The Bishop of the North Western Episcopal Area of the Anglican Diocese of Natal, Tsietsi Seleoane, is the new liaison Bishop for Anglicans Ablaze. The event, he said, is a continuation of the Anglican Renewal Ministry that began in the 1970s. “It’s a diverse kind of ministry showing the Anglican life at its best – from extreme Anglo-Catholic to extreme charismatic expressions of our worship, and this is why we want people to see how they can transform their own parishes after being enriched by this renewal ministry in our church”, he said.
“Anglicans Ablaze is about church growth”, said Nonkonzo Xintolo, a priest from the Diocese of Mthatha. “This gives me a chance to mix with other people and learn because you cannot go back home and grow the church unless you grow yourself first.”
Anglicans Ablaze has a special place in the lives of young people because for the most part, it presents an opportunity for them to experience church in a way that’s different from what they experience in their parishes. Jesse Rajee, an 18-year-old Anglican from Cape Town who was attending Anglican Ablaze for the first time.
Photo: Bellah Zulu
“After listening to the experiences of my friends who attended the last conference, I got inspired and knew I also wanted to be attended someday,” he said. “I have been challenged and my goal is to inspire other young people as I have been inspired here.”
Another young Anglican, 17-year-old Levern Luiters, talked of how this experience has impacted her life. “I have heard a lot of good things here that the Lord has done for other people and now I know that he is going to do it for me as well”, she said. “It’s indeed an honour to be here to worship God with people from different churches.”
When more than 2000 people meet in one place for a conference such as this one, the amount of garbage produced can be overwhelming. But the organisers foresaw this and came up with various innovations to minimise the amount of waste produced.
“Instead of single use containers, we have made available over 2000 reusable mugs which has helped us stop about 12,000 plastic containers from being used here,” said the Coordinator of Green Anglicans, Canon Rachel Mash. “We have also made available wooden stirs instead of plastic spoons.”
She added: We have to change people’s theology by emphasising that caring for the environment is a key calling of a Jesus shaped life. You cannot say you care for your neighbour if you don’t care for creation.”
The highlight of the event came from the prolific church planter and keynote speaker for the conference, Archbishop Moon Hing of West Malaysia, the Primate of South East Asia. He gave a moving account of growing up in a Buddhist family in an area where Christianity accounted for less than one per cent of religious affiliation.
Photo: Bellah Zulu
“My family didn’t like it when I converted to Christianity to an extent that they stopped me from speaking to my family about it,” he said. “But after so many years I would like to thank God that I have managed to convert 80 per cent of my family including brothers, sisters and cousins among others to Christianity, and had the privilege of baptising my own mother.”
In an interview with the Anglican Communion News Service, he spoke of the importance of Anglican Ablaze: “There is hunger for Christ everywhere – people need motivation, encouragement and direction, and Anglicans Ablaze offers that opportunity and I pray that it spreads to other regions and the whole of the Anglican world.
“This movement will transform the lives of people and communities and the world will have hope because it’s a reminder that God is our priority in a world which is going in the opposite direction.”
The atmosphere was spirit filled as Anglicans worshipped God in an apparent hunger for transformation and a different kind of experience.
Correction: the original headline of this article incorrectly described Anglicans Ablaze as a youth event. The conference has a youth-track; but is an all-age renewal conference.
Provincial Standing Committee has requested the body which is revising the Prayer Book and drawing up new and revised liturgies for worship to give new emphasis to the environment.
The following resolution was proposed by the church’s environmental coordinator, Canon Rachel Mash, seconded by Bishop Ellinah Wamukoya of Swaziland, and adopted by PSC:
Making Creation Visible in Liturgy
This PSC, noting:
• The excellent work being done by the Prayer Book Revision Committee in addressing “anthropocentrism, patriarchy and dualism” in the revisions, and
• The Fifth Mark of Anglican Mission that strives to safeguard the integrity of creation and sustain and renew the life of the earth;
Requests PSC to request the Liturgical Committee to:
• Include in the penitential rites, the confession of actions that destroy the natural environment, and include prayers for the whole household of life,
• Promote the occasional holding of services outdoors, in natural settings;
• Incorporate the fifth mark of mission in the baptismal vows;
• Incorporate the fifth mark of mission in the service of installation of clergy and bishops;
• Make available on the internet additional liturgies and the new Prayer Book in order to limit the excessive use of paper;
• Encourage churches to reduce their use of paper.
Provincial Standing Committee has asked that an inventory of all land held by the church be drawn up with a view to making recommendations for the use of vacant land. In a resolution passed at its recent meeting, it also asked for the development of a theological reflection on land expropriation without compensation.
The full text of the PSC resolution follows:
This PSC, noting
1. The national debate in South Africa on amending section 25 of the Constitution of South Africa to allow for land expropriation without compensation,
2. The occupation of vacant land and the associated violence, and
3. That ACSA is a major land owner in the country,
Respectfully requests the Archbishop to establish an ad hoc committee chaired by Bishop Tsietsi [Seleoane, Bishop Suffragan in the Diocese of Natal] to:
1. Do an inventory of all land currently owned and/or managed by ACSA in the Province, Dioceses and Parishes, including the value and current land-use,
2. Make recommendations for use of vacant land, and
3. Develop a theological reflection on land expropriation without compensation to be used at Provincial Synod.
During debate on the resolution, the recent Sunday Times op-ed on land reform by Archbishop Thabo Makgoba was referred to as a useful resource. It was subsequently re-published on the Archbishop’s blog.
Recent meetings of the Synod of Bishops and Provincial Standing Committee have addressed the issue of sexual abuse and harassment in the Church.
The following is an excerpt from the Pastoral Letter from the bishops, issued at the weekend:
2) We received a very serious report on the Safe Church Commission. It was emphasised to us that it is urgent and important for every Diocese to:
• Set up a team to deal effectively with allegations of abuse in the church. These teams will receive training for this important ministry, and guidelines for action will be prepared.
• Respond to the questionnaire that was sent to Bishops earlier this year.
• Require police clearance certificates for all people being ordained or licensed, and those working with young people and children.
There are also plans to amend Act XV, on the Pastoral Standards, at Provincial Synod next year, in the light of new developments.
An email address has been set up for those who wish to report abuse that has taken place: safechurches[a]anglicanchurchsa.org.za . This may be done anonymously. This is also a call for us to soak the church and all God’s people with prayer.
The following resolution was approved by PSC:
MOTION ARISING FROM SAFE CHURCH COMMISSION REPORT
1. Noting the work and efforts on the part of the ACC Safe Church Commission as well as its acceptance and introduction into ACSA
2. Recognises the need for the preventative measures of the Safe Church Commission to be implemented while the necessary Canonical amendments to Canon 4 are being prepared for Synod 2019:
That with immediate effect, all ordinations, elections or consecrations of ordained ministers will include the requirement for a police clearance certificate to be obtained from a verified agency.
Should an adverse finding be made in terms of such police clearance, then the Diocesan Bishop or Archbishop as the case may be, should in their discretion determine how to deal with the finding.
In the case of lay ministers, especially those involved in youth and Sunday School teaching, this will be progressively implemented from 1 January 2019.
Arising out of the Bishops’ and PSC deliberations, Archbishop Thabo released the following public statement today (October 3):
The Anglican Church of Southern Africa has adopted new measures to deal with sexual abuse and harassment.
In future anyone wanting to be ordained to serve as a clergyperson will have to provide a police clearance certificate. The church has also set up an email address to make it easier to report allegations of abuse.
This was announced by Archbishop Thabo Makgoba of Cape Town today. He said in a statement:
“At meetings held last week, our church’s Synod of Bishops and our Provincial Standing Committee – which includes clergy and lay people from every diocese in Southern Africa – had their first opportunity to discuss the reports of clergy abusing children which received widespread publicity earlier this year.
“We were made acutely aware of the pain of those who have been hurt by the church. Although the number of cases reported so far is limited, we resolved to take up the issue with the utmost seriousness.
“Experienced lawyers and clergy serving on our Canon Law Council reported that our Pastoral Standards, which are incorporated into church law, set out a sound basis on which to handle complaints of abuse. But the council has said we need to make it easier for complainants to access procedures for laying complaints, and to provide better support for them along the way.
“The council also reported that complaints, especially historical complaints, are not being handled quickly enough. It recommended that we set up a central register of complaints, including details of what action has been taken. Although complaints of abuse can made directly to the Diocese in which it has taken place, we have now also set up a dedicated email address for those who wish to report them through that channel: safechurches[at]anglicanchurchsa.org.za . This may be done anonymously.
“The council will propose changes to church legislation at the next meeting of the three-yearly Provincial Synod, our top legislative body, next year. In the meantime, the Provincial Standing Committee has resolved that, with immediate effect, all ordinations, elections or consecrations of ordained ministers will include the requirement for a police clearance certificate to be obtained from a verified agency.
“From January 2019, we will progressively enforce the same rule for lay ministers, especially those involved in youth ministry and Sunday School teaching.
“In addition, the Canon Law Council emphasised to the Synod of Bishops that it is urgent and very important that every diocese set up a team to deal effectively with allegations of abuse. We are arranging training for the bishops at the next meeting of our Synod of Bishops, and have asked each diocese to ensure that its teams also receive training in how best to respond to complaints.
“Most of the half-dozen cases which have emerged this year concern events which occurred more than 20 years ago, which – except in cases of rape – prevents victims from pursuing their cases through criminal courts in South Africa. I therefore reiterate my earlier support for quick action by Parliament to change the law to allow such prosecutions to take place. Victims of sexual abuse need to be able to pursue charges both in criminal courts and in church tribunals.”
Participants from 17 dioceses in 14 African countries have released “An Urgent Cry for Ecological Justice: Reclaiming the Gospel Imperative for All Creation” at the end of their recent meeting in South Africa.
The meeting was held under under the auspices of the Anglican Communion Environmental Network (ACEN).
Light in the Darkness
Pastoral Letter from the Synod of Bishops
Anglican Church of Southern Africa (ACSA)
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 Sunday 23rd until Wednesday 26th September 2018. We were joined by the Vicars General of the Dioceses of Mzimvubu and Port Elizabeth. ACSA includes the countries of Mozambique, Angola, Namibia, St Helena, Swaziland, Lesotho and South Africa.
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 debated issues facing the church, local communities and our various countries.
In the opening Eucharist, we were challenged by Jesus’ words in Luke 8:16, “No one lights a lamp and hides it in a jar or puts it under a bed. Instead, he puts it on a stand, so that those who come in can see the light”. We reflected on the fact that the histories of our countries include great darkness coming in forms like colonialism, genocide, racism, oppression and abuse. We continue to suffer from darkness in many forms, including tension around racial, tribal, economic and land issues.
Painfully, we also recognised that there is often darkness in the church as well! We dare not point our fingers at others without examining ourselves honestly. We also experience abuse, corruption, conflict and financial problems. Sometimes even the Bible is misused to bring darkness, death and oppression, whereas God’s intention is for it to be a source of light, life and freedom in Christ. All of this is a call to repentance for us as leaders and members of the church.
But there is good news: “The light shines in the darkness, and the darkness did not overcome it” (John 1:5). Jesus said in Luke 8:18, “Then pay attention to how you listen”. We need to hear God’s “still, small voice” (1 Kings 19:12) amidst all the noise and clamour around us. If we hear God and respond with faith and obedience, the light of God will shine ever brighter in us.
We were reminded in Proverbs 30:5 that “every word of God proves true; God is a shield to those who take refuge in him”. Jesus calls us to “proclaim the kingdom of God and to heal” (Luke 9:2). We cannot do this alone, but only together as the family of God in Christ. As Jesus said in Luke 8:21: “My mother and my brothers are those who hear the word of God and do it”.
These thoughts about light and darkness provided a background for all that we did together.
We spent most of our time considering the future of Theological Education and Ministerial Formation in ACSA, including the role of the College of the Transfiguration (COTT) in Grahamstown. We received presentations from two angles.
- Prof Barney Pityana introduced us to the conceptual framework of the Archbishop’s Commission on Theological Education. Their focus is on three areas:
- Research into what training is taking place at present, and what we need;
- Analysis and action to address the financial challenges facing us at COTT in order to be sustainable;
- In depth theological reflection about Theological Education in ACSA, in a radically changing world.
- We began to look at the possibility of developing the property at COTT in Grahamstown so that it can become income generating and sustainable in the long term.
Leadership and Governance
We exercised our minds on several issues of leadership and governance in the church:
- We held an Elective College for the Diocese of St Helena. Ven Dale Bowers (49) from the Island of St Helena was elected to be Bishop. We extend to him, his family and the Diocese of St Helena our love and congratulations.
- Exciting news is that the Synod of Bishops agreed to establish the new Anglican Missionary Diocese of Nampula – which has been multiplied from the Diocese of Niassa. It is made up of the Provinces of Nampula and Cabo Delgado in northern Mozambique. Bishop Manuel Ernesto is Bishop of this new Missionary Diocese. Plans are being made for a celebration of its formation, and a team from the Province is being set up to help them with the process.
- Provincial Synod changed the Canon about the retirement of Bishops in 2016. We clarified the process of retirement, or of extending the tenure of Bishops beyond the normal retirement age. We also agreed on the need to review a Diocese financially when it becomes vacant and before an Elective Assembly takes place.
- We agreed on a proposal to review the missional priorities of ACSA, so that they are more in line with the Vision1 and Mission2 of our Province. These three priorities include the eight that have been priorities until now:
- Liturgical renewal and transformative worship
- Discipleship – including theological education, formation and leadership development
- Prophetic ministry – including advocacy in education, nurture of the young, women and gender, environment and health.
This proposal was sent to Provincial Standing Committee for debate and adoption.
We received and discussed progress reports on some important areas affecting our life and ministry:
- Good progress is being made with the Anglican Communion’s Season of Intentional Discipleship and Disciple-Making, also known as “living and sharing Jesus-shaped life”. We received a pamphlet introducing the season, which will be distributed widely throughout the Communion. We noted with joy that our Anglicans Ablaze Conference (3rd-6th October in Hillcrest, Natal) is seen as one of the key strategies to promote Jesus-Shaped Life in Southern Africa and the wider Communion.
- We received a very serious report on the Safe Church Commission. It was emphasised to us that it is urgent and important for every Diocese to:
- Set up a team to deal effectively with allegations of abuse in the church. These teams will receive training for this important ministry, and guidelines for action will be prepared.
- Respond to the questionnaire that was sent to Bishops earlier this year.
- Require police clearance certificates for all people being ordained or licensed, and those working with young people and children.
There are also plans to amend Act XV, on the Pastoral Standards, at Provincial Synod next year, in the light of new developments.
An email address has been set up for those who wish to report abuse that has taken place: safechurches[at]anglicanchurchsa.org.za . This may be done anonymously. This is also a call for us to soak the church and all God’s people with prayer.
- The Archbishop’s Commission on Human Sexuality reported to us about progress, especially in holding consultations with the Dioceses of ACSA. As before, we recognised that there is a great variety of opinions among us, and that there are strong and deep feelings on all sides. In general, there seems to be a greater openness to listen to one another and talk about these things. Most urgently, we noted that the Pastoral Guidelines for those in Civil Unions (in South Africa) are not yet complete. We committed ourselves to do that.
- We received a full report from the Liturgical Committee. They continue to work on the development of a revised Anglican Prayer Book, but they are looking at new approaches – it will be different from previous Prayer Books, reflecting the massive changes that are taking place in the world. They will pay special attention to the principles and values of our worship; the shape of our services; and the resources that are available for liturgical renewal and transformative worship.
An exciting new development is that we agreed to add three commemorations for our calendar:
- Steve Biko
- Sophy Gray
- Bishop William Colenso.
We welcomed the new ordination services that have been drafted for Bishops, Priests and Deacons and were encouraged to begin to use them on an experimental basis. We also heard the plea from the Liturgical Committee that we should make a special effort to train more liturgists and worship leaders.
We wish you God’s richest blessings individually and in your communities. Let the light of Jesus shine in the darkness around us and within us. “No one lights a lamp and hides it in a jar or puts it under a bed. Instead, he puts it on a stand, so that those who come in can see the light” (Luke 8:16).
1 The Anglican community in Southern Africa seeks to be Anchored – in the love of Christ; Committed – to God’s mission; Transformed – by the Holy Spirit.
2 Across the diverse countries and cultures of our region, we seek: To honour God in worship that feeds and empowers us for faithful witness and service; to embody and proclaim the message of God’s redemptive hope and healing for people and creation; to grow communities of faith that form, inform, and transform those who follow Christ.
Provincial Standing Committee has supported peaceful protests against gangsterism on the Cape Flats in Cape Town and Westbury in Johannesburg.
The annual meeting of PSC, meeting in Benoni, Gauteng, adopted a resolution backing efforts by local religious and community leaders to help in the crisis that has hit the two areas in recent days.
The resolution was proposed by representatives of the Diocese of Cape Town.
The full text reads:
THE SHUTDOWN MOVEMENT AGAINST GANGSTERISM ON THE CAPE FLATS
1. acknowledges the struggle and pain experienced by communities in Southern Africa caught in ongoing cycles of poverty;
2. expresses specific support for communities in Westbury and on the Cape Flats and The Shutdown Movement in seeking to peacefully protest against the gangsterism flourishing in their communities;
3. condemns the lack of effective action by National, Provincial and Local Government in addressing the rampant criminality in these communities, and the police’s substantial use of non-lethal means in dispersing The Shutdown Movements protest in the Cape Flats on Tuesday the 25th September 2018; and
4. requests the Archbishop to assure the religious and community leaders and structures on the ground of our prayers and support as they continue to give guidance to these communities in seeking to ensure these crises receive urgent and practical attention by the authorities.
Proposer: The Revd Canon Mark Long
Seconder: Canon Charleen Van Rooyen
From the website of the Diocese of Zululand:
It is with sadness that we announce the death of Bishop Lawrence Bhekisisa Zulu, aged 81, at his home in uLundi early in the morning of 18th September.
+Lawrence grew up in the Emkhindini area near Melmoth and was educated at St Augustine’s Mission High School, Nquthu, and St Peter’s College, Rosettenville. He later obtained his MA from Cambridge University.
He was ordained a deacon in 1960 and a priest in 1961 and served in the following parishes: St Margaret’s, Nongoma, All Saints’, Msebe and Holy Name, eMpangeni. He then moved to the Eastern Cape where he lectured at the Federal Theological College in Alice and later held the post of Director of Christian Education in the Diocese of Grahamstown.
+Lawrence came home in 1975 when he was elected to serve as the 10th Bishop of Zululand. After eighteen years of episcopal ministry he was translated to Swaziland from whence he retired in 2000.
+ Lawrence and Ruth returned to Zululand and made their home in uLundi. Ruth died in March 2017 and he is survived by his children, Nondumiso, Sindisiwe and Thulani.
We thank God for the long and faithful ministry of +Lawrence, and for Ruth’s constant support.
Ndabezitha, rest in peace and rise in glory!
For a detailed consideration of the life and ministry of Bishop Lawrence, download the PDF of this study by Henry Mbaya: http://uir.unisa.ac.za/handle/10500/8124
Statement by the Right Revd Brian Marajh, Anglican Bishop of George
The Anglican Church in George has issued an urgent call to all leaders in the community to hold peaceful negotiations aimed at ending conflict over transport in the area and restoring proper service delivery.
In an open letter issued to the leaders, the Anglican Bishop of George, the Right Revd Brian Marajh, said:
“We are not prepared to sit by idly and allow the lives of the people of this community to be disrupted in the manner that has been seen over the past few days and weeks.”
He said leaders and civil servants “are in the employ of the people and should serve the interests of all the people, especially the poorest amongst the poor.”
The full text of the open letter follows:
Open letter by the Leadership of the Anglican Church in the Diocese of George
We, the leadership of the Anglican Church in the Diocese of George in general and the Town of George in particular, note with concern:
1. The instability caused by happenings in the George Municipality against the background of reports on Investigations by the Directorate for Priority Crime Investigation, and what can subsequently be described as instability in service delivery that has resulted in a spate of protest action in communities in and around George.
2. The crisis caused by the inability of authorities to deal with the ongoing saga between the Go-George bus services and Taxi Associations in rendering a service to the community of George, and the resulting inconvenience suffered by commuters. This has resulted in strained relationships between employees and employers and continues to cause damage to a frail and struggling local economy.
The proverb that states “When elephants fight, it is the grass and trees that suffer” comes to mind. Our leadership and other role-players in these events should be reminded that they depend on the toil and labour of the most vulnerable in society. The people of the region and town should be treated with respect and dignity, since they secure the profits and income of the town in general and these service providers in particular.
We therefore call on all parties concerned to:
1. Address these issues in an amicable manner through peaceful negotiations that will facilitate the provision of services to those most in need.
2. Realise that the Leadership of our Town and their employees as civil servants are in the employ of the people and should serve the interests of all the people, especially the poorest amongst the poor.
The people we refer to represent our constituent members as well of those of other faith-based organisations. We are not prepared to sit by idly and allow the lives of the people of this community to be disrupted in the manner that has been seen over the past few days and weeks.
We simply wish to afford you the opportunity to bring about redress. We are making an objective, non-partisan call on all involved to do what is best for our Town and its people.
We will continue to soak the situation in prayer and will issue this statement to be read in divine services throughout the Diocese of George.
We are more than willing to meet with you in your search for a sustainable and lasting solution to this crisis.
Be assured of our continued prayer support for all role-players.
Yours faithfully in his Master’s service
The Right Reverend Brian Melvin Marajh
Bishop of George
The Province’s principal residential seminary, the College of Transfiguration (COTT) in the city of Makhanda in the Eastern Cape, has been granted its final registration with educational authorities.
South Africa’s Department of Higher Education and Training issued a certficate of registration for the college on July 10. In recent years, COTT has been operating under provisional registration.
The new certificate (below) confirms that COTT can award the Diploma in Theology, the Advanced Diploma in Ministry and the Bachelor of Theology degree.
“Good news! Christ is risen indeed!” commented Archbishop Thabo Makgoba, responding from the United States, where he has been attending the General Convention the The Episcopal Church. “Wow,” he added, “what a journey!”
Read about the College here: https://www.cott.co.za/