Thursday, 26 March 2015

Listen: Archbishop Thabo's Reflection for Palm Sunday

Archbishop Thabo Makgoba wraps up our Lenten series with a reflection for Palm Sunday.

Reading: Mark 15:1-39

Next week: Archbishop Thabo's Easter reflection

References for this week:
William Booth, founder of the Salvation Army (1829–1912)
Elie Wiesel, Holocaust surviver, Nobel Peace Prize 1986 (1928-)
Timothy Rees, Bishop of Llandaff (1874-1939)
Edmund Burke, Irish political philosopher (1729-1797)
Michael Mayne, Dean of Westminster (1929–2006)

Archbishop to deliver Bishop AH Zulu Memorial Lecture

Archbishop Thabo Makgoba of Cape Town is to deliver a memorial lecture honouring the Right Revd. Alphaeus Zulu, former Bishop of Zululand, in Durban on Monday March 30.

Alphaeus Hamilton Zulu, born in 1905, was a pioneering leader of the Anglican Church of Southern Africa. 

Initially a teacher, he was ordained a priest when he was in his 30s and served for many years at St Faith's Mission in Durban. During this time, he became one of the founders of Iviyo lofakazi bakaKristu, a renowned movement in the Anglican Church. 

He was the first black South African to be consecrated an Anglican bishop, becoming Bishop Suffragan of the old St. John's Diocese in 1960. He then became the first black diocesan bishop, serving as Bishop of Zululand from 1966 until his retirement in 1975. During this time, he was also a regional President of the World Council of Churches.

After he retired, he was appointed Speaker of the KwaZulu Legislative Assembly from 1978 to 1987.

Details of the AH Zulu Memorial Lecture

Date:  Monday March 30, 2015

Time:  16h00

Place: St. Faith's Parish
           80 Carlisle Street
           Durban, 4001



On Tuesday March 24 2015, the National Church Leaders Forum – which was recently launched as part of the South African Council of Churches renewal program – announced its intention to address the increasing dissonance within the South African socio-political space.

As a body of church leaders across the broader South African spectrum, the Forum is alarmed at the perceived "cancer of corruption" rapidly chipping away at the core of the South African moral fibre from every angle of our society; the creeping disregard for the Constitution as well as the debilitating instability playing itself out at key government and parastatal institutions. These all reflect a worrying trend that, if left unchecked, could prove dire for the future stability of this country.

The church leaders are calling on South African churches to commit themselves to pray and act for the advancement of the South African post-apartheid promise. This call is extended to all South Africans. The goal is to realise a just, reconciled, prosperous and equitable society; free of hunger and want, free of racial, tribal and gender prejudices, free of corruption and deprivation, and with enough food and shelter for every citizen.

The SACC will shortly be announcing its participation in the War of Poverty, in collaboration with all three tiers of government, building on existing pilot programs with proven success.

It is clear that the church body cannot achieve this on its own, and in light of the national crisis experienced, and the urgent need to restore and raise up the great South African promise of a reconciled and prosperous society with enough for all, the National Church Leaders Forum calls on all willing South Africans to observe three special moments of prayer in the next two months. 

These moments of prayer will take place on Good Friday April 3; On the Eve of Freedom Day, April 26; and on The Day of Pentecost, May 24.

On Good Friday April the 3rd, the Forum intends to pray to ease the load of pain being experienced in our homes, communities and the nation.  As a society, a time for reflection is required on the various ills that plague our society, including but not limited to wanton rape and domestic violence, abandoned families and children without care, fearsome crime that is holding society (especially women and children) hostages at home and unsafe in public places, and rampant corruption in government and in business which compounds the challenges of poverty and deprivation.

On April 26, the Sunday before Freedom Day:

The Church leaders call on church members to recognize the 21st Anniversary of Democracy, and on the occasion to pray for the promise of South Africa: The post-apartheid promise of a just, reconciled and equitable society, free of racial, tribal and gender prejudices, free of corruption and deprivation, and with enough food and shelter for every citizen; and for each child born to grow to their God given potential.

The call is to pray for the fullness of freedom to come of age at 21, that the road towards overcoming the conditions that deny us the joy of the promise of South Africa, may be paved with our efforts beyond Freedom Day 2015.

On the Day of Pentecost on May 24:

The Church leaders call on churches to use this major festival of the Holy Spirit to pray for God to empower their 2015 efforts to eradicate poverty in their midst, and for them to have the discipline to not participate in corruption, and the courage to rebuke those within their range who do corruption; even leaders in government and business.

To pray the 1897 prayer of Enoch Sontonga:
Yihla Moya oyiNgcwele, usisikelele thina lusapho lwayo (iAfrika) -
Come Holy Spirit and bless us children of Africa;
Morena boloka sechaba sa heso!

The National Church Leaders Forum hopes that all the people of South Africa and all those who reside within its borders will join in prayer on those days, in an effort to ensure that as this great country of ours comes of age, it reclaims its position as a beacon of hope and equality.

Tuesday, 24 March 2015

Homily for the Induction of the Revd Roger Cameron as CEO of ABESA

Archbishop Thabo Makgoba
Induction of the Revd Roger Cameron as CEO of ABESA
St Mary’s School – Waverley, 17h00
24 March 2015

1 Timothy 1:15-17, Luke 6:43-49
May I speak in the name of God who knows each tree by its fruits and who separates the bad tree from the good one. Amen.
Dear Brothers and Sisters in Christ, let me repeat what a great delight it is to be with you and to be licensing and inducting Roger as CEO of ABESA tonight.
Roger, we offer you hearty congratulations on this appointment and we warmly welcome you and Ann to this key ministry of our Church.
Let me also congratulate the Board on this appointment, an excellent choice. We know that Roger comes with extensive experience in educational excellence and a deep mature, Christian faith. We look forward to harnessing these good fruits for both the Church and the nations of ACSA.
Roger, I am confident -- if I may paraphrase St Paul in 1 Timothy when he says, “the saying is sure and full of acceptance” – that as you serve God through ABESA, you will be an example to those who would come to believe in Christ for eternal life.  As St Luke says, your leadership and development of ABESA will be characterized by good decisions, for the common good, as a viceroy for God’s Kingdom here on earth. 
The Lukan Jesus expects you to discern that which is life-giving and that which is not; that you participate with ACSA as we heed God’s call to be a community of good persons, out of whose hearts good will be produced. Luke says that good decisions and good direction can only come from godly discernment. This should be rooted in and informed by an assurance and belief in God’s abundant love and care for that which God has entrusted you: the care and nurture of His young. Elsewhere, we read that this is the God who out of the store of His treasure takes things that are old and new (Matthew 23:52).
Friends, like Roger and ABESA, we are called at this prestigious occasion to be “good persons who out of the treasure of our hearts produce good.”
What might this good be? What is this treasure? Or, if you like, what are the good fruits, as opposed to the bad fruits, that we are expected to know?  In other words what is the context in which Roger, and all of us, are called to serve?  Are we able to read the signs of our times?
Allow me to paint my feelings about our context with the words of Dickens in the novel, “A Tale of Two Cities”:
It was the best of times, it was the worst of times, it was the age of wisdom, it was the age of foolishness, it was the epoch of belief, it was the epoch of incredulity, it was the season of Light, it was the season of Darkness, it was the spring of hope, it was the winter of despair, we had everything before us, we had nothing before us, we were all going direct to Heaven, we were all going direct the other way...
Dickens’ message in this book is an optimistic one – a message about the possibilities of transformation for a better future. These possibilities are realized in the transforming contribution of the Anglican Church of Southern Africa within the education sector that can provide an enduring legacy. ACSA’s past involvement and transformation of education is a metaphor for the transformation of the lives of the South Africans. We know that in spite of having lost a number of our Anglican schools to apartheid in the 1950s, some have overcome these adversities. They are now leading the pack, as among the best schools in Southern Africa. This is the good fruit that overcame the bad fruit – the policies that sought to make the black child inferior. Our schools stood up and against the odds admitted children of all colours.
But we can still do better. I believe that, and our Church believes that. This is the hope we espouse and the achievement we yearn for when we say in our Vision Statement, Anglican ACT :

  •        Anchored – in the love of Christ
  •        Committed – to God’s Mission
  •        Transformed – by the Holy Spirit

and when we also say in our Mission Statement, across the diverse countries and cultures of our region, that 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.

The missional priority, “protection and nurture of the young“, is the key educational peg that makes our mission and vision statement a reality in educational provision. ABESA however, takes the priority from just an aspirational statement, in the list of six other priorities and unpacks it: what needs to be done, or perhaps what the church sees as an overarching job description for Roger and KPA for ABESA.
On my part, I desire that each young person may grow into a contributing member of society; an effective citizen of the world, who can be part of life solutions at every level, personal and professional – the good fruit and the sure Christian that our lessons talk about. ABESA and our Province have articulated our objectives as follows:
  •         To support existing church schools,
  •         to galvanize parish and community involvement, and
  •         to establish high quality accessible Christian schools.

To quote the letter of the 25th of June 2014 written by the chairman, Bishop Peter Lee, and the CEO, Roger, they aptly and succinctly state that:
“We need to take courage under the banner of the Anglican Church and do what we can to make a significant difference to the lives of boys and girls throughout Southern Africa. Without doubt strong high quality accessible Christian Schools with teachers who have a sense of vocation, who create a disciplined learning environment and enable boys and girls to reach their dreams are an ideal and reality that needs to be achieved”.
They end by appealing for you to be part of this exciting initiative and for your support in achieving this vision. This is the undertaking that ABESA has placed before itself, all of you, and the nations comprising the ACSA.  This is what we are licensing Roger to lead.
Our shared hope and prayer is that ABESA will develop young people intellectually, socially and spiritually, thus preparing them to take great responsibility in the world of possibilities and opportunities that Dickens talks about.
            This vision and undertaking by ABESA’s Board and and the whole of ACSA prompts me to revisit two key questions: 
  •         Firstly, what actually is the task of education; and 
  •         Secondly, what, in the light of our answer, is the true vocation of schools within Southern Africa in the unfolding years of the twenty-first century?

The simplistic response might be that the role of schools is to pursue and disseminate learning. But this begs the question of what constitutes learning. As I said when inaugurated as Chancellor of the University of the Western Cape, it is of course far more than the accumulation and communication of information; facts and figures, opinions and arguments, practices and procedure. For theory cannot be abstracted from the human context of surrounding societies and the wider world. Elsewhere in my writings, I have contextualized this by calling for the “New Struggle”. In the New Struggle, we will work as a collective in defining and addressing the questions that face us today. The ‘we’ -- as opposed to the ‘me’ -- is necessary to guide us as we pursue the kingdom values, of which Ubuntu values form a part; as we take into cognizance the needs and the aspirations of our society. The New Struggle is about risk-taking and not tolerating “failure”. It calls for a national dialogue to recover and reach consensus on the values that we need to live by if we are to hold each other and our leaders accountable. We need to teach those values to our children, or inequality of opportunity will continue to be pervasive in our society. Simply put, it is the right thing to do. The New Struggle is about acting with courage and it is to this that we are committing ourselves as the Anglican Church through ABESA.
What then is the task? The task of education should be understanding the world in which we live, the world from which our students come and to which they return. Education must fit us for engagement with such a changing world.
What we need then is beyond mere knowledge – understanding, perhaps, but what resonates for me best is to be rooted in the foundation – Jesus. This is what enables us to stand firm in the midst of the struggles and storms of this world; and enables us to be – so to speak – part of the solution and not part of the problem.
To paraphrase the lessons again, the parables of our Gospel readings denote wrestling with choices between good and evil. However, the mercy we receive from Jesus Christ enables us to obtain the wisdom of God in making correct choices in life. We have chosen to bear good fruits. So I want to encourage you to go beyond the evil of the past – the bad fruit, the apartheid system – and the current bad fruit – poor educational results – to producing good fruit – by supporting schools, assisting state schools and building new high quality, credible, Christian schools.
Roger and the ABESA Board, I want to assure you of the support of the Synod of Bishops and our Provincial structures in this work that you are undertaking. Remember that you will need to form good and credible partnerships to succeed. 
Drink from the well of our current Anglican independent Schools, other independent schools, the Independent Schools Association of Southern Africa, and our public schools, as you establish new quality Christian and accessible Anglican schools.

Let us pray:  

Lord God of all truth,
Anchor us in the love of Christ,
Commit us to your Mission, and
Transform us by the power of your Spirit
So that we may live lives of faithful
Worship, witness and service,
For the glory of your holy Name.

Congratulations once again, Roger.

CEO of Anglican Board of Education to be Licensed

Archbishop Thabo Makgoba of Cape Town will today license the Revd Roger Cameron, recently-retired head of St. John's College, Johannesburg, as the Chief Executive Officer of the Anglican Board of Education in Southern Africa (ABESA).

"This is a significant event in the life of the Church," said Archbishop Makgoba. "I am exhilarated by the potential of ABESA to reclaim the Church's role in education and thus promote what I call 'the new struggle' to create opportunities for young people in practical ways.

"It is one of my key ambitions to build new, quality Christian schools, easily accessible to all. We also want to galvanise parishioners to be involved and to work with existing independent schools in creating new opportunities for young people."

The licensing will be attended by Bishop Peter Lee, who chairs ABESA, and Bishop Steve Moreo of Johannesburg.

Thursday, 19 March 2015

Listen to Dr Vicentia Kgabe's Reflection for Lent V

Dr Vicentia Kgabe, Rector of the College of the Transfiguration in Grahamstown, South Africa, reflecting on the story, in John's Gospel, of the Greeks who came asking to see Jesus at the Passover festival, asks who young people might want to see today. Is it Beyoncé, or Miley Cyrus, or Patrice Motsepe, or even CR7 or AB de Villiers?
Reading: John 12: 20-33

Next week, Palm Sunday:
Archbishop Thabo