News update 30 June


New unity scheme proposes Methodist bishops and ‘anomalous’ priests

Northern California youth trek centered on racial reconciliation, environmental justice

Indigenous council wants national reconciliation ‘inventory’

Scottish Episcopal Church elects pro-gay marriage bishop as its new leader

As Anglicans point fingers in sex abuse scandal, George Carey quits honorable role

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Most Anglicans in UK See ‘Nothing Wrong’ With Premarital Sex, Gay Relationships Despite Church Doctrine

NZ Anglicans should not decide Christ Church Cathedral future – poll

Vatican calls on China to let bishop exercise his ministry

New Anglican Bishop enthroned in Ekiti, says there is hope for Nigeria

Young Anglicans in Malawi raise money for people with disabilities

Presiding Bishop Michael Curry plants trees of hope with Zimbabwean bishops

Bishop says Africa.Canadian dialogue a mdoel for whole Communion


A special blessing at St Michaels Bryanston


Getting creative with plastic in Swaziland for the sake of the environment



Loraine Tulleken
journalist ● editor ● author ● social media content

News Update June 18




Pope Francis says farewell to director of Rome’s Anglican Centre

 Former doctor in New Zealand to return there as a bishop

 For first female priest, faith is family business

 An iconic Norfolk church aims to bend, but not break, in the face of sea level rise

 Scottish Episcopal Church Amends Denomination Law to Include Same-Sex Marriages

 Anglicans should not decide Christ Church Cathedral future – poll

 Ramadan in Perth: Anglican church hosts Friday prayers for Muslims

 Member of indigenous community is first woman to be ordained in Guyana

 Church of England parish at heart of relief efforts following London inferno



Anglican Church playing key role in tackling malaria in southern Africa

 New appeal to fund women as ‘agents of change’



Sophiatown’s wise celebrated at Christ the King Anglican Church



Director for Finance and Resources vacancy at Anglican Communion Office

 WCC encourages renewed climate efforts after US withdrawal



News Update


Anglicans and Roman Catholics agree statement on ecclesiology


Catholic and Anglican archbishops to play historic joint role in Ireland’s first beatification


Episcopalians, Methodists propose full-communion agreement


Church of Scotland to apologise to gay people, moves to accept same-sex marriage

Church of Scotland to apologise to gay people, moves to accept same-sex marriage


‘Please help stop these people starving to death’ Archbishop aide pleads for Anglicans to act against famine



Anglican Church playing key role in tackling malaria in southern Africa


Water access in Zimbabwe key theme at roundtable discussion


Disadvantaged communities in Burundi given major boost by Mothers’ Union


“Urgency” to capture next generation spurs on plans for Anglican University in South Sudan


Reformation is ‘GPS’ for next 500 years

Reformation is ‘GPS’ for next 500 years, says S. African Anglican leader in Luther’s town

A report from the World Council of Churches

May 29, 2017

The Reformation was a defining moment 500 years ago but can also serve as an inspiration for the next five centuries, South African Anglican Archbishop Thabo Makgoba has told tens of thousands of people at the German Protestant Kirchentag, or church festival.

“It is impossible to overstate the contribution of Martin Luther to that part of the world influenced by Europe and its thought,” said Makgoba, in a sermon at a 28 May service at Wittenberg, the town celebrated worldwide as the place where Luther’s Reformation began, when in 1517 he denounced church abuses in his 95 Theses.

Luther’s questioning of authority “mobilized millions, in an unstoppable movement, to embrace the right to participate,” said Archbishop Makgoba at the open-air service that concluded the 24-28 May Kirchentag and inaugurated a “Reformation summer” of activities in Wittenberg.

Organized every two years, the Kirchentag this year coincided with the Reformation anniversary and brought more than 100,000 people to Berlin, many making the 90-kilometre journey to the Reformation service on the banks of the river Elbe, just outside Wittenberg.

Interpreted in today’s context, the Reformation “can become our guide, our inspirational GPS, our global positioning system for the next 500 years,” continued Makgoba, who became archbishop of Cape Town in 2007.

Behind the stage where Makgoba was preaching could be seen the tower of Wittenberg’s Castle Church, where Luther is said to have nailed his 95 Theses on 31 October 1517, setting in train the events that would lead to the emergence of Protestant churches.

People had started to gather on the banks of the river Elbe the previous evening, where they joined in prayer with the ecumenical Taizé community in a “night of lights” of candles lit as the sun went down.

Makgoba challenged young people in particular “to hear the cries of others and of the planet as God would,” and to take action, “for love’s sake, dignity’s sake, for freedom’s sake, for Christ’s sake.”

He described how Germany in the Nazi era and South Africa under apartheid had “histories of unspeakable cruelty but they are also histories of God’s unfailing faithfulness.”

Worshippers included German President Frank-Walter Steinmeier, a Protestant who is a past member of the Kirchentag’s presidium. Addressing participants, he recalled how the Reformation had reinforced faith but the divisions between Christian traditions it entailed had also led to suffering and misery, hatred and violence.

However, he continued, “the fellowship we now experience between Christian traditions would have been difficult to imagine even half a century ago.”

After 500 years of division between Protestants and Roman Catholics, Bishop Heinrich Bedford-Strohm, who heads the Evangelical Church in Germany (EKD), said in a closing message, “we now want to share with each other the whole richness of our traditions.”

Founded in 1949 by Protestant lay people in Germany to strengthen democratic culture after the Nazi dictatorship and the Second World War, the Kirchentag has gained European and global reach in recent decades.

Many of the 2,000 events during the Kirchentag involved representatives of the World Council of Churches (WCC) and its member churches from several continents.

“In this year marking the 500th anniversary of the events of the Reformation, the Kirchentag is one of the milestones of our pilgrimage of justice and peace that motivates us to discover in these past events resources that help transform the world,” commented WCC general secretary Rev. Dr Olav Fykse Tveit. “This discovery is both the true meaning of grace and the true meaning of faith.” – WCC

Archbishop preaches at 500th anniversary of Reformation

“Obama and Makgoba to visit Germany for 500th Reformation anniversary.”

That is how the Evangelical Church in Germany (EKD) and its annual “Kirchentag” festival headlined their announcement that they had invited Archbishop Thabo to preach at the culmination of this year’s celebrations in Wittenberg, the university town in which Martin Luther sparked the Reformation 500 years ago.

The organisers say they expect 100,000 people at the festive service, which will be held on Sunday May 28 in a meadow the size of 50 football fields on the banks of the River Elbe outside Wittenberg.

Ahead of the service, on Ascension Day, former president Barack Obama will join Chancellor Angela Merkel, an observant Christian, for a discussion on “Being Involved in Democracy: Taking on Responsibility Locally and Globally”. It will be held at the Brandenburg Gate in Berlin.

Announcing the participation of President Obama and Archbishop Thabo, the EKD and the festival noted that the United States was “strongly marked by the Reformation and its historical impact.”

The president of the Kirchentag, Professor Christina Aus der Au, added: “Protestantism has not remained a European affair – it has shaped societies and nations all over the world. We are thrilled that Archbishop Thabo Makgoba has agreed to preach at the Festive Service, coming as he does from a country that has a very intensive history of Protestantism.”

The chair of the EKD’s council, Bishop Heinrich Bedford-Strohm, added: “Thabo Makgoba has become an example for many people, not only in Africa. This due to the passion with which he so authentically and visibly lives out his Christian faith in a country that is rich and yet deeply divided. We can really look forward to his sermon.”

In another honour for African Christians recently, a Nigerian Lutheran bishop, Archbishop Dr. Musa Panti Filibus, was elected as the 13th president of Lutheran World Federation. The global communion of Lutheran churches held its assembly in Namibia earlier this month.

Celebrating the Arts in the Context of the Christian Faith

By Samantha Carolus
Spiritfest runs throughout the National Arts Festival in Grahamstown from 29 June to 9 July, celebrating the Arts in the context of the Christian faith with an array of new items along with the familiar favourite performances and events. Spiritfest continues to grow, with more Christian denominations involved this year than before.

New this year are a multi-media service ‘Under African Skies’, which will feature choral music and hymns from South Africa and beyond our borders, accompanied by lively, evocative images of the African landscape projected on a large screen.

The two Sundays of the Festival will see special Festival services in a variety of churches: A Unity Mass at which the congregations of four local Catholic churches will come together to worship; a Jazz Mass at the Cathedral,  a Festival service at the Every Nation Church, and on the last Sunday of the Festival Bishop Andile Mbete of the Grahamstown Methodist District will lead a Procession of Witness down the High Street with choir and musicians, culminating in a Festival Service in Commemoration Church.

Spiritfest favourites which return this year include the Lucernarium, a service of candlelight and plainsong, St Michael’s Marimbas, 40 Stones in the Wall Group Exhibition- with book reading of  ‘The Bear Who Stepped Up’ by Hilary Murdoch, Winter School, Guided Meditation and Prayer as well as an Open Mic session for poetry lovers.

Music this year will bring the likes of the Grahamstown Circuit Choir conducted by Siyabulela Lali and Reuben Maselwa, and a Stephen Holder Organ Recital titled: ‘Mystery, Modes and Grace’. Singer song-writers and capella musicians are invited to perform Acoustic and Unplugged at two Open Mic evenings.

The Spiritfest Winter School, ‘Faith and Resistance’, will feature lectures, discussions and book launches with the theme ‘#must fall’, looking at aspects of the struggle for freedom and justice from the perspective of Christian faith. Father Anthony Egan SJ will lecture on ‘The Ethics of Protest’, while Zuko Blauw and Sister Aloysia Zellman will lecture on ‘Sister Aidan lives on’.

The Revd Dr Barney Pityana will speak about Steve Biko’s faith, and  Lindsay Kelland will be talking about ‘Recovering from Rape Together’. Book launches of ‘The Road to Emmaus’ by Chris Mann and ‘The Book of Joy’ by Archbishop Desmond Tutu and the Dalai Lama will take place, and a panel discussion, ‘Faith and #must fall’ will be led by Christian students and student leaders. Fitting into the same theme will be a dramatic reading: ‘Bonhoeffer’, about the German pastor who was executed for his part in a plot to kill Hitler.

News Update 15 May



(UK) Anglican church congregation numbers have ‘stabilised’


Australian church may sell some assets to pay abuse victims


Anglican orders not ‘invalid’ says cardinal, opening way for revision of current Catholic position


Region’s largest Anglican church being built in Abu Dhabi


Church once in conflict now a symbol of renewal


The Trump family has picked a new school for Barron: Report


Conservatives call Justin Welby a heretic


Justin Welby avoids own goal in trip to Holy Land


Central New York bishop finds her spiritual centre atop a motorcycle



Disadvantaged communities in Burundi given major boost by Mothers’ Union 


A nuclear victory!

The Western Cape High Court declares the nuclear deal with Russia unlawful and sets it aside.

On the Eve of Freedom day and significantly on Chernobyl day Judge Lee Bozalek ruled in favour of the case brought by the Southern African Faith Communities Environmental Institute (SAFCEI) and Earth Life Africa.

This is a true David and Goliath Moment. Congratulations to SAFCEI on their hard work and faithfulness

Earthlife-Africa Johannesburg and SAFCEI launched their nuclear court case in October 2015 when they realised that the government was preparing for a nuclear power procurement deal in secret. The court case has been pivotal in exposing arrangements for government’s proposed R1-trillion nuclear deal which they believe were entered into unlawfully. ELA and SAFCEI allege that processes of nuclear deal decision-making including the signing of agreements with Russia and the Section 34 Determination to procure nuclear power, were not done in accordance with requirements for lawful and constitutional adminstrative decision-making.

This court decision raises serious roadblocks in the government’s and Eskom’s rush towards making the nuclear deal a reality.

It reinforce our demand that that accountable government should be the cornerstone of South Africa’s hard won democracy. Green Anglicans [26 April]

ANC top brass blind to the truth – Bishop of Johannesburg

Members of the ANC top executive who initially repudiated President Zuma’s Cabinet reshuffle were blind to the truth which South Africans can see of the need for a corrupt-free and stable society with a secure future.

This was the gist of a strong address given by the Anglican Bishop of Johannesburg, the Right Revd Dr Steve Moreo, as part of the march to the Union Buildings in Pretoria today [April 7].

Bishop Steve said that the country’s leadership had descended into a state of ghastly immorality and unethical behaviour.

He added that when some of the acolytes of the President had had the courage to repudiate him, South Africans had seen some hope for a stable future.

“But just a few days later, those same acolytes emerged from behind closed doors, where they had debated in secrecy, with no transparency. They emerged to proclaim again that the President is clothed even when they had revealed him for all his duplicity and nakedness just a few days before. Then we knew that the moral compass that was our legacy in 1994 had been destroyed,” Bishop Moreo said.

The full text of his address during the march is:

When the Mandela government swept to power in 1994, it took South Africa and the world by storm with its high moral compass. This was a government composed of diverse people, all of whom had come to their new positions of power in this beacon of democracy with moral backbone of long-standing or recently acquired. They did so as people with high ethical values and sound political morals for that age – no matter what anyone said about their past. These were the people who led the nation on that colourful day in April, up the road here at the Union Buildings, with the rainbow colours of the national flag flying. We and they became what Archbishop Desmond Tutu called the rainbow nation.

None of us here today, in our heart of hearts, can see those bright colours in the rainbow anymore. The flag still flies and we are proud of it. Our beloved country still exists, and we love it. That is why we are here. But the colours of the rainbow have faded.

We are here today because, like our forebears in that bright April sunlight of 1994, we value moral and ethical norms and practices. We see ourselves as a people of the 21st century, not of old divisiveness or the graft, corruption and deceit of cynical politicians. By and large, we see ourselves as people who hold the truth dear.

I am a Christian priest.  In a week from today, I will be commemorating the words in the Jerusalem court of Pontius Pilate when he said to Jesus Christ: “What is truth?”

Christ remained silent. And Pontius Pilate, was too blind to see that “truth” stood before him and had him killed. In this way, Pilate was like governors of states before and after him. He was blind to the needs and will of the people.

Like Pontius Pilate, our present government in South Africa, from the President down, is too blind to see the truth. Since 2009, with few exceptions, government has failed South Africa. They treat us, their people, as if we have no rights and no intelligence. They treated us as if we have no interest in a secure future for our country.

We have all of those.

That it is why it is important to state clearly that this past week has seen our leadership descend into a state of ghastly immorality and unethical behaviour. It is the behaviour that leads to much of the confusion among many of our people. It is the behaviour that has caused us to gather here in Pretoria and in cities, towns and villages throughout our country today to say, Enough! It is an immoral behaviour.

When some of the acolytes of the President had the courage to repudiate his Cabinet reshuffle, people saw some hope for a stable future.

But just a few days later, those same acolytes emerged from behind closed doors, where they had debated in secrecy, with no transparency. They emerged to proclaim again that the President is clothed even when they had revealed him for all his duplicity and nakedness just a few days before. Then we knew that the moral compass that was our legacy in 1994 had been destroyed. Those lieutenants, the acolytes, surrendered at that moment the high moral ground they had so briefly occupied at the beginning of the week. They shamed us and themselves by their actions.

Those who hold the power of government in this country are now living a lie. Pontius Pilate could not live that lie. Old South African governments could not either. Neither will this government be able to continue to do so.

Our call to any men and women with a sharp and honest conscience in the caucus of the African National Congress and its governing structures, is to stop living the lie. Now. The people of South Africa are watching you and they will not lie down. It may go quiet for a while, but they will not lie down. The people of South Africa are not fools. They are good, honest, moral and truthful people.

The answer to the question, “What is truth?” will always overcome the lies of those who wish to double cross, to hurt the poor and marginalised by their actions, and to conduct their government business in the deep shade of duplicity.

It is time for the truth. And that is why it is time for a movement such as this.”

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