An archbishop who was brought up in Pimville, Soweto has received one of South Africa’s highest honours from President Cyril Ramaphosa.
No, it wasn’t Archbishop Thabo Makgoba, who grew up in Pimville after his family was forcibly removed from Alexandra north of Johannesburg in the 1970s. It was the retired Archbishop of Central Africa, the Most Revd Walter Khotso Makhulu, who lived much of his life in self-imposed exile, and who has been recognised for his contribution to the country’s liberation.
At a ceremony in Pretoria on Thursday, President Ramaphosa conferred on Archbishop Makhulu the “Order of the Companions of OR Tambo” at the annual ceremony during which national honours are conferred on distinguished individuals.
The citation lauded Makhulu “for his courageous contribution to the fight for liberation.” It continued: “He followed his calling and lived the ideals of lending a helping hand to his fellow human beings. He provided refuge, comfort and family to young activists arriving in exile to join the South African liberation struggle.”
After growing up in Pimville, he was one of the young ordinands trained by members of the Community of the Resurrection at St Peter’s Seminary in Johannesburg before the seminary was expelled from the city under apartheid laws.
After serving a parish in Soweto, he moved to Francistown, where in the early 1960s he gave refuge, food and clothing to young activists fleeing South Africa and Namibia, raising enough money to buy a house in which to accommodate them.
After further training at the Selly Oak Colleges in Birmingham, he served as a priest in London, where he met and married Rosemary, an English church worker. Prevented from living in South Africa by the Mixed Marriages Act, the Makhulus spent the rest of his ministry in the UK, in Geneva – where he was the secretary responsible for African refugees in the Commission on Inter-Church Aid Refugee and World Service at the World Council of Churches – and in Botswana, where he was Bishop of Botswana and later Archbishop of Central Africa.
In Botswana he continued his ministry to South African refugees at a time when apartheid military forces were launching raids into Botswana and attacking exiles and those who gave them support.
For more than a decade from 1980, he clandestinely funnelled hundreds of thousands of dollars from the Norwegian government and churches to institutions and individuals in South Africa with the objective of providing legal, educational, medical and other humanitarian assistance. For this work, the Norwegians called him – in a book on his work – “the Church’s Secret Agent”.
He is a past president of the World Council of Churches and the All Africa Conference of Churches, a Companion of the Order of St. Michael and St. George (CMG), and a recipient of France’s Ordre des Palmes Académiques as well as Botswana’s highest civilian honor, the Presidential Order of Honour.
He now lives in retirement in London.
The Diocese of Cape Town have declared their solidarity with those affected by the recent attacks on two mosques in Christchurch, New Zealand.
In a statement, the Diocese’s Standing Committee also called for “an end to such wanton acts of violence and senseless killing of others, whatever their creed, colour or political persuasion.”
The full text of the statement follows:
The Diocesan Standing Committee ( DSC) of the Diocese of Cape Town met on Saturday the 23rd March 2019 at St Paul’s Church, Bree Street, Cape Town.
The gathering expressed its support of the act of solidarity held on the steps of The Cathedral of St George the Martyr on the evening of Sunday 17th March in memory of the victims of the recent mosque attacks in Christchurch, New Zealand.
The candlelight vigil was led by Bishop Garth Counsell, Dean Michael Weeder and Sheikh Sa-Abdullah Khan. The vigil, largely a silent one – interspersed with prayers from the Koran and soft chants of lament for the dead – lasted for 50 minutes. Each minute served as a reminder of each person who died during the attack on the Al Noor and the Linwood Mosques in Christchurch.
The meeting noted the significance of its deliberations happening within the context of the Bo-Kaap, a place characterised by a history of deep social and familial ties between Muslims and Christians. These bonds of affection are best expressed in respectful and reciprocal acts of compassion and embrace when the need to be comforted is most evident.
The meeting expressed the prayerful hope that those who were killed during this most holy season of Lent would know the peace of eternity and that their families would find comfort in the way many in the global community chose to respond, in love, to their plight.
The members of Standing Committee further pledged their ongoing support and prayers for all affected and called for an end to such wanton acts of violence and senseless killing of others, whatever their creed, colour or political persuasion.
So if you think you are standing,
Watch out that you do not fall. – 1 Corinthians 10:12
In recent days or weeks there have been reports of catastrophic disasters that have caused the loss of life of 100s of innocent people. They range from the 40 people mowed down by automatic gunfire while worshipping in a mosque in the city of Christchurch, Aoteroa/New Zealand, a city dedicated to Jesus Christ and to the Church of God. The unsuspecting worshippers posed no threat to anyone. They were simply worshipping God as they have always known how to. The fact that it was in faraway New Zealand and not Pakistan or Yemen or even Syria, and for the ex-Capetonian, Ziyaad and his family who emigrated to New Zealand twelve years ago in search of a better life for his three daughters, it was a near-death experience. To the Australian, who was filled with hate and an avowed racist none of this mattered. 40 innocent people died that day. Pain and the anger were felt everywhere as tributes poured into New Zealand and a stunned nation, as the youthful Prime Minister, Ms Jacinda Arderne, led the nation in mourning. But miracles happen. Out of misfortune, a flood of compassion and nobility of spirit have been unleashed. The tragedy has brought Christians closer to the Muslim people in grief, and New Zealand has defiantly reaffirmed its commitment to provide sanctuary to refugees and asylum seekers regardless of race, religion, colour or creed.
On the early morning of Sunday 10 March 2019, ET302 bound for Nairobi crashed at Bishoftu, within minutes of take-off from Addis Ababa’s Bole International Airport killing all 157 passengers and crew on board. The plane was a Boeing 737 800Max, similar to the one that had shortly before crashed in Indonesia. What caused the plane to crash is yet to be determined but the manufacturer’s technical faults as well as human error cannot be ruled out. Among the passengers who perished were young pilots and beautiful crew members that only Ethiopian Airlines can boast of, many United Nations officials bound for Nairobi to attend a United Nations Conference that was to have opened that day, and other passengers that included an eminent academic from Ghana. Ethiopian Airlines is arguably Africa’s best airline, with a reputation for safety and efficiency and customer care. On that fateful Sunday it was not to be. The honour and reputation, let alone image of Ethiopia, was put to the test. It was a national disaster. The cream of Ethiopia and the pride of Africa may well have crashed with ET302 that fateful morning.
Last week, on March 15 and 16, a large swathe of southern East African countries principally Mozambique, Zimbabwe and Malawi were struck by the Tropical Cyclone Idai. The cyclone hit with such force and devastation of wind and rain storms that it was a massive destructive force at times blowing at 194km/h, leveling all on its pathway causing death and destruction of monumental proportions. In its wake it left an inland ocean and waterways in the coastlands of Mozambique, muddy roads, broken bridges, broken homes, torrential rains followed making rescue efforts hazardous. Hospitals, schools and many public buildings and infrastructure that are destroyed render aid efforts calamitous.
There is fear that the devastation caused by Cyclone Idai will be followed by famine and even more deaths in the countries affected: disease from water-borne diseases, contaminated water systems from rotting human and animal corpses floating on waterways. The destruction of food supplies has been unprecedented. The United Nations has declared that this natural disaster has been the worst to hit the southern hemisphere within living memory.
Beira, Mozambique’s second city, has been reduced to a ghost city. The city suffered the most impact as a result of the cyclone: houses, hospitals, schools, roads – bodies are being washed ashore from as far away as Zimbabwe! More than 600 people (at the last count!) in Mozambique alone are estimated to have died in the storms in Mozambique, hundreds more are missing and may be presumed dead, farmlands and livestock destroyed, property was shattered and wherever eye could see there was but utter devastation of apocalyptic proportions. People are gathered on rooftops, others on higher ground, and yet more are to be found holding on for dear life on tree tops. Misery and hope, fear and horror are etched on their faces in equal proportions.
Rescue efforts are underway, funerals follow, and grief will strike Mozambique like a pall of death for many years to come. Indeed, life will take many years to get normalized. The nations are in mourning. There are appeals for humanitarian aid and nations are responding to this humanitarian disaster. Proudly, the Minister of International Relations and Cooperation, Ms Lindiwe Sisulu, has undertaken that South Africa will provide all necessary aid and the SANDF is once again on the ground in Mozambique.
Dada, is a peasant farmer in the Chimanimani District of Eastern Zimbabwe, in Manicaland. He was found wandering with hoe in hand, dazed at what he had been through. “My bean crop was ready for harvesting,” he said, “… the maze was close. I am back to zero.” He lost his two prized bulls also that were indispensable for his agricultural activities.
The question is often posed, ‘How come that this happened to them?’ Was it because they were Muslims, or was it that God’s wrath was being visited on the unfaithful? Those among them who were devout Christians could it be that it was because of their sinfulness or that they were neglecting their life of prayer? “No, I tell you;” says Jesus, “but unless you repent, you will perish as they did” (Luke 13:3). From those who stand upright even more is expected.
We have come to the middle of the Lenten period of reflection and fasting and prayer. Those of us who have tried to maintain a discipline of prayer and study, of worship and fasting may well be feeling that “Well done” and that you have satisfied all that is necessary for salvation. You may even observe all about you and wonder how so many who live evil and immoral lives manage to survive untouched by the hand of God in anger. A ‘holier than thou’ attitude can at times be irresistible. Those, by the way, are not ideas and behaviours uncharacteristic of good Christian men and women!
Some of us have been engaged with Bishop Rowan Williams studying his book, BEING DISCIPLES: Essentials of Christian Life. Williams has been guiding us into understanding what it takes to be disciples of Christ, and to understand the substance of being Christians and how that affects the way we live our lives as disciples of Christ: Faith, Hope and Love, Forgiveness, Holiness and Life in the Spirit. This week we delved deeply into the challenge that most of us have about Forgiveness. We discovered that forgiveness for Christian people is a very difficult if not impossible ask. The Crucified Lord prays on the Cross, “Father, forgive them for they know not what they are doing” (Luke 23:34). What is a Christian responsibility when we actually know that the acts undertaken were part of a plot or a plan to suppress, and to deny the humanity of another? We understood that forgiveness is in the nature of being God. Without the quality of being forgiving, God ceases to be God. However, precisely because it is in the nature of God to forgive, as disciples of Christ and those created in the image and likeness of God forgiveness is what we receive by grace and what we give to others in charity.
Following Williams, when we say in the Lord’s Prayer “forgive us our sins as we forgive those who sin against us. We ask that God who sustains in us the sense of our humanity in all its fullness and its richness (to) give to us “those relations with others that will keep us human, aware of our mortality and of our need, yet nourishingly confident that we are loved” (2016:38). We are reminded that in the eucharist not only is it a Feast of Thanksgiving for the acts of salvation, it is also a memorial that we are undeserving, and of our unworthiness. As a memorial the eucharist is the knowledge that by faith that which God has promised is in fact happening, and its fulfillment is in the mystery of the breaking of the bread and the sharing of the chalice.
The same thoughts were not far from the mind of Paul in the Letter to the Corinthians. Indeed, the Christian faithful were inclined to be arrogant, smug, self-righteous and ‘holier-than-thou’. Drawing from the Hebrew Scripture we are told that the ancestors were “baptized into Moses in the cloud and in the sea.” Yes, it could be certified that the people of Israel “drank from the spiritual rock that followed them, and the rock was Christ (1 Cor 10:4). And so, their credentials were rock solid. They were beyond dispute. In other words they had the assurance of salvation; they had experienced the saving hand of God; they were aware that God was in their midst as a protective cloud against their enemies, and they could hear the voice of God hovering above to guide them to safety across the Red Sea. In all, they celebrated through the ups and downs of the wilderness. They had become the people of God and God had become their God. They were walking tall. The warning then is that God must never be taken for granted. God cannot get captured to satisfy our every whim and fancy. The prophetic word is: “watch out”, lest you too fall.
In St Luke’s Gospel we are reminded of the plight of many in Galilee and Judea who were visited by tragedy. The Galileans had a reputation as rebels and freedom fighters. They were slaughtered by the Roman gendarme just as they were making their sacrifices in the temple in Jerusalem. The inclination by the Judaeans was that they suffered because of their evil ways. When Pilate was building the aqueduct to provide fresh water for Jerusalem, the Tower of Siloam fell on the construction workers killing 18 of them. These examples are cited only for Jesus to exclaim with an emphatic, “No…” for the second time in a few short sentences, “NO, I tell you…” it was not because they were the worst sinners and offenders, or that you who were not struck by misfortune that God condoned your own acts of infidelity and sinfulness. You, too, will perish “just as they did” unless you repent.
To make the point, Jesus then tells a parable of the barren fruit tree, the effect of which is that Jesus Christ, the vinedresser intercedes and gives God’s people a second chance: “If it bears fruit next year, well and good; but if not, you can cut it down” (Luke 13:9). The barren fruit tree here symbolizes the people of Israel who are smug and self-righteous but fail to show forth the fruits of the Spirit. They are unrepentant and as such will be excluded from the fruits of salvation. For that reason, the soil no longer nurtures them as they are unresponsive to the nutrients that the soil makes available to them,
So, if you think you are standing, Watch our that you do not fall.
The only hope of salvation that the people of faith have is not just in their own capacity and strength to stand, for they will surely fall, but to acknowledge that “God is faithful.” It is by the grace of God that we stand; and we stand only for the purposes of God and not our own.
As we draw towards the end of the period of Lent, we do well to ask, ‘Are we standing?’. If we ask that then we should also question what our role is in the disasters that engulf our world. What are we doing to combat hate crimes and promote tolerance of difference: racism, xenophobia, abuse of women and children, hatred of different sexuality at birth and by preferences or inclination. What do we do in our daily lives to promote the values of the kingdom, and to create a world of peace and reconciliation or to create conditions necessary for the flourishing of the human person, rather than the destruction of that which God has created? At times like these faith calls upon us to express human solidarity in practical ways. That is the basis on which the Archbishop of Cape Town has issued a call for assistance to the church in Mozambique that, after all, is part of the Church of the Province of Southern Africa.
The most unforgivable heresy is one that claims favour with God for our evil ways, and that justifies hatred and prejudice as the will of God. What are we doing about climate change? How do we contribute towards the escalation of global warming resulting in unusual weather patterns? Could the Ethiopian Airlines pilots have been better trained and supervised more carefully? We now know that Boeing, the American aircraft manufacturer sold aircraft with key safety features as optional extras. The result is the tragedy that unfolded that morning. It was a case of greedy and aggressive capitalism gone mad. How do we make amends for what has been? Gift of the Givers are already on the ground in Mozambique with humanitarian assistance. The Red Cross worldwide and other agencies like Medicins sans Frontieres are all rallying to provide humanitarian aid.
So if you think you are standing, watch out that you do not fall. 1 Cor 10:12
N Barney Pityana GCOB
Lent 3, 2019
Cathedral Church of St Alban the Martyr
Pretoria, 24 March 2019
The coastal city of Beira, which lies in the middle of the devastation and flooding wrought by Cyclone Idai, was cut off from the rest of the Diocese of Lebombo in Mozambique for days after the cyclone hit.
“There was no communication at all and we did not know who from our congregation might have survived the storm,” said the Bishop of Lebombo, the Right Revd Carlos Matsinhe, in a report on the situation sent on March 22.
A few days after the Beira airport reopened, he was able to get a flight there. He found that the Diocese’s new church in Beira had been collapsed by the cyclone.
Contribute to ACSA’s Disaster Relief Fund – see this link >>
His report continued: “I saw also churches of other denominations that have also been destroyed in town except our little chapel at Munhava, which was, of course, the refuge of many people living around it.
“I visited the Rector, Archdeacon and his family whom I found busy repairing and cleaning their house. I visited five homesteads to meet the church wardens and a few Christians in order to inform them of our prayers and solidarity at this critical moment.”
At a centre hosting 600 displaced people in classrooms, he found shortages of food and water and a lack of hygiene.
He also managed to speak to the governor of Sofala Province, within which the devastated area falls, who appealed for prayers and support.
Of parishes in other areas, Bishop Carlos wrote:
“In the other districts that have been affected we have no information about the safety of our members because these districts remain isolated without any kind of communication.
“We know Fr. Araujo and his family at St. Mary Mutua in Dondo is well but his house and church were partially damaged. We do not know anything about Father Domingos Chipuazo at All Saints of Nhamatanda.
“What we imagine is that since most of our outstation churches are made of local bricks and mud and roofed either with grass or zinc sheets, like the houses of the population they will have been destroyed.
“In Chimoio, one of our concrete church buildings, the Holy Family Church, is one of the accommodation centres. Around this church 58 houses were destroyed and 48 families found accommodation in the church. I hope to provide more data about the stae of our churches and communities as soon as we have them.
Further excerpts from Bishop Carlos’s report:
The general picture is that of a devastated and destroyed city. It is estimated that 95% of the buildings were damaged, with roofs blown out. The roads were blocked by broken or uprooted big trees. One could see piled rubble and scattered roofing tins everywhere and most of the houses I entered were dripping water…
The electricity grid has been pulled down by the cyclone and there is no running water. The population survives either by collected rain water or by water from open sky collection wells which can easily be contaminated. The sewerage system is not secure because the water level is up or above the surface. Human waste is likely to contaminate those sources of water and cause diarrhoea and cholera or other similar diseases that can be deadly at this time of human crisis that region.
The destruction has also taken place in the countryside hit by the cyclone in the provinces of Sofala, Manica and part of Tete.
Up to yesterday there was not sufficient food and medical supplies in town (Beira). Many shops have not opened since after the damage by the cyclone. The shops… that are open are selling food and other necessities that had been in stock before the cyclone. Shopkeepers have started to increase the prices of commodities.
Since the main road connecting Beira to the rest of the country is cut off in four sections over the Pungue River and trucks with emergency and general supplies cannot reach Beira, currently supplies are to being airlifted. Nevertheless much is being done to re-establish connections between the city and the inland area. There are hopes of a ship bringing rice to reach the Beira port any day soon.
A humanitarian catastrophe of our times
As all should know, this Cyclone Idai is rated as the strongest and most devastating climate disaster even seen in the southern hemisphere. This should tell you how dreadful its effects have been. And it will take many years to recover from its long-term impact in human and economic life of the region.
Official records given as per 21st March indicates 242 deaths in the affected region and the State President, speaking during his visit to Beira, said that the toll may reach 1000 or more as the number increases day after day with more people found as rescue operations reach new places.
The number of those affected needing immediate emergency assistance in the whole of Sofala and Manica provinces is 180.000 as per March 21. Following the city of Beira, other districts such as Dondo, Buzi, Nhamatanda, Gorongoza, Marromeu, Caia, Chemba, Machanga and Chibavava are also affected by the overflowing of rivers in those areas and it is feared that more people might die if the dams are opened since they are receiving a lot of water from the rainfall in neighbouring countries such as Zimbabwe and Malawi.
Six South African helicopters are assisting in rescuing the people of Buzi found on trees, rooftops and other higher places. No one has a count of who has already died in districts under water.
Rescuers bring new stories of how terrible and bleak the situation is. Television images show that we stand in front of a far-reaching human crisis.
Last minute news indicates the Beira Hospital has been closed because of the state of destruction and the lack of basic conditions. Tents from which to run health services are to be built around the hospital – this tells you how terrible the conditions are and may be.[Adding to the crisis] the Province of Zambezia (which is part of the Diocese of Niassa for Anglicans) has been under floods along the rivers even before the Beira cyclone.
This cyclone has equally affected Zimbabwe and Malawi badly where many people were also killed (so far 139 for Zimbabwe and 56 for Malawi).
Post- Emergency Plan
From contacts with other institutions and NGOs, I am convinced that in a few days there will be enough food supply for the emergency, although we do not know how long the emergency will last. Internal solidarity is growing as is the international one. But more than supplies is the need for service capacity. I have noted in Beira that the health sector has pulled together health workers from different provinces to come and help. Also a number of national and international NGOs are building joint efforts to respond to the crisis.
At this point it is important to think and plan for the post- emergency phase.
Our Response as Anglicans
- Join efforts with other institutions for a stronger response
- Local Anglicans are collecting food aid from individual church members (the first lot was shipped today comprising 1,3 tons of rice, 1,07 tons of maize meal, sugar, soap and clothes)
- Donate funds to rebuild destroyed church buildings as these are central to community life
- Donate funds to provide school materials, uniforms, shoes and blankets for affected school children
- Provide basic domestic utensils for affected families
- Donate funds to rebuild destroyed classrooms
- Donate funds to treat or provide clean water for affected communities
- Donate funds for health protection (mosquito nets, repellents), apply preventive measures.
- Donate funds rebuild rural health units destroyed
- Donate funds for tools and seeds for food production
- Donate funds for reposition of livestock.
To help our Mozambican sisters and brothers, donate generously to ACSA’s Disaster Relief Fund, details of which can be found at this link>>
Ahead of this year’s Provincial Synod, Archbishop Thabo Makgoba is asking Anglicans to suggest “Tips for Thabo” as the Advisory Committee draws up the Agenda and he prepares his Charge. Please make suggestions by clicking here on our Facebook page, or in the Comments section below. (It may take a day or two for your Comment to appear.)
The Anglican bishops of Southern Africa have signed a charter committing themselves to a range of steps to protect people from abuse in the church.
Bishops attending the February session of the Synod of Bishops all signed the charter after a workshop arranged by the Church’s newly-established Safe and Inclusive Ministry group.
Safe and Inclusive Ministry has two Provincial Safe Church Officers and each Diocese has its own ministry team.
Amendments to the church’s Canons will be proposed to Provincial Synod in September this year after deliberations by the Safe and Inclusive Ministry and the Canon Law Council.
The charter, presented by Rosalie Manning of Safe and Inclusive Ministry, and also a member of the Canon Law Council, reads as follows:
A CHARTER FOR SAFE AND INCLUSIVE CHURCH
We, the Anglican Church of Southern Africa are people of God. Recognising that all people embody the spirit of God that needs to be nurtured and brought into the fullness of life. We recognise and acknowledge that our places of worship and learning have for many caused untold pain, hurt and harm, and have left individuals and families deeply scarred.
We therefore commit ourselves to a Programme of Action based on this Charter to promote a culture of safety and inclusion amongst all our people, organizations, institutions and places of worship. And through ongoing education and training to equip all who minister to prevent the occurrence of abuse and create spaces where justice and restoration can take place. And we accept this work of creating as safe and inclusive church as part of our sacred vocation as God’s people in the world.
Culture of safety and inclusivity
We recognize that a culture of safety and inclusivity needs to be grounded in our theological understanding of who we are as people of God. This understanding informs not only our approach to “being in the world, but not of the world” but also must be manifested in how we “do” Church. We therefore commit ourselves to being a people called to manifest the saving and unconditional love of God. We will promote a culture of safety and inclusion in parishes, church organizations and institutions by theological education and ongoing training to help all ministers prevent the occurrence of abuse. In addition, we commit to boldly confronting the systemic factors which create the context of abuse.
Effective Response to Abuse
We recognize that prevention is better than cure. As such we commit ourselves to taking the necessary steps to create a culture of safety and inclusion. Were abuse does occur we will implement policies and procedures we have to respond properly to allegations of abuse against all ministers within the church as defined by Act XV including but not limited to:
- Making known within churches the procedure for making complaints;
- Arranging pastoral care for any person making a complaint of abuse;
- The impartial determination of allegations of abuse against a minister of the church, and assessment of their suitability for future ministry;
- Providing support for affected parishes, organizations and institutions;
In addition, we recognize that a timeous response is of utmost importance and commit to creating processes and structures to ensure this.
Pastoral Support where there is Abuse
We will provide pastoral support for the abused and abuser; their families, affected parishes, organizations and institutions by:
- Listening with patience and compassion to their experiences and concerns;
- Offering spiritual assistance and other forms of pastoral care;
- Providing practical support as those affected go on the journey of healing.
Practice of Pastoral Ministry
We remain committed to the implementation of Act XV, and promote by education and training these standards. This includes ongoing professional development of all ministers of the church as well as a commitment to their continued spiritual growth.
Suitability for Ministry
We will have and implement policies and procedures to assess the suitability of persons for ordination as clergy or appointment to positions of responsibility in the church including:
- Practice of background checks;
- Ongoing checks prior to each licensing appointment
Seeing More Clearly
Pastoral Letter from the Synod of Bishops
Anglican Church of Southern Africa (ACSA)
21st February 2019
Dear People of God,
We greet you in the name of our Lord Jesus Christ.
As Bishops of the Anglican Church of Southern Africa (ACSA), we met in Synod in Benoni from Monday 18th to Thursday 21st February. ACSA includes the countries of Mozambique, Angola, Namibia, St Helena, Swaziland, Lesotho and South Africa. We welcomed Bishop Dale Bowers, the new Bishop of St Helena, into our fellowship. We rejoiced that Eddie Daniels will be consecrated Bishop of Port Elizabeth on Saturday 23rd February. We were joined by the Vicars General of the Dioceses of Mzimvubu and Zululand. We said farewell to Bishops Martin Breytenbach (St Mark the Evangelist in Limpopo) and Garth Counsell (Table Bay), who will retire before our next meeting – and gave thanks for their ministries among us.
We welcomed Presiding Bishop Michael Curry and his team from The Episcopal Church (TEC) for two of our morning sessions. He shared with us the journey of TEC in the areas of marriage and human sexuality; and Safe Church – issues which we worked on during Synod of Bishops.
As always, our meeting took place within a rhythm of prayer, worship and fellowship. During our time together we shared at a personal level and wrestled with issues facing the church, local communities and our various countries.
In our readings from Mark 8 Jesus encountered various kinds of blindness. The religious leaders were not willing to see spiritually and demanded a sign even when Jesus had been working miracles among them (Mark 8:11). Jesus’ disciples failed to understand what he was doing. He said to them, “Do you still not perceive or understand? Are your hearts hardened? Do you have eyes, and fail to see? Do you have ears, and fail to hear?” (Mark 8:17-18). A blind man came to Jesus for healing. Jesus said him, “Can you see anything?” (Mark 8:23). At first he could not see clearly, but as Jesus prayed for him again his sight was fully restored.
Similarly we found that, as we looked carefully and deeply into a number of difficult issues, God began to open our eyes so that we could see and understand better. May God continue to do that work in us, and use us to lead the church into clearer vision on these things.
We received a report from the Archbishop’s Commission on Human Sexuality. The main goal of the Commission at this stage is to bring revised Pastoral Guidelines to Provincial Synod in September this year. As part of this process, the Commission will continue to conduct regional consultations in various parts of Southern Africa. Dioceses, parishes and organisations have been asked to hold workshops based on case studies and using questions that have been prepared and sent to the Diocesan Reference Teams. Feedback should be sent to the Commission by the end of June: email@example.com .
In all of this we were challenged by the call to learn to live with our differences, and even to live with contradiction. We realised that it will be a long term process in which we listen to God and one another. We have made mistakes in the past and will make mistakes in the future, but we are determined to journey together in the love of God and mutual respect. We are committed to finding and upholding the values of Jesus in marriage and relationships.
Safe Church Ministry
We spent a day workshopping how the church can best respond to abuse in all its forms and overcome it, so that all people can experience the Church as a safe and inclusive space. This is a process taking place throughout the Anglican Communion. Through several case studies and discussions, we considered:
- The Charter for the safety of people within the churches of the Anglican Communion
- The theological Principles that need to undergird our responses
- The Process of dealing with complaints and allegations, including forms that can be used to report them and sent to: firstname.lastname@example.org
- The Structures that we need to put in place, such as changes to the Canons of the Church, response teams in every Diocese, and a central register to keep records.
Each Diocese is expected to set up a multi-disciplinary Safe Church Ministry Team. Training of these teams will take place later in the year, and changes to the Canons will be proposed at Provincial Synod in September. Each of the Bishops made a commitment to the Safe Church process in ACSA.
Throughout the workshop it became clear to us that a culture of secrecy about abuse is “demonic” and leads to darkness. Perhaps it comes from a fear of telling the truth, yet it is the truth that sets us free (John 8:32) and leads us into the light. We need to approach these things with deep humility, aware of our own failures, keeping the difficult balance between pastoral care for all involved and legal processes that may be required.
Resignation of the Bishop of Zululand
The Bishops considered carefully our response to the resignation of Bishop Monument Makhanya of Zululand after allegations of sexual misconduct were received. We supported the Archbishop’s acceptance of his resignation and have commented on this more fully in a Pastoral Letter addressed to the people of the Diocese of Zululand [DOWNLOAD USING LINK] Parallel processes are being set up to care pastorally for all involved, and to institute the required Canonical steps to investigate the allegations.
Diocese of Angola
The Synod of Bishops agreed that, after a long journey, the Missionary Diocese of Angola should be granted the status of a full Diocese, with Bishop André Soares as its first Diocesan Bishop. This is an immense achievement and a source of great rejoicing as we recognise how the Anglican Church in Angola has grown. We are looking forward to the inauguration of the new Diocese and to the installation of the first Bishop of the fully-fledged Diocese after Provincial Synod in September.
Missionary Diocese of Nampula
Following the decisions of Synod of Bishops and Provincial Standing Committee last September, the inauguration of the new Missionary Diocese of Nampula – formerly part of Niassa in northern Mozambique – will be celebrated on Saturday 16th March. Former Regional Suffragan Bishop Manuel Ernesto will be installed as the first Bishop of this Missionary Diocese.
College of the Transfiguration
We rejoiced at the news that the College of the Transfiguration (COTT) has a full complement of 61 students this year, and gave thanks for generous donations that have made it possible for several poorer, women students to attend. Nevertheless it remains a challenge to support our only residential Theological College – and we appeal for your prayers and generosity. A COTT Foundation has been established to raise much needed funds.
We also received a preliminary report from the Commission into Theological Education, and look forward to their recommendations at Provincial Synod. We spent some time responding to the report of the Advisory Board on Theological Education by sharing our Diocesan processes to identify, train and nurture those whom God is calling into the ordained ministry. This included a report on progress at St Christopher’s College in Maputo. We found that we can all learn from one another, but were encouraged by how similar our approaches are.
Canon Law Council
Synod of Bishops spent time receiving a report from the Canon Law Council about proposed changes to the Canons at Provincial Synod. Among the more far reaching proposals are:
- Major changes to Canon 4 on the Election of Bishops;
- Changes to Canon 18 on factors to be taken into account when considering those who are nominated for election as Bishop;
- An amendment to Canon 21 to address the situation where a Diocese falls behind in its assessment to the Common Provincial Fund or Provincial Pension Fund;
- Changes to Canon 26, to clarify the role, deployment and licensing of Self-Supporting clergy;
- An amendment to Canon 34 to clarify the requirements for the marriage of clergy who have been divorced;
- To rearrange the layout and presentation of the Canons so that they are easier to follow and use.
Please pray for Provincial Synod as they prepare to debate and decide on changes to the Constitution and Canons of ACSA.
Other Important Issues
There is never enough time to address everything in depth, but we also had other useful discussions:
- We agreed to a policy for the use of social media;
- We heard about the need for deep work to be done to establish racial justice – not only in Southern Africa, but throughout the world;
- We received an update on the state of the Provincial Pension Fund – and were reminded that it is critical for Dioceses to keep up with their contributions;
- We had a very helpful talk and discussion on stress, trauma and self-care.
In our final reading from Mark 8:27-33, Jesus challenged his disciples, “Who do you say that I am?”. When Peter confessed, “You are the Messiah” Jesus “began to teach them that the Son of Man must undergo great suffering, and be rejected by the elders, the chief priests, and the scribes, and be killed, and after three days rise again.” Peter and the other disciples found this hard to accept – but Jesus insisted that the cross was the only way.
In the same way we would have preferred to avoid facing up to the difficult issues before us, especially since they often expose our own failings and weaknesses. But by the power of the Holy Spirit we did our best to address them honestly and in love. We believe that we have come to see many things more clearly during this time.
We commend our reflections and work to you and ask you to continue to pray for us in our leadership role. In the name of God we implore you to open your hearts, minds, ears and eyes to what God is doing and saying in the church and world today. Thank you for your partnership in the gospel. We love you in Jesus Christ our Lord and Saviour.
1 Web Site Reference
The February meeting of the Church’s Synod of Bishops has issued a Pastoral Letter to the Diocese of Zululand, outlining the steps to be taken after the recent resignation of the Bishop of Zululand, the Right Revd Monument Makhanya.
In the letter, the Bishops said they had accepted the Bishop’s resignation, welcomed the Archbishop’s appointment of two Vicars-General, and outlined the pastoral and legal processes which will now be followed. Read and download the full text of the letter >>
MEDIA RELEASE – FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE 23 JANUARY 2019
THE ANGLICAN CHURCH OF SOUTHERN AFRICA PREPARES TO WELCOME THE MOST REVEREND MICHAEL B CURRY PRESIDING BISHOP OF THE EPISCOPAL CHURCH
Bishop Michael Curry, the primate of the Episcopal Church will visit the Province of Southern Africa (ACSA) in February to meet with Diocesan Bishops at their Synod, and to give the fourth Bishop David Beetge Memorial Lecture.
The three day visit will include Sunday morning worship in Johannesburg, visiting Kwasa College primary school in Springs, the Trevor Huddleston CR Memorial Centre in Sophiatown, participating in Synod reflections, meeting young Christians in Highveld, and those working to raise funds for anti-poverty programmes in the Province of ACSA.
heart of the visit,” said Archbishop Thabo Makgoba, “is to
meet the Anglican bishops of Southern Africa at a regular meeting of
their Synod, and to give the fourth Memorial Lecture in honour of the
late Bishop David Beetge of the Highveld. Bishop Beetge was a leading
cleric in our church and an international advocate who raised funds
for the poorest of the poor before his sudden death in 2008.
“In marking the 10th anniversary of David’s passing, we celebrate his life with a lecture on the theme of peacemaking. I am delighted that Bishop Curry has agreed to deliver the lecture on his first visit as the head of our sister church.”
The Fourth Memorial Lecture commemorating the late Bishop David Beetge: Sunday 17th February 2019 at 15h00 at Wits University Great Hall.
Tickets: 083 4150128 R200 per person
Notes for Editors:
About ACSA: https://anglicanchurchsa.org/
About Presiding Bishop Michael Curry: https://www.episcopalchurch.org/biography-most-rev-michael-curry
About Bishop David Beetge – Archbishop Thabo Makgoba, primate of the Anglican Church of Southern Africa, described Bishop Beetge as “an outstanding and exemplary leader of our church, a man of deep spirituality and prayer.” He noted that Bishop Beetge, who was the second most senior bishop in their province, also served the Anglican Communion “with great distinction” as co-chair of the International Anglican/Roman Catholic Commission on Unity and Mission (IARCCUM).”
More below © Anglican Journal
About the Trevor Huddleston Memorial Centre: https://trevorhuddleston.org
David Beetge, bishop of the diocese of Highveld, South Africa, speaks to media at the 2008 Lambeth Conference.
Many Anglican leaders today paid tribute to Bishop Beetge, who led a diocese that faced many pressing issues, including the scourge of HIV/AIDS, massive poverty, and the influx of immigrants from war-torn African nations like Zimbabwe and Mozambique.
“The Anglican Church worldwide has lost an exceptional man – warm, intelligent, utterly dedicated, imaginative; and many of us have lost a deeply valued friend,” said Archbishop of Canterbury Rowan Williams in a statement. “David gave selflessly of his gifts in the service of the Communion, its internal business and its ecumenical relations, and carried great responsibility with calm, humour and good sense.”
Archbishop Thabo Makgoba, primate of the Anglican Church of Southern Africa, described Bishop Beetge as “an outstanding and exemplary leader of our church, a man of deep spirituality and prayer.” He noted that Bishop Beetge, who was the second most senior bishop in their province, also served the Anglican Communion “with great distinction” as co-chair of the International Anglican/Roman Catholic Commission on Unity and Mission (IARCCUM).”
Canon Kenneth Kearon, secretary general of the Anglican Communion, recalled that “on visits to his diocese it was clear that he was not only a beloved bishop and pastor to his clergy and people, but a bishop whose ministry reflected the heart of the gospel message in his widely diverse, vast and strong diocese.”
Bishop Beetge was “a very special friend of all of us in the London office,” said Mr. Kearon, adding, “he will be sorely missed in the workings of the Anglican Communion but his legacy is one that I am sure will inspire many of us in the days ahead.”
At July’s Lambeth Conference, Bishop Beetge passionately talked about the importance of the bishops’ march to London to pressure governments to fulfill their promise to address poverty and other issues outlined in the United Nations Millennium Development Goals (MDGs). “The march will say to governments that people matter. That people matter more than arms, that people matter more than huge bureaucracies and that people must come first,” he said.
Bishop Beetge also said that the walk is going to be “a symbolic act for whoever sees it.” For the poor, it is a message “that the church cares about them.”
Bishop Beetge, who had been involved in HIV-AIDS work for the last 18 years, said the mission of the church is “the mission of Christ,” which is to minister to those “living on the edge.” He also said that his diocese is situated in an area that is struggling with 40-45 per cent unemployment and with an HIV-AIDS rate of 40 per cent. “We’ve trained 1,100 home-based workers (for HIV-AIDS) because hospitals can’t cope,” he said.
His church is also involved in other social justice initiatives, including literacy training and care for 10,000 orphans in the area.
Born in 1948 in Witbank, South Africa, Bishop Beetge received his theological education at St. Paul’s Theological College in Grahamstown. He later received both his bachelor and honour degrees in theology at the University of South Africa, and his master’s degree in theology from the University of Natal.
Ordained a priest in 1981, he served in various churches before becoming vicar general, and later the first bishop, of the diocese of South Eastern Transvaal in 1990. In 1998, the name of the diocese was changed to the diocese of the Highveld.
Bishop Beetge also served his church in many capacities at the provincial level, including as dean of the Church of the Province of Southern Africa, and as liaison bishop and chair of the Anglican HIV/AIDS programs for Southern Africa.
© Anglican Journal
Education Sunday – 3rd February 2019
The Archbishop has asked us to pray and actively voice our concerns about the escalation of violence in our society.
One of his areas of focus in his Christmas Day address at St George’s Cathedral was schools, and he has called on the Church to pray for schools to be free from any forms of violence. The following are some suggested areas from the Anglican Board of Education (ABE) to guide your prayers, but please contextualize them to the schools, the children and the educators in your parish.
Leadership of Schools.
Pray that the Principals and their senior management teams might be given wisdom as they lead. They hold the responsibility to keep the schools safe and to be places that are free from fear. Help them to protect both the children and educators so that all may flourish. Help them to take swift and appropriate actions against those that perpetrate violence. Thank God for good leadership and pray that Principals be given courage to act and wisdom to know what to do in difficult situations.
Pray for educators.
Pray that they might see their teaching as a calling from God. Pray that they will have hearts of understanding and compassion and that they will be enabled to create safe learning environments in their classrooms. Pray that they will actively protect the vulnerable. Pray that educators will be skilled in dealing with aggressive behaviour from children or parents and protect them from unmerited criticism and hurtful remarks. Let them find joy and satisfaction in their work.
Pray for all school children.
Pray that schools will kindle in them a desire for learning and that they will experience the joy of good education. Help them to be self-regulated, self-disciplined and self-confident so that they may pursue their education goals with courage and perseverance. Pray that they may be protected from all forms of violence –physical, mental, sexual or emotional. May they know the presence of the Spirit of Wisdom.
Pray for families and parents.
Pray that they be given wisdom in dealing with their children at home and in school. Pray that they will listen to their voices and concerns and support their sons and daughters in their education. May they have wisdom and courage to act when they see abuse and may their guidance serve to grow wisdom in their children. Help parents to be encouraging and supportive of their children and of the educators who teach them.
Pray for all Anglican schools.
Pray that each of the 350 Anglican Schools of the Anglican Church of Southern Africa (especially those located in the Western Cape) will hold up the Light, Life and Love of Christ to all the children, parents and educators who form part of their school communities. Pray for Anglican Chaplains and the local clergy who minister to these schools. Pray for their protection and that they might know God’s strength and wisdom as they witness to the love of God.
Pray for all those who govern.
Pray for those who hold responsibility as governors, both in the education departments and the school governing bodies. Pray that they may have wisdom and courage to discipline those who are corrupt, and to hold principals and educators accountable for good performance. Help them to encourage and strengthen those in need. Help them to manage their service to education in ways that will bring life and joy to our education system.
The Collect for Education Sunday
Lord God, Your Son Jesus Christ sat at the feet of others to learn, and sat on the mountains to teach:
Bless those who teach and those who learn, those who seek and those who find;
So that our homes, schools, universities and churches may be filled with a longing to learn and to grow, to serve and to give;
Through Jesus Christ our Lord; Amen
Revd. Roger Cameron
Visit www.abesa.co.za for more information about Anglican schools.