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.

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:


  • 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
Provincial Notices Provincial Synod

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

Read the Archbishop’s Charge online here:

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

Provincial Synod

2021 Provincial Synod Agenda books

1st Agenda Book [pdf] >>

2nd Agenda Book [pdf] >>

Provincial Notices Provincial Synod

Appeal for proposals for Provincial Synod Resolutions

Dioceses and Synod representatives who wish to submit motions to be debated at Provincial Synod in September are notified to submit them by Tuesday July 13.

Provincial Synod will be held online from September 21-24 this year. Under the rules of Synod, notices of motion have to be submitted 10 weeks before Synod begins.

After that deadline, only motions arising from the Archbishop’s Charge, or concerning urgent matters which have arisen after July 13, may be considered.

Speaking at the most recent meeting of the Provincial Synod Advisory Committee, Archbishop Thabo Makgoba urged those wishing to submit matters for debate at Synod to do so timeously.

The deadline for submitting notice of Measures (legislation) has already passed.


Provincial Executive Officer

Provincial Notices Provincial Synod

Collect for Provincial Synod 2021

Please pray for the proceedings of Provincial Synod, to be held from September 21-24 this year:

Merciful God,

You call us to be your disciples,

Fill us and the Members of Provincial Synod with your love,

So that our faith may transform 

the world’s grief and pain into hope

For you live and reign 

in the unity of the blessed Trinity,

One God, now and forever.


Provincial Notices Provincial Synod

Theme for Provincial Synod

The theme adopted for Provincial Synod 2021, to be held in September:

ACSA Discipling Communities for a Changed World

Office of the Provincial Executive Officer

Provincial Synod

2019 Provincial Synod Acts and Resolutions

Download the Acts and Resolutions of the Thirty-Fifth Session of Provincial Synod, held in 2019, below:

News Synod of Bishops

Communiqué from the Synod of Bishops

Issued after their meeting from February 23 to 26, 2021.

Dear People of God,

Grace and Peace be with you!

The Synod of Bishops of the Anglican Church of Southern Africa met, prayed, discussed, and shared together under the leadership of Archbishop Thabo, Archbishop of Cape Town, and Metropolitan of the Anglican Church of Southern Africa.

Due to the restrictions imposed on our various nations due to the COVID-19 Pandemic, Synod of Bishops was held virtually. Notwithstanding the vagaries of technology and participants being occasionally disconnected, Synod was a success and the normal sense of collegiality enjoyed in our meetings was again evident.

The busy schedule centred around the daily offices and input from Mr Douglas Board, speaking from London, and Dr Annemarie Paulin-Campbell of the Jesuit Institute from Johannesburg. Their inputs on our Encounter with God, and our Spiritual Journey were deeply challenging and moving. Synod was inspired and empowered by their input, and deeply appreciative of the hard work put into their presentations.

Synod observed a moment of silence and offered prayers in memory of Bishop Ellinah Wamukoya who died recently from COVID-19 complications. She was a valued member of the Bench and will be greatly missed. May her soul rest in peace and rise in glory. Synod noted that the Archbishop of Canterbury has conferred, posthumously, the Langton Award for Community Service on Bishop Ellinah. The award, named after Stephen Langton (Archbishop of Canterbury in the 13th century), is made “for outstanding contributions to the community in accordance with the Church’s teaching”.

Synod of Bishops approved and gave authority under Article ii to dealing with Canon 4, Of the Election of Bishops, in the light of the lockdown restrictions imposed across all the countries of ACSA. This special resolution will permit the Archbishop to promulgate and hold Elective Assemblies, under special provisions, in those Dioceses currently without Episcopal leadership. The Elective Assemblies have twice been postponed due to lockdown restrictions, and it is imperative that we elect and consecrate episcopal leadership in these Dioceses. Synod expressed deep appreciation for the work of the Vicars-General who have served the Church so selflessly during this time of interregnum. Their ministry has gone above and beyond the call of duty.

Synod of Bishops gave further authority under Article ii on the holding of Vestries, Canon 27, that these may continue under the conditions approved by this Synod.

The motion approved at the last Provincial Standing Committee on Gender-Based Violence, and the need to increase the representation of women in positions of leadership in the local Church and the Province was endorsed. This important work was discussed in light of the serious threat posed by patriarchal dominance which seeks to destroy, often violently, the God-given ability of women and their call to leadership in the Church.

Synod of Bishops reflected on the challenges presented by the COVID-19 Pandemic. These included the economic and health issues before us. Time was spent exploring how we believe God is calling the church to minister and grow under these ‘new-normal’ circumstances.

Synod of Bishops noted the Provincial Synod to be held in September of this year, and the new date for the Lambeth Conference in 2022.

Synod was presented with the exciting and important developments within the Portuguese-speaking Dioceses of ACSA, which are to become a new Province in the Anglican Communion, named Igreja Anglicana de Moçambique e Angola (IAMA) (the Anglican Church of Mozambique and Angola). This development is indicative of the growth within ACSA for which we give God the glory. During Synod news from the Anglican Communion Office was received that approval has been granted for this project to continue in its exploration and preparation. Final approval for the creation of this new Province is still to be granted, but an important first step has been successfully completed.

Professor Mary Metcalfe, speaking on behalf of a highly qualified team, presented a progress report on their investigation into racism in Anglican Schools. This is an ongoing investigation. The work completed thus far has set a precedent for a way of listening and beginning the work of addressing the removal of the pain and disabling effect of racism, which for so many has been a lifetime of experience. It is clear this is a process and cannot be quickly addressed.

Lay Canon Rosalie Manning addressed Synod on both the Safe and Inclusive Church and Human Sexuality Commissions. The importance of this work cannot be over-estimated, and after discussion with the Bishops there was unanimous agreement that further work and training is required.

Synod noted the following with deep concern:

  • The impact of the insurgency in Cabo Delgado within the Diocese of Nampula in the north-eastern part of Mozambique, leading to loss of life and trauma for those living under this threat; and
  • The deteriorating situation in the Tigray Province of Ethiopia.

Synod expressed a unanimous desire that both these intolerable situations be addressed and resolved. Bishop Manuel Ernesto of Nampula was assured of our prayers at this time. The statement on Tigray published in the name of Archbishop Thabo was duly adopted. Synod also noted the damage inflicted on Mozambique by recent cyclones and assured the people of Mozambique of our prayers and support.

Synod was also told that the mortal remains which were exhumed during the building of the airport in St Helena are yet to be re-interred. Synod was requested to pray and bring moral pressure to bear for the remains to be accorded the dignity of reburial as a matter of urgency.

Several Bishops have been asked to stand in positions of leadership in both public and community life. Bishop Carlos of Lebombo chairs Mozambique’s National Elections Commission; Bishop Charles of the Highveld is the chair of the Church Unity Commission. It was also reported that the Revd Dr Vicentia Kgabe, Principal of the College of the Transfiguration, was invited to join the Board of the Theological Education by Extension College (TEEC). Synod also congratulated Bishop William, Christ the King and Bishop Vicente, Niassa, as well as Bishop Moses Madywabe and Bishop Eddie Daniels, on the anniversaries of their Consecrations. The news that the Revd Thandeka Vikilahle has been appointed as the first woman Dean of Mthatha was received with great joy.

A commitment was made to rediscover the important role the South African Anglican Theological Commission (SAATC) plays in our prophetic leadership and witness to the world. Bishop Raphael of Saldanha Bay chairs this Commission. There is a need to source additional and younger members of the Commission, and for discussion to filter deeper into the ACSA.

Time was spent exploring the role and future development of education in our Church. This included discussion on the important role of the College of the Transfiguration (CoTT), noting that the changing dynamics caused by the Pandemic and lockdown will necessitate a prayerful and bold process of envisioning. A strong plea was made that we support CoTT and not lose this heritage of which we can be justifiably proud. Synod approved the creation of a committee to explore further the developments already under way concerning CoTT.

Discussion also ensued on the role our Anglican Schools play in the life of the Diocese, the Church and Southern Africa. These schools play an important part in the life of the church and require our full support. Synod noted that the position of Executive Director of the Anglican Board of Education (ABE) is being advertised due to the contract with the Revd Roger Cameron having concluded. Synod expressed grateful appreciation for the sterling work and ministry of the Revd Roger Cameron. Synod agreed he would be made an Honorary Canon of the Province.

Synod of Bishops received a report from Bishop Dintoe, Free State, on our young people. Great appreciation was expressed for their leadership and life within the church and assured them of the support of the Bench of Bishops, and of our desire to see them assume their rightful place in the life of the church as an investment for our future and as an asset at this time.

Synod of Bishops discussed the issues around the motion from Provincial Synod giving the ACSA’s support for Palestine. A group appointed by the Archbishop has endeavoured to listen to both sides of the debate and has agreed to continue offering support to the people of Palestine in the light of the oppression and restrictions imposed upon them. The similarities with Apartheid cannot be ignored. Neither can we ignore that Scripture is used to condone this oppression. The use of Scripture challenges both the gospel and the church to address this issue in the light of Christ. In this we note the motion did not support the use of violence on either side of this conflict. Synod takes this matter seriously and has asked the Archbishop to bring it before Lambeth 2022.

Synod of Bishops gave their approval of a petition questioning the granting of permission for fracking in the Kavango Region of Namibia. The probability of environmental degradation occurring due to fracking is too great to ignore and must be carefully investigated before permission is granted. Synod was unanimous that drilling must be halted with immediate effect.

Bishop Charles, the Synod’s Liaison Bishop for the SACC, tabled an SACC Statement on the danger of South Africa being destabilised by the refusal of witnesses to appear before the Commission of Inquiry into State Capture. Synod shared the SACC’s concern that disrespect for the law can destabilise South Africa. Given the country’s immediate past, South Africa cannot afford such a threat. Synod of Bishops supports the SACC’s call and asks parishioners to be vigilant in ensuring equality before the law for all. We call on all to respect and work to uphold the law. No one is or should be above the law.

In these uncertain times, the words of the First Letter of Peter on hope ring true: “Cast all your anxiety on Jesus because he cares for you.” (1 Peter 5:7) May it be so for each of you. Amen

[The Communique has been updated since first published to add the concern over St Helena, to correct the name of the new Province, and to make two other small corrections.]