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Synod gives thumbs-down to plastic

Provincial Synod, meeting online from September 21 to 24, approved the following resolution on plastic pollution:

This Provincial Synod,

Noting that:

  1. Across Southern Africa only 16% of plastic is recycled. The bulk of discarded plastic ends up in landfill locations, scattered across the countryside, blocking drains or littering street verges. If not buried or burnt, it finds its way into rivers (due to wind, littering, improper waste management or overflowing landfills) and eventually into the ocean;
  2. It is estimated that eight million metric tons of discarded plastic end up in the ocean annually;
  3. South Africa, the 11th worst plastic polluter in the world, has indicated that the government is not willing to sign the draft Global Plastic Treaty, proposed by United Nations Environment Programme (UNEP);
  4. Provincial Mothers’ Union passed a resolution in Lesotho (2015) to ban polystyrene at parish events;
  5. Informal waste pickers play an important role in recycling waste;

Acknowledging that:

  1. The practice in some rural communities is that families bring their own dishes to parish events from home;
  2. To us as people of faith, the well-being of the planet is more important than short-term financial gain;

Resolves to:

  1. Call for a ban of the use of polystyrene at all church events and requests that representatives of the executive of each Provincial organisation have a discussion about the implementation of this ban and that ACSA Environmental Network prepares posters with information for churches;
  2. Respectfully request the Archbishop to write to the Ministers of the Environment (or the relevant office) in each of the countries within in ACSA, encouraging them to sign the Global Plastic Treaty, and encourage the bishops of IAMA to consider doing the same.
  3. Recommend that where waste pickers service urban communities, Anglican households should separate their waste to help uphold the dignity of the waste pickers.

Proposer: Lulama Ntuta, Diocese of the Highveld

Seconder: Maria Van Staden, Mothers’ Union

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Synod urges Anglicans to build bridges between Muslims & Jews

Provincial Synod resolved today to call on dioceses and parishes to “commit to being peace-makers by intentionally building bridges between Muslim and Jewish communities in South Africa.”

In the third of three resolutions dealing with Islamaphobia, anti-semitism and the conflict in Palestine and Israel, the synod also said Anglican churches should take steps to educate parishioners on Jewish-Muslim relations and in particular, the situation in Palestine and Israel.

The full text of the resolution follows.

The address of Bishop Luke Pretorius seconding the resolution can be found here >>

Motion: Peace in the Middle East (as amended)

This Provincial Synod, noting that:

1. We grieve at the ongoing cycle of violence in Palestine, Israel and in many parts of the region that has displaced people through state sanctioned actions, civil wars and violent extremists;

2. We yearn for the peace and wholeness of God to be made manifest in Palestine and Israel as well as in neighbouring countries in the Middle East; and

3. Jesus Christ commanded us to love one another and pray for those who persecute us;

Calls on every Diocese and every Parish therein to:

1. Affirm that Antisemitism and Islamophobia have no place in the Anglican Church;

2. Take steps to educate parishioners on Jewish-Muslim relations and in particular, the situation in Palestine and Israel;

3. Commit to being peace-makers by intentionally building bridges between Muslim and Jewish communities in South Africa; and

4. Pray a special prayer for the people of the Middle East

God bless the people of the Middle East;

Protect its vulnerable children;

Transform it’s divided leaders;

Heal their wounded communities,

Restore their human dignity,

and given them lasting peace.

Amen.

Proposer: The Ven Forbes Maupa of the Diocese of Natal

Seconder: Bishop Luke Pretorius of the Diocese of St Mark the Evangelist (in Limpopo)

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Synod calls for Lambeth Conference to act on Palestine

Provincial Synod resolved today to call on next year’s worldwide meeting of Anglican bishops, the Lambeth Conference, to initiate a process, in collaboration with international organisations and global faith bodies, to lead to “a negotiated settlement that will bring justice and peace in Israel and Palestine within a set timeframe.”

The Synod resolution, adopted with three abstentions, reads:

LAMBETH CONFERENCE SUPPORTING PALESTINE

This Provincial Synod,

Noting that:

1. The 2019 Provincial Synod unanimously expressed its support to act in “solidarity with Palestine” (Resolution 4: “Time to Act: Solidarity with Palestine”);

2. It is the continued and growing impunity and lack of accountability by the State of Israel over the areas they are occupying shown, for example, by delaying vaccination of Palestinians in the Occupied Territories, continual illegal settlement building, and by not co-operating with the work of the International Criminal Court;

3. The 2020 Provincial Standing Committee’s resolution (Resolution 11.1.7 – “Support for Palestine”) further supported the need for education about “the daily reality of the situation” and that this was further supported by the February 2021 deliberations at the Synod of Bishops;

Acknowledging that:

1. The “daily reality” for Palestinians continues to be oppressive, illustrated, for example, by the statement of the “Leaders of Historically African American and South African Churches” (Group Pilgrimage Statement on Israel and Palestine, March 5, 2019), a pilgrimage in which one of our bishops participated, which was distributed at the 2019 Provincial Synod, and included the following experiences:

“d. We visited Palestinian communities and homes where people are not allowed to have freedom of movement or self-determination.

“e. We visited a refugee camp of displaced persons who still hold the keys to their homes that were confiscated over 70 years ago. We met and heard stories of men, women and children who have themselves or family members been victims of state-sanctioned violence in the form of detention, interrogation, teargassed, beatings, forced confessions and death.

“f. We met with families who are fighting to keep their homes from being taken for Jewish settlements and developments.

“g. We heard the stories of how Palestinians within the occupied territory of the Gaza Strip must contend with a perpetual blockade, the excessive use of force by Israel to subject the people to collective punishment of the whole population and the debilitating confinement that renders Gaza as one big densely populated prison.

“h. We heard of the acute shortage of fuel and electricity, seriously affecting daily life and the provision of especially health services in Gaza; and the heavily polluted and undrinkable water, aggravating child mortality rates;”

2. The Human Rights Watch report of 27 April 2021, entitled “A Threshold Crossed: Israeli Authorities and the Crimes of Apartheid and Persecution”, adds further evidence in respect of the long-held belief that Israel is an Apartheid regime.

Affirming that:

1. The ACSA Palestinian Study Group, under the leadership of Bishop Luke Pato, remains committed to carrying out the resolutions on Palestine passed by the Provincial Synod, the Provincial Standing Committee and the Synod of Bishops;

2. The five studies, “Justice for the Palestinian people”, made available by the Archbishop to our Province, will help in raising awareness and increasing understanding among our members of the Palestinian context and theological perspectives on it;

3. The non-violent struggle for freedom in Palestine is being furthered through initiatives taken by other faith and ecumenical bodies, a significant one being that of Kairos Palestine and Global Kairos for Justice, “Cry for Hope: A Call to decisive action – we cannot serve God and the oppression of the Palestinians” (1 July 2020), in which they make an urgent appeal: “We call upon all Christians and on churches at congregational, denominational, national, and global ecumenical levels to engage in a process of study, reflection and confession concerning the historic and systemic deprivation of the rights of the Palestinian people, and the use of the Bible by many to justify and support this oppression”;

4. The South African Council of Churches’ (SACC) solidarity work strengthens our own efforts, such as in their statement on the “Imminent annexation of Palestinian West Bank by Israel,” (25 June 2020) which observed that “the illegal Israeli settlers on the West Bank are already executing acts of violence against Palestinian citizens and destroying their olives and livestock,” which it stated “goes against the best prophetic tradition and teachings of both Judaism and Christianity;”

Resolves to:

1. Mandate our Archbishop to place solidarity with the Palestinian struggle for a just peace on the agenda of the Lambeth Conference in 2022, using the South African experience to hold the Apartheid regime accountable to the human family as a possible template;

2. Respectfully request the Lambeth Conference to initiate a process, in collaboration with international organisations such as the United Nations (UN) and global faith bodies, to lead to a negotiated settlement that will bring justice and peace in Israel and Palestine within a set timeframe.

Proposer: Bishop Luke Pato of Namibia

Seconder: Bishop Charles May of the Highveld

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Provincial Synod condemns anti-Semitism and Islamophobia

Provincial Synod today approved a resolution condemning anti-Semitism and Islamophobia and adopted formal definitions of each.

The full text of the resolution follows.

The address of Bishop Brian Marajh motivating the resolution can be found here >>

4.1 DEFINING ISLAMOPHOBIA AND ANTI-SEMITISM

This Provincial Synod,

Noting that:

  1. The 2019 ACSA motion Solidarity with Palestinians affirms that “all forms of Anti-Semitism and Islamophobia should be condemned in the strongest terms”,
  2. Muslims and Jews are small minority groups in South African society and therefore vulnerable to actions arising from Islamophobia and Anti-Semitism,
  3. Anti-Semitism and Islamophobia share in common a racism based on perceived racial features, ethnic appearances, cultural practices or political allegiances,
  4. In South Africa there is a casual Islamophobia that manifests in different social contexts such as towards a Muslim woman wearing the hijab, and
  5. Globally there is a rise in Anti-Semitism leading to attacks on Jewish places of worship, Jewish schools, individual Jews on the street, the defacing of Jewish cemeteries and use of Nazi imagery on social media,

Acknowledging that:

  1. Defining Anti-Semitism and Islamophobia will help identify more clearly what the Anglican church is taking a stand against and condemning, and
  2. There are no perfect definitions as academics have made plain,

Resolves to adopt the following internationally accepted definitions:

  1. ISLAMOPHOBIA is a fear, prejudice and hatred of Muslims or non-Muslim individuals that leads to provocation, hostility and intolerance by means of threatening, harassment, abuse, incitement and intimidation of Muslims and non-Muslims, both in the online and offline world. It is motivated by institutional, ideological, political and religious hostility that transcends into structural and cultural racism which targets the symbols and markers of being a Muslim.
  2. ANTI-SEMITISM is a certain perception of Jews, which may be expressed as hatred toward Jews. Rhetorical and physical manifestations of anti-Semitism are directed toward Jewish or non-Jewish individuals and/or their property, toward Jewish community institutions and religious facilities.

Proposer: Bishop Brian Marajh of George
Seconder: Bishop Tsietsi Seleoane of Mzimvubu

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Honours awarded to laity & clergy at Synod

The following honours and awards were presented or announced by Archbishop Thabo Makgoba at the opening Eucharist of Provincial Synod:

AWARDS AND DECORATIONS

  • Honorary Provincial Canons:
    • The Ven. Horace Arenz – Former Provincial Executive Officer
    • The Ven. Keith de Vos – Former Vicar General of the Diocese of Cape Town
    • The Revd Canon Hamilton Mbatha – Vicar General of the Diocese of Zululand
    • The Right Revd Funginkosi Mbhele – Retired Bishop and Vicar General of the Diocese of Zululand
    • The Very Revd Tanki Mofana SSM – Vicar General of the Diocese of Lesotho
    • The Very Revd Ndabezinhle Sibisi – Dean and Vicar General of the Diocese of Natal
    • The Revd Carol Starkey – Vicar General of the Diocese of Kimberley and Kuruman
    • The Revd. Janet Trisk
  • Archbishop’s Peace with Justice Award:
    • The Revd Courtney Sampson
    • The Revd Canon Dr Rachel Mash
  • Order of Cyrene:
    • Adv. Raynold Bracks
    • Ms Diana Oliver
  • Lambeth Decorations:
    • The Revd Canon Dr Rachel Mash
    • The Right Revd Luke L. Pato
    • The Right Revd Ellinah N. Wamukoya
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Provincial Synod meets online

The top legislative body of the Anglican Church of Southern Africa (ACSA), its Provincial Synod, will meet online this week, from Tuesday September 21 to Friday September 24.

The Synod will begin with an opening Eucharist on Tuesday at 3.30 pm, during which the Archbishop of Cape Town, the Most Revd Dr Thabo Makgoba, will deliver his Charge, the address in which he summarises the life of the Church and the challenges before it.

At the service, church members will receive various awards for distinguished service: the Archbishop’s Award for Peace with Justice; membership of the Order of Simon of Cyrene, the highest award for lay people; and Lambeth Awards, made by the Archbishop of Canterbury.

The Synod comprises clergy, lay people and bishops representing dioceses of the church in Angola, Lesotho, Mozambique, Namibia, St. Helena, South Africa and Swaziland. However, this Synod will be the last attended by dioceses in Mozambique and Angola.

On Friday, the Synod will end with an inaugural service for a new Anglican Church in Africa, to be entitled Igreja Anglicana de Mocambique e Angola (IAMA), during which the Archbishop of Canterbury, the Most Revd Justin Welby, will deliver the homily.

The formation of this new church in the world-wide Anglican Communion was recently approved by leaders of the Communion. The historic development reflects the growth of the Anglican Church across Africa, coming a year after the formation of a new church in North Africa and the Horn of Africa, the Episcopal/Anglican Province of Alexandria. There are now more than 40 independent, autonomous churches in the world-wide Communion.

This week’s ACSA Synod is expected to debate issues including:

  • Covid-19 vaccinations to be made mandatory for clergy, and a call for vaccine mandates for others in society also.
  • A ban of the use of polystyrene at all church events, a call to press governments to sign the Global Plastic Treaty proposed by the United Nations Environment Programme, and an appeal to householders to separate recyclable material from their trash to accommodate informal waste pickers.
  • A call for bishops to support a halt to gas and oil exploration in Africa.
  • The church to lobby government on action to address the crisis of youth unemployment.
  • The report of the church’s Safe and Inclusive Church Commission, the body which is stepping up efforts to combat sexual and other abuse in the church.
  • A new commitment to people with disabilities, including making all churches fully accessible to people with disabilities.
  • A request to the Lambeth Conference, the world-wide meeting of Anglican bishops scheduled to be held next year, “to initiate a process, in collaboration with international organisations such as the United Nations and global faith bodies, to lead to a negotiated settlement that will bring justice and peace in Israel and Palestine within a set timeframe.”
  • Allowing an increased number of ballots to be held at elective assemblies for new bishops, following decisions by a number of assemblies to delegate their elections to the Synod of Bishops.
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IAMA’s Bishops address their future

The Bishops of the four founding Dioceses of Igreja Anglicana de Mocambique e Angola (IAMA) outlined their thoughts and aspirations for the future during the Special Synod at which their Constitution was adopted on September 1.

Bishop Carlos Matsinhe of Lebombo:

Thank you very much for this wonderful opportunity. I am going to express my feelings, first, talking about seeds, secondly about our commonalities and thirdly, about the challenge to mature our life and our testimony.

Flourishing seeds

What I see at this stage and looking back right to the beginning of the entry of Anglicanism in Mozambique and Angola, I thank God for seeing the seeds that have been grown flourishing and bearing fruit. Throughout history it was bishops, priests, lay people particularly, and many more people; people from abroad and people from every village where the Anglican Church has set its foot who have worked for more than a century to bring about the growth that we can visibly see today. So we are challenged to continue bearing fruit that can abide.

The Blessing and Strength of Common Identity

Secondly, we are blessed and strengthened by our commonalities between Angola and Mozambique. The first and foremost is the Portuguese language which is a heritage from the colonial system; after all, the bad things of colonialism have also left good things. And we have got many more other areas and aspects that we share as Mozambicans and Angolans, both in history, in our cooperation as brother and sister states and members of SADC states, and as Lusophone states. There is a lot that we share and that is a blessing for us, and we want to deploy that to make the church grow more and more.

The Grace of God and Trust From fellow Christians a Challenge to Further Maturity

And finally, Your Grace and members of the Synod, I see that the Grace of God has been poured upon us, and also the trust and confidence from God. By allowing the IAMA churches to become a Province, you are recognizing maturity and you are, as well, putting a challenge to us so that that kind of maturity can grow even more and also pave the way for a special contribution to the Anglican Communion in the world. We are excited about this and we look forward to this and we ask your prayers and support to do this.

Seeds that are growing, our common identity which is a gift from God and also the Grace and trust from God and from you all. Thank you.

Bishop Andre Soares of Angola

The mission priorities of the new Province of IAMA are:

1. Continuing vigorous evangelization of our people in Mozambique and Angola, including church planting, discipleship formation, enabling members to know and play their roles in leadership and caring for their church’s needs.

2. Development of worship, training of catechists for the work of evangelization, preparing people for baptism and confirmation.

3. Developing a compatible Provincial Theological College and Theological Institute in Angola to equip future leadership of the Province at all levels; theological education, training and liturgy are highly important for spiritual growth.

Bishop Vicente Msosa of Niassa

This Charge reflects on the need for the Province to be inclusive, especially for women and young people.

As we look at the ministry of the Church and the challenge of mission for the new Province of IAMA, it is clear that we need to gain a fresh understanding of the terms of the Great Commission, which is to go to the whole world, to women and young people alike, to the marginalized, to the excluded and make them disciples. We need to examine more clearly the matter of inclusiveness, the role of women and young people in the church, if we are truly desirous of bringing transformation and the desired impact of this new Province.

The dimension of transformation that God is beginning to realize in this new Province requires that we deliberately and intentionally bend down, even if it is in obscurity, to labour to involve women and young people who will become agents of change. And with widespread decay virtually in every strata of our society, such women and young people, such agents of change, must be raised everywhere – raised in terms of being deliberate in creating platforms where their ministry is recognized. Our mandate as a Province is to empower women and the youth and involve them in holistic mission in order to build inclusive and sustainable communities.

Young people are a great asset to their community. They have vision, abilities and energy to make positive contributions to their surroundings. The Province should provide a platform to young people and women, giving them the necessary tools to be active partners in transforming their communities. Women are often at a double disadvantage due to poverty and gender discrimination. We should be intentional in economic empowerment. This is a cornerstone for building just and sustainable communities in this new Province.

Among others, the relevance of the new Province will be determined by basing on its focus on empowering women and the youth, helping them to overcome poverty, injustice and gender-based violence. This includes also working effectively to engage young people in rebuilding just relationships between the genders.

God wants us to begin to raise women and young people to become agents of change and leaders of the church in these end times. In order to accomplish that we need to be deliberate, we need to be intentional in raising women and young people among the students and teachers. They must be raised among scientists and researchers, economists, politicians and government officials, farmers and rural dwellers. As God looks for genuine transformation in our Province, He intends to raise women and young people in the church, in the cities and villages to defeat the counsels of God’s enemy who perpetrate injustices and violence against women. They must be raised in the family institution, in the community and in the congregations.

God wants the church to be in the business of bringing women and young people as agents of transformation in every segment of human endeavour. So deep wells must be dug in the hearts of young people and women so as to get a sustainable move of God. The way forward for the Province cannot be any other, apart from engaging in concerted but applicable inclusion. Our only commission is to make every human being, including women and young people ,disciples. This should be the burden for the Province and this is what it should set out under God to achieve its mandate. Amen.

Bishop Manuel Ernesto of Nampula

The birth of IAMA is an opportunity for us, firstly, to look anew at the challenges in the context of our two countries, namely:

  • Reconciliation
  • Climate Justice
  • Sustainability

Secondly, this step will also compel us to start envisioning the most suitable mission model for our Province. We have no geographical direct connection [between Mozambique and Angola] but we know that contemporary mission focus has changed from geographical to social boundaries.

Thirdly, it requires us to transform the challenges into Mission Programmes:

i. Provincial programmes on reconciliation to heal our past heritage and inspire the youth for a peaceful future;

ii. Provincial programmes on Climate Justice to straighten church and community environmental initiatives and promote a public/private dialogue with our states, private corporations and communities. (We have huge pieces of land that can easily hold a reforestation programme; we have experience from the Diocese of Niassa and the vision is still here.)

iii. Provincial programs on Sustainability to mobilize resources – human resources, services, and property development. We have been inspired by ACSA and other provinces across Africa and Trinity Church Wall Street has extensively trained our staff, with MANNA, ALMA and other partners providing initial funding support.

But above all, Your Grace, our most valuable assets are our people, the youngest and fast growing population, and that is not to mention our faith.

Finally, the province will give us a broad platform to connect local voices in Mozambique and Angola to global conversations, not only on these challenges but also on other aspects of life and faith.

We are truly excited about the future.

Bishop Dinis Sengulane, retired Bishop of Lebombo

Let us grow up in all things into him who is the head, Christ” – Eph. 4:15

UPWARD, ONWARDS, OUTWARDS are three words that can help us to measure whether we are growing up into Christ.

This step that we are taking today is not a point of arrival but of renewing our commitment to GROW. The Church is called to grow into Christ and these three words are a measuring tape to see whether such growth is happening.

To GROW UPWARDLY means spiritual growth, to improve our relationship with God, to be able to see “a laser, reaching heaven and the angels ascending and descending” taking up our prayers and bringing down God’s blessings.

To GROW ONWARDLY is to improve the way we use our minds to make sure that the Church gathers more resources, in personnel, finances and property, and continues the Anglican tradition of using local languages.

To GROW OUTWARDLY is to win more souls for Christ, to make sure that more people know Christ and in more places Christ is known. The outward growth includes issues such as peace, justice, reconciliation, health and education being part of our normal agenda.

The Decade of Evangelism, that strong vision of the Lambeth Conference 1988, inspired us to make sure that all 10 administrative provinces of Mozambique have an Anglican presence and in that same spirit to have a regular Anglican presence in Angola. Let us continue to be a Decade of Evangelism-minded Province.

There is nothing new about this because Luke tells us in 2:52, “Jesus is increasing and growing in wisdom” (onward), in status (upward) and in favour (outward).

UP, ON, OUT is our thermometer as a Church in the Anglican Communion, that beautiful family to which we have the blessing of belonging.

May God prosper our commitment.

Photos: Ahead of the inauguration of the new Province on September 24, ACSA representatives headed by Bishop Carlos Matsinhe of Lebombo met online with Archbishop Justin Welby of Canterbury and his team to plan the Liturgy for the Inaugural Service. Archbishop Justin will deliver a homily during the service, which begins at 4:30 pm on Friday September 24.

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New Province Adopts Constitution

The newly-approved province of the Anglican Communion, Igreja Anglicana de Mocambique e Angola (IAMA), has adopted its Constitution and Canons at a special synod, and will be formally inaugurated on September 24.

Bishop Carlos Matsinhe of Lebombo will be the Acting Presiding Bishop of the new province and Bishop Andre Soares of Angola the Dean of the Province.

The special synod was held on September 1, the day ACSA commemorates its founding bishop, Robert Gray.

It was presided over by Archbishop Thabo Makgoba in his capacity as Metropolitan of ACSA. “I am delighted for this journey of faith, planting another province within the Anglican Communion,” he said after the completion of the special synod.

“We look forward to the Archbishop of Canterbury inaugurating the new province and welcoming the Acting Presiding Bishop. Since the vision for a new Portuguese-speaking province was first mentioned in my charge to our 2019 Provincial Synod, we have moved from four dioceses to nine.

“Although nothing replaces eyeball-to-eyeball contact, we have managed to conduct the process virtually. We are grateful that it has been possible to do it efficiently and cost-effectively.”

On August 18, the Most Revd Josiah Idowu-Fearon, the Secretary General of the Communion, wrote to Archbishop Thabo informing him that more than two-thirds of the Primates of the Communion had approved an application for independent provincial status for IAMA.

“All that remains,” he concluded, “is for me to celebrate with you in the birth of the new province, pray for its leaders and people, and for you and your staff as you prepare for the synods and inauguration.”

IAMA has Portuguese as its common language. The first diocese in Lusophone Africa was Lebombo, which was established in 1893. Anglican missionary work began in Angola in the 1920s but a missionary diocese was established as part of the Southern African province only in 2003.

The church in Mozambique and Angola has grown rapidly in recent years. To the four founding dioceses of the new Province – the dioceses of Lebombo, Niassa and Nampula in Mozambique – and the Diocese of Angola-Good Shepherd – are being added new dioceses in both countries.

These are, in in Mozambique, the dioceses of Maciene, Inhambane, Pungue River and the missionary dioceses of Tete and Zambezia, and in Angola the Diocese of Christ the King-Uige and the missionary dioceses of the Divine Hope and of Central and South Angola.

The special synod was addressed by the bishops of the founding dioceses and by the retired Bishop of Lebombo, the Right Revd Dinis Sengulane, who served from from 1976 to 2014. Overseas partners – including the USPG – were represented, as was the Lusitanian Church by Bishop Jorge Pina Cabral.

The new province will be inaugurated at the end of ACSA’s forthcoming Provincial Synod. The elections of bishops for the new dioceses will take place between March and May of 2022.

(Illustrations: Maps of Angola and Mozambique, showing existing and new dioceses; Representatives from both countries, as well as partners and ACSA officials, joined the special synod online from churches, halls, offices and homes; and the IAMA crest.)

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“Anglicans Vaccinate” – A major new Provincial initiative

The ACSA Covid Advisory Team appointed by Archbishop Thabo Makgoba has launched a major new initiative to get Anglicans vaccinated against the coronavirus.

Key elements of the initiative:

• An appeal to Bishops across the Province to declare a “Covid Vaccination Week”, beginning at services on Sunday September 5;

• A 12-minute video to be played at services, and available on YouTube. (Scroll down to view - new version with better soundtrack published on Sept 15) It is currently available in English but other languages are planned; 

• Important new updated, detailed guidelines, “Call for Vaccination Information Sunday and then a vaccine 'support service'” (Scroll down to view and download; and

• The appointment of Diocesan Vaccine Co-ordinators, as well as Archdeaconry champions and Parish co-ordinators. 

“We are urging the Province to be proactive in terms of getting our people vaccinated both as an act of faith and love,” Canon Rosalie Manning, the chairperson of the Provincial Covid Advisory Team Committee, has told bishops.

“Vaccination remains our best defence against the virus and we still need to be vigilant to protect our loved ones and ourselves.”

She added: “We are well aware that this request to have a Vaccination Information Sunday will impact the liturgy set for this season but saving lives also a necessary element of celebrating creation.”

Scroll down below the video to read and download:

  • The updated guidelines, and
  • A Question & Answer pamphlet published by the National Vaccine Monitoring Group
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Statement on student deaths at Fort Hare University

We, the Bishop in Chapter of the Diocese of Grahamstown met and issued the following statement:

The whole family of the people of God under our charge in this Diocese have received with greatest consternation and shock the unbelievable and sad news of the gruesome killing of a Female Final Year Law Student allegedly by her live-in partner at the University of Fort Hare, as it came to the fore on Friday last week in East London.

The world -wide Anglican Church Communion community of which the Anglican Church in Southern Africa [ACSA] – and consequently our diocese is an integral part – has long taken a stand and made our position public through serial resolutions culminating in the establishment of the Safe and Inclusive Church Commission as regards its abhorrence of the scourge of Gender Based Violence and Femicide [GBVF].

We therefore condemn in the strongest possible terms all acts of violence and including the taking of human life; particularly cowardly acts perpetrated against women. Such conduct flies in the face even of our cultural norms which dictate that men be protectors of women and girl children.

This incident was closely followed on its heels by yet another of also a Final Year Law Male Student this time – who is reported to have mysteriously plunged to his death from a fall from the 12th floor of a student residence building in the CBD, on Saturday afternoon – again in East London.

Each one of these incidents is a case of a loss of life one too many. Just as the entire community of Buffalo City Metro and the rest of the Province of the Eastern Cape is reeling under the numbing shock of such a callous and inhuman act, we are left speechless at the unprecedented senselessness and insensitivity of this murderous act. The extent of emotional harm and hurt occasioned the family of this young woman whose life has been snuffed out at its prime is just beyond imagination.

Our most profound condolences to the family of Nosicelo Mtebeni, who we learn hailed from Matatiele in the Alfred Nzo District. The manner of her death can never be deserving of any child of God. We commiserate with her family in their bereavement and frustration at this trying time. And we commend the soul of the faithful departed to the mercy of God to be granted eternal peaceful rest, with light perpetual shining upon her; and may she rise in glory. We pray also for comfort and strength for her family and circle of friends in their distraught.

This whole thing is a double tragedy and a twist of the worst irony. We say so, because this horrendously tragic occurrence happens during the month of August – a month during which in our country we celebrate God’s creation and gift to humankind – our women and girl children, with an emphasis being on restoring their intrinsic value and innate dignity of which they have been stripped off by a demonic force that has attained to pandemic proportions in our land; namely, GBVF – against which we also fervently pray for its total eradication from the midst of our society!

Yet, year after year it is during the same month that not only do acts of GBVF escalate; but also, simultaneously, the most drastic and horrendous incidents of this demonic manifestation seem to surface.

Also, during the same month, we the community of believers dedicate as a Month of Compassion – with compassion understood ‘as being close to the one who suffers’, preferring to say; “you are my sister, I will not leave you alone and I will hold on to you for as long and as well as I can. In spite of there being so much grief in our lives, but what a blessing it is when we do not have to live our grief and pain alone. That is the gift of compassion! ” – rather reciprocating the favour of that gift we received from God with the gift of compassion. Where then is compassion when we kill our loved ones?

We join all sane, sober – minded and people of compassion in condemning, roundly and squarely such dastardly acts of cowardice; as well as also real men in saying; “No to GBVF, Not no in our Name!” We uphold God’s Law as to the sanctity of life, and the Commandment; ‘Thou shall not kill!’; as well as the Constitutional imperative of the Right To Life For All – with women being no exception!

We therefore join the clamour of voices that say; “No to Violence, Abuse and Killing of women!.” We abhor such acts and decry same with disdain.

For these and many other reasons, as the people of God in the Diocese of Grahamstown we fully support and in solidarity with the aggrieved enjoin our priests, members of guilds and all worshippers to come out and join the prayer meeting and march in protest against this unheard-of calamity; that adds to the stain blighting our democracy.We uphold to the grace of God the families connected to the perpetrators; regard being had of the sense of shame such acts bring upon them. As well as that, may the transforming power of the Holy Spirit impact perpetrators and including all those with a predisposition to committing such transgressions; for them to desist therefrom!

In the Name of Jesus Christ of Nazareth, who heals all diseases and has power and authority over demons and forces of darkness; we command such influences out from the midst of God’s people! We commend to the Almighty all who at this time are in mourning, that they may be comforted.Our trust is in the Lord , and we have a confident hope that by the power of our God of Infinite Goodness, Him that raised the Lord Jesus from the dead, even this shall pass.! To God then be the Glory, the Power, the Splendour and Majesty forever and ever!

AMEN! Grace and Peace

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Communion approves new IAMA Province

The Anglican Communion has formally approved the formation of a new Province of the Communion, to be entitled Igreja Anglicana de Mocambique e Angola (IAMA, or the Anglican Church of Mozambique and Angola). The new Province will be inaugurated in September.

This news has been given to Archbishop Thabo Makgoba in a letter from Archbishop Josiah Idowu-Fearon, the Secretary General of the Communion.

The formation of a new Province requires the votes of two-thirds of the primates of the Provinces of the Communion. Archbishop Idowu-Fearon said 29 member churches had consented to the development. One Province had abstained and no objections had been received.

IAMA will hold its inaugural Provincial Synod in September, and hold an inauguration service on September 24, the last day of ACSA’s 2021 Provincial Synod. The service is planned for 15:30 and a link is planned so anyone can join the service online.

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Another new Diocese for Angola

Anglicans in Angola have inaugurated yet another new missionary Diocese – the third in recent weeks.

Bishop Andre Soares of Angola presided over the formation of the Diocese Anglicana do Centro e Sul de Angola (The Anglican Diocese of Central and Southern Angola) in Lubango last Sunday.

The new dioceses, added to dioceses in Mozambique, will become part of a new Province the the Anglican Communion, Igreja Anglicana de Moçambique e Angola (Iama).

Photos from the occasion:

Previous reports:

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In Memory of Bishop Ellinah Wamukoya

While visiting Mbabane to preside over the Elective Assembly to choose the successor to Bishop Ellinah Wamukoya as Bishop of Swaziland, Archbishop Thabo Makgoba visited All Saints Cathedral, where he planted shrubs in memory of Bishop Ellinah, and for peace with justice in eSwatini.

The Provincial Executive Officer, the Revd Dr Makhosi Nzimande, who was also in eSwatini for the Elective Assembly, was at the Cathedral to record the event.

More about Bishop Ellinah:

https://archbishop.anglicanchurchsa.org/2021/01/homily-for-funeral-of-bishop-ellinah.html

https://archbishop.anglicanchurchsa.org/2021/01/rip-right-revd-ellinah-wamukoya.html

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Join the Anglicans Ablaze Global Conference

Click on the link below for full details:

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Bishop Rubin Phillip works for peace

Bishop Rubin Phillip, the retired Bishop of Natal, has been leading initiatives aimed at promoting peace and unity in the wake of recent violence in the province.

As well as representing Archbishop Thabo Makgoba during a church leaders’ visit to the family of former president Jacob Zuma in Nkandla, Bishop Rubin has been working for peace in his capacity as a leader of KwaZulu-Natal’s Social Cohesion and Moral Regeneration Council.

“The country needs leaders who are committed to matters of justice and peace and the citizens of the province,” he was quoted by the press as telling the council. He expressed concern about high unemployment among young people and said the issue of ward councillors taking sides based on race needed to be looked into.

“We can point to many instances when we were in a deep hole,” he added. “We faced major problems. We tend to gloss over it and not deal with some of the root causes.”

The following photos are from a sports day in Phoenix held to promote unity between communities of different races.