Advance Notice: Anglican Church of Southern Africa Synod of Bishops 27-29 September, Provincial Synod 29 September to 2 October
The Anglican Church of Southern Africa (ACSA) will hold its twice-yearly meeting of the Synod of Bishops from 27 to 29 September, at the Kopanong Conference Centre, Benoni, East Rand. This will be followed by the meeting of ACSA's Provincial Synod, the decision-making body of the Church, which is held once every three years with Bishops, clergy and lay representatives from all 28 Dioceses. The Provincial Synod will commence on the afternoon of 29 September, with an opening Eucharist. During this the Archbishop of Cape Town, the Most Revd Dr Thabo Makgoba will deliver his Charge, the address in which he summarises the life of the Church and the challenges before it. The Synod will then continue until lunchtime on 2 October.
The main focus of the two meetings will be the presentation and development of a 'Vision and Mission Statement' for the Church. This arises from the recognition in the late 1990s that the coming of democracy to South Africa ushered in a new era for ACSA, and with it the need to consider afresh the heart of the Church's calling to mission and ministry within these changed circumstances. Archbishop Thabo Makgoba has made work on this a priority since he became head of ACSA at the beginning of 2008. The Provincial Synod will be asked to endorse the Vision and Mission Statement, and consider how the Province can make these a reality through Church-wide programmes in eight key areas that resource and support the activities in these areas among the parishes and communities of the Dioceses, within the very different contexts in which they find themselves. (Full details of these are given below.)
The two meetings will also consider other aspects of the life of the Church, ranging from pastoral concerns through to socio-economic and political developments within the countries in which the Church operates (including recent bread riots in Mozambique, questions around democracy in Swaziland, and the outcome of this week's ANC National General Council in South Africa). Alongside endorsement of the Vision, the Provincial Synod has before it draft resolutions that range from clergy training, appointments, care and discipline through to inter-church relations and the proposed Anglican Covenant. Other matters under consideration include the relationship between Traditional Practices and Christianity, the role of women and young people in the church, and the environment.
This is the first Provincial Synod to be held since Dr Makgoba became the Archbishop of Cape Town and the Metropolitan (i.e. head) of the Anglican Church of Southern Africa.
Notes for Editors: The Province of the Anglican Church of Southern Africa comprises Angola, Lesotho, Mozambique, Namibia, South Africa, Swaziland, St Helena and Tristan da Cunha.
Issued by the Office of the Anglican Archbishop of Cape Town Inquiries: Sisanda Majikazana on 021-763-1320 (office hours)
Vision and Mission Statement for the Anglican Church of Southern Africa
The Anglican community in Southern Africa seeks to be
· Anchored – in the love of Christ
· Committed – to God’s mission
· Transformed – by the Holy Spirit
Across the diverse countries and cultures of our region, 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.
To make this vision a reality, and to help us to form a comprehensive response to the many inter-relating socio-economic challenges we face in our region, we commit ourselves at Provincial level to these priorities for the years 2011 to 2020:
· Liturgical renewal for transformative worship
· Theological education
· Leadership formation
· Health: HIV and AIDS, malaria, and tuberculosis
· The environment
· Women and gender
· Protection and nurture of children and young people
· Public advocacy
Two other themes – transformation, and holistic mission that is rooted in a full commitment to evangelism – are seen as running through and undergirding all eight priorities, rather than as matters to be addressed separately.