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Provincial Notices Provincial Synod

2021 Provincial Synod minutes

Download the daily minutes of the session of Provincial Synod which sat from September 21-24, 2021:

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Synod of Bishops

Former Diocese of Natal cleric degraded

The Synod of Bishops has resolved to confirm a sentence of degradation on a former priest of the Diocese of Natal after his conviction for sexual harassment.

The Revd Roland Prince was sentenced by a disciplinary tribunal of the Diocese of Natal in July. Under the Canons, degradation is the most serious disciplinary action that can be taken against a priest. As a result the sentence has to confirmed by the Synod of Bishops. The Synod sat last week.

In the language of the Canons, a sentence of degradation “deposes from Holy Orders” a priest. It removes his or her right to be referred to as “Reverend”.

Mr Prince was convicted under the Canons of: sexual harassment, conducting himself in “a sexually immoral manner”, and involving himself in “inappropriate relationships and activities which gave just cause for scandal or offence.”

In April a board of preliminary inquiry recommended that charges be brought against him. He resigned at the end of that month. The disciplinary tribunal sat in July. Two days after Mr Prince confirmed he would attend, he indicated on the day of the tribunal he would not attend. The tribunal went ahead in his absence.

Mr Prince’s name will now be placed on a register maintained by the church’s Safe and Inclusive Church Commission to ensure that he cannot be licensed as a priest in any other Diocese.

The victims worked at or were associated with workers at the parish in which Mr Prince served. In order to protect the identity of his victims, no details of the case which may lead to them being identified will be revealed.

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News Provincial Synod

Appeal for dialogue to end unrest in Eswatini

A resolution approved at Provincial Synod 2021:

POLITICAL UNREST IN ESWATINI

Noting:

  1. The Archbishop in his charged alluded to the Political unrest in Eswatini.
  2. Such political unrest led to destruction of property left hundreds of Emaswati with Permanent injuries and over 70 citizens (Children, women and Men) lost their lives.
  3. The devastation that such unrest has caused to the people of Eswatini.

Resolve that:

  1. This Synod join the people of Eswatini in thanking the Archbishop of Cape Town and Metropolitan of ACSA for the constant calls and pastoral letter he wrote to the people of Eswatini on behalf of the Province.
  2. Request the Archbishop to continue working with other regional, continental and global structures pushing for meaningful engagement and dialogue in Eswatini to find an amicable solution to the challenges of Eswatini.
  3. Respectfully request that provincial pastoral and fact-finding mission be sent to Eswatini within the next two months.

Seconder: Ms Thobile Dlamini

Proposer: Venerable Bhekindlela Magongo

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News Provincial Synod

Synod calls for end to oil exploration in Africa

A resolution approved at the 2021 Provincial Synod:

AFRICAN BISHOPS CALL FOR A HALT TO GAS AND OIL EXPLORATION IN AFRICA

This Provincial Synod,

Affirming that it:

  1. Recognises the negative impacts of fossil fuel exploration in the Dioceses of Namibia and Nampula;
  2. Recognises the increasing impacts of climate change across the Continent of Africa, caused by the burning of fossil fuels;
  3. Commits to standing in solidarity with the rest of Africa to call for a halt to gas and oil exploration in Africa;

Resolves to:

  1. Invite all ACSA Bishops to sign the letter below to the African Union, European Union and Governments of the United Kingdom, Canada, and the United States of America;
  2. Invite the All-Africa Conference of Churches and the Council of Anglican Provinces of Africa to circulate this letter for signature throughout Africa.

THE PROPOSED LETTER

To whom it may concern

RE: AFRICAN BISHOPS CALL FOR A HALT TO GAS AND OIL EXPLORATION IN AFRICA

Africa, our home, is a continent of spectacular beauty and abundance. It still has remnants of its unique and priceless wildlife in areas of great variety, biodiversity, and wonder. The land has deep rooted cultural and traditional significance and 80% of the Continent’s people depend on small scale farmers for their food.

A new era of economic colonialism by fossil fuel companies is well underway. This is supported by self-serving governments. They are enticed by the promise of job creation and finance for ‘development’ while ignoring the harsh reality of the climate crisis, the ravages of which are being felt across the Continent. Biodiversity loss, exacerbated by catastrophic climate change will have dire consequences for all life on this planet and Africa will be severely affected.

Africa’s natural habitats are being destroyed at an alarming rate through the extraction of oil and gas, with many new projects in the pipeline. Known in Nigeria as the curse of “black gold”, fossil fuel extraction is polluting the water and the land. Oil companies are abusing the rights of indigenous and rural people and forcing them off their land. Oil and gas exploration and exploitation are leading to political destabilisation and increased violence.
The choices we make now will determine the future of Africa. We face species extinction, widespread disease, life-threatening temperature extremes, droughts, ecosystem collapse, and rising sea levels, floods, storms, and wildfires, unless there is transformational change by individuals, communities, businesses, institutions, and governments.

Africa is a continent richly blessed with sun and wind. Investment in renewable energy, now the cheapest form of energy worldwide, will create far more jobs and long-term savings. Renewable energy will be generated without the health-damaging pollutants of fossil fuels or global warming that will push the world past a catastrophic 1.5°C increase in temperature. The declining worldwide demand for fossil fuels will also leave Africa with a legacy of stranded assets.

Yet rather than halting fossil fuel extraction, many governments are actively encouraging exploration for oil and gas reserves by foreign companies. This, despite each country’s commitment to the Paris Agreement and their promise to formulate nationally determined contributions (NDC) of climate changing emissions.

Across the continent, foreign companies, supported by African governments, are putting profit before planet:

  1. ReconAfrica, a Canadian oil and gas company, is drilling for oil and gas in the Kavango Basin in north-east Namibia. The company’s 25-year production licence covers over 34,000 square kilometres. Major oil extraction threatens scarce water supplies and is likely to cause widespread ecological destruction to the Okavango Delta, a UNESCO World Heritage Site. It would also disrupt traditional livelihoods and displace indigenous communities.
  2. The Virunga National Park in the DRC is a ‘protected’ UNESCO World Heritage Site. It has a wealth of biodiversity but is threatened with oil exploration. UNESCO has appealed to the DRC government to cancel all oil exploration permits and focus rather on longer term sustainable development opportunities.
  3. The plan to build a heated pipeline that will carry crude oil from western Uganda through Tanzania to the Indian Ocean, the East African Crude Oil Pipeline (EACOP), will damage fragile ecosystems and displace families from their land. The Ugandan and Tanzanian Governments, the French oil company Total, and the China National Offshore Oil Corporation (CNOOC) have partnered in this agreement.
  4. Multiple foreign corporations (including Total) have invested in the offshore gas reserves of northern Mozambique. In spite of promises, the vast development has not benefitted local communities. People are losing their ancestral land and culture. Many young men have joined the Al-Shabab insurgency group making brutal attacks. Nearly 900,000 people have been internally displaced due to the violence. The Quirimbas National Park, a UNESCO Biosphere Reserve, will also be exposed to the impacts of dredging, waste disposal and construction.

As people of faith, we believe we have been given responsibility to care for, protect and preserve Africa’s magnificent creation. Therefore, we call for:

A. The immediate cessation of fossil fuel exploration across Africa.

B. The application of effective climate justice so that countries of Africa, disproportionately affected by climate change, may be enabled to leapfrog the polluting fossil fuel era into the clean renewable energy era.

C. An end to bribery and corruption by foreigners and multi-national companies to secure contracts from political leaders, with disastrous consequences for local communities.

D. A decisive and determined shift by governments to embrace a transition to a renewable energy future with its enormous job creation potential so that people and planet may breathe and thrive.

E. The recognition of Ecocide as a crime in national and international law. Ecocide is causing irreparable damage and destruction to ecosystems and harming the health and wellbeing of species, including humans.

Proposer: Rev Dr Andrew Warmback

Seconder: Rev Shaun Cozett

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News Provincial Synod

ACSA pledges ongoing support to IAMA

Provincial Synod 2021 passed the following resolution during the final sessions attended by the Dioceses in Mozambique and Angola:

MOTION ON IGREJA ANGLICANA DE MOZAMBIQUE E ANGOLA (IAMA)

This Provincial Synod,

Noting:

  1. The 2002 Provincial Synod decision;
  2. The Archbishop’s Charge 2019 on his vision for the establishment of a Portuguese-speaking Anglican Province in Southern Africa and the multiplication of the Dioceses in
    Angola and Mozambique (IAMA);
  3. Approval by the Anglican Communion for the establishment of such a Province;
  4. The work and support of Mrs Matlotlisang Mototjane, the Ven Horace Arenz (former PEO) and The Revd Dr Makhosi Nzimande (current PEO) and the efficacy and hard
    work of Archbishop Josiah and the Anglican Communion Standing Committee;

Acknowledging that thanks should be extended to:

  1. The four founding Bishops of IAMA, Bishop Carlos, Bishop Andre, Bishop Manuel, and Bishop Vicente for their vision and leadership;
  2. The former and current Provincial Executive Officers: Ven Horace Arenz and The Revd Dr. Makhosi Nzimande as well as the Provincial Executive Officer Administrator Mrs Matlotly Mototjane;
  3. Archbishop Josiah, the Anglican Communion Exploratory Committee and Canon Maggie Swinson, Chair of the Exploratory Committee and their team;

Confirming that:

  1. Appreciation and thanks are due to ACSA for its commitment to journeying with IAMA through the following:

1.1 Financial support of ½ million Rands per annum over five years;

1.2 Collaboration and support in Theological Education with The College of the Transfiguration, HOPE Africa, Green Anglicans, Youth Structure, ASF and other Provincial Bodies;

1.3 Sharing of knowledge of best practice in such areas as Safe and Inclusive Church, Canon Law Council, Anglican Board of Education and Provincial Secretariat matters;

Resolves to:

  1. Commit to walking with IAMA as we venture together in faith into the new Province.

Proposer: Acting Presiding Bishop Carlos Matsinhe
Seconder: Bishop Andre Soares

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News Provincial Synod

Provincial Synod backs Covid-19 vaccinations

Provincial Synod has called for the mandatory vaccination of clergy against Covid-19, and urged lay Anglicans to “to seriously consider vaccination as an act of love for both ourselves and our neighbour.”

Synod, meeting online, voted today for a resolution which said vaccinations for clergy are necessary because they visit people who are vulnerable to Covid-19 infection. The resolution noted that numbers of people in church congregations are vulnerable as a result of of age or comorbidities.

The vote was taken after a presentation to Synod earlier this week by Professor Koleka Mlisana, co-chair of South Africa’s Ministerial Advisory Committee on Coronavirus, which raised concerns about declining vaccination rates.

Professor Mlisana told the synod that South Africa should be vaccinating 300,000 people every day, but in the 24 hours ending on September 21 had vaccinated only 195,000. The average number of people being vaccinated every day had declined by nearly 10 percent compared to a week earlier.

In another presentation to the synod, Professor Adrian Puren of the National Institute for Communicable Diseases also highlighted the importance of vaccinating as many people as possible.

Some opposition to mandatory vaccinations was voiced on grounds ranging from selected individuals being advised against it by their doctors to concern that clergy were not employees. However, when put to the vote the resolution was passed by a majority.

The full text of the resolution follows:

MOTION ARISING OUT OF THE ARCHBISHOP’S CHARGE

This Provincial Synod

Noting that

1. The declaration of a global pandemic by the World Health Organisation for the COVID-19 virus has also affected our common life as church. 

2. The expertise developed by the WHO and world’s medical scientists point to vaccinations as key to defeating the pandemic.

3. Our prophetic stance requires that our response takes into account the consensus of medical science that vaccinating as many people as possible is necessary to bring the pandemic under control.

4. The Archbishop in his charge reminded us that “in a deadly pandemic, the right of your neighbour to Life inevitably circumscribes your right to do as you like”, and “further asked us to “to take seriously our prophetic role in society when we debate this matter.”

5. There are diverse views regarding vaccination and there are those who believe strongly in vaccination and those that are opposed to vaccination.

6. That in 1 Cor 8:9 in dealing with an issue dividing the church over food offered to idols, Paul urges ‘But take care that this liberty of yours does not somehow become a stumbling block to the weak.’

Acknowledging:

1. The work of the ACSA  COVID-19 Advisory Team in its advice and guidance to the Province and commending  the information video they have made available  for use within all worship services.

2. That the COVID pandemic continues to wreak havoc in our common life as parishes and affects both clergy and laity alike.

3. That the National Covid Command Council in South Africa predicts a likely fourth wave later this year.

4. The fact that vaccinations have not always been used for good and that this has caused fear and suspicion in the hearts and minds of our communities and our members.

5. The controversy and debate around the science of vaccinations as well as the need for compulsory vaccination which is adding to vaccine hesitancy in our communities and members.

6. That our theology as Anglicans encourages us to be bound by ties of love and also to remember that we are our sister and brother’s keeper.

7. The need for a theological response which will assists our member to engage with the scientific and legal debates and be able to journey in the deepening of our faith to live in fullness to our calling.

Resolves to

1. Support the call from the Archbishop for the mandatory vaccination of all clergy on the grounds that of necessity they have to be close to other people, they visit vulnerable people to provide pastoral care and numbers of people in our congregations are vulnerable by virtue of age or comorbidities. 

2. Request the ACSA Covid Advisory Team in collaboration with the Southern African Anglican Theological Commission’s Chairperson to prepare a theological response to guide the wider church in fulfilling its prophetic role regarding its position on vaccination and that this be available to the Dioceses by the end of October 2021 for ongoing education of our members. Urges all laity to seriously consider vaccination as an act of love for both ourselves and our neighbour.

3. Encourage all to continue to be vigilant in observing all protocols and regulations relating to the prevention of the further spread of the virus.

4. Request the ACSA Covid Advisory Committee to make available inputs on vaccination to all Dioceses via social media by Prof Adrian Puren of the National Institute for Communicable Diseases and Prof Koleka Mlisana, co-chair of South Africa’s Ministerial Advisory Committee on Coronavirus. 

5. Request that statistics on vaccinations within ACSA be reviewed at Provincial Standing Committee in 2022. 

Proposed: Ms Tebogo Molefe, Diocese of Johannesburg

Seconder: Bishop Raphael Hess of Saldanha Bay

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Provincial Notices Synod of Bishops

Synod of Bishops – September 2021 – Communiqué

A PDF version of this Communiqué, issued after the Synod’s meeting on September 20th and 21st is available below the text.


Communiqué

I wish you to be shepherds with ‘the smell of the sheep’” – Pope Francis

The Synod of Bishops of the Anglican Church of Southern Africa held our September meeting over two days on a virtual platform this year. The previous day the Synod spent a difficult but rewarding day in discerning the mind of Christ to fill two vacant Dioceses. We are glad to announce that Bishop Brian Marajh will assume the episcopal seat in Kimberley and Kuruman, and the Revd Dr Vicentia Kgabe has become the Bishop-Elect of Lesotho. The Bishops also agreed to the translation of Bishop Vicente Msosa of Niassa to the newly-established Missionary Diocese of Zambezia. The Synod of Bishops also, albeit reluctantly, agreed to the retirement of Bishop Luke Pato of Namibia.

This Synod of Bishops was a special occasion in the sense that it was the last time that the Bishops from our Portuguese-speaking Dioceses shared with us in our deliberations. We were joined by the Vicars-General of the newly established Dioceses of the Igreja Anglicana de Mozambique e Angola (IAMA).

Great gratitude and appreciation were expressed to Vicars-General who all excelled in providing leadership in vacant Dioceses, a number for unusually long periods during coronavirus lockdowns. The Bishops voted unanimously in favour of them being conferred with the title of Honorary Provincial Canon. The Synod of Bishops reflected on the implementation of the new Canon 4. In six elections that used the new provisions, only one Diocese was able to elect a Bishop. It was agreed that more fine-tuning to Canon 4 is needed if it is to serve the ACSA more effectively. A motion to this effect was passed by Synod and will now serve before Provincial Synod. The motion will ask Provincial Synod to approve the increase of the number of ballots from eight to ten before an election is referred to the Synod of Bishops. This arrangement will be valid only until the next Provincial Synod in 2024.

The Synod of Bishops discussed and endorsed a report proposing that the Diocese of Natal consider multiplying by establishing new, smaller Dioceses. Synod noted the positive experiences of Dioceses in other regions which have multiplied in the past, and the solid case which the Diocese of Natal presented for multiplication. It resolved to support the consideration of a motion on the matter at Provincial Synod. It also noted the need for a formal motion from the Synod of the Diocese of Natal to Provincial Synod in order to meet the requirements for due diligence.

Advocate Pansy Tlakula, Chairperson of the Information Regulator (South Africa), and a team from her office addressed Synod on the complexities of the Protection of Personal Information Act (POPIA) and its implications for ACSA. Synod of Bishops learnt that as long as personal information is used for the purpose for which it was gathered we should not have problems. ACSA is to ensure that each Diocese and each parish must see to the appointment and registration of a POPIA compliance officer. The golden rule to adhere to in order to ensure compliance is G-O-D: personal information is to be Gathered, Organised (kept safe), and Destroyed when appropriate.

The Synod of Bishops learnt from Bishop Dintoe Letloenyane, Liaison Bishop for the youth, of the positive spirit amongst our youth. They seem to rise to opportunities in the midst of the COVID pandemic. Their ready use of online platforms to celebrate children and young people; the development of liturgies that are used to great effect on virtual platforms; their consistent messages to their peers not to be tempted to take part in the looting and arson in South Africa in early July; and their call to refrain from alcohol and substance abuse which the lockdown experiences seem to encourage are all positive and encouraging signs.

We rejoiced at the news of the publication of an abridged version of the Anglican Prayer Book in the Kwanyama language (indigenous to Namibia).

Canon Rosalie Manning from the Safe and Inclusive Church Network reminded the Bishops about the need to have on file from clerics (and bishops) any possible adverse information as to their conduct relating to the different categories of abuse. The Synod of Bishops was deeply saddened when it needed to confirm a Diocesan Tribunal sentence of degradation of an accused priest. The charges included sexual harassment.

The Bishops received a challenging report from the working group on Guidelines for Couples in Same Sex Unions. The need for a possible pastoral response was again emphasised and it was referred to Dioceses for further study. One of the slides in the presentation summed up our present situation: “Human Sexuality: our discomfort in talking about it. Our difficulty in learning about it. Could result in our misunderstanding of it, render us impotent in responding to it.”

Canon Manning gave us an update, on behalf of the ACSA COVID-19 Provincial Advisory Team, on our legal obligations in terms of the COVID-19 protocols. She also shared statistics and the impact of the pandemic and how it has brought about other challenges, for example, in areas such as mental health and Gender-Based Violence. Synod agreed to endorse the call for all to be vaccinated against COVID-19.

The Chairperson of the Task Team on Discrimination in Anglican Schools, Professor Mary Metcalfe, gave a progress report. The team have started to engage with heads and other representatives of Anglican schools. The engagements are a way of seeking collaboration to address discrimination at our Diocesan schools. The Bishops and Vicars-General were encouraged to take leadership in these initiatives.

Professor N Barney Pityana, who heads the Archbishop’s Commission on the College of the Transfiguration, Theological Education and Ministerial Formation, spoke powerfully on the challenges and opportunities which COVID presents to the Church when he referred to the special spiritual and theological moments which we are presented with during the pandemic. Deep questions about who and what we are must be reflected on in theological terms. At present our focus on Mission and Evangelism is compromised and we seem to shy away from grappling with and exploring the difficult questions which our present context presents.

Synod of Bishops received a report from Bishop Carlos Matsinhe of Lebombo on the development of the new Province of IAMA. We noted the consent of the Primates of the Communion to the establishment of the new Province, the adoption of the Constitution and Canons in the first Provincial Synod held on the 1st of September 2021, the creation of eight new dioceses, and the appointment of Vicars-General. The Bishops endorsed the process and commended it to Provincial Synod for final approval.

We gave thanks for the sterling work of the outgoing director of Growing the Church, the Revd Trevor Pearce and welcomed the appointment of his successor, the Revd Bruce Woolley. The Bishops pray that the Province will share their excitement about the upcoming Anglicans Ablaze Conference. ACSA will be hosting an international conference, so it will be good to see solid support from home.

Membership of the Provincial Order of Simon of Cyrene was to be conferred on Ms Di Oliver and Advocate Ronnie Bracks. The Revd Courtney Sampson and Revd Rachel Mash were to be bestowed with the Archbishop’s Award for Peace with Justice. We noted with pride the Lambeth decorations in the form of the Cross of St Augustine for Services to the Anglican Communion to the Revd Dr Rachel Mash and Bishop Luke Pato, and the Langton Award for Community Service to the late Bishop Ellinah Wamukoya.

PDF version follows:

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News Provincial Synod

Synod gives thumbs-down to plastic

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

This Provincial Synod,

Noting that:

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

Acknowledging that:

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

Resolves to:

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

Proposer: Lulama Ntuta, Diocese of the Highveld

Seconder: Maria Van Staden, Mothers’ Union

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News Provincial Synod

Synod urges Anglicans to build bridges between Muslims & Jews

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

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

The full text of the resolution follows.

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

Motion: Peace in the Middle East (as amended)

This Provincial Synod, noting that:

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

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

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

Calls on every Diocese and every Parish therein to:

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

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

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

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

God bless the people of the Middle East;

Protect its vulnerable children;

Transform it’s divided leaders;

Heal their wounded communities,

Restore their human dignity,

and given them lasting peace.

Amen.

Proposer: The Ven Forbes Maupa of the Diocese of Natal

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

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News Provincial Synod

Synod calls for Lambeth Conference to act on Palestine

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

The Synod resolution, adopted with three abstentions, reads:

LAMBETH CONFERENCE SUPPORTING PALESTINE

This Provincial Synod,

Noting that:

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

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

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

Acknowledging that:

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Affirming that:

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

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

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

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

Resolves to:

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

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

Proposer: Bishop Luke Pato of Namibia

Seconder: Bishop Charles May of the Highveld

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Provincial Synod

Peace in the Middle East

The following motivation for the Synod resolution on Peace in the Middle East was presented by the Right Revd Luke Pretorius, Bishop of St Mark the Evangelist, who seconded the resolution:

It is my understanding that in the matter of Israel and Palestine many have taken sides. They are either for Palestine and against Israel or are for Israel and against everyone else.

The situation is however far more vexed and complex that which can be decided by a taking of sides; of drawing a line in the sand and demanding that people join you on your side of the line.

I support this motion, because it does not deny the observable fact that people are suffering and that human right’s abuses have and are taking place, nor does this motion present a simple solution by blaming one or the other; I support this motion because it strives to take seriously the wisdom of listening to all sides, of prayer and reflection, and of then being led to an opinion which is far more considered and based on the requirement of justice for all – and which therefore would be willing to point fingers at all involved in this violence and human rights’ abuses.

The risk of taking this course of exploration of the situation, of listening and querying and of prayer, is that it is slower and that those suffering are thereby expected to suffer longer while we do our thinking.

I have no easy answer to this valid criticism, except to suggest that it is our inaction to date which is more to blame rather than the proposal contained in this motion being at fault. I would rather do the right thing slowly than ‘take sides’ quickly having been led by any group opinion simply to show my support for justice.

It is, Your Grace and members of Synod, for these reasons I support this motion. I yearn for peace and justice; I yearn to be educated on the matters affecting he Middle East so that I may arrive at a considered opinion which permits me to care for all the oppressed and challenge all oppressors without fear or favour or bias which fails to recognise there may be wrong on both sides.

This motion calls us as the Anglican Church of Southern Africa to be peace-makes and bridge-builders through drawing together different religious and social communities in order to learn from one another, to hear their experiences and to acknowledge their fears. To creating an open space to listen and learn and facilitate the true Peace and Shalom of God.

I thank you.

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News Provincial Synod

Provincial Synod condemns anti-Semitism and Islamophobia

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

The full text of the resolution follows.

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

4.1 DEFINING ISLAMOPHOBIA AND ANTI-SEMITISM

This Provincial Synod,

Noting that:

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

Acknowledging that:

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

Resolves to adopt the following internationally accepted definitions:

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

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

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Provincial Synod

“Defining Islamophobia and Anti-Semitism”

The following motivation for the Synod resolution on Islamophobia and anti-Semitism was presented by the Right Revd Brian Marajh, Bishop of George, and Bishop-Elect of Kimberley and Kuruman:

Your Grace, members of Provincial Synod, 

The Anglican Church of Southern Africa has gone on record many times, including at this Synod, to state that “all forms of Antisemitism and Islamophobia should be condemned in the strongest terms”. But what is Islamophobia and Antisemitism and what are we condemning in the strongest terms?

In many respects, Islamophobia cannot be separated from modern Antisemitism because they share similar traits, most noticeably racism based on perceived racial features, ethnic appearances, and cultural practices. 

Black South Africans know all too well what it is like to be profiled on this basis, something that was formalized under Apartheid, but continues to this day in many spaces dominated by a White gaze, like historical Whites’ only suburbs. Many of us sitting in this Provincial Synod from South Africa have experienced racism so can sympathize with the motion set before us. But other countries in ACSA have had their share of colonial oppression, so can also relate to the problem of discrimination based on race or religion.

September 11 this year marked twenty years since planes were flown into the Twin Towers and Pentagon buildings in the United States of America. Muslims in America and many other parts of the Western world faced increased Islamophobia. Political and social reactions to September 11 fueled ignorance, bigotry and violence towards Muslims. Young Muslims have experienced being bullied and intimated in schools and universities, often with the taunt to “Go back to your country”, despite being born in, and citizens of, their home country.  

Before September 11 (2001), Muslims were like many others in a random melting pot of cultures in Western countries. After September 11, they felt as if they were viewed as terrorists simply because they were Muslim. Muslim’s reported being treated with suspicion or called names in public spaces, or repeatedly singled out by airport security to this day. Sikh men (who wear turbans as part of their religion) were mistaken for being Muslim and so also became a target, because they conformed to a Westernised concept of Muslims.  You do not therefore have to be Muslim to be a victim of Islamophobia, you simply have to look like somebody else’s concept of one.

All the countries in ACSA have a Muslim presence.  Yet Muslims, in many respects, battle to be treated as equal citizens in these countries. In some countries Islam is not recognized as an official state religion.  Muslim women experience being ridiculed for wearing the hijab. Muslim young people encounter resistance to them wearing a head scarf or sporting a beard in schools. In South Africa, a mosque in Kalk Bay was smeared with pig’s blood and one in Simon’s Town had a pig’s snout placed at its entrance. 

The United Nations Special Rapporteur on Contemporary Forms of Racism, Racial Discrimination, Xenophobia and Related Intolerance defines Islamophobia as,

“a fear, prejudice and hatred of Muslims or non-Muslim individuals that leads to provocation, hostility and intolerance by means of threatening, harassment, abuse, incitement and intimidation of Muslims and non-Muslims, both in the online and offline world. Motivated by institutional, ideological, political and religious hostility that transcends into structural and cultural racism which targets the symbols and markers of a being a Muslim.”

No definition is perfect, yet this definition is recognized by the United Nations as a good starting point and we can therefore surmise it is also a good starting point for this Provincial Synod.

In regard to Antisemitism, Jewish people have been a very small minority in Southern Africa from the earliest days of colonialization. Within the British Empire they were treated as second class citizens. This did not change with the rise of Afrikaner nationalism and the same ideology that gave rise to Apartheid racism also fueled Antisemitism.  Although Jews were accorded the status of “Europeans”, they were not accepted as equals in White society and several sports club, for example, had an exclusive “Europeans Only and No Jews” policy. Speaking about South Africa, DF Malan, in an interview with a newspaper in 1931, said, “it is very easy to rouse a feeling of hate towards the Jews in this country.”  

Despite the tragedy of the Holocaust and an international commitment to fight Antisemitism, antisemitic incidents have recently risen to levels not seen since World War II. Extreme Antisemitic content is found across a range of social media platforms, with comments such as ‘#HitlerWasRight’, ‘Happy Holocaust’, and ‘Peace be upon Hitler’.  

Jews in recent years have been intimidated for wearing jewelry that is identifiably Jewish or religious clothing associated with being Jewish. Even non-Jews have become victims because of being mistaken for being Jewish. For example, a Lebanese Christian was attacked in Los Angeles earlier this year – this is like a Sikh person being attacked for looking like a Muslim! The largest percentage of hate crimes against a minority in America are now against Jewish people.

Sadly, Jewish people in Southern Africa have not been exempt from this ugly trend.

Like Islamophobia, a definition of Antisemitism is equally hard to quantify, but the United Nations Special Rapporteur on Contemporary Forms of Racism, Racial Discrimination, Xenophobia and Related Intolerance recommends the International Holocaust Remembrance Alliance definition:

“Antisemitism is a certain perception of Jews, which may be expressed as hatred toward Jews. Rhetorical and physical manifestations of antisemitism are directed toward Jewish or non-Jewish individuals and/or their property, toward Jewish community institutions and religious facilities.”

These two definitions are set before this Provincial Synod in the motion “Defining Islamophobia and Antisemitism” so that the Anglican church is empowered to identify and condemn Islamophobia and Antisemitism in the strongest terms, as stated at our previous Provincial Synod.

I therefore propose this motion for adoption.

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News Provincial Synod

Honours awarded to laity & clergy at Synod

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

AWARDS AND DECORATIONS

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

Full text of the Archbishop’s Charge to Provincial Synod 2021

Read the Archbishop’s Charge online here:
https://archbishop.anglicanchurchsa.org/2021/09/archbishops-charge-to-provincial-synod.html

A PDF version of the Archbishop’s Charge is available here: