Link social justice to climate justice – Archbishop Thabo

Anglican primates discuss action on climate change

October 6, 2017

Disappearing islands in the south Pacific, recent hurricanes in the Caribbean and food security issues in Africa were amongst the items discussed by Anglican church leaders as they discussed climate change and the environment during the Primates’ Meeting in Canterbury, England.

The discussions began on Tuesday when the Primate of the West Indies, Archbishop John Holder, briefed his colleagues on recent hurricanes in the Caribbean; and continued yesterday (Thursday) when the primates heard about disappearing islands in the south Pacific and food security issues in Africa.

Later, in an interview with the Anglican Communion News Service, Archbishop John Holder of the West Indies said that he welcomed the primates’ discussion on the environment, saying that it was “very important” for the Church to speak out on climate change. “We are connecting these two devastating hurricanes [Irma and Maria] to climate change,” he said. “We can’t prove it but we think there is some kind of climate change element in there.”

Commenting on the primates’ discussions, he said: “We were hearing the stories from different parts of the world on climate change,” he said. “And I think we are all convinced it is a fact of life.

“Even if you take away the term ‘climate change’, something is going wrong with the weather. The weather is becoming extremely destructive and there must be a reason for that.

“So all of us . . . understand this is a problem and we commit to doing whatever we can to alleviate this problem; or at least help people prepare themselves for the bad weather. And when they are devastated or when they have bad experiences, then chip in to help them to reconstruct and revive themselves.”

On Thursday morning, the Archbishop of Southern Africa, Thabo Makgoba, began the session with a biblical reflection from John 1: 29. He told ACNS that he finished his reflection with “a challenge, as Jesus invites us – as he said to Peter – to feed his lambs, to feed his sheep.

“And I lamented the fact that very often when we discuss things as primates we discuss the social justice issue of feeding the lamb and the vulnerable”. He encouraged his fellow-primates to think about “caring for the where the lambs and the vulnerable are – that is the environment” and to “make the linkage between social justice and climate justice.”

A number of primates spoke about climate change-issues in their region, including Archbishop Albert Chama of Central Africa, who spoke about food security; and Archbishop Winston Halapua, the Bishop of Polynesia in the Anglican Church of Aotearoa, New Zealand and Polynesia, who spoke about rising sea levels.

“The design of the Primates’ Meeting is just so overwhelmingly empowering,” Archbishop George Takeli, the Primate of Melanesia, said, “particularly the sessions on reflections on the Scriptures.

“The reflection by Archbishop Thabo was so deeply transforming – particularly in the invitation to see the world through the eyes of God. That was the greatest challenge and the life-transforming invitation that was given to us this morning when he asked how many provinces were affected by food security and climate change – I think the whole house did raise their hand up.”

In a starkly powerful message, he said: “some may see information on climate change on television and take it as interesting reading, as entertainment; some would read it in newspapers and treat it as something to occupy time, but for me – and especially for us in Melanesia – it is actually an urgent matter.”

He said that there were three important issues to consider: “The weather pattern throughout the year is no longer consistent, creating surprise cyclone seasons – we have more cyclones than before causing flash flooding. Some places where there are no floods we are getting flash flooding happening.

“Secondly, the climate change is affecting the soil – the whole overall environment where you could plant two or three times before and you could harvest the same amount of food, is no longer there.” He said that many Melanesian’s live of subsistence farming and can no longer grow crops to feed themselves and their families.

“Thirdly,” he said, “the sea rise: the sea level rise is effecting some of our islands [which are] are now under water. It is a serious issue. It is a serious concern.”

The Archbishop of Southern Africa, Thabo Makgoba, is recognised as a leading champion of environmental concerns. He too welcomed the discussions. “What I hope will come from this meeting is a commitment by each primate to pray for social justice issues but to look at those with the eyes of saying the climate, the environment, the earth where they are happening, ought to be cared for,” he said.

Archbishop George added: “What strikes me is the awareness, as I listen to many stories from my brother primates throughout the world I see that I am being buried deep in their own issues as well. They become part of me.

“Our stories are making the world become a very small world – that we are part of each other. And what I begin to sense from the Primates’ Meeting is that all of us are moving towards creating a strong network to work together between the primates, addressing the issues of climate change and other issues together.”



Communiqué from the Primates’ Meeting

Canterbury Cathedral, England, 2-6 October 2017

God’s Church for God’s World

The meeting of Anglican Primates, the senior bishops of the Anglican Provinces, took place in Canterbury between Monday 2 October and Friday 6 October at the invitation of The Most Reverend and Right Honourable Justin Welby, Archbishop of Canterbury.

We affirm that we believe our time together to have been a gift from God, through which we experienced many signs of God’s presence amongst us. The sense of common purpose underpinned by God’s love in Christ and expressed through mutual fellowship was profound.

Primates from 33 Provinces attended the meeting. Three Primates were absent because of a combination of personal circumstances and difficulties within their Provinces. Primates from Nigeria, Rwanda and Uganda declined to attend citing what they believed to be a lack of good order within the Communion. We were saddened by their absence and expressed our hope and prayer that all will join us at future meetings.

We welcomed sixteen new Primates attending for the first time, including the Primate from the new Province of The Sudan. They received a briefing on the role of the meeting, within the Instruments of Communion, on the day before the main meeting.

The first morning was spent in prayer. The agreed agenda focussed on the Five Marks of Mission of the Communion, in particular the challenge of sharing the love, compassion and reconciliation of Jesus with those in need around the world. This followed initial consideration of the internal affairs of the Communion

Internal Affairs of the Communion

We welcomed the progress being made towards the 2020 Lambeth Conference (#LC2020) and encouraged all Provinces should seek to find ways to contribute towards the cost of their Bishops and spouses attending.

It was agreed that the Archbishop of Canterbury be invited to regional meetings of Primates and others during 2018 and 2019 so that the vision for the 2020 Lambeth Conference can be shared. The Archbishop of Canterbury will consider whether another full Primates’ Meeting will be held before the Lambeth Conference.

We welcomed progress in implementing resolutions agreed by the Anglican Consultative Council in Lusaka in 2016; in particular the responsibility of all Provinces to ensure comprehensive safeguarding measures to protect children and vulnerable adults. The creation of the Anglican Safe Church Commission was welcomed and endorsed.

In our last meeting in January 2016 we made a clear decision to walk together while acknowledging the distance that exists in our relationships due to deep differences in understanding on same sex marriage. We endorsed this approach, which we will continue with renewed commitment.

The Archbishops’ Task Group, established in 2016, gave an interim report on its work. This was warmly welcomed, particularly the recommendations around development of common liturgy, the principle and practice of pilgrimage and a season of prayer of repentance and reconciliation.

We listened carefully to the Primus of the Scottish Episcopal Church (SEC) and with sadness accepted that the consequences for our relationships agreed in January 2016 would also apply to SEC after its decision on same sex marriage. This means that for three years, members of SEC would no longer represent the Communion on ecumenical and interfaith bodies; should not be appointed or elected to internal standing committees and that, while participating in the internal bodies of the Anglican Communion, they would not take part in decision making on any issues of doctrine or polity. The Archbishop of Canterbury will take steps within his authority to implement this agreement.

We agreed the importance of all Provinces contributing to the operational costs of supporting the communion, but according to each Province’s capacity and potential to contribute.

It was confirmed that the Anglican Church of North America is not a Province of the Anglican Communion. We recognised that those in ACNA should be treated with love as fellow Christians.

We discussed difficulties arising from cross-border interventions, agreeing that the principles were clearly stated from the Council of Nicaea onwards and in the 1998 Lambeth Conference. We recognised that there were opportunities for joint initiatives and mission partnerships for the benefit of the Gospel where these are agreed between Provinces. However consent was critical to any inter-provincial collaboration and it was essential that courtesy and love should be extended to Provinces at all times.

Attempts to deal with breaches of consent and courtesy should be made in regional Primates’ Meetings and only referred to the Secretary General and the Archbishop of Canterbury as a last resort. We recognised that persistent and deliberate non-consensual cross-border activity breaks trust and weakens our communion.

We recognised that there is a need for a season of repentance and renewal including where interventions may have happened without prior permission having being sought.

We reaffirmed commitments made in 2016 regarding the LGBTI community, specifically the Communion’s sorrow for previous failures to support LGBTI people and its condemnation of homophobic prejudice and violence.

We welcomed the news that the Church of England has embarked on a major study of human sexuality in its cultural, scientific, scriptural and theological aspects and anticipated considering the results of this work at a future meeting.

External Issues

For most of the meeting we focussed on external issues including evangelism and discipleship, reconciliation and peace building, climate change, food security, refugees, human trafficking and freedom of religion. On the final day the Anglican Inter Faith Commission was launched.

The world has never felt the need of a Saviour more keenly. We have shared stories of pain and loss, of natural disasters and tragedy, of violence and threat. However in this world we have joy, courage and hope because of the light of the Saviour of all, Jesus Christ. God has poured his love upon his whole Church by his Holy Spirit. The Church lives to proclaim this gospel in word and deed. We therefore commit ourselves afresh to lead those we serve in the joyful announcement of the gospel of Jesus Christ.

We pledge to pray for the empowering of the Holy Spirit, that we may witness effectively to the good news. To this end between Ascension day and Pentecost in 2018 we call all those who are able, to join us in praying ‘Thy Kingdom Come’ – that the Holy Spirit may empower the announcement of the Gospel so that many may believe.

We recognised that at least half of the Provinces in the Communion had areas with food security issues. Whilst developing nations suffered more, there were pockets of food insecurity elsewhere, for example, reliance on food banks for many in the British Isles.

As at previous meetings, we were deeply concerned to hear accounts of the severe impact of climate change, including the threat of rising seas to many islands and low lying lands. We understood the importance of giving moral leadership because the effects of climate change are not evenly distributed. Drought and flooding most affect the poorest of the poor, with the least resources to rebuild a home, replant a field or seek medical care for flood-borne illnesses. We recommitted ourselves to advocate for improved stewardship of God’s creation.

We heard powerful testimonies of the church’s engagement in reconciliation in a number of places, particularly by those torn apart by apartheid, ethnic cleansing, and civil wars, historic and on-going: in places such as South Sudan, Burundi and the Democratic Republic of Congo. We pledged solidarity with each other in this sacrificial and often costly ministry.

We are committed to mediating in situations of violent conflict; ministering to the victims of war, including refugees; upholding indigenous rights; supporting the victims of sexual and domestic violence; and maintaining a faithful presence in situations of extreme persecution and terror.

We discussed the role of reconciliation at every level, from personal relationships, to communal, societal and with the rest of creation, including care for the environment. Reconciliation is at the heart of the Gospel – it is because we are reconciled to God in Christ that all are given the message and ministry of reconciliation.

We recognised the vital role of all spouses in supporting bishops and archbishops, and particularly the importance of women placed in front line roles because of the offices held by their husbands. We appreciated the leadership and initiative of Mrs Caroline Welby and others in supporting women in such situations.

We heard of the plight of Indigenous Peoples, resulting from government policies of forced assimilation associated with colonial expansion. The Truth and Reconciliation Commission that addressed this history in Canada grounded its report and calls to action on the United Nations Declaration of the Rights of Indigenous Peoples. We reaffirmed our commitment to encourage all governments to support the UN Declaration.

We recognised God’s call for justice and dignity for all humanity and raised with profound concern the desperate plight of millions of people facing hunger. We are committed to support actions which end hunger, promote sustainable agriculture and address the root causes of food insecurity.

We grieved for the 65 million refugees and internally displaced people forcibly uprooted by conflict, persecution and violence; the nearly 20 million displaced by natural disasters; and the millions of vulnerable migrants. We committed ourselves to respond with others to ensure protection, meet immediate need, and address underlying causes.

We heard about the suffering of 40 million victims of modern slavery and human trafficking – a crime against humanity which profits from the exploitation and abuse of vulnerable individuals. We committed ourselves to address this issue in our countries and across the globe.

We discussed freedom of religion and belief and heard about particular challenges faced in some Provinces. We endorsed the need to ensure that provisions relating to the freedom of religion are included and upheld in national constitutions, working with ecumenical and interfaith partners, where appropriate.

We heard of issues arising from living alongside those of other faiths; a painful daily reality in many Provinces. We commit to seeking ways to develop better understanding on the path to peaceful co-existence. We are excited at the prospect of the Anglican Inter Faith Commission working in this area.

We were deeply grateful to the staff of the Anglican Communion Office, and especially the Secretary General, to the staff at Lambeth Palace and at Church House, Westminster. We are especially grateful for the warm welcome, generous hospitality and kindness offered by the Dean of Canterbury and all at the Cathedral: their contribution was very important in setting the mood of the meeting in prayer and mutual listening. We also thank the Community of St Anselm for their prayer, help and support.

We leave enriched by the communion we share and strengthened by the faithful witness of Anglicans everywhere. We deeply appreciate the prayers of many throughout the world over our time together.

6 October 2017


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PSC speaks out on abuse of liquor, especially by children

The annual meeting of the Church’s Provincial Standing Committee has expressed its concern at the excessive use of alcohol, especially by children, and is calling on governments in Southern Africa to consider raising the legal limit for the purchase of alcohol to 21.

In a resolution proposed by Bishop Carlos Matsinhe of Lebombo, and seconded by Bishop Stephen Diseko of Matlosane (who is also Dean of the Province), PSC said:

The Anglican Church of Southern Africa is a church that believes in good morals in all families and society. The church acknowledges the fact that people consume alcohol from time to time as means of socialization. It is with great concern that the church observed a trend in the community at large that at times alcohol is misused or drunk excessively even by our children. Excessive alcohol consumption destroys families and the future of our children.

We also observed that some of the liquor outlets sell alcohol to children under the legislated age limit. The church takes this opportunity to implore all the liquor outlets in all the countries within our Province to respect and uphold the liquor legislation of their respective countries. We plead with the outlet owners to heed our plea so that we collectively prevent our minor children from purchasing alcohol. The ACSA believes that the whole community should work together towards the agenda of moral regeneration.

Therefore the position of this PSC is that:

  • Enforcement of laws regarding the sale of liquor be strictly applied;
  • All churches should stand together in educating people about the impact of excessive alcohol consumption;
  • Collaborate with NGO’s to assist those involved and affected by the excessive use of alcohol;
  • Ask the governments within ACSA to consider raising the age limit for entering liquor outlets and buying alcohol to the age of 21;
  • We call upon all parents and caretakers to abstain from consuming alcohol irresponsibly so as to become exemplary mentors of a society free of alcoholism;
  • We call upon all whose business is production and promotion of alcohol to be positive by taking such measures that their success does not become a curse to our communities and to the future of our nations.

Lastly ACSA believes that “Together we can build the future of our countries by inculcating good and responsible manners of alcohol consumption in our children and restore and heal families torn by excessive alcohol consumption.”



PSC Resolution on the Ordination of Women

The Provincial Standing Committee, which meets annually, is the top deliberative body of the Anglican Church of Southern Africa between Provincial Synods.

Resolution – Ordination of Women

This Provincial Standing Committee:

Acknowledges that the Anglican Church celebrates with joy 25 years since the ordination of women to the priesthood. September 2017 marks the beginning of this 25th year anniversary.

Appreciates the call from the Metropolitan to all Diocesan Bishops to remember this historic moment, and mark this occasion in their Dioceses.

Gives thanks to the ACSA gender programme, and HOPE Africa, under the leadership of Bishop Margaret Vertue and the Reverend Canon Dr Vicentia Kgabe, for facilitating a celebratory conference with women priests from all dioceses in ACSA.

Appreciates the inclusion in PSC of this celebration at the special Eucharist service attended by all delegates of PSC as well as 120 women priests, deacons and some special guests, visitors and lay people.

Noting that while we celebrate 25 years of the ordination of women to the priesthood;

  • We are challenged by the fact that very few women clergy are represented in the leadership and decision making of Dioceses and ACSA in its provincial; structures;
  • There is a need for more theological education and training offered to women, especially younger women in ACSA;
  • Leadership development, ministerial formation and structured mentorship for new vocations is critical for the sustainability and growth of our church.

Hereby resolves to respectfully request the Metropolitan to:

A. Commend the statement from the 25th year celebration conference to all dioceses for their prayerful consideration and implementation.

B. Receive and adopt the statement released by the women priests conference as a component of their programmatic framework within ACSA, in achieving its vision. This will require the collaboration of all relevant programmes.

C. Distribute the conference statement and pledge from the 25th year celebration to all members of PSC, and to all provincial and diocesan structures.

Proposed: The Reverend Dalcy Dlamini

Seconded: The Rt Reverend Margaret Vertue



Statement of conference celebrating the 25th anniversary of the ordination of women

Commemorate, Celebrate, Commit to change

Conference Statement


Women Priests of the Anglican Church of Southern Africa, meeting in Johannesburg, South Africa, from the 25 – 27 of September 2017, came together at this 25th anniversary of the ordination of women to the priesthood to:

  • Commemorate the years of struggle leading up to the first ordinations of women to the priesthood in 1992
  • Celebrate this 25th anniversary as a victory over exclusion, inequality, and injustice in the church
  • Cry with lamentation for the exclusion, inequality, and injustice that remains in the leadership, structures and practices of the church
  • Critically consider the nature of these practices of exclusion, inequality, and injustice and how they continue to marginalise women
  • Commit to work collaboratively for the transformation of church structures and practices to truly become an inclusive and life-giving church

The voices of laywomen and those in the process of ordination were also welcomed into this safe and collaborative space.

This gathering was rooted in daily prayer and worship, contextual bible studies, the sharing of stories, reflections and group discussions. The conference was intentional at reflecting on the past, critically evaluating the present and committing to the call for changes that would enhance the role of women priests in the church, so that our church will become an inclusive welcoming church, where men and women are equally able to serve to their fullest potential, thereby enabling the church to be a prophetic voice in the world.

Through the sharing of stories, we have heard the cry from many, of their journey’s which included, rejection, ridicule, disillusionment, harassment, disempowerment, loneliness and desperation. We have heard the cries and lament of women, who through their desperation, were certain of the grace of God and through Christ, the hope of glory…if not for them, but for generations thereafter.

We listened to stories of how the policies and structures of our church have created tensions within communities, Parishes and Dioceses and have caused vocations to be destroyed.

Challenges confronting the Church

Through prayer, critical reflection and dialogue the following challenges were identified:

  1. As a church, in all our organisations, policies, structures, and hierarchy, we continue to normalise, regularise and perpetuate exclusion.
  2. In the continuous striving for equality, we do not deliberately put in place processes to achieve equity.
  3. Within the province there are no universally set minimum basic standards and criteria for levels of education and skills required for deacons, priests and bishops.
  4. Academically appropriate theological education as well as ministerial formation must be given greater priority.
  5. All theological education and ministerial formation should be ongoing and structured mentoring programmes be developed for deacons, priests and bishops in our church.
  6. The use of language, when teaching about God and human beings, including our worship , must be critically assessed as to how it continues to marginalise and exclude women.

We hereby commit to the following resolutions, which will be tabled at the Provincial Standing Committee meeting from the 27-29 September 2017 for adoption immediately.

A. We respectfully request the metropolitan to enforce previous Provincial Synod Resolutions related to the adequate representation of women at all decision-making bodies of the church and at all Parish, Diocesan and Provincial structures.

B. We respectfully appeal for a transformation of representation within our church that will reflect a 50/50 representation of men and women in leadership and decision making in ACSA.

C. We respectfully request a campaign within ACSA, that advocates for the election and appointment of women as Bishops in all new elective processes, including the appointments made by the Synod of Bishops.

D. We respectfully propose that theological education becomes a priority in ACSA, and that an ACSA universally accepted basic minimum standards of education and vocational training is set for all priests and bishops.

E. We urge all Bishops to send at least 2 ordinands to be sent to the College of The Transfiguration annually.

F. We call for the immediate use of liturgy that does not perpetuate patriarchal leadership and authority but instead uses inclusive, affirming and life-giving language for all of God’s creation.

G. We call on ACSA to allocate adequate resources for the leadership, development and mentorship of women more especially young women in ACSA.



Women celebrating ordination to the priesthood make a pledge

Celebrating 25 years since the ordination of women to the priesthood


We the women, meeting to celebrate the 25th anniversary of the ordination of women to the priesthood, give thanks to God that we can celebrate this historic event.

Humbled by the wisdom shared as we commemorated the struggle for ordination, while acknowledging that we still have many challenges to overcome.

Commit ourselves to continue to allow women’s voices to be heard in cry and lamentation so that we can continuously seek ways to overcome the limitations that women priests face today.

Humbled that our younger generation of women can draw from the well springs of wisdom of previous generations through whom we can be mentored, moulded and strengthened.

Hereby make the following pledge:

We will, promote, normalise and regularise inclusive practices across our organisations, policies, structures, and hierarchy.

We will continue to strive for both gender equality and gender equity in ACSA.

We will work toward universally set minimum basic standards and criteria for levels of education and skills required for deacons, priests and bishops.

We will prioritise theological education and ministerial formation.

We commit to continuous education, training, development within the church.

We commit to ensure that Deacons, priests and bishops are intentionally mentored in their roles of leadership.

We commit to the use of affirming and inclusive language, when teaching about God and about human beings and in our liturgy and worship.


Pastoral Letter from the Synod of Bishops – September 2017

27 September 2017

As Bishops of the Anglican Church of Southern Africa (ACSA), we met in Synod in Benoni from Monday 25 until Wednesday 27 September 2017. We welcomed among us the Vicar General of Khahlamba, the Revd Canon Moses Madywabe.

As always our meeting took place in a framework of worship and warm fellowship as we shared our lives and worked on issues facing the church and our communities. We met as church leaders who are deeply aware of the challenges facing our churches and communities and the desperate need for leadership of the highest quality. At our opening Eucharist we listened to an inspiring homily on the restoration and transformation of the temple in Jerusalem. The message was that this was the mission of Jesus in the world and if Jesus’ then ours too.

Our meeting coincided with the celebration of 25 years of the ordination of women to the priesthood in ACSA. The celebrations took place in the same venue where the Bishops met. This was a historic, memorable and joyful interaction as we celebrated the Eucharist together to mark the occasion.

The electoral college of the Synod of Bishops was constituted on the first evening of Synod. Names of candidates were considered for the election of a Bishop for the vacant See of the Diocese of Mthatha. After a process of thorough discernment and deliberation, Bishop Nkosinathi Ndwandwe, the Suffragan Bishop of Natal, was elected. Plans are afoot to have the Bishop enthroned on the eve of the Second Sunday in Advent, Saturday 9 December 2017.

The former Bishop of Umzimvubu, Geoff Davies now retired, is to be honoured with the Archbishop’s Peace with Justice Award for his extraordinary contribution to the Anglican Church of Southern Africa and to the broader Christian and Interfaith world for the role he played in mobilising churches and communities to act for ecological justice.

Synod also deliberated on the very difficult and painful matter of the situation in the Diocese of Umzimvubu, with which we have wrestled for seven years now and which has involved drawn-out proceedings in the secular courts. In an hour of silent prayer, Synod acknowledged the pain of one of our own and of the whole Diocese. In a tough decision taken with heavy hearts and after much prayer we accepted that the relationship between the Bishop and his Diocese has irrevocably broken down and Synod voted by a two-thirds majority to ask the Bishop of Umzimvubu to vacate his See.

Synod gave attention to a number of areas of mission and ministry in ACSA:

1. The Provincial Secretary Treasurer, Mr Rob Rogerson, gave a presentation on –

  • the Pension Fund “Guidelines/What to do” Checklist
  • the Duties and Responsibilities of Pension Fund Trustees and
  • the need to finalise the Reconstituted Provincial Trusts’ Board

He also gave a feedback on the state of finances at the College of the Transfiguration (COTT). The essence of the feedback concerned the financial viability and sustainability of COTT as an educational institution. After much discussion, the Archbishop challenged the bishops to consider and propose in writing new funding models for the College, and he is constituting a special commission to look at innovative ways of expanding the College’s reach to guarantee its sustainability.

2. A presentation on progress made by the Archbishop’s Commission on Human Sexuality was given by the Revd Dr Vicentia Kgabe. The Chairperson of the Commission is the Bishop of Saldanha Bay, Raphael Hess. The Commission consists of six Commissioners and has invited each Diocese to constitute a Diocesan Liaison Team to facilitate the work of the Commission at diocesan level, with the objective that the voices of all will be heard in a consultative process to hear and discern what every Diocese is saying. The mandate of the Commission is to present to Provincial Synod 2019 a proposal enabling the Church “to minister to those in same-sex unions and the LGBTI Community in the context in which ACSA operates in Southern Africa”. This mandate does not rescind the decision of Provincial Synod 2016: it neither assumes that ministry to members of the LGBTI community will include the blessing of same-sex unions, nor does it exclude that possibility, should that be the mind of Provincial Synod 2019. It also directs the Commission to consider the situation of Dioceses outside South Africa, in which there is no provision in law for same-sex unions. The mandate is in line with the injunction of the 1998 Lambeth Conference and Provincial Synod 2002 to listen to the views of the LGBTI community, and in particular with that part of Lambeth Resolution 1.10 which “calls on all our people to minister pastorally and sensitively to all irrespective of sexual orientation and to condemn irrational fear of homosexuals.” The Commission asked for prayers for its work and the members of the Commission.

We appeal to members of ACSA and the Communion please to commit these matters to prayer and offer yourselves to God to serve in God’s mission and ministry. We your Bishops will continue to lead as God’s servants and servants of the church, to the best of our ability.

* * * * * *


Shirley Moulder admitted to Order of Simon of Cyrene

The citation read by Archbishop Thabo Makgoba upon admitting Shirley Moulder to the Order of Simon of Cyrene during the 2017 Provincial Standing Committee meeting:

For five decades, the name of SHIRLEY MOULDER has been synonomous with the advocacy of dialogue, equality and justice as well as work in the fields of community development, education and social entrepreunership in the Church, the ecumenical community and both government and the non-governmental sector in South Africa.

Shirley trained as a nurse but was not able to pursue her profession as the result of injury. Instead she became involved in community development work, beginning with Kupugani and the Church Agricultural Project. Since then she has become a leading figure in organisations, ministries and initiatives too numerous to mention, ranging from schools and children’s homes to resource organisatons, not-for-profit social housing companies and a peace foundation working in Asia.

In the Anglican Church, she has served as a member of the Council of the College of the Transfiguration, as a member of the Commission on Theological Education and on the Archbishop of Canterbury’s Commission on Mission and Evangelism. She is an active member of the Parish of St Martin’s-in-the-Veld in Rosebank, Johannesburg, and is a Parish Minister in the church. She has been awarded the Bishop’s Medal for services to the Diocese of Johannesburg.

She is above all a social activist whose activism is rooted in her deep faith, which inspires her advocacy on issues of social justice, reconciliation, the transformation of society, education and growing inequality in South Africa.

From left, Mme Sally Motlana, Bishop Stephen Diseko of Matlosane, Dean of the Province, Archbishop Thabo, Mrs Lungi Makgoba and Ms Shirley Moulder.



Mme Sally Motlana admitted to Order of Simon of Cyrene

The citation read by Archbishop Thabo Makgoba upon admitting Sally Motlana to the Order of Simon of Cyrene during the 2017 Provincial Standing Committee meeting:

Born in the rural area of Moremela in Mpumalanga, SALLY MOTLANA moved to Johannesburg when she was very young and spent part of her childhood as part of the congregation of Christ the King in Sophiatown.

As an adult, she was appointed to the Diocesan Council in Johannesburg by Bishop Leslie Stradling in 1965. She later served as an Anglican representative on the South African Council of Churches, where she became Vice-President, and she is still an Honorary Vice-President of that organisation. At the SACC and as president of the Black Housewives’ League, she is remembered for her strong advocacy of the cause of students and the Soweto community in the 1976 Soweto uprising.

She has been a staunch member of the Church, serving in various parishes and the wider community with great commitment and humility. At St Paul’s, Jabavu, she helped raise funds for the Ipelegeng Centre, which educated young people in life skills and gave them vocational training. At St Mary’s, Orlando East, she assisted financially in renovating the church.

After 1994, with the birth of democracy, she turned her attention to rehabilitating Christ the King in Sophiatown after the massive destruction wrought in that Parish by apartheid. She still serves at Sophiatown, where she is involved in the education and upliftment of young people in the Trevor Huddleston Centre, on those board she serves. She has also been involved in other upliftment programmes, both in and outside the church, aimed at assisting vulnerable families and educating young women.

Sally Motlana has been victorious in overcoming the hostility of apartheid, never losing hope or becoming bitter, nor sacrificing her integrity and credibility. She has stood firm against social injustice, triumphing over adversity by the power of her holy life.

From left, Mme Sally Motlana, Bishop Stephen Diseko of Matlosane, Dean of the Province, Archbishop Thabo, Mrs Lungi Makgoba and Ms Shirley Moulder.

Bishops elect new Bishop of Mthatha

News from the Synod of Bishops, meeting from September 25 to 27:

After a process of thorough discernment and deliberation, the electoral college of the Synod of Bishops has elected Bishop Nkosinathi Ndwandwe, the Suffragan Bishop of Natal, as the new bishop of Mthatha. Plans are afoot to have the Bishop enthroned on the eve of the Second Sunday in Advent, Saturday 9 December.

Provincial Notices

Programme – Celebrating 25 years of Ordination of Women

Click here to download the PDF



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Loraine Tulleken

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South Africa is sitting ‘on a powder keg’ – Bishop of Johannesburg

The Bishop of Johannesburg, the Right Revd Dr Steve Moreo, has warned that the high levels of poverty in South Africa pose a great danger to the country.

“This country is sitting on a powder keg of hopelessness,” he said, citing the figures recently released by Stats SA that showed that the number of poverty stricken people in South Africa had increased by 53.2% between 2011 and 2015.

Bishop Moreo made these comments when he highlighted a number of critical issues that required the attention of Church and Society as he addressed the opening session of the Synod of the Diocese of Johannesburg this evening.

He noted that one needed to look no further than outside the doors of St Mary’s Cathedral, or on the streets of Johannesburg, to see how dire the situation was. He wondered aloud how long it would be before the situation exploded.

“The authorities seem unable to cope with this,” he said. The Church was called to respond to alleviate the situation as much as it could.

Unemployment was another issue highlighted by the Bishop who expressed disquiet at the high numbers of young men in particular, who were unemployed. Special initiatives were required to mentor young men, who made up most of those who had no work.

Actions were needed by parishes, schools and other organisations to reach out to young people so that the energy of young men could be channelled into fighting evil rather than perpetrating it, noting that there were far more males than women in prison.

Bishop Moreo also singled out state capture as an issue that required the urgent attention of Christians.

“State capture is a wicked, omnipresent manifestation of greed, graft and corruption that has its roots in the highest official in this country, the president.”

He praised those of his parishes that had responded to his call earlier this year to highlight the evil of state capture but said every church needed “to confront this insidious exploitation of our people”.

The issue of discrimination against many marginalised groups, including women, the physically and mentally handicapped, and LGBTIQ groups, also drew comment from the bishop.

Referring specifically to the issue of LGBTIQ people, Bishop Moreo said that the Church still had much to answer for.

“To put it bluntly, there is still division about the rights of marginalised groups, but the question about what Jesus would have done is one that should exercise everyone’s mind here honestly. Jesus accepted us all as we are and we as a Diocese accept everyone.”

The Diocesan Synod continues until Sunday.

Vendetta against women a blot on South Africa

The abuse of women In South Africa, sometimes at the highest levels, was also highlighted by Bishop Moreo in his Charge.

Bishop Moreo said such abuse was a daily occurrence with over 28 000 sexual offences against adult females, nearly 56 000 cases of serious assault against adult females, and 83 000 cases of common assault against adult females in South Africa reported by SAPS in the financial year 2015/16.

He added: “Astonishingly, in the very month of women, our Church’s month of compassion, a deputy minister of state had to resign for striking a woman, but another woman defended this deputy minister for doing this violence. Yet another woman, the wife of the Zimbabwean President, ran from her responsibility, back to her country after striking one of our women citizens.”

He described the situation as too terrible for words, saying that the vendetta against women in this country is a blot on our land.

Turning to the need for care of children and young people in the context of the family, Dr Moreo said there should be investment in family ministry since family life was itself under threat in society.

“We live in a patriarchal society in which women get beaten up, earn low wages, and in which 52% of the unemployed aged between 15 and 64 years old are women. Yet one third (33.4%), or nearly 1.6 million households are headed by a woman. What this does to family life can only be imagined,” he said.

“As a Church that promotes family life, we need to recognise that families are in crisis.”

He added: “In modern times the family structure has collapsed. If we take into account the increase in divorce, and absenteeism from the family unit of one or more parents, young people and children are inevitably affected by this situation as they try to deal with their own crises.”

It was important that each parish, organisation and school supported and equipped parents and families to cope with the demands of modern living.

“I am sure you will agree that all parents try their best and most children rise up and call them ‘blessed’, but there are those children who go wrong, and the Church needs to be there to assure them that their particular prodigals are in God’s hands, and that no one is blaming them. They do not need our condemnation and being blamed for everything that happens in the lives of their children.”

Turning to the prevalence of human trafficking, the bishop said this was nothing more than modern-day slavery.

“Many of us sit back and think the age of human slavery, at least in South Africa, has gone. Not so. Human trafficking is not just sexual assault. Human trafficking is luring girls and boys of a tender age into situations which they are openly tempted to part with precious money and leave their homes on the promise of work being available. On arrival at the “promised land”, they find nothing of substance – and the result is frequently a descent into performing sexual favours, forced marriages or working for a pittance or nothing, or even forced out of their country, as they find themselves alone, bereft and without the support of family.”

Bishop calls for end to racism

Bishop Moreo also called for a renewed commitment to eradicate “the naked sin of racism”.

He confronted an incident which had rocked St John’s College in Houghton, Johannesburg, at the end of July, and noted that something like this could happen “anywhere, anytime, in any of our schools, organisations and parishes”.

He said the St John’s incident had “paraded this naked sin for all to see. We were left wanting as a Diocese and as Christians.”

Reminding delegates to the synod of the process of reconciliation that Nelson Mandela had initiated as president of South Africa, Bishop Moreo said that he had been a true Christian in this respect. Mandela had shown many acts of reconciliation during which he had embraced people who practised racism. Dr Moreo noted that racism was absent in Mandela’s actions.

But now, he added, “I doubt whether any of us could truly say that racism does not exist”.

He said the Church sat back after 1994 and trusted everyone else to keep an eye on good governance. In similar manner, “we as the Church have allowed the dark shadow of the demon of racism to fall over the light of Christian harmony, goodwill, and love”.

Bishop Moreo told delegates that some might doubt the possibility of racism occurring in the various institutions of the Anglican Church in the Diocese. He warned, however, that as parishes became more integrated with different races and people of various nationalities represented, the chances increased of racism occurring.

In this respect he noted that racism had a bedfellow that simmered just below the surface – xenophobia.

“All too easily do the tentacles of the secular, and especially the political world, grip the soul of our parishes, yet point at us as a Church when we fail. In all our institutions therefore we must create initiatives to ensure we reflect the inclusiveness of our Lord and Saviour, Jesus Christ.”

There was a need for intentional discipleship in the world, more than ever.

“My specific charge to each of you is to commit a new, and to work without ceasing to eradicate this naked sin of racism which has actively reared its demonic head.”

The Diocese of Johannesburg is part of The Anglican Church of Southern Africa. The Diocese has 76 parishes (churches) which are organised into ten regions, each of which is headed by an Archdeacon. The Diocese was formed in 1922 from the southern part of the Diocese of Pretoria, and at that time included the whole of the then southern Transvaal. Today it comprises the central part of Gauteng province.

The Cathedral of the Diocese of Johannesburg is the Cathedral Church of Saint Mary the Virgin. The headquarters of the Diocese and the Bishop’s office are at St Joseph’s Diocesan Centre in Sophiatown, Johannesburg.



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