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Statement of the February 2024 meeting of the Synod of Bishops

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WCC head addresses Bishops on “unity of the church”

From the World Council of Churches >>

At Anglican Bishops’ Conference of Southern Africa, WCC moderator reflects on unity of the church—and in the world

In a speech before the Anglican Bishops’ Conference of Southern Africa, WCC moderator Bishop Dr Heinrich Bedford-Strohm reflected on “Salt of the earth and light of the world: Unity of the church as a sign for unity in the world.”

He noted that South Africa will hold elections this year. “Will people make use of their right to vote, which so many had struggled for and even lost their life for?” he asked. “Or will a general dissatisfaction about life 30 years after the introduction of democracy as a basis of South African political life keep people away from the polls?”

Democracy is not just an electoral process, he added. “Democracy is the expression of an image of the human being,” he said. “At the centre of democracy’s anthropological assumptions stands the conviction that every human being has the same inviolable human dignity.”

Bedford-Strohm emphasized that, if equal human dignity for all is the core of the democratic vision, it must show in how democracies act. “I believe the churches can play an important role in publicly demanding such credibility,” he said. “The ecumenical movement must be a counterforce to the forces of divisiveness in this world.”

He acknowledged that we are all shaped by our contexts. “Of course we bring with us the struggles of our peoples,” he said. “And sometimes we find ourselves on different sides in these struggles and yet are connected in our common faith in Jesus Christ.”

If we follow Jesus, empathy with human suffering is always unconditional, he said. “As churches we are all committed to overcoming violence,” he said. “There is probably no other institution in which being rooted in local communities and at the same time being connected in a common universal horizon is as much part of the DNA as it is in the church.”

One of the most important public tasks of the church today to open the eyes to the suffering of people far away, said Bedford-Strohm. “If the biblical-theological assumption that every human being is created in the image of God is true, then this is not a marginal issue,” he said. “It touches the core of the Christian tradition and the mission that arises from it.”

The full text of Bishop Bedford-Strohm’s address:

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Synod of Bishops’ statement on Palestine & Israel

A statement issued by the Synod of Bishops at their February meeting in Cape Town:

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Diocese of Mzimvubu elects new Bishop

The Venerable Phumzile Cetywayo has been elected as the next Bishop of the Diocese of Mzimvubu.

Bishop-Elect Cetywayo, 46, who currently serves as Archdeacon of Matatiele and Vicar-General of the Diocese, was elected on the fifth ballot during the first day of an Elective Assembly of the Diocese today.

Please pray for him, his wife Lindiwe, their two sons, and the Diocese as they prepare for his consecration and installation.

The Revd Grant Walters
Provincial Executive Officer

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Bishop Godfrey Ashby of St John’s dies

The Right Revd Godfrey Ashby, a former Bishop of the Diocese of St John’s (which included the current dioceses of Mthatha, Mzimvubu and Mbhashe) died recently in the United Kingdom, aged 93.

Sharing memories of Bishop Ashby, who ministered as Diocesan from 1980 to 1985, retired bishops of the Province have paid tribute to his humility and gentleness, his gifts as a pastor, teacher, mentor, confessor and to his outstanding preaching and scholarship.

He was remembered as an Old Testament scholar who made the scriptures come alive in “brilliant” sermons at Evensong during his time as Dean of Grahamstown.

“Apart from his intimacy with Hebrew, he learnt isiXhosa to his great credit, and willingly conducted clergy retreats and graced patronal festivals. He was humble and gentle to the core,” wrote one bishop. “A great man with tremendous insight, intelligence and compassion,” wrote another.

One bishop told of a retired academic at Wits University in Johannesburg who said the then Professor Ashby used to attend anti-apartheid protests, not to take part but to keep watch and pray for the safety of students as they faced off against police.

The Wikipedia entry for Bishop Ashby:

Ashby was educated at The King’s School in Chester, Cheshire. After two years in the British Army Intelligence Corps, he studied at King’s College London, and graduated in 1954 with a Bachelor of Divinity (BD) degree and the Associateship of King’s College (AKC). He was an Overseas Visiting Scholar at St John’s College, Cambridge, in 1975. He also became a Doctor of Philosophy (PhD).

Ashby was ordained in the Church of England as a deacon in 1955 and as a priest in 1955. His first post was as a Curate in the Parish of St Helier in the Diocese of Southwark.

In 1958, Ashby emigrated to South Africa. Here he rose steadily in the church hierarchy, being successively: Subwarden of St Paul’s College, Grahamstown; Rector of Alice, Eastern Cape; lecturer at the Federal Theological Seminary, Alice; a senior lecturer in Old Testament and Hebrew at Rhodes University; Dean of Grahamstown and Archdeacon in the Diocese of Grahamstown.

In 1980, Ashby was consecrated a bishop. From 1980 to 1985, he served as diocesan Bishop of St John’s. He was then professor of Divinity at the University of the Witwatersrand and an assistant bishop in the Anglican Diocese of Johannesburg.

In 1988, Ashby moved back to England. He served as the Assistant Bishop of Leicester in the Diocese of Leicester from 1988 to 1995. Additionally, he was Priest-in-Charge of All Saints, Newtown Linford between 1992 and 1995. In 1993, he was made an Honorary Canon of Leicester Cathedral.

Ashby retired from full-time ministry in 1995. He returned to South Africa, where he served as an Assistant Bishop in the Diocese of George. In 2008, he returned to England. He served as an honorary assistant bishop in the Diocese of Portsmouth between 2008 and 2011 and in the Diocese of Exeter from 2011 until he entered full retirement at the College of St Barnabas in Surrey in 2017.

Bishop Ashby was married to Valerie “Sally” Ashby, née Hawtree (she died on 7 October 2015). Together, they had six children: Garmon, John Mark, Mary, Philip, Ruth, and Charles.

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Vacancy – Academic Lecturer – College of Transfiguration

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Candidates for Diocese of Mzimvubu Elective Assembly

The following candidates have been nominated for consideration at the Elective Assembly for a new Bishop of the Diocese of Mzimvubu, which will convene on February 6th and 7th

  • The Very Revd Lungile Cengimbo
  • The Venerable Phumzile Cetywayo 
  • The Very Revd Mzukisi Nomatshila
  • The Revd Mcebisi Pinyana 

You are asked please to pray for them, their families and the Diocese as the Elective Assembly meets.

The Revd Grant Walters

Provincial Executive Officer

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Archbishop joins African counterparts in condemning civil war in Sudan

Archbishop Thabo Makgoba is one of 14 archbishops of African provinces of the Anglican Communion who have condemned what they call the “devastating civil war” raging in Sudan.

In a letter of solidarity to the Most Rev. Ezekiel Kondo, Primate of the Episcopal Church of Sudan, the archbishops called on the leaders of the two rival forces, General Abdel Fattah al-Burhan of the Sudanese Armed Forces and General Mohamed Hamdan Daaglo of the Rapid Support Forces, “to reconsider their motivations for resorting to armed conflict and instead engage in peaceful negotiations.”

The letter was issued by Archbishop Albert Chama of the Church of the Province of Central Africa in his capacity as chairman of the Council of African Provinces of Africa (CAPA).

“The distressing sight of unburied corpses along the streets brings tears to our eyes,” the letter added. “As the Council of African Anglican Primates, we strongly condemn these actions and stand united against such acts of violence and destruction.”

Since a power struggle between the two Sudanese forces began in April this year, the United Nations says that more than 9,000 people have been killed and nearly six million forced from their homes, more than a million of them into neighbouring and often fragile countries.

“Across the country, an unimaginable humanitarian crisis is unfolding, as more and more people are displaced by the relentless fighting,” says the UN High Commission for Refugees.

It adds, “Now fighting is growing in scope and brutality, affecting the people of Sudan, and the world is scandalously silent, though violations of international humanitarian law persist with impunity.”

The full text of the CAPA Archbishops’ statement follows. Also read an account of the crisis by the UNHCR:
An unimaginable humanitarian crisis is unfolding in Sudan

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Diocese of False Bay elects new Bishop

An Elective Assembly of the Diocese of False Bay has elected the Revd Canon Stafford Moses as their new Bishop.

Bishop-elect Moses was elected on the third ballot on the first day of the Assembly today. He was one of five candidates. He succeeds Bishop Margaret Vertue, who retired this year.

Please pray for him, for his wife, Bishop Yvette Moses of the Cape of Good Hope District of the Methodist Church of Southern Africa, and their wider families as they prepare for his Consecration and Installation.

Sincerely yours in Christ

The Revd Grant Walters

Provincial Executive Officer

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Candidates for Diocese of False Bay Elective Assembly

The Metropolitan has received five names to be nominated for consideration as candidates at the Elective Assembly for a new Bishop of the Diocese of False Bay on November 24th and 25th.

The five are, in alphabetical order according to surname:

The Reverend Canon Dean Apples

The Venerable Lundi Joko

The Reverend Xola Mlandu

The Reverend Canon Stafford Moses

The Venerable Delmaine Petersen

You are asked please to pray for them, their families and the Diocese as the Elective Assembly meets.

Sincerely yours in Christ

The Revd Grant Walters

Provincial Executive Officer

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Academic Vacancy – Lecturer @CoTT

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Anglicans in Jerusalem respond to airstrike on Gaza hospital

17 October 2023

A Statement by The Episcopal Diocese of Jerusalem

Church Unites in Prayer, Firmly Condemns Massacre at Hospital, and Grieves the Loss of Hundreds of Innocent Civilians

In a solemn observance of a global day of fasting and prayers for peace, reconciliation, and an end to the harrowing conflict, Christians stood united in the Holy Land. However, this day of reflection was marred by a brutal attack on our Al Ahli Anglican Episcopal Hospital in Gaza during the Israeli airstrikes there. Citing 2 Cor. 4:8-9a, “We are afflicted in every way, but not crushed; perplexed, but not driven to despair; persecuted, but not forsaken; struck down, but not destroyed,” we reflect on the unwavering spirit in the face of adversity.

In the strongest terms, the Episcopal Diocese of Jerusalem condemns this atrocious attack that has transpired in the heart of Gaza. Initial reports suggest the loss of countless lives, a manifestation of what can only be described as a crime against humanity. Hospitals, by the tenets of international humanitarian law, are sanctuaries, yet this assault has transgressed those sacred boundaries. We heed the call of Archbishop Justin Welby, who implored for the safeguarding of medical facilities and the rescission of evacuation orders. Regrettably, Gaza remains bereft of safe havens.

The devastation witnessed, coupled with the sacrilegious targeting of the church, strikes at the very core of human decency. We assert unequivocally that this is deserving international condemnation and retribution. An urgent appeal resonates for the international community to fulfil its duty in protecting civilians and ensuring that such inhumane horrific acts are not replicated.

As we grieve the loss of countless souls who perished on our premises, we declare a day of mourning in all our churches and institutions. We beseech our friends, partners, and individuals of goodwill to stand in solidarity, mourning with us the heinous assault on our dedicated staff and vulnerable patients.

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Growing the Church welcomes new Liaison Bishop

The Provincial ministry, Growing the Church (GtC), has announced that Bishop Dalcy Dlamini of the Diocese of eSwatini has been appointed its new Liaison Bishop.

The appointment was made by the recent meeting of the Synod of Bishops.

“Please keep Bishop Dalcy and the GtC Board in your prayers,” said the Revd Bruce Woolley, director of GtC in the announcement.

“We are also eternally grateful to Bishop Tsietsi [Seleoane] for his servant leadership as our Liaison Bishop over the past five years,” he added.

“We pray for Bishop Tsietsi and next stage of his ministry. He will continue to serve on the GtC board. Lord in your mercy, our prayer.”

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Bishop of George condemns killing in the Middle East

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Anglican Archbishop in Jerusalem calls for a Day of Prayer and Fasting for Peace