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Archbishop of Canterbury meets grieving mothers displaced by war in Mozambique

From Lambeth Palace

The Archbishop of Canterbury visited Pemba in North Mozambique yesterday to meet with people who’ve been traumatised by conflict, as part of his five-day visit to the country.

Yesterday the Archbishop met two women whose children had been violently killed by insurgents. One of them witnessed the murder of her baby daughter who was just a few months old. The other’s son, her only child, was abducted and killed.

Together with his wife, Caroline, Archbishop Justin Welby also met with Fatima, the mother of 7-month-old twins who’s displaced because of conflict in her home of Ancuabe, a district in Cabo Delgado Province. She is now living with a host family in Pemba who have given her and her children a place to stay.

Speaking of his visit to Pemba, the Archbishop said: “I was greatly moved when I heard about the violence and displacement in Cabo Delgado. In a region that has already suffered so much, the people there carry heavy burdens. Yet they are not crushed. Many in the Church and other faith groups are working tirelessly to bring communities together through dialogue, to heal the wounds of history and to change future prospects. I wanted to visit Pemba personally to stand alongside those who have fled their homes and those showing remarkably generous hospitality to them.”

Preaching during a special Eucharist yesterday at St Mary Magdalene Church to mark his visit the Archbishop said, “I came here to Pemba because I remember you each day in prayer, and I long for the world to support you and to help you. Your journey in these difficult times is an example to the world: a testimony of the love of God and of your faithfulness.”

“And we will speak about you not just as an example, but calling for people to support and help you.”

He particularly focused on women and young people at the service saying after the Eucharist, “Jesus Christ seeks the youth to be warriors of peace and the women to be foundations of peace. Your participation in reconciliation is essential. So my prayers are for all, but especially the youth and women.”

During his time in Pemba the Archbishop met government leaders and Catholic leaders. He also met members of “peace clubs” which were created in 2015 and to bring together young Muslim and Christian leaders. He listened as they described their reconciliation efforts and how the people they help are traumatised and tired by the insurgency in Cabo Delgado Province. He heard how availability of humanitarian aid was sparse, and how people are exhausted and desperate to know when they can go back to their own homes.

The Archbishop’s five day long pastoral visit to Mozambique has focused on solidarity, peace and reconciliation. Today the Archbishop is back in the capital city of Maputo to round up his visit. In Maputo he will talk to young people about their faith, and members of Mothers’ Union and Bernard Mizeki’s Guild.

Notes:

Notes:

  1. The Archbishop was visiting Mozambique to take part in celebrations for the new Anglican Church of Mozambique and Angola, which became the 42nd province of the Anglican Communion in 2021. Read more about his visit here
  2. Read the Archbishop’s sermon on Sunday in Maputo at a service of thanksgiving for the new Anglican Church of Mozambique and Angola, here.
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News

Bishops Anoint, Consecrate, Bless King Misuzulu kaZwelithini

In a service reflecting the long history of relations between the Anglican Church and the Zulu Royal Family, three bishops of the Church conducted a special liturgy at the beginning of celebrations of the accession to the throne of King Misuzulu kaZwelithini on October 29.

Archbishop Thabo Makgoba of Cape Town led the service, assisted by Bishop Vikinduku Mnculwane of Zululand, Bishop Nkosinathi Ndwandwe of Natal and the Royal Chaplain, the Venerable Bongani Mhlongo, and supported by the choir of St Faith’s Church, Durban.

You can follow below:

  • The SABC broadcast of the full liturgy;
  • A video clip of Bishop Mnculwane’s prayer for the King (note the SABC wrongly described Bishop Mnculwane as the Archbishop);
  • The text of the prayer in isiZulu and English;
  • A copy of the liturgy.

The full text of the Archbishop’s homily can be found on his blog:

Celebrating the Coronation of His Majesty King MisuZulu Sinqobile kaZwelithini >>

Prayer by the Bishop of Zululand:

Masikhuleke
UNkulunkulu Somandla okuphe inhliziyo evumayo ukwenza konke lokhu
Makakuphe ubabalo namandla okufeza lomsebenzi
Ukuze aphelelise umsebenzi omuhle awuqale kuwe
Akugcwalise ngeqiniso lakhe
Akuvunulise ngobungcwele bakhe
Ukuze umsebenzele ngokukholeka kulesisikhundla sokuba yiNgonyama yeSizwe samaZulu,
Lidunyiswe igama lakhe, sakheke nesizwe sakhe
ngoMsindisi wethu uJesu Kristu
Amen.

Rough translation:

Let us pray
God Almighty has given you a willing heart to do all this
May he give you grace and strength to accomplish the task
To complete the good work he started in you
He fills you with his truth
He clothed you with his holiness
In order to serve him faithfully in this position of being the King of the Zulu Nation,
Let his name be praised, let us build his nation
through our Savior Jesus Christ
Amen.

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News Provincial Standing Committee

Church report suggests how to create jobs for young people

A report presented to Provincial Standing Committee has made suggestions for how parishes could combat youth unemployment in countries of the Province.

The report was presented by Bishop Vicentia Kgabe of Lesotho, who was appointed by the Archbishop to chair a Commission on Youth Unemployment in response to a resolution from the 2021 Provincial Synod.

Among suggestions made by the commission were:

  • Establishing a database recording the personnel resources available among church members:
  • Using the database to set up mentors to provide guidance to young people needing work;
  • Budgetting to employ more young people in parishes and dioceses;
  • Organising workshops to help young people write their C.V.s and develop their skills; and
  • Making church-owned land available for business ventures.

The full report presented by Bishop Kgabe follows:

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News Provincial Standing Committee

PSC report gives advice to parishes on including people with disabilities

Parishes are being encouraged to include people living with disability fully in the lives of their congregations, for example by welcoming those who use wheelchairs by providing ramps to enable them to access churches easily.

Both this year’s meeting of the Provincial Standing Committee and the September meeting of the Synod of Bishops heard reports from the Revd Dr Andrew Warmback of the Diocese of Natal, who was asked by the Archbishop to convene a Disability Advisory Group after the last Provincial Synod.

The Synod committed ACSA “to becoming a fully accessible church to people with disabilities, creating an environment in which all members can offer their gifts and talents in the life, leadership and service of the church.”

The Advisory Group’s report to PSC 2022 appears below, and the 2021 Provincial Synod resolution below that.

Resolution approved at Provincial Synod 2021

VALUING DIVERSITY IN THE BODY OF CHRIST: DISABILITY JUSTICE

This Provincial Synod,

Noting that:

  1. Within our churches there is a significant number of people who have physical, emotional, sensory, developmental and intellectual disabilities; some disabilities being visible and some not;
  2. Many of us will experience disability at some stage in our lives;

Acknowledging that:

2.1. People with disabilities often experience marginalisation due to discriminatory social attitudes and practices;

2.2. Physical and communication barriers, such as steps to the altar and lack of large print prayer books as well as attitudinal barriers, can prevent people with disabilities from participating fully in church;

Affirming that:

  1. Everyone is made in God’s image and has inherent dignity and worth and is tobe equally respected;
  2. Disability is part of the diversity of humankind created by God, and we all need the insights of those who have experience of disability in fully understanding the nature of God and our Christian faith;
  3. Jesus sought out people with disabilities and challenged oppressive and dehumanising systems and structures that led to their stigmatisation and marginalisation in society;
  4. The Body of Christ has many members and to be whole all must be welcomed and included regardless of level of ability;

Resolves to:

  1. Commit to becoming a fully accessible church to people with disabilities, creating an environment in which all members can offer their gifts and talents in the life, leadership and service of the church;
  2. Respectfully request the Archbishop to appoint a Disability Advisory Group, led by and comprising mostly people with disabilities, whose responsibilities would include the raising of awareness about issues of disability and engaging in educational and advocacy work, including in the following ways within ACSA:

2.1. In collaboration with the South African Anglican Theological Commission (SAATC) to work on adopting a Theology of Disability, which could assist in theological education and formation;

2.2. Offer support to Provincial and Diocesan guilds, groups, institutions and ministries to assist them with the full participation of people with disabilities within their organisations, events and services;

2.3. Liaise with those engaged in Gender work as well as those responsible for safeguarding to highlight the link between disability and gender-based violence;

2.4. Assist the Liturgical Committee in their revision of the Prayer Book by the needs of those with disabilities in respect of services and sacraments, and providing additional resources for celebrating “People with disabilities” as contained in our Lectionary;

2.5. Work with the Canon Law Council in respect of amendments that may need to be made to the Constitution and Canons in the light of this motion;

2.6. Advocate that the governments in the Province of ACSA to enact legislation and policies that ensure the same rights for people with disabilities that are guaranteed to all other people in our societies;

  1. Encourage all Dioceses to pass motions similar to this one.
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News Provincial Standing Committee

PSC asks parishes to highlight the plight of Palestinians

Provincial Standing Committee, the church’s top decision-making body between Provincial Synods, has requested parishes to highlight the plight of the Palestinian people at annual observances.

In a resolution adopted today, PSC asked parishes:

— to highlight their plight on a Sunday late in November close to the International Day of Solidarity with the Palestinian People on November 29; and

— to co-host with other groups the annual commemoration on May 15 of the displacement of Palestinians during the conflict which occurred around the establishment of Israel as a state in 1948.

In debate on the resolution, the committee heard that there had been controversy over the church’s stand on the situation in Palestine at the recent assembly of the World Council of Churches in Germany. The WCC had been reluctant to criticise Israel, with German church and government officials particularly sensitive to being accused of anti-semitism.

The PSC resolution was adopted by an overwhelming majority of dioceses, with no votes against it and two abstentions.

The full text of the resolution reads:

2022 ACSA RESOLUTION ON PALESTINE AND ISRAEL

Acknowledging that:

1. all human beings are created in the image of God, and that Christianity does not elevate one group of people over another;

2. Christian and Jewish Zionism are both undergirded by notions of supremacy and are forms of racism which have no place in the Christian faith;

3. the Palestinian people remain victims of attitudes in Europe for which they are not responsible. Their refugee situation is the longest running refugee situation in history;

4. support for Palestinian people and advocacy for their human dignity is in no way synonymous with anti-semitism;

5. the integrity and authenticity of the Christian faith is in grave danger if we do not stand with those who suffer.

Therefore, this PSC resolves to:

1. request all parishes in ACSA to highlight the plight of the Palestinian people on the Sunday before Advent yearly, in line with the International day of Solidarity with the Palestinian People on 29 November;

2. respectfully request the Archbishop to re-commend the Bible Study series “The Bible and the Land Called Holy” for study and to commission the preparation and leading of an online study series during Lent 2023;

3. request local parishes in ACSA to co-host Nakba (or Catastrophe) day, yearly, on 15 May with others who host similar events;

4. respectfully request the Archbishop to send strong messages of support to Palestinian Christians and further respectfully requests the Archbishop to consider visiting Palestinian Christians and/or host a group in South Africa;

5. reflect on what the Bishops of Lambeth were able to resolve and to consider the implications of what they decided;

6. encourage engagement with Christians in other parts of the globe, particularly former colonial powers in Europe and USA and urge them to take stronger actions so that Israel is held accountable and that Palestinian rights are upheld.

Proposed by: The Rt Revd Charles May, Bishop of the Highveld

Seconder: The Revd Dr Andrew Warmback, Diocese of Natal

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News Provincial Standing Committee

PSC backs Communion-wide plan to “green” the world

ACSA’s highest decision-making body between meetings of Provincial Synod has pledged support for the “Communion Forest”, an environmental initiative in which Anglicans around the world will work to protect and enhance their environments.

In a resolution proposed by Bishop Vicentia Kgabe of Lesotho, this year’s meeting of the Provincial Standing Committee encouraged dioceses and parishes to plant and grow trees and to remove invasive trees and plants in their areas.

PSC also called for the church to incorporate tree or plant growing as part of baptisms, marriages, funerals, patronal festivals, conferences and other events.

Launching the initiative at the Lambeth Conference, Archbishop Justin Welby of Canterbury said it could become the “most widespread and diverse” environmental project in the world.

The full text of the PSC resolution:

The leaves of the trees are for the healing of the nations” Rev 22:2

This PSC notes:

  1. That the Communion Forest was launched at the Lambeth Conference
  1. The high levels of land degradation in Southern Africa
  1. The importance of creating green spaces to:
  • Create shade especially as temperatures rise due to climate change.
  • Create green spaces for rest and recreation
    increase biodiversity.
  • Offset carbon emissions and reduce air pollution.
  • Prevent erosion and limit flooding.

This PSC:

  1. Pledges its support to the Communion Forest and by requesting the Bishops to Include tree growing as part of the confirmation spirituality.
  1. Each Diocese and Parish
  • Commit to tree growing, not just planting – trees need to be watered and cared for.
  • Incorporate tree or plant growing as part of baptisms, marriages, funerals, patronal festivals, conferences and other events.
  1. Remove invasive trees and plants to improve biodiversity and save water
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News Provincial Standing Committee

Dioceses urged to come alongside Anglican schools

Provincial Standing Committee has resolved that Dioceses should play an active role in engaging with church schools as they address the issue of discrimination.

The PSC decision followed the adoption of a comprehensive report drawn up by a task team appointed by Archbishop Thabo Makgoba arising from a PSC request in 2020. The request was made in response to public controversy over complaints of past and current racial discrimination at church schools.

The task team comprised bishops, priests and educational experts and was convened by Professor Mary Metcalfe, a former head of the Wits University School of Education. A resolution adopted by PSC today asked Diocesan Bishops to facilitate the distribution of and engagement with the task team’s report by schools.

Today’s resolution came after a finding by the commission that “It is clear that schools are ready and willing to take significant strides – and many have already done so. What schools are [now] asking for is the committed and sustained attention of the church to relationships of support.”

In his homily at the opening service of PSC, the Archbishop said Dioceses needed to come alongside our schools to support them.

The full text of the PSC resolution appears below.

(Since this report was first posted, the task team’s report and the text of a pastoral letter from the Anglican Board of Education have been added below the resolution.)

Today’s resolution read:

This Provincial Standing Committee

Noting:

  1. The resolution on addressing discrimination in Diocesan schools passed by Provincial Standing Committee in September 2020;
  2. The Metropolitan’s appointment of a Provincial Task Team to make recommendations on how discrimination at our Diocesan Schools can best be addressed in partnership with the respective Dioceses and schools themselves.
  3. The work undertaken by the appointed Task Team, according to its brief, in engaging specifically with Diocesan Bishops, Heads of Schools, School Chaplain’s and the portfolio leads on Diversity, Belonging, Inclusion & Transformation in Diocesan schools;
  4. The Task Team’s submission of interim reports to the Synod of Bishops in February 2021 & Provincial Synod in September 2021;

Acknowledging that the Task Team’s work evolved into

  1. working with Anglican schools to develop a set of recommendations that would not be a conclusion, but a step in an ongoing journey within the Southern African Anglican community that reflect challenges in society as a whole;
  2. the realisation that addressing discrimination is not only a social responsibility in the pursuit of social justice, as envisaged in the South African Constitution, but an integral part of the mission and vision of the Anglican Church of Southern Africa;
  3. the realisation that the urgency of individual and collective journeys towards wholeness and towards healing is rooted in our individual and collective acknowledgement of discrimination, in our manifestation of contrition, in taking action, in establishing trust, and thus in finding forgiveness for self and others.

Resolves that:

  1. The report of the Provincial Task Team and it’s recommendations, as received by Provincial Standing Committee September 2022, be adopted;
  2. Diocesan Bishops facilitate, as the Report recommends, the distribution of and engagement with the report amongst their respective schools;
  3. ABESA [the Anglican Board of Education] consider and report back on the integration into its work, of the recommendations concerning it’s role, to the next Provincial Standing Committee or Provincial Synod.

Categories
News Provincial Standing Committee

PSC seeks to strengthen Safe Church Commission’s work

Provincial Standing Committee has resolved to seek ways of strengthening the Province’s efforts to ensure that our parishes and institutions are safe spaces, free of abuse of any kind.

In a resolution approved at its annual meeting today, PSC asked the Synod of Bishops to appoint a task team to consider special fund-raising to finance the work of the Safe and Inclusive Church Commission.

The commission was established in 2019 as an advisory body to help the Province, dioceses, organisations and institutions to implement the Safe and Inclusive Church Charter adopted by the bishops earlier that year.

Today’s resolution reads:

This PSC:

  1. Commits itself to fulfilling our obligations set out in the Safe and Inclusive Church Charter as detailed in ACT XX of our Canons and Constitution
  2. Encourages ACSA’s commitment to making its churches, organisations and institutions places of safety and inclusion.
  3. Affirms the need for building a culture of safety and inclusion through ongoing training and development.

Respectfully requests the Synod of Bishops to:

Appoint a task team to consider the feasibility of a special fund-raising initiative to provide the funds to finance the activities of the Commission, including SIC education within ACSA for the next 3 to 5 years.

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News

Lambeth ‘Statements of Support’

The Lambeth Conference adopted a series of ‘Statements of Support’, ranging from the situations in Nigeria, Sudan, South Sudan, the DR Congo to those in the Middle East and Burma.

Read or download them here:

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Bishop Stephen Diseko’s sermon at Bishop Patrick Djuulume’s Consecration

The sermon preached by the Right Revd Stephen Diseko, Dean of the Province and Bishop of Matlosane, at the Consecration of the Right Revd Patrick Djuulume, Bishop of Namibia, on 27 August 2022:

The Word of God as we commemorate the beheading of St John the Baptist, who was made to suffer, and eventually killed in a gruesome way for his fearless and uncompromising witness even before the powers of the world.

What I regard as my key verses from the gospel reading are 7 – 10 of chapter 12 in Matthew’s Gospel, “therefore he promised with an oath to give her whatever she might ask, so she, having been prompted by her mother, said, “give me John the Baptist’s head here on the platter”. And the king was distressed/some say he was troubled; nevertheless, because of the oaths and because of those who sat with him, he ordered it to be given to her.

This occurs in the context where king Herod Antipas, the son of king Herod the Great who once ordered the killing of boy infants in Bethlehem, was celebrating his birthday. He had invited dignitaries and high ranking persons to come join and celebrate with him at the banquet. Such parties, as one commentator puts it “were often characterized by drunkenness and debauchery”. Among his guests, were his wife Herodias whom he had taken from his half-brother Philip to be his wife, and his step daughter, Salome. And as you can expect, there was plenty of everything including booze, a great temptation to ignore or to resist, which of course may suggest that the king might have not been sober.

Remember that Herodias had an irreconcilable grudge against John for John had publicly condemned them both for their immoral marriage, and this was the very reason that landed John in prison. And that he was in prison, it was not punishment enough to please Herodias who actually wanted more pain and suffering inflicted on him.

During the course of the celebrations, Herod’s step daughter who happens to be Herodias daughter, made her way to the stage and danced to the pleasure of Herod who might have not been sober at that particular moment, who then stupidly and without thinking, committed himself under oath that whatever the girl would ask, would be granted. To that effect, the ask when it came along, was not a simple one for the daughter had gone to her mother and sought advice from her as to what to ask for from the king, and the advice was, ask for John’s head meaning, get the king to get John killed. A golden opportunity had presented itself to Herodias then gave a devastating and final blow to John.

We can confirm the following weaknesses or blunders committed;

  • We can confirm an element of lack of morals in Herod, how can you take your brother’s wife to make her yours.
  • We can confirm an element of weakness in him, and lack of firmness; he actually didn’t want to imprison John nor to kill him for fear that people might revolt against the killing of a Prophet, but also, it was against his will and his conscience, but because Herodias pressurized him, he conceded.
  • We can also confirm that Herod could not handle peer group pressure, we are told the two reasons why he could not avert the beheading of John, it was the promise he had made under oath to the girl, but again with all eyes on him, it was going to be a huge embarrassment for him not to fulfil the promise he had publicly made before his guests.
  • There is great suspicion that he might have not been sober and as we may be well aware, booze paralyses the ability to think properly and to apply your mind correctly, so, he might have not been in his right state of mind, he might have not been his real self as a result he compromised himself.

But then, one thing positive about this king was that, he was a man of his word, he honoured promises he made whether right or wrong. The beheading of John in prison was not what he actually wanted to do, but when he remembered the promise he had made, very much against his will he ordered his beheading.

Herod was king and a leader and had responsibility of leading and being a father to his subjects. But sadly we see him focusing more on pleasing his family, his friends and colleagues, and his people, ordinary men and women in the street are not in the picture, the impression painted here is that they have been left out in the periphery and the king had lost touch with them. A good leader is the one who will worry when not everybody is present. A good example here is Jesus the great shepherd, he left the 99 sheep and went back to the bush to make sure the missing sheep does come home as well.

A good leader is the one who will ensure that for the greater part of time he/she is sober as a judge, and does not get into making impulsive and dangerous decisions, and who does not recklessly commit him/herself. A good leader surrounds him/herself with honest, wise, sober minded and God-fearing men and women who will advise accordingly and pledge their support.

Bishop Patrick be aware that some people may want to get very close to you just so that they can control you, abuse and manipulate you, take advantage of your weaknesses and limitations and cause you to make serious mistakes, so “watch out” as the late Archbishop Emeritus Desmond Tutu would say.

Of course you do have your own strengths, skills and capabilities and God-given talents, don’t suppress or suffocate them do express yourself in your own unique way as you lead and shepherd God’s people in you Diocese.

I also need to mention that this country of the brave, is a country rich not only in mineral resources and fisheries, but she is also blessed and rich in human resources, and so is your diocese, rich in both houses of Clergy and the Laity. Do tap in in those human resources and utilize them for the growth of your Diocese and to the glory of God.

Trials and temptations are rife, and so are everyday challenges. Our source of strength is none other than God the father, none other than Jesus and none other than the Holy Spirit. In the words of the Psalmist, our God neither slumbers nor sleeps. If we trust in Him and hold on to Him, he will lead and guide us, and make us better leaders and better shepherds of his flock, his people, so do take God for your strength.

You are becoming a Bishop at a very difficult time in the life of the church, having been hit by the impact of Covid-19, the church is still reeling and struggling to regain herself. The revenue of the church has been affected in a very bad way. Churches and communities are hurting, and still in shock and pain having lost their loved ones and did not have much time to mourn and bid them proper farewell due to Covid-19 restrictions. Then there is ongoing injustice, corruption and scandal after scandal that are corroding and eroding our governments and institutions, and the church is not exempted from these crimes, there is a need for courageous and fearless leaders to raise up and become the voice of the voiceless, and to take action.

Then there is poverty, unemployment, suffering, deliberate abuse of women and children by irresponsible men and boys, high statistics of crime and theft in cities and towns, alarming use of drugs and abuse of alcohol by mostly young people, these are some of the issues needing a leader of John’s calibre to stand his/her ground and call a spade a spade.

And lastly, using Paul’s words, the universe is in pain and groaning due to human error. Climate change and global warming is so real we can no longer afford to turn a blind eye and do nothing. We are called to act and do something to prevent further damage to God’s creation before it is too late. If nothing is happening to address climate change, it is the leadership that must stand up and raise awareness in churches and communities so that something gets done.

As I end, let me highlight a few things to take home and perhaps to reflect on:

  • John’s attitude helps us to understand that the Word of God, the prophetic message should not be compromised, and one should be prepared to suffer for it, and worst scenario to be killed for it.
  • The Word of God should be employed to correct error, and to reprimand those who commit sin irrespective of their status in the society.
  • Bishop Patrick, be aware and be warned that your ministry will not be without challenges and distractions seeking to derail you from doing God’s work.
  • An important lesson to be learnt, refrain from committing yourself especially under dubious circumstances en nog slegter when you are not in the right structure of mind lest you compromise yourself and are then compelled to do things very much against your will and against your conscience.
  • Promises you make, make sure you honour them, avoid making reckless, senseless and dangerous promises, you can understand why it is so important to remain vigilant and sober-minded most of the time.
  • Lastly know that God has chosen you my brother, fear not as he will be with you as he did with Moses, Joshua and his disciples, believe and trust in him, he will walk with you all the way. May your ministry be blessed, and may God raise God-fearing and God-loving men and women who will be there for you, support you and together build the Kingdom of God in this Diocese.

Amen.

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News

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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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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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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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.