Wednesday, 17 August 2016

Provincial Synod to debate proposal for pastoral care for LGBTI members

The forthcoming Provincial Synod is to decide on a proposal to make formal provision for pastoral care to church members identifying as gay and lesbian.

The proposal is contained in a motion included in the 2nd Agenda Book for Synod, which is being sent to Dioceses this week.

Announcing the proposal, Archbishop Thabo Makgoba said:

"The motion, tabled by the Diocese of Saldanha Bay, proposes that any bishop of the church who wishes to do so may make provision for her or his clergy to provide pastoral care to those who identify as LGBTI.

"This proposal affirms the assurance already given by our bishops that church members who identify as LGBTI are loved by God and share in full membership of our Church as baptised members of the Body of Christ.

"More controversially, the motion also proposes that clergy who identify as LGBTI and are in legal same-sex civil unions should be licensed to minister in our parishes.

"It also suggests that 'prayers of blessing' should be able to be offered for those in same-sex civil unions. However, it specifically rules out the possibility of marriage under church law.

"It also accepts that any cleric unwilling to take part in providing pastoral care to people who identify as LGBTI shall not be obliged to do so."

The Archbishop added: "Without anticipating what Synod will decide, this debate is overdue in the top councils of our Church, and I welcome it."

The full text of the motion to go before the Synod follows:

Presented to the PROVINCIAL SYNOD of ACSA in SEPTEMBER 2016

The Anglican Communion has wrestled for many years to produce a comprehensive and mutually acceptable pastoral response to the issue of diversity in human sexuality, to homosexuality and to same sex unions.

And whereas

In 1998, Resolution 1.10 adopted by the Lambeth Conference called the Anglican Communion to listen to the experience of homosexual persons and to assure them that they are loved by God and that all baptised, believing and faithful persons, regardless of sexual orientation, are full members of the Body of Christ, and called on the Communion to minister pastorally and sensitively to all irrespective of sexual orientation;

And whereas

Anglicans have historically chosen to use Scripture, Tradition and Reason and Experience when discerning God’s unfolding call to mission, knowing that these pillars provide a helpful space in which many voices can be heard and many insights shared, so that a loving pastoral response to those identifying as LGBT can be offered

And whereas

Provincial Synods of ACSA have asked the Bishops of our Province provide guidelines for ministry to those who identify as lesbian, gay, bisexual, transsexual or intersex (LBGTI), but have been unable to complete these guidelines

And whereas

Lay and ordained Anglicans who identify as LGBTI, throughout the Communion and within our Province and Dioceses are in need of pastoral care and spiritual support and look to the church for help especially when wanting to enter into same-sex unions

 Therefore, this Synod resolves

1. That a Bishop may:

1.1. provide for clergy to be especially prepared for a ministry of pastoral care for those identifying as LGBTI, accepting that any cleric unwilling to engage in such envisioned pastoral care shall not be obliged to do so;

1.2. provide for pastoral counselling of those identifying as LGBTI;

1.3. provide for the preparation for and the licensing of those in same sex unions to lay ministries on Parochial, Archidiaconal and Diocesan levels;

1.4. provide for prayers of blessing to be offered for those in same sex civil unions;

1.5. provide for the licensing for ministry of clergy who identify as LGBTI and are in legal same sex civil unions;

1.6. provide for the use of Liturgical Rites in regard to the above ministries.

2. That a Bishop may not

2.1. provide For the solemnization of same sex unions by clergy, in terms of the ACSA Canon on Marriage (Canon 34).

3. That the Archbishop be respectfully requested to establish an Archbishop’s Commission to:

3.1. Review, reflect on, research and share such theological, pastoral and prophetic principles emerging from this Motion;

3.2 Recommend further actions, both through Interim Reports, tabled at meetings of the Synod of Bishops, and through a final Recommendations Report which is to be tabled at the 2018 meeting of PSC, so that Recommendations, Measures and Motions can be put forward to the 2019 session of the Provincial Synod.

Sunday, 31 July 2016

Archbishop's call on political leaders ahead of SA polls

The Electoral Code of Conduct Observer Commission (ECCOC) – a body made up of religious and civil society leaders – will once again play a key role in making sure that Wednesday's local government elections in South Africa are free and fair.

ECCOC works in conjunction with the Independent Electoral Commission and it aims to help create and maintain conditions in which elections run smoothly.

One of its tasks is to ensure that political parties and their leaders understand that they should not incite violence and instability at a time when tensions could be running high.

“Political leaders should not be irresponsible and part of ECCOC’s role is to ensure that they behave in a responsible manner on election day. We want to be the first port of call if anyone feels uncomfortable about anything related to the elections,” said ECCOC’s chairperson, Anglican Archbishop Thabo Makgoba.

ECCOC’s 15 members are drawn from various faith communities, with a few from civil society.

ECCOC operates mainly in the Cape metropolitan area and, on election day, sends observers to voting stations around the broader Cape Peninsula. They monitor whether presiding officers are doing their jobs properly and whether elections are conducted in an efficient manner.

ECCOC as an organisation attempts to be impartial as far as party politics is concerned and its members are present at polling stations as objective observers.

“We help to defuse tense situations if there are any. We hope that political parties and the electorate see our presence as helping to ensure that there is a moral presence on election day,” said Archbishop Mokgoba.

Thursday, 28 July 2016

Reviewing the fight against HIV and Aids

Archbishop Thabo Makgoba attended the International Aids Conference in Durban in July. The World Council of Churches posted these videos reflecting some of his activities.

Friday, 24 June 2016

South African Deputy Chief Justice Receives Archbishop's Award

The Archbishop and Justice Moseneke (Photo: Open Society)

Archbishop Thabo Makgoba has presented retired Deputy Chief Justice Dikgang Moseneke of South Africa with a special award for his lifelong public service.

Archbishop Makgoba presented Justice Moseneke with the Archbishop's Award for Peace with Justice at Bishopscourt in Cape Town. He did so at a reception during which the interfaith community and civil society in Cape Town expressed their appreciation for Justice Moseneke's service.

Earlier, the Open Society Foundation for South Africa hosted an event during which young lawyers interacted with Justice Moseneke.

In his citation for the award, the Archbishop said that the judge “has earned renown for his strong commitment to social justice and equality, for his fiercely independent spirit and for his dedication to striving for what is good for all the people of South Africa.”

Quoting from Micah, the citation said Justice Moseneke “has done justice, loved kindness and has walked humbly with his God.”

Among previous winners of the award are Archbishop Emeritus Desmond and Mrs Leah Tutu, South African Public Protector Thuli Madonsela, educationist and priest Dr Barney Pityana, retired President Kenneth Kaunda of Zambia and retired Bishop John Osmers of Zambia.

The full text of the citation follows:

Archbishop’s Award for Peace with Justice - Dikgang Ernest Moseneke

Dikgang Moseneke’s public service can be said to have begun when he decided by the age of 12 that he wanted to change the circumstances of South Africa’s people. Becoming politically active at school in Atteridgeville, by 15 he was a student at what he has called “Makana University”, serving a 10-year prison sentence under the previous regime’s sabotage laws. On Robben Island he sat for his Junior Certificate with Walter Sisulu, then studied in turn for his matric, a BA in English and Political Science and a B Iuris degree, coached in Latin by a fellow prisoner, Mmutlanyane Stanley Mogoba—later a revered leader of the Methodist Church. He also became known for his skills in reconciling prisoners from different political traditions.

Out of prison, he completed his law articles at first an Afrikaans and then a Jewish firm, also earning his Bachelor of Laws degree. Then he established a law firm with other black attorneys in Pretoria. He was first admitted to the Bar in Johannesburg, when the Pretoria Bar still barred people of colour from membership. After helping to write our Interim Constitution, then serving as Deputy Chairperson of the Independent Electoral Commission, he went into business for six years, initially at the urging of President Nelson Mandela. Returning to the law, he was appointed a judge in Pretoria, then a year later to the Constitutional Court. Less than three years later, in June 2005, he was elevated to the position of Deputy Chief Justice of South Africa.

Throughout this time, Justice Moseneke has earned renown for his strong commitment to social justice and equality, for his fiercely independent spirit and for his dedication to striving for what is good for all the people of South Africa. As he memorably said when under fire for his views: “We will all do well to remember that in our constitutional democracy, underpinned by the will of the people and the rule of law, judges are not answerable to any political or other organisation, but are answerable to the will of the people as expressed and formalised in the Constitution and the laws of the Republic.”

Justice Moseneke is also a faithful and committed Methodist. In the words of Micah 6:8, he has done justice, loved kindness and has walked humbly with his God. The Anglican Church of Southern Africa is honoured to recognise this servant of God and of our people with the Archbishop’s Award for Peace with Justice.

Thursday, 23 June 2016

To the Laos - To the People of God - June 2016

To the Laos - To the People of God - June 2016

Dear People of God

We face a busy time in the Province in the coming months. The recent Elective Assembly of the Diocese of Christ the King delegated to the Synod of Bishops the choice of a new bishop to succeed Bishop Peter Lee. So the bishops must now choose new bishops for both Niassa and Christ the King at their next meeting at the end of September. Please pray for us as we consider these choices.

Immediately after the Synod of Bishops meets, we will have our three-yearly Provincial Synod. Please pray for the planning process for Provincial Synod, which brings together the whole body of Christ in our church in Angola, Lesotho, Mozambique, Namibia, South Africa, the island of St Helena and Swaziland. Looking beyond our Province, the body of Christ as represented by Anglicans across Africa will meet in Kigali, Rwanda in August, when we will have a meeting of the Council of Anglican Provinces of Africa (CAPA). Pray for this meeting too, and for the election of a successor to the CAPA chair, Archbishop Bernard Ntahoturi of Burundi. Beyond Africa, please pray for the Gafcon grouping of Anglican churches and, indeed, for the whole Communion.

Both the Communion and our own Province continue to face the historic challenge posted by the debate around human sexuality. It is a painful issue both for those who support the traditional position on marriage and for those who wish to introduce changes. In our Province, the bishops are committed to ongoing dialogue and conversations around the issue, and I urge those who have not yet read my pastoral letter after the last Synod of Bishops to read it here.

The Second Agenda Book for Provincial Synod will include a resolution on the matter. Please begin to pray about this issue, reflecting on your own sexuality, on your understanding of the sexual orientations of others and on what might constitute a godly, pastoral, biblical and just way of dealing with this matter, taking us to a place beyond where we are now, in which those on both sides of the debate seem to be locked into our positions. I don't want to pre-empt our discussions at Provincial Synod here, but just be aware that this debate is on the agenda. I encourage you to ask your representatives to consult as widely as possible in your diocesan and parish preparations for Synod.

However, I should say immediately that I don’t want the issue of sexuality to dominate our thinking as we view the Communion, and especially as we consider the welfare of our sisters and brothers in other parts of our continent. I have recently been reading material from the African Centre for the Constructive Resolution of Disputes (ACCORD), in Durban, and the situation in the Great Lakes Region is very worrying. Pray particularly for the Democratic Republic of Congo—for an end to conflict in the east, for their planned elections and for their rulers as it appears elections might be delayed and the President’s term of office extended. Madiba’s role in brokering a previous settlement there makes the fate of the Congolese people of special concern to us. As you consider the issues to be dealt with by Provincial Synod, please pray for the Synod using the prayer which appears at the end of this letter.

In South Africa, we are scheduled to have heavily-contested municipal elections in August. It is against that backdrop that I joined other religious leaders recently to witness party leaders and the IEC staff signing the Electoral Code of Conduct in Cape Town. At the signing, the IEC pledged to be transparent and accountable as they work to ensure a free and fair environment for elections. Parties also pledged to play their part. Among the commitments which the Code imposes on parties and candidates are that they undertake:

•    Not to use language which provokes violence,
•    Not to intimidate voters,
•    Not to publish false information about other candidates or parties,
•    Not to bribe others to vote for a party,
•    Not to deface or remove posters, and
•    Not to carry weapons.

Preaching at St Luke’s, Salt River, in Cape Town earlier this month, I regretted the fact that in some provinces of the country we have seen an upsurge in what are said to be political killings. I appeal to all Anglicans to take seriously our civic responsibilities: to vote and to take action if you see any signs of the Code being breached.

In Cape Town, news has come in of the passing of Bishop Charles Albertyn, formerly Bishop Suffragan and a Regional Bishop in the Diocese. His funeral will be on Saturday June 25. We remember Bishop Charles for his deep spirituality and centredness on God, and for the deep wisdom and quick wit he brought to the leadership of the Diocese. We convey the Province’s heartfelt condolences to Berenice and the Albertyn family.

Please offer your prayers for all the situations I have mentioned in this letter in the spirit of St Paul, where he says so beautifully in 1 Corinthians 12, that “all the members of the body, though many, are one body...” and “If one member suffers, all suffer together with it; if one member is honoured, all rejoice together with it.”

God bless you

†Thabo Cape Town


            Collect for Provincial Synod

            Bounteous God
            You provide all that is needed to proclaim your
               Kingdom to the nations in our generation:
            Grant us
           the wisdom to discern the available resources,
           the means to develop the people you are calling, and
               the humility and strength to commit to the task before us;
            through Jesus Christ who has revealed the Kingdom to us
            and in the power of the Holy Spirit who drives us into your world.

Sunday, 24 April 2016

VIDEO and PHOTOS: Archbishop awards Leah and Desmond Tutu

Archbishop Thabo Makgoba on Friday presented the Archbishop's Award for Peace with Justice to Archbishop Emeritus Desmond and Mrs Leah Tutu.

See excerpts from the citations below...

Excerpts from the citations:

Mrs Tutu: We honour Nomalizo Leah Tutu for her lifelong commitment to servant leadership as a courageous opponent of injustice and oppression and as a sustainer, a mother and a supporter of those in her family and beyond who share that commitment. As a role model for students on campuses from Fort Hare to Roma, she helped young women uncertain of themselves in adjusting to their new world. Uprooted from a life of comfort abroad, she came home to fight bravely for the rights of domestic workers, confronting those who would ill-treat some of the most powerless in society. In the face of threats and danger to her husband and family, she nurtured and created a safe haven for them and her extensive network of friends, many of them also leaders in the struggle. Indeed, she does justice, loves kindness and walks humbly with her God.

Archbishop Tutu: We honour Desmond Mpilo Tutu’s extraordinary contributions to the Anglican Church of Southern Africa, to South Africa, Africa and the world as a priest and pastor, prophet and teacher, healer and humourist. Forever caring for his flock as a shepherd, he cajoles people to love one another, to recognise their common humanity and to understand their inter-dependence and equality before God. Angered when he sees those who are created in God’s image subjected to violations of their human dignity, he speaks out courageously for justice in the face of overwhelming odds. With the compassion learned from his beloved mother, he recognises both our strengths and vulnerabilities, always ready to forgive, willing to renew and anxious to reform, resuscitate and rebuild. All this undergirded by a sense of humour—and a loud cackle—which draws us into the all-embracing love of God which he models for everyone whose lives he touches.

Joining the Archbishop in presenting the award were, clockwise from the bottom, retired Bishop Charles Albertyn (back to camera), Bishop Brian Marajh of George, Canon William Mostert, the Provincial Executive Officer, retired Bishops Geoff Davies, Christopher Gregorowski and Geoff Quinlan, and the Revd Jerome Francis, the Archbishop's Chief of Staff at Bishopscourt.