Friday, 22 May 2009

Archbishop Receives US Honorary Degree

‘This is for all South Africans who were denied access to education’

The text of a news release from Bishopscourt:

The Anglican Archbishop of Cape Town has said that the honorary degree he has been awarded by an American seminary ‘is for all South Africans who were denied access to education’.

The degree of Doctor of Divinity, honoris causa, was conferred on Archbishop Thabo Makgoba in New York by the General Theological Seminary of the Episcopal Church ‘in recognition of outstanding service to the Anglican Communion’.

Archbishop Makgoba, speaking in advance of the ceremony on May 20, said that circumstances of the past had prevented many of his parishioners from studying as they had desired. Nevertheless, he said, God’s Holy Spirit had guided and strengthened the churches in their efforts to bring an end to apartheid and build a new reality in Southern Africa, through justice, peace and reconciliation.

‘We must continue to share God’s love, walking with all who are in need in today’s broken world’ he urged Christians in America as well as Southern Africa. Recalling Jesus’ command to love our neighbours as ourselves, he said ‘We must each ask, “Who is my neighbour?” and then treat every individual and our whole global community in ways that uphold the sanctity of life, the dignity of humanity in all our differences, and the integrity of creation. These are our touchstones as we follow God’s call for social justice here and now.’

He pointed to the adverse effects of global warming on Africa’s poorest countries, who were least responsible for climate change, and to the urgent demands of poverty, hunger, malaria, HIV and AIDS, and TB.

He said God’s loving concern for human well-being was best revealed through the attitudes, words and deeds of Christians acting together as the body of Christ, and urged concrete cooperation, saying ‘Let us all walk more closely with one another on our common journey.’

Photo: Placing the hood on the Archbishop is Professor Mitties De Champlain, Commencement Marshall of the General Theological Seminary. Conferring the degree is the seminary's Dean and President, the Very Rev. Ward B. Ewing.