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Archbishop Thabo addresses divisions over human sexuality at Lambeth Conference

Archbishop Thabo Makgoba, who chaired the Design Group of the 2022 Lambeth Conference, addressed the media on August 2 after the conference had discussed a “Lambeth Call” on human dignity, which included references to the church’s position on human sexuality.

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News

Bishops at Lambeth Conference discuss the Lambeth Call on Human Dignity

A news release issued by the Lambeth Conference’s media team:

The bishops at the Lambeth Conference spent time in discussion and prayer over the Lambeth Call on Human Dignity today after hearing opening remarks from the Archbishop of Canterbury.

Archbishop Howard Gregory, Chair of the Lambeth Call on Human Dignity drafting group, opened the meeting in prayer. He thanked his fellow members of the drafting group and said it had been a privilege to have been given this assignment.

Archbishop Thabo Makgoba, Chair of the Lambeth Conference Design Group, explained that the bishops would not be asked to give verbal feedback on the Call.

After the bishops spent time discussing the Call in small groups, they concluded the meeting in silent prayer.

The specific requests set out in the Call, including the request for the establishment of an Archbishop’s Commission for Redemptive Action, are due to be considered at a later session during the remaining week of the conference.

Archbishop Justin Welby spoke at the beginning of the closed meeting of bishops to discuss the Lambeth Call on Human Dignity. Earlier today he also wrote to all bishops of the Anglican Communion.

Bishops were invited to give written feedback as they have done with other Calls during the Conference, which will be submitted to the Chair of the Lambeth Calls Working Group.

The text of Archbishop Justin’s opening remarks as delivered follows:


This is one of the most important sessions of this Conference. In it, we come to a question – of what we believe about human dignity, including sexuality – that is deeply dividing, not only for Anglicans but for every part of God’s global church.

This conference is one of the few places that we can meet and be honest with each other about what we think, listen to others and pray together. In some churches, like the Anglican Communion, the disagreement is open. In others it is behind locked doors. But in all it is real. And in all the subject is of the greatest importance.

Most of the Call on Human Dignity (including sexuality) is uncontentious. None of us would want to argue for sexual violence in conflict, abuse of the vulnerable or violence against minorities or women.

But paragraph 2.3 is very different. For some here it will be a great relief. There is no attempt being made to alter the historic teaching of the vast majority of Churches of the Anglican Communion. For some, this paragraph will be hugely painful, agonizing emotionally, for it is felt by many to state that who they are and who they love is wrong, that they are less than fully human.

So in this very brief address, please let me state some important principles.

First, the Call is about Human Dignity and also about Sexuality. The reason the two are combined is that its central theological foundation is that all human beings are of equal worth, loved by God and are those for whom Jesus died on the Cross and rose to life. As St Paul says again and again in Romans “there is no distinction”.

Second, as we discuss this, we are all vulnerable.

For the large majority of the Anglican Communion the traditional understanding of marriage is something that is understood, accepted and without question, not only by Bishops but their entire Church, and the societies in which they live. For them, to question this teaching is unthinkable, and in many countries would make the church a victim of derision, contempt and even attack. For many churches to change traditional teaching challenges their very existence.

For a minority, we can say almost the same. They have not arrived lightly at their ideas that traditional teaching needs to change. They are not careless about scripture. They do not reject Christ. But they have come to a different view on sexuality after long prayer, deep study and reflection on understandings of human nature. For them, to question this different teaching is unthinkable, and in many countries is making the church a victim of derision, contempt and even attack. For these churches not to change traditional teaching challenges their very existence.

So let us not treat each other lightly or carelessly. We are deeply divided. That will not end soon. We are called by Christ himself both to truth and unity.

Third, there is no attempt to change people’s minds in this Call. It states as a fact that the vast majority of Anglicans in the large majority of Provinces and Dioceses do not believe that a change in teaching is right. Therefore, it is the case that the whole of Lambeth 1.10 1998 still exists. This Call does not in any way question the validity of that resolution. The Call states that many Provinces – and I say again, I think we need to acknowledge it’s the majority – continue to affirm that same-gender marriage is not permissible. The Call also states that other provinces have blessed and welcomed same sex union or marriage, after careful theological reflection and a process of reception.

In that way, it states the reality of life in the Communion today. As is said in the letter, and I re-emphasise, there is no mention of sanctions, or exclusion, in 1.10 1998. There is much mention of pastoral care. As Lambeth 1.10 also states: “all baptised, believing and faithful persons, regardless of sexual orientation are full members of the Body of Christ” and to be welcomed, cared for, and treated with respect (I.10, 1998).

Fourth, many people are watching and listening, both inside and outside the Church. But we bishops, you alone and I are responsible for what is decided on this Call. When we will all answer to God on the day of judgement, we will not be able to say – and there is no vote today, but when at some point if ever we make a decision on this – we will not be able to say that I voted this or that way because others told me too. Please therefore be present, in this room or online, today. Do not spend the time looking on your phone at what others outside the room are saying. You are the shepherds of your flock as I am the shepherd of the flock that I serve. Let us not act in a way that disgraces our witness. Speak frankly, but in love.

Finally, a short comment on my own thinking. I am very conscious that the Archbishop of Canterbury is to be a focus of unity and is an Instrument of Communion. That is a priority. Truth and unity must be held together, but Church history also says that this sometimes takes a very long time to reach a point where different teaching is rejected or received. I neither have, nor do I seek, the authority to discipline or exclude a church of the Anglican Communion. I will not do so.  I may comment in public on occasions, but that is all. We are a Communion of Churches, not a single church.

I want to end by repeating this line from the Call on Human Dignity: “As Bishops we remain committed to listening and walking together to the maximum possible degree, despite our deep disagreement on these issues.

Sister and brothers, may I thank you for your patience in listening to me.

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News

Bishop Vicentia Kgabe preaches at Lambeth opening Eucharist

Listen to the sermon preached by the Right Revd Vicentia Kgabe, Bishop of Lesotho, in Canterbury Cathedral on Sunday July 31.

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News

Southern Africa features in Lambeth discussion on Safe Church

Archbishop Thabo Makgoba appeared with Archbishop Justin Welby of Canterbury to share reflections on dealing with cases of abuse in the Church at a Lambeth Conference session on Safe Church.

The recording below opens with the two archbishops being interviewed by Mandy Marshall, the Project Director for Gender Justice in the Anglican Communion Office.

Later in the session, Kim Barker, a facilitator from South Africa, led a reflection on Mark 5: 21-34, and the the Rt Revd Brian Marajh, Bishop of Kimberley and Kuruman, spoke from his perspective as Liaison Bishop for the Safe and Inclusive Church Commission.

Go directly to their contributions at the following links:

Kim Barker – co-opted Facilitator – South Africa

Bishop Brian Marajh

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Provincial Notices Provincial Standing Committee

RE-IMAGINING ACSA – Agenda Book for PSC 2022

The agenda and reports for this year’s meeting of ACSA’s Provincial Standing Committee (PSC) have been sent to members of PSC by the Provincial Executive Officer, the Revd Canon Makhosi Nzimande.

PSC is the Province’s top deliberative body between meetings of Provincial Synod, and meets annually. It is comprised of one lay and one clergy representative from each Diocese, as well as the Bishops of the Province, who customarily meet separately in Synod in the days ahead of PSC.

The full text of the agenda, reports and motions to come before this year’s PSC follow at the end of this notice.

Excerpts from an explanatory note from Dr Nzimande to members of PSC:

1) The Drafting Team under the leadership of the Provincial Registrar, Mr Lloyd Fortuin, is scheduled to meet on Friday 29th July 2022 and again, the following week in need, to review resolutions coming to PSC. The Team will also carefully examine the Standing Rules for PSC which seem to be out of kilter with Canon 43. Once this work has been completed an addendum book will be issued which will contain resolutions coming to PSC and any Reports received after the cut-off date. The issuing of this book will be no later than 15 August 2022 but efforts will be made to have it out earlier.

2) Elections to the various Provincial portfolios and committees traditionally take place at Provincial Synod. At Provincial Synod 2021 the number of nominations received for the various portfolios was insufficient for the Elections to take place and accordingly a decision was taken by
Provincial Synod that the election process would be deferred to the Provincial Standing Committee in 2022.

3) Regrettably, the number of nominations received for PSC 2022 thus far is once again insufficient to allow the Elections to take place. In consultation with the Metropolitan, a decision has been taken that the current elected members of the various Portfolios and Committees would be requested to remain in office until Provincial Synod 2024. There is an anticipation that Provincial Synod 2024 will be an in-person meeting and, as is the norm, nominations will be made from the floor during Synod. In the event that there are vacancies in Portfolios between now and Provincial Synod 2024, these vacancies will be filled in consultation with the Liaison Bishops.

This situation is not ideal. However, the calling for nominations, with Proposer, Seconder and a short CV for each nomination, has seen very few nominations being made and it is felt that this is something that needs to happen at an in-person Synod.

The only election that will take place at PSC 2022 will be for the employer elected Trustee to both of the Provincial Pension funds.

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Provincial Notices

Correction to yearly Lectionary – 31st July 2022

It has been brought to our attention that the Gospel reading for Sunday, 31 July 2022 is incorrect.

Please note the correct reading is Luke 12 : 13-21

Thank you

Canon Cynthia Botha, Publishing Committee

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Provincial Notices

Peace?

The quest to find peace beyond all understanding.

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Provincial Notices

FAITHFUL DISCIPLE AND SERVANT SCHOLAR

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Provincial Notices

New Rector for COTT

In my capacities as Chairperson of the College of the Transfiguration and Acting Metropolitan during the Archbishop’s sabbatical leave, I am pleased to announce that the Reverend Dr Percy Chinganga has been appointed Rector and Principal of the College.

Dr Chinganga is at present Dean of Studies at the College. Please pray for him and his wife, Tendai, as he takes up his new appointment.

The Right Revd Stephen Diseko
Dean of the Province and
Bishop of Matlosane

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News

Statement on theft from South Africa’s President Ramaphosa

Statement from the Anglican Church of Southern Africa 

Although there does not appear to be any equivalence between the actions of President Ramaphosa in keeping large amounts of cash on his farm and the crimes committed under the previous administration, the public is owed quick and clear answers on whether he kept foreign currency in contravention of Reserve Bank regulations, and whether tax has been paid on sales from his farm. There cannot be one law for the rich and well-connected, and another for the rest of us.

While the disgraceful scenes in Parliament yesterday are to be condemned in the strongest of terms, they illustrate how transparently and openly leaders of Government need to behave if they are to avoid opportunistic attacks on their leadership which damage the country and its image in the world.

This statement is issued by the Office of Archbishop Thabo Makgoba, with his approval but in his absence on sabbatical.

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Provincial Notices

Provincial Task Team on discrimination in Anglican schools

The Provincial Task Team on Discrimination in Anglican Church Schools was called for at the Provincial Synod and instituted by the Archbishop shortly thereafter.

The Task Team has consulted widely and has presented preliminary reports on its progress on three different occasions to either Synod of Bishops or the Provincial Synod of last year.

The Task Team is now in the process of concluding its work and wishes to present its findings to the Bishops and to involve the Bishops in some important reflections which will help to finalise its recommendations.

Please note that the Task Team will conduct a webinar on June 7, 2022. Should you wish to give inputs on this matter, please forward your representations to Diocesan offices for the attention of those responsible for the education portfolio in the Diocese and the Bishop.

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Provincial Notices

Grants for education of clergy children – 2022

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 31st, 2022.

Under the rules of the trust, grants are limited to the children of stipendiary clergy only. Applications, endorsed by the Bishop of the Diocese in which the cleric applying for a grant is licensed, should be submitted to Bishopscourt at the following email address only: archreception@anglicanchurchsa.org.za

Grants do not cover the costs of clergy studies, 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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Provincial Notices

George Diocese delegates election of new bishop

Kindly be informed that the Elective Assembly of the Diocese of George has delegated the election of its new Bishop to the Synod of Bishops.

Please keep the Diocese and the Synod of Bishops in your prayers.

Sincerely in Christ,

THE REVD DR MAKHOSI NZIMANDE
Provincial Executive Officer

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News

A Homily Celebrating Professor Francis Wilson

Prof Francis Wilson [Photo UCT News.]

Bishop Malusi Mpumlwana, General Secretary of the South African Council of Churches, delivered the following homily at the funeral of South African economist, activist and campaigner against poverty, Francis Wilson, in St George’s Cathedral, Cape Town, on May 2. Professor Wilson worshipped at the Cathedral, represented ACSA at a World Council of Churches assembly in Uppsala and also worked with the SACC. Archbishop Thabo Makgoba presided at the Requiem Mass.

1 John 4:7: “Beloved, let us love one another, because love is from God; everyone who loves is born of God and knows God.”

Today we acknowledge with much sadness, the grief that Nomthunzi, David, Jessie, Tanya, Tim and their spouses are going through at the departure of the much-loved husband, father and brother Francis.

But dear friends, this morning we mourn not, but we celebrate the incredible faithfulness of Francis’ life, as the life of a son born to parents who interpreted their own life purpose in the fulfilment of the Great Commandment in John’s Gospel:

“I give you a new commandment, that you love one another. Just as I have loved you, you also should love one another.By this everyone will know that you are my disciples, if you have love for one another.” (John 13:34-35)

Like Godfrey and Monica Wilson, and like David and Jessie Hunter before them, Francis made love the foundation of his life purpose; for “everyone who loves is born of God and knows God.” And so it is, that on his and Tim’s father Godfrey’s grave is the inscription that we use for our reflection in celebrating this family heritage – “everyone who loves is born of God and knows God”, reads the epitaph on Godfrey Wilson’s grave. It is the latter part of verse 7 that in its fulness says:

“Beloved, let us love one another, because love is from God; everyone who loves is born of God and knows God.”

This text comes from the first of the three epistles that carry the name of John, this first one is the one considered most as associated with the Apostle John, the presumed writer of the 4th gospel. Some, however, suggest that the three letters with the name of John were actually one body of epistle, and not three.

Whatever the debates of the scholars might be, there is no question that this specific message that the Wilsons adopted for the memorialisation of Godfrey Wilson, saying, “everyone who loves is born of God and knows God”, is directly related to the Great Commandment as given in the 4th gospel to love one another, and thereby be identifiable as a disciple of Christ. It is this, that became the heritage that Francis Wilson represents.

We celebrate Francis Wilson of Hunterstoun Hogsback, by honouring the principle of love, through which Francis, his parents and grandparents defined their relationship with God, as a loving relationship with others.

His mother Monica is said to have written to her husband Godfrey with respect to her relationship with the people she interacted with in her Pondoland research, that the only times that one “lives” in the New Testament sense, is when the ‘relationship with God, or one’s neighbour is intensely felt’1(Morrow 2016: Location 1344, Kindle version). This is the life principle of love. It is a direct application of faith in the message of today’s reading in 1 John, that “God’s love was revealed among us in this way: God sent his only Son into the world so that we might live through him.” And living through him is to live the love ethic.

It is this love ethic, that stakes the claim to be born of God, that defined the work of Francis’ grandparents David and Jessie Hunter and it was the energy behind the commitment to carry the Christian Express news-magazine that David Hunter, as its long-time editor, renamed the South African Outlook in 1922.

In faithfulness to this heritage of love expressed in word and deed, Francis was for decades the editor of his grandfather’s Outlook magazine. And he passed on the responsibility to the South African Council of Churches. In turn, at the SACC, it went to Bishop Luke Pato and Thoko Mpumlwana as co-editors, and in that context, they were both reminiscing about the hand-over meeting they had with Francis, and specifically requested that I convey their condolences as successors to the good professor, on the Outlook task. At the time Professor Barney Pityana was Principal and Vice Chancellor of UNISA, and he facilitated that the Outlook be printed at UNISA Press.

Francis, in gratitude for my small contribution to Tanya’s preparation for confirmation in 1986, made me the gift of a very special book, a celebration of the 100 years of the Outlook magazine, 1870 – 1970, Outlook on a Century. In his inscription on the book, he described Tanya as the great granddaughter of David Hunter, as if to instruct me to remember someday to remind Tanya and her siblings of the Hunter – Wilson heritage. The book attests in at least two testimonies, to the Wilson heritage of the love ethic.

Monica Wilson writes in a piece on Lovedale, that “Love demands hard thinking and practical application”2 (Wilson & Perrot 1973:12). The family way of life in all generations has been about thinking ways to apply love practically in the context of human living, be it through anthropology, education, filmmaking, philanthropy, health services or economic policy inputs. For everyone who loves is born of God and knows God; but, says Francis’ mother Monica, “Love demands hard thinking and practical application”.

In the same book, as editor Francis invokes the words of theologian Paul Tillich who in his book Love, Power, and Justice, says that love is “the drive towards the unity of the separated”3 (Wilson & Perrot 1973:1).

Time does not allow for us to recount how Francis has sought to live the idea of love as the “drive towards the unity of the separated”, both in the racial and class divides of South Africa.

One4 practical application of the “drive towards the unity of the separated” in South Africa’s racial divisions is to commit to learn and speak the language of the other, especially that of the oppressed and the less powerful. Monica Wilson was steeped into the Xhosa and Mpondo culture and languages with the ability to distinguish between them. She went to a majority black school at Lovedale and learned to respect the intellect of African fellow pupils.

That ability and commitment to genuinely “crossover” in the “drive towards the unity of the separated” became a key element of the Wilson love ethic. Francis, his wife Nomthunzi, and their children, with varying capabilities, all know that they have a responsibility to engage in isiXhosa; for, many of the people they interact with have already met them more than three quarter way into the dominant English language – indeed with little choice in the matter! What might it do for the love defined as the “drive towards the unity of the separated”, if every South African was to learn to speak a different African language from their own, from English to isiXhosa like the Wilsons; from isiXhosa to tshiVenda as Malusi should; etc. That is a South African challenge that the Wilsons pose for us all today as we bid farewell to our celebrated Francis?

When I first met Francis Wilson, it was precisely on his quest to activate this drive towards the unity of the separated. He was to visit our group of Black Consciousness proponents with Steve Biko at King Williamstown, some time in 1975. I believe he wanted to get to know Steve Biko and understand his place in the love drive towards the unity of the separated. In his typical unassuming manner, he presented himself and listened.

I do believe he was keen to gain an appreciation of how Black Consciousness located the significance of economic analysis in the self-drive for black emancipation. It was at the time that we were crafting our thinking around what we termed Black Communalism. David Russell had known Francis, and I sought to know more about him from David, who was happy to discuss him. He described him as an economist who sought to bridge the gap of economic opportunity between the whites and blacks in South Africa. A good description, but Francis was a lot more than that in his faithfulness to his mother’s dictum that “Love demands hard thinking and practical application”.

  • His number crunching of racial disparities in apartheid budgeting.
  • His establishment of the celebrated SALDRU and its ever-ground-breaking research work.
  • His relentless research in the living and working conditions of black workers, and doing what Monica would say is, from her own unwanted research on farm worker conditions, ‘considering the conditions they (employers) have to hide.’
  • The dramatic walk from Grahamstown to Cape Town to draw attention to the pain of migrant labour.
  • His major work through the Second Carnegie Enquiry into Poverty, repeating for Blacks (especially Coloureds and Africans), what was done for Afrikaners in the first Carnegie enquiry in the 1930s.
  • His commitment to help the new legislators of the democratic era with Economics 101 for newly appointed Deputy Minister of Trade & Industry Phumzile Mlambo Ngcuka and a cohort that included the present Minister of Agriculture and Land Reform, Thoko Didiza.
  • His commitment to an understanding of the integrated nature of the Southern African economic reality; that the development of Johannesburg is the underdevelopment of Maseru, Maputo and Lilongwe.
  • And his work in the last few years with the SACC economic transformation work that sought to craft ways to bring into the productive economy South Africa’s excluded majority.

All this, a Francis manifestation that we celebrate today, of the Hunter-Wilson love ethic, where love is “the drive towards the unity of the separated”; and love demanding “hard thinking and practical application”.

We celebrate Francis and his love ethic, a heritage to which he has been religiously faithful till his last breath. His family knows that love, for each and every one of them. As a brother growing up together Tim, you have known that love, that Illse was to bask in when she became a co-custodian with you, of the Wilson heritage.

Lindy, your relationship was beautiful to watch. It is that loving bond that carried you in the difficult months of Francis’ illness. Part of the beauty of your relationship was in the rhythm of the Wednesday dates. Busy as he was with everything, the man for whom nothing was impossible, that man, never failed you on those regular Wednesday dates, even if it meant it was conducted on the phone from a distance, but must, it had to be.

David, Jessie, Tanya, you each have known your dad as personal in a special way to each of you. And you each thought he was a nice brother, husband, and father. No, he was more than that, he was a bearer of a heritage that remains with you, etched as it is in 1 John 4:7, “beloved, let us love one another, because love is from God; everyone who loves is born of God and knows God.”

You will sorely miss his special care for each of you, but the abiding Hunter Wilson heritage of faith must and will sustain you. I commend to you another Monica’s life instruction in Outlook on a Century, “to a Christian, the death of a man …is not the end. We look for a resurrection”5. And from the tragedy of Monica Wilson’s family as a child (with the death of brother Aylmer), you are urged to do as the old Hunters had to do, to place your anxieties on Christ, as they had to believe that ‘In His will is our tranquillity’6. NgesiXhosa we say, “akulahlwa mbeleko ngakufelwa”. One doesn’t throw away the capacity to nurse a child, with the death of the child.

As friends and as the church of Jesus Christ, we are assured that the difficult journey ahead without Francis will be full of grace.

To the SALDRU colleagues Murray Leibbrant and team; to the South African society and the world, Francis was not the giant of a social and practical economist; no, he was just a simple and faithful respondent to the message of today’s gospel in Matthew:

“You are the salt of the earth…You are the light of the world…Let your light shine before others, so that they may see your good works and give glory to your Father in heaven.”

I accepted the Dean’s generous offer to use the special Desmond Tutu cope I am wearing today, not because I have the temerity to wear a garment with so august an association, but I assume the duty to wear it because without a doubt, Archbishop Emeritus Desmond Tutu would most heartily approve of it being used on the occasion of celebrating Francis Wilson. He was in his own way what Desmond was, in a different way, but both profoundly impactful in their driving quest for an alternative South African reality – that which is in keeping with the love ethic inaugurated by Jesus Christ as the revival of what was intended at our creation.

And so, we gather this morning, in this eucharistic worship, to give glory to God for Francis Aylmer Hunter Wilson of Hunterstoun Hogsback! Let the man who never rested, rest in peace, and rise in glory! Halleluiah! Halleluiah!!

[Apart from the personal friendship between the Mpumlwanas and the Wilsons, Francis Wilson had an institutional relationship with the SACC through both the South African Outlook, and his & SALDRU’s role in the SACC Economic Transformation Working Group.]

1 Morrow, Sean The Fires Beneath: The Life of Monica Wilson, South African Anthropologist. Cape Town: Penguin Books 2016, Kindle version, Location 1344.

2 Wilson, Francis & Perrot, Dominique (Eds), Outlook on a Century: South Africa 1870-1970, Lovedale: Lovedale Press, 1973, p.12

3 Ibid. p.1

4 These shaded paragraphs were not read at the delivery of the sermon, partly in the interest of time.

5 Op. cit., p.12

6 Op. cit. Kindle version, Location 274

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News

Another new bishop for IAMA

From an email sent by Bishop Carlos Matsinhe of Lebombo, the Acting Presiding Bishop of Igreja Anglicana de Mocambique e Angola, to Archbishop Thabo Makgoba:

Today in the afternoon the Reverend Paulo Estevao Hansine was elected Bishop of the Diocese of River Pungue. The election was held at the Church of Bernard Mizeki at Chimoio.

Bishop-elect Hansine, left, with Bishop Carlos Matsinhe