and to their friends, is significant.

Minister Motshekga’s apology today is appropriate and we accept it; but the confusion and miscommunication of the past few days is unfair to our children and unworthy of our democracy. It suggests that the overwhelming priority of caring for the children of our society is not pressing with sufficient force on the minds and hearts of the parties to this process.

The work required of education departments nationally and provincially is clear and urgent.

Likewise, the moral priority upon our educators is to bring our children into the care of schools as soon as possible and to bend every effort to care for and educate them.

We are living in a National Disaster. This means that all of us, government officials, educators, principals, parents and citizens should be working side by side, not wasting effort on squabbling, point-scoring, or defending ourselves. It is scandalous that debates over procurement should prejudice the children’s welfare.

We should all assist wherever we can to ensure the safe and urgent reopening of all our schools to accommodate the young of this country who must not be left at a loose end any longer. If that means lending a hand with deliveries, cleaning, or helping children to manage their lives in these strange times, so be it. We are above all citizens, adults with a new generation to care for, not rivals competing to make gain from a messy situation.

In our Church we offer our support to Anglican schools and urge our Bishops to visit and encourage our schools wherever they are located in their dioceses, and we urge the Church at large to find ways of lending support to public schools in their vicinity in whatever ways they can.

We urge –

– That no further delay in reopening is permitted beyond 8 June 2020

– That outstanding work to enable schools to open is undertaken urgently across the country

– That any school which is ready to reopen, and meets the criteria, be allowed to do so without delay

– That children in additional grades other than Grades 7 and 12, especially those in the Foundation Phase, should be readmitted as soon as possible, subject to the necessary health protocols but on a flexible timetable aimed at drawing all children into the protection of the school environment as quickly as possible

– That school feeding schemes open immediately and serve any child registered at any school in a quintile where such schemes operate, utilising the budget, facilities and personnel already in place for the purpose; even before such children are permitted to re-enter classrooms

– That all social partners set aside their own agendas and join hands to fulfil the goal set by Nobel Laureate Kailash Sathyarti, of prioritising the wellbeing of children globally through the current pandemic.

We cannot risk another lost generation.

Issued by the Anglican Board of Education in Southern Africa

Bishop Emeritus Peter Lee, Chairperson

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News

South Africa’s National Day of Prayer – A Liturgy

DOWNLOAD a liturgy from the Diocese of George for South Africa’s National Day of Prayer for relief from the coronavirus, held on Sunday May 31.

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News

Summary of SA’s Level 3 coronavirus regulations

This PDF published by South Africa’s Presidency summarises the regulations with effect from June 1, 2020.

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News

PSC, Bishops to meet ‘virtually’ this year

Archbishop Thabo Makgoba has announced that the September 2020 sessions of the Synod of Bishops (SOB) and the Provincial Standing Committee (PSC) will be held virtually using video-conferencing software.

In a letter to the Province’s bishops and members of the PSC, the Archbishop said there was a real prospect that in a number of countries in the Province, lockdowns would still be in force in September. In addition, some members of PSC had a heightened vulnerability to becoming seriously ill if they contract the virus.

“It is imperative under the Canons that we hold a PSC meeting, inter alia because we have to approve the 2021 budget, and the Legal Team has advised… that such a virtual PSC meeting will be legal in terms of the Canons,” he said.

PSC includes episcopal, clerical and lay representatives from each Diocese in the Province and meets annually. It comprises about 120 people, including representatives of organisations.

The PSC Service Committee, which is responsible for planning the Committee’s meetings, met on May 20 to discuss detailed arrangements for this year’s meeting, to be held on September 22-24.

It is proposed that members of each Diocese’s delegation will meet in a central venue, such as a Diocesan Centre, where physical distancing can be implemented, and that they will be able to view proceedings on a screen and contribute to discussions via audio links. The Service Committee urged that each Diocese ought to have an IT expert available to ensure an uninterrupted connection.

The Service Committee asked for a draft liturgy for opening worship to be prepared and is seeking ideas for how the 150th anniversary of the founding of the Province can be celebrated during the meeting.

The Archbishop and the Service Committee urges everyone to use the following special Collect for PSC in the months leading up to the meeting:

Almighty God, our refuge and strength,
As we face the realities of the Covid-19 pandemic
Keep us faithful to you,
Strengthen us to care for one another and your planet,
For you led your people out of exile,
You walked the road to Calvary,
And you continue to equip us for ministry with your Holy Spirit,
One God, world without end.
Amen

Do you have questions about a virtual meeting of PSC? Please let us know in the Comments section below, which we will publish and do our best to answer within a few days.