Thursday, 29 September 2011

Archbishop to Visit Zimbabwe - Comment on Synod of Bishops

The following press statement was released on 29 September 2011, following the meeting of the Synod of Bishops from 26 to 28 September (see their statement in the previous blog post).

Southern Africa’s Bishops have reaffirmed their support for Anglicans in Zimbabwe, as Archbishop Thabo Makgoba prepares to accompany the Archbishop of Canterbury on his pastoral visit there next month.

At their twice-a-year meeting held in Benoni this week, the Synod of Bishops repeated their concerns at the difficult situation faced by Anglicans in Zimbabwe, and voiced their continuing support and prayers. Dr Makgoba will travel at the invitation of Dr Rowan Williams, who will also go to Malawi and Zambia during his visit to the Church of the Province of Central Africa. Dr Makgoba commented ‘I am glad of this opportunity to be able to demonstrate in person our support for and solidarity with Bishop Chad of Harare, and the wider Anglican Church in Zimbabwe. In Southern Africa’s troubled past, our Church was enormously strengthened and encouraged by the continuing expressions of support we received from around the Anglican Communion.’

In response to a presentation by the Most Revd Katharine Jefferts Schori, Presiding Bishop of the Episcopal Church (centred mainly on the USA), the Bishops acknowledged some deep differences, including over human sexuality, but affirmed the value of continuing dialogue, in a spirit of truthfulness and sensitivity. The Bishops also underlined their African heritage and commitment to continuing engagement with the Church in the rest of the continent, and welcomed the participation in their meeting of Canon Grace Kaiso, General Secretary of the Council of Anglican Provinces in Africa.

The Bishops stressed the need for considerable sensitivity in the cultural expression of the Christian faith, and for vigorous debate around inherited cultural values ranging from the ethos of ubuntu to honouring God, respecting the elderly and virginity testing. They noted that some practices, such as isangoma training, were incompatible with Christian beliefs.

Other matters which the Bishops discussed included a range of pastoral and theological issues. Among these was a recent CCMA ruling affirming that in South African law, licenced clergy are not viewed as employees of the church, as such, but in line with their vocation as ‘servants in God’s vineyard’. Other visitors to the Synod included theologians Professor Denise Ackerman and Dr Nomboniso Gasa, and Mrs Jeanette O’Neill, the first woman and layperson to be appointed General Secretary of USPG, the Anglican mission agency based in Great Britain and Ireland, which this year celebrates the 300th anniversary of its founding

Issued by the Office of the Anglican Archbishop of Cape Town Inquiries: Ms Wendy Tokata on 021-763-1320 (office hours)

Note to editors - The Anglican Church of Southern Africa encompasses Angola, Lesotho, Mozambique, Namibia, St Helena, South Africa, Swaziland and Tristan da Cunha.

Statement from the Synod of Bishops' Meeting

“The Signs of the Times”

“… Pursue righteousness, godliness, faith, love, endurance, gentleness. Fight the good fight of the faith; take hold of the eternal life, to which you were called ...” (1 Tim 6:11-12)

28 September 2011

We, the Synod of Bishops of the Anglican Church of Southern Africa, gathered from 26 to 28 September, 2011, at the Kopanong Conference Centre, Benoni, East Rand, for a time shaped by prayer, and by theological and pastoral reflection.

Presentations were made by Professor Denise Ackerman and Dr Nomboniso Gasa, which provided a context for reflection upon, and dialogue and engagement with, our formal agenda. We became aware of the need for a more contemplative spirituality, given expression in diaconal service in and to the world. We were also challenged to become interpreters of the signs of the times, analytically discerning the course of events in Southern Africa and the wider world. In this respect, we noted the challenges the media pose, through rapid and effective communication, which sometimes causes the churches’ voices to be drowned out.

True expression of the Gospel of Jesus Christ within our cultures must be exercised graciously and with great carefulness, for example, in the pastoral care given to those claiming to have a call to Isangoma training – recognizing that these two worlds, of Christianity and this aspect of African traditional life, will never meet. Other inherited cultural values (such as giving honour to God; respecting grey hair; virginity testing for young people; upholding honesty, and the values enshrined in the philosophy of ubuntu) need to be vigorously debated as Bishops continue to speak to society.

The theme of leaders as enablers of the people of God entrusted to them was a thread running through the presentations. This means enabling through assessment, discerning and auditing gifts, and putting these gifts at the service of God’s mission. We were reminded of Jesus’ leadership, shown in taking a towel and washing his disciples’ feet. We also acknowledged the challenges that leadership poses for exercising episcopacy, management and vision.

We received with great regret the news that Archbishop Ian Ernest of the Indian Ocean and Chairperson of the Council of Anglican Provinces in Africa could not be with us, incapacitated by illness. Our prayers are with him at this time, and we wish him speedy recovery and the Lord’s anointing healing. Our relationship with other Anglicans in Africa was nonetheless reinforced by the welcome presence of Revd Canon Grace Kaiso, the General Secretary of CAPA. We hope that CAPA will be more fully informed about us, and how we pursue our life and mission, as Bishops of ACSA. For our part, ACSA must give expression to its heritage and historical connection with the Church in the rest of Africa. We need constantly to bear in mind our role within the African continent as a whole.

We were encouraged and energised by the presentation from the Most Revd Katharine Jefferts Schori, Presiding Bishop of the Episcopal Church, centred mainly within the USA. She shared insights emanating from the colonising history of the Episcopal Church, which gave rise to the continuing re-expression of the phrase ‘We do not have Missionary Societies – we are a Missionary Society.’ While we acknowledge some differences between TEC and ACSA (for example, with respect to human sexuality), nevertheless we affirm the value of ongoing dialogues, exercised through truthfulness and sensitivity towards one another.

We also welcomed Mrs Jeanette O’Neill, the first woman and layperson to be appointed General Secretary of USPG, the Anglican mission agency based in Great Britain and Ireland, which this year celebrates the 310th anniversary of its founding.

The situation within Zimbabwe continues to pose a great challenge to our engagement with and support of Christians there. Canon Kaiso affirmed that this is also a priority for CAPA. We are praying for our Archbishop as he accompanies the Archbishop of Canterbury to Zimbabwe next month, as part of Dr Rowan Williams’ pastoral visit to the Church of the Province of Central Africa.

Through all these discussions, we were reminded again of our vocation to be apostolic in our ministry and to be pastors in the Church of God. As we joined in worship together, daily homilies brought the Scriptures to life and shed light on our deliberations. We shared the need for prayers for Angola and Swaziland, as well as Zimbabwe.

The Synod of Bishops is a unique opportunity for Bishops to gather to engage in dialogue to foster the deepening of relationships which sharpen the focus for ministry, recognising the call always before us to energise mission and ministry in our Dioceses and Province. We noted that our understandings of ecclesiology and episcopacy are being appreciated, strengthened and celebrated in all that is happening in Mozambique to extend God’s kingdom, sometimes despite the heat of the day. We applauded the growth of the Province, and considered the possibility of additional Bishops to provide episcopal ministry through new episcopal areas, as a necessary act of faith, despite envisaged financial constraints. We were also inspired and encouraged by the presentation of a Lent Study for 2012 from the Diocese of Johannesburg, focussing on discipleship.

It has been very satisfying to see the depth of gifts amongst our clergy and young laity. The role of believers in leadership within Dioceses, particularly participation in diocesan administration, needs careful consideration. Another challenge is to look again at clergy stipends, and to explore further the new system which the Diocese of Pretoria has put in place. We note with love and appreciation that our understanding of the call to serve God’s church has recently been vindicated again, through the CCMA affirming that all licensed clergy are servants in God’s vineyard, rather than employees as such, in terms of the law within South Africa. Other pastoral matters we considered included baptism; pastoral guidelines in relation to civil unions; lawsuits involving clergy; and vocations and theological education.

Issued by the Office of the Anglican Archbishop of Cape Town

Inquiries: Ms Wendy Tokata on 021-763-1320 (office hours)

Note to editors - The Anglican Church of Southern Africa encompasses Angola, Lesotho, Mozambique, Namibia, St Helena, South Africa, Swaziland and Tristan da Cunha.

Monday, 26 September 2011

Anglicans Ablaze - Vulindlela Conference

From 20 to 22 September 2011, around 80 leaders from ACSA renewal movements met in Kwa Mashu, in the Diocese of Natal, under the shared banner ‘Anglicans Ablaze’. Seeking a fresh vision from God for the ongoing renewal of the Anglican Church, they reflected on the Provincial Vision for Anglicans in Southern Africa to be ‘Anchored in the love of Christ, Committed to God’s Mission, and Transformed by the Holy Spirit.’

The Vulindlela (‘Opening the Way’) conference followed a meeting last year, convened by Bishop Martin Breytenbach, the Province’s liaison bishop, at which representatives of IVIYO, Anglican Renewal Ministries, Sharing of Ministries Abroad (SOMA), New Wine, and Soul Survivor, together with the Provincial Youth Council and Growing the Church, agreed to work together under a common umbrella.

Below is the message of greeting sent by the Archbishop of Cape Town to the Conference, and their reply.

Archbishop's Message to the Anglicans Ablaze ‘Vulindlela’ Conference

Dear Brothers and Sisters in Christ

I greet you all in the precious name of Jesus, our Lord and Saviour!

Be assured that we shall be remembering you in the Chapel at Bishopscourt as you meet this week – praying that God our Father, through his Spirit, will indeed be setting your hearts on fire with love for him. May he fan into greater flame the gifts he has given you, and ‘Open the Way’ ahead for you within the Anglican Church in Southern Africa, so you may enrich our common life and help us become more fully the people of God whom he is calling us to be.

Please keep me in your prayers also, that I too may listen and respond with faithful obedience, and with joy, to the life and ministry that God sets before me.

Yours in the service of Christ,

+Thabo Cape Town

20 September 2011

Anglicans Ablaze Response

Dear Archbishop Thabo

Warm greetings in the name of Jesus, our Lord and Saviour.

First we want to thank you most sincerely for your letter of greetings and well wishes which we received. It meant a lot to us that you took the time and trouble to remember us. It was read out by Bishop Martin and received with warm applause. Many thanks once again.

You will no doubt know that the ACSA vision statement was at the very heart of the program of our meeting together. In the context of prayer and worship we sought to listen to God and to one another. Out of that time, the leaders decided to formulate a brief statement on behalf of the various ministry groups which reads as follows:

“Dear Archbishop Thabo, the leaders of the various formations meeting together in KwaMashu under the banner of “Anglicans Ablaze”, having reflected prayerfully together on the ACSA vision statement, wish to say to you that if our understanding of the statement is correct, then you can be assured of our whole-hearted support both for you and for the working out of that statement. This concise statement is easy to remember, provides clear direction, provides space for bold leadership and we are excited by it.

• We are Anchored in the Love of Christ

• We are Committed to God’s Mission

• We are being Transformed by the Holy Spirit.

We also affirm and express our commitment to the ACSA Mission Statement. Please be assured of our love and prayers. We have been praying for you here and will continue to pray for you, as you asked”.

Yours in the love of Christ,

+Martin St Mark the Evangelist

On behalf of Leaders of Anglicans Ablaze: Iviyo, New Wine, SOMA, GtC, Anglican Youth, Soul Survivor

22 September 2011

Further details are available at

Friday, 23 September 2011

Anglican Bible Survey

I strongly encourage Anglican individuals and parishes to participate in this Bible in the Life of the Church Survey.

For further details see

Invitation for Anglicans to take part in unique Bible survey

By Stephen Lyon, Co-ordinator Bible in the Life of the Church Project

As part of the Bible in the Life of the Church project we are undertaking a Communion-wide survey of the way Anglicans understand and engage with the Bible. We rightly say the Bible is central to our life together but we also engage with it and interpret it in different ways. What are those differences? Why might there be differences? What can we learn from those who differ from us?

We are undertaking this survey by means of a questionnaire that is now available online and in a downloadable paper form. It takes about 10-15 minutes to complete and we want as many Anglicans as possible to get involved – either individually or through their local churches.

We also want to use the questionnaire as a way that churches can explore further the way they engage with the Bible, the processes used. So we have written a five-session course outline that looks in more depth at the issues that lie behind the questionnaire.

The results from the survey will be included in the final reports that come from the project when it reports to Anglican Consultative Council at its next meeting in November 2012.

Below are the various ways you can be involved in the survey and the necessary links or contacts.

1. Get your church or group to participate together using paper or online completion. For details look at “Guidelines for distribution and collection”

2. Take part individually in the survey online by going to:

3. Use the survey as part of a bible-study programme. For details of the five-session course Leaders’ notes look at:

For more details about the project as a whole go to:

To contact Stephen Lyon email:

Monday, 19 September 2011

Tiyo Soga's Legacy: A Reflection on Restitution, Freedom of Information and Hate Speech

Archbishop Thabo Makgoba participated in the unveiling of the Memorial Tombstone to Revd Tiyo Soga on 9 September 2011, at Thuthura, Eastern Cape, using the following prayer. Below, the Archbishop offers a longer reflection on the lessons that we can learn for today, from this great South African intellectual and man of faith. Dr Makgoba comments on freedom of speech and the protection of information legislation, on hate speech and racial and sexist language, and on Archbishop Desmond Tutu’s recent remarks about restitution. An edited version of this reflection, “Singing from the Same Hymn Sheet” appeared in the Cape Times, of 16 September 2011 on page 9.

Let us pray: God our Creator, whose Son is the Way, the Truth and the Life, we ask you today to bless all who speak here, and all who listen – praying that, as St James writes in his epistle, we may be doers of the word, and not merely hearers. Make us your apostles of true freedom and democracy, so that we, following in the footsteps of our brother and forefather, Tiyo Soga, may bring true emancipation to those who are held captive by economic slavery.

God of Righteousness and Truth, fulfil in us your promises, by making us people of justice and integrity, who, like Tiyo Soga, not only sing a song of gospel liberation to the poor and downtrodden, but work to share our wealth.

We pray especially for the rural poor, that they may know the fulfilment of your promise never to leave or forsake your children. When times are hard, pour your Holy Spirit on us, speak your words of comfort and encouragement through us; move our hearts and strengthen our wills to act, so that we may bring the fulfilment of your promises of real hope and new life for all.

We ask this for your tender mercies’ sake. Amen.

Reflections on the life of Revd Tiyo Soga, and his legacy to us today

Participating in the unveiling of the Memorial Tombstone for Tiyo Soga has prompted me to reflect further on this remarkable African intellectual, and his legacy for our own times. What would this devout man, who aimed to take the best of international scholarship and give it expression in his own culture, say to South Africa today? What would the composer of the famous hymn, sung to open the first meeting of the South African Native National Congress in 1912, ‘Lizalis’ idinga lakho’, ‘Fulfil the Promise’, say about democratisation’s unfinished business of reconciliation and restitution? What lessons should we learn from his commitment to the ‘Lord, God of Truth’ (the words with which that hymn continues) for current debates around freedom of information, hate speech, and racist or sexist language? Tiyo Soga has a lot to teach us.

There is no doubt that Revd Tiyo Soga was an extraordinary individual. He was outstanding in his own generation, and remains outstanding as we reflect on his astonishing life, 140 years after his sadly young death. Others have recalled his achievements in greater detail than I, both in Thuthura at the unveiling of his Memorial Tombstone, and elsewhere. My father-in-law, Professor Cecil Manona, who researched and wrote on Tiyo Soga, gave me extensive material on this remarkable man, and his influence has remained with me.

Last week’s moving ceremony, attended by Tiyo Soga’s family members, together with former President Mbeki, the Provincial Premier, amaXhosa King Mpendulo Zwelonke Sigcawu, other politicians, traditional and religious leaders and figures from the business and wider community, has prompted me to consider what lessons should we learn for our own context, from this man who travelled (what must have seemed to a schoolboy from Chumie) incomparable distances into the unknown, in order to learn from the best the world had to offer, and then to translate it into his own language and culture? What does it mean for us as individuals, and for our nation, to draw on the best of today’s international experience and scholarship and root it in African soil, so that Africa’s children may grow and flourish?

Reflecting on these questions, I found my thoughts focussing on the central question of what it means for us today to ‘Fulfil our Promise, God, Lord of Truth’.

Fulfilling Promise poses us, I shall suggest, four challenges. First is a challenge to our nation, and our leadership, in this era of democracy. What is the promise for which so many struggled and even died, for which the seed was planted in 1912, and which blossomed in 1994? Where is the promised fruit of democracy and freedom?

We can point to global financial difficulties, and make other excuses, but there is no getting away from the truth that economic emancipation has not yet reached us all. Indeed, the divide between rich and poor has grown. And though it is now the case that among the richest 10%, 20%, 30% of South Africans, the majority are black – it remains true that the great, great majority of our population, our black population, remain exceedingly impoverished.

We know there have been great improvements, for example in provisions of water and electricity, but it has been no-where near enough to overcome the poverty trap in which so many are imprisoned, with little hope of escape. NGOs, charities and faith communities do what we can – but we are only scratching at the surface. Government must lead the way forward.

We often talk about the private sector coming to the party – but it is the government who must ensure there is a party, and a good party, to which others can be invited, and can turn up with confidence that all arrangements have been properly made! I am sure there is far greater willingness to come to the party than government realises – if only the rest of us knew for sure that there really is a party, and where it is being held, and how to get there!

Recently Archbishop Tutu got himself into hot water once again for speaking about reconciliation and restitution, and the unfinished business (indeed, the unfulfilled promise) of the TRC. And, as usual, the sorts of reports that followed focussed as much on the outrage as on the heart of the matter. But there is an important issue at stake – and it will not do to leave such unfinished business hanging in the air while continuing to complain at it. This is a recipe for a dangerous festering sore, not a solution.

Here is another party which the Government must organise. Mamphela Ramphele, in a public presentation for the Restitution Organisation earlier this year, said ‘The pain caused by Apartheid has been left to individuals to solve privately without any effective assistance from society.’[1][1] She is right that individuals, acting out of private motivation, cannot be expected to bear the burden of making amends. Nor can companies, one by one, however good their social responsibility programmes. And while we should be more than wary of punitive measures (indeed, the Arch said it could be something ‘quite piffling’[2][2]) and the imposition of inappropriate one-size-does-not-fit-all policies, it nonetheless surely must be the responsibility of Government to provide mechanisms for making amends.

No one else can provide the necessary guaranteed channels for ensuring tangible, sustainable, upliftment to those who continue to be most harmed by the legacies of our unjust past. If only government would provide such sure ways of making a true difference, how many more would be ready, even keen, to take such steps? But is it any wonder there is resistance, when the likelihood is that attempts at reparation will be lost without trace within a budget we are incapable of spending well on our country’s neediest people? And what of South Africa’s wealthy, of all backgrounds, who should also be given encouraging ways to contribute to a more just economy – as some of Europe and North America’s richest have recently been asking to do through higher taxation?

As Trevor Manuel put it so eloquently at the Parliamentary seminar on the Millennium Development Goals last week, service delivery – and our failures in service delivery – are not a question merely of money, but of how Government spends it. It seems that we have enough, more than enough, but we do not use it wisely or well. To put it another way, the budget is not fulfilling its promise – the promise that is well within its grasp, if only we work to make it so. When I look at the promise of the struggle, and at our difficulties today, I wonder if one of our major problems lies in the following: that in the past we taught people to struggle against; but we have not taught people that now we must struggle for, if we are to achieve that promise. Therefore we must learn new ways of struggling, and struggling together:

• struggling through hard work, dedication, commitment, and going the full distance

• struggling through refusing to settle for second best, for corruption, for corner-cutting, for laziness

• struggling through holding one another to the highest standards,

• struggling through being prepared to work for the good of everyone, not just me and my cronies,

• struggling through believing our country truly can be all it promises to be.

Only through such struggling together, can we ensure a re-engineering of past discriminatory attitudes and practices and their persisting legacies.

All this brings me to the second challenge to fulfil our promise. It is the challenge of the youth of today.

For once I am not speaking about offering a challenge to the youth – but rather, about the challenge that the youth are giving to us, today’s leaders. This challenge demands that we recognise that too often we have been selling empty promises to the generation now in their twenties, even thirties – empty, unfulfilled, promises of instant improvements in education and employment, as if all these would come with the single wave of a democratic wand. We promised, but we did not deliver. Perhaps we were too exhausted when democracy came. Perhaps we just assumed that another generation would pick up the baton where we left off, and carry it forward themselves. Perhaps, we reached crucial compromises far too quickly. Perhaps we did not realise that the youth too needed to be ‘conscientised’ into the promise, and the struggle needed to achieve it – in their own time and context, as we were in ours.

For Julius Malema is not wrong when he cries out for the youth of today – when he cries out for justice in education, in employment, in opportunity, in economic emancipation and empowerment. But he is wrong in how he thinks these can be achieved, and in leading others to believe in these unworkable solutions. We need to share the hope, promise and detail of the new struggle with the new generation – for so far, we have failed to do so adequately.

It is far easier to struggle against, than to struggle for. As the demonstrations outside Luthuli House last week showed vividly, it is far easier to break down and destroy than it is to create and build.

But democracy also requires a struggle – making democracy work requires effort and commitment. Democracy was not a destination – rather, it is a new way of life, which comes with the promise of true fruit for all, provided we are prepared to tend the plant so it can grow and flourish. In the same way, Tiyo Soga’s legacy, the promise in which he believed, and which he worked to deliver, is one of creating a new society, and building a new nation – laying the foundations from the best that we can see around us.

It is not enough to criticise what is wrong. True, we need to get our analysis right. But that is drawing the map. It is not even taking the first step into the future that, if only we had eyes to see, still remains so full of promise, so ready to bear lasting, tangible fruit.

Yet we certainly must be free to criticise what is wrong. Tiyo Soga’s hymn continues: Fulfil your Promise, God, Lord of Truth. Though the phrase ‘speaking truth to power’ is more recent, Tiyo Soga certainly lived by it – both criticising the colonial powers, and refusing to be co-opted by Maqoma, telling the Xhosa chief that he served only God – ‘There is another King …’

Surely to honour his legacy means, at the very least, that we must have a public interest defence clause in the Protection of Information legislation. I fully support the efforts spearheaded by the Right to Know Campaign, with their march on Parliament on 17 September, to call for its inclusion, even at this late hour of the legislative process. I am also appalled that Cosatu members should be arrested and deported from Swaziland to prevent them speaking up for democracy and human rights – though I am glad they are not being charged within Swaziland for promoting regime change.

Freedom of speech is entrenched in our Constitution – and rightly so, because it is a part of the necessary bed-rock of democratic life. But this does not mean we can and should say anything, anywhere, merely on the grounds that we claim it is ‘truth’. Nor should restraint merely consist in establishing the maximum we can get away with when arguing before the courts. No, freedom of speech touches on the very essence of what it is to be human, and to be committed to the wellbeing of other human beings. This is at the core of religious belief – though it is not exclusively the perspective of the religious, as illustrated by the ancient concept of the Greek philosophers of ‘the common good’. Our best speaking is what builds up our communities, our society, our nation.

Hate speech is not merely a legal category. It is, as I have said often before (when people have been called ‘snakes’ and ‘dogs’ and worse), any utterance that diminishes and degrades other human beings, other children of God. More than this, it diminishes and degrades not only its target, but also the speaker – for it demonstrates a general failure to understand and respect people at large. The same is true of those who resort to racial epithets, or demeaning sexual slurs, as are also in the news. Pretending to humour is no excuse. Whether such words break the law may be open to debate. What is beyond question is that it all undermines our capacity to ‘fulfil the promise’ of democracy, through building the sort of individual character and mature society which will help create the opportunity for every citizen to flourish. Hate speech, racist talk, sexist language only oppresses and imprisons. We must denounce it all, and instead speak the ‘truth’ of Tiyo Soga – the truth that underpins true democracy, that emancipates and liberates; the truth of the one King whom Tiyo Soga followed, Jesus, who told the world ‘the truth shall set you free’.

So now comes my third challenge of what it means to fulfil our promise. It is a challenge to Tiyo Soga’s direct heirs – South Africa’s religious leaders. One definition of a preacher in the pulpit is someone who stands ‘six feet above contradiction’! It is easy enough for us to declaim our sermons! But that is not enough. In his new Testament Letter, St James says we should ‘be doers of the word and not merely hearers who deceive themselves’ (Jas 1:22). In the same way, we who preach should be doers of the word and not merely speakers, deceiving ourselves and others.

That said, it is not our role to do government’s job for them; nor to be social workers; nor environmental activists; nor political commentators; nor economic gurus. These are all areas with which we must engage – but we must do so, bearing the promised fruit of our own unique place within society. We have a special responsibility to provide the moral compass, a clear vision of justice, of freedom, of honesty, of truth. We must demonstrate what it means to be truly human – created, as many of us say, in the image of God, and so bearing intrinsic dignity, and worthy of respect, from the smallest child and the roughest old bergie, to Archbishops and Presidents. None is more valuable in the eyes of God.

We must walk the walk and talk the talk – modelling servant leadership exercised for the well-being of those entrusted to us; taking special care of the suffering and needy; standing in solidarity with the marginalised and excluded; helping the voiceless find their voice; being a full part of democracies processes of debate and mutual accountability. We must show what true stewardship is about – another essential aspect of contemporary leadership in a world of finite resources, where we increasingly risk destroying our home, the only home there is for ourselves, our children and our children’s children, for the sake of short term gains enjoyed by the few. We must provide moral, ethical, resources; and help others understand how to apply them in every walk of life.

And finally, we must point to the fourth challenge that arises from Tiyo Soga’s hymn title ‘Fulfil your promise’. For these words are a prayer – that God himself will fulfil his promises to us. They are a prayer to which we can all say ‘Amen’ with confidence. For the vision that the Bible offers – the very Bible that says more about poverty and economics than it does about prayer – is that though God condemns those who exploit, or even merely ignore, the poor; far more than that, he delights to bring blessing wherever people pursue justice and mercy.

The prophet Amos says ‘Let justice roll down like waters, and righteousness like an ever-flowing stream.’ He says ‘Seek the Lord, and live; seek good and not evil, and the Lord, the God of hosts, will be with you’ (Amos 5:24; 6, 14). This is the promise that is sure and certain – that when we do what God calls us to do; when we seek justice and mercy, when we seek righteousness and truth, when we seek the economic emancipation of the poor, affordable health-care for all the sick, decent education for every South African child, efficient service delivery, effective rural development, tangible mechanisms for appropriate reparations … – when we seek the true flourishing of every individual, every community, all of society – then we can be assured that God will indeed be with us.

When our hearts, our minds, our commitments, are in the right place, God will help us know what is the right thing to do. God will help us have the insight to know how to take it forward. God will help us have the will-power to see it through. When we seek to do what is right, what is good – then God will indeed help us fulfil our promise. This is his promise, and he guarantees to fulfil it.

Therefore, let me end with words of prayer, from the final verse of Tiyo Soga’s hymn, ‘Fulfil your promise’: ‘O Lord, bless the teachings of our land; Please revive us, that we may restore goodness.’

May it indeed be so. Amen.

Note for Editors: Tiyo Soga was the first ordained African Presbyterian minister in South Africa, an African intellectual who translated parts of the Bible, Pilgrim’s Progress and other works, into Xhosa, and wrote a great number of hymns, many of which are still sung today.

Born in 1829, at Mgwali, near King William’s Town, he attended the Lovedale Missionary Institute, and when the principal returned to Scotland during the War of the Axe in 1846, Soga went with him, and continued his studies. He returned to South Africa after being baptised, but later went back to Scotland to study theology further. In 1856 Soga became the first black South African to be ordained in the Presbyterian Church. He married a Scottish woman, Janet Burnside, with whom he subsequently had seven children, several of whom had significant careers in South Africa and Scotland. In 1857 they returned to South Africa, where Soga worked as a catechist, evangelist, hymn-writer and interpreter. He died at Thuthura in 1871, of a persistent throat infection, exacerbated by overwork.

Thursday, 8 September 2011

Letter to the Primate of Sudan

This letter was sent to the Primate of Sudan, the Most Revd Dr Daniel Deng Bul, on 8 September 2011.

My Dear Brother in Christ

I write to extend to you my own warm welcome and that of the Anglican Church of Southern Africa.

Thank you for finding the time to share in the Diocesan Synod of the Diocese of Pretoria as their special guest. I appreciate your readiness to invest in the strengthening of our partnership in the Gospel and pray that your visit will be mutually rewarding.

I trust that you will enjoy the hospitality of the good people of Pretoria.

Be assured of my prayers and continued support for your ministry, particularly through this time of such great change and challenge for the Sudanese people.

Yours in the service of Christ

+ Thabo Cape Town

Monday, 5 September 2011

Anglican Church supports Campaign to 'Tread Lightly', to leave a sustainable legacy

This statement was issued by the Office of the Archbishop on 5 September 2011.

This Heritage Day, 24 September 2011, environmental organizations the world over – including in Cape Town – will take to the streets to call for a new way of moving, a way that moves beyond fossil fuels and a dependency on private vehicles and leaves behind a sustainable, low-carbon legacy.

Cape Town’s ‘Tread Lightly’ parade will start at 10.30 am at the Cape Town Station Forecourt, and proceed an easy 5km through the central city. Everyone is welcome – on foot, by bicycle, wheelchair, skateboard, pram, and any other form of low-carbon transport you can think of. Expect floats, puppets and other surprising ‘non-motorised’ vehicles en-route.

The parade is part of international activist organisation’s global Moving Planet Day of Climate Action. ‘We know that the only way to avert climate catastrophe is an emergency mobilisation to cut carbon emissions to zero as soon as possible,’ says ‘That's why we're encouraging greater use of renewable energy and low-carbon transport wherever we can.’

In Cape Town, 40% of carbon emissions – an important cause of climate change – are from the transport sector, largely single occupant private cars. Yet there are other ways of moving: walking, car-pooling, cycling, travelling by bus, train or mini-bus taxi, or not travelling at all (with technology such as telecommuting, email, instant messaging and simple better planning).

Parade participants will also raise awareness about other ways in which to tread lightly – from recycling, eating and purchasing locally, to solar power, indigenous gardening and water saving.

Perhaps most importantly, though, the parade will show that treading lightly doesn’t have be done with a heavy heart: it’s fun, it’s cool, and it’s the only way to ensure that we have a heritage left to celebrate.

When: 24 September 2011

Where: All over the world … and at Cape Town Station Forecourt (outside the station building itself) at 10.30 am, to leave at 11am.

How: Take the train, the bus, car-pool or ride (Metrorail will permit bicycles on board for the day)

The route: The parade will begin in the Cape Town Station, and will proceed up Waterkant Str and take a left into St Georges Mall. We will turn into Shortmarket Str, then left into Long Str, and left into Wale Str. From there we will return to St Georges Mall and make our way back to the Cape Town Station Forecourt.

SOME OF THE ORGANISATIONS INVOLVED IN ‘TREAD LIGHTLY’, Project 90 by 2030, City Climate Smart Campaign, Greenpop, Ecobuzz, LitterAWEH!ness, IlithaLomsa, Fairtrade South Africa, G&D Live , Free Life on Earth, Hearth Heritage, EcoDoc Africa, Cape Town Diocesan Environmental Church Group (Anglican), HangbergHoutbay Garden of Peace and Hope, Treasure the Karoo, Ride Your City and the Cape Town Bicycle Map, Mobility Magazine, Skateboarders Association, UNIMA South Africa, Jungle Theatre &Mzantsi festival, Green Your Art, COPART, Bicycle Empowerment Network, Earth Artist Collective, UCT Green Campus Initiative, Stellenbosch student societies, UCT drama students, SAFCEI

For more information, visit or mail movingplanetcapetown@gmail.comorTahirih Cook, on 0848734711, or

Advice to Ignore "Anathema"

This statement was issued by the Provincial Executive Officer on 5 September 2011.

Clergy and parishioners of the Anglican Church of Southern Africa are advised to ignore the ‘Anathema’ that is being widely circulated by email in the name of the ‘Ukrainian Orthodox Greek Catholic Church’ and / or the ‘Byzantine Catholic Patriarchate’.

This group broke away in 2009 from the Ukrainian Greek Catholic Church - an Eastern Rite Catholic Church directly subject to the Pope. They have since issued wide-ranging condemnations of church bodies and individuals who do not support their narrow views – which include opposition to ecumenism, the demand that Christian countries deport Muslims, and the accusation that the Pope’s dialogue with Jewish leaders invites ‘a spirit of freemasonry’ into the church. Those whom they portray as ‘heretical’ or ‘apostate’, or claim to ‘excommunicate’ or to ‘anathematise’, range from the current and previous Pope and over 2000 Roman Catholic Bishops to President Barack Obama and the Commissioners of the European Union; as well as dozens of Churches, including (during the month of July 2011 alone) some twenty or so Anglican, Lutheran and other Protestant Churches alongside our own!

Southern Africa’s Anglicans are also assured that the accusations made against ACSA are riddled with distortions and untruths. As Archbishop Thabo Makgoba and the Synod of Bishops have continued to make clear (most recently in the Archbishops letter ‘To the Laos – to the People of God’ of August/September 2011), ACSA remains committed to upholding the moratoria of the Anglican Communion on the ordination of persons living in a same gender unions to the episcopate; the blessing of same-sex unions; and cross-border incursions by bishops. Similarly, our Church has affirmed that partnership between two persons of the same sex cannot be regarded as a marriage in the eyes of God. Accordingly, our clergy are not permitted to conduct or bless such unions; nor are they permitted to enter into such unions while they remain in licensed ministry. It is within this context that we are currently exploring appropriate Guidelines to respond to the changing pastoral realities that have followed the Government of South Africa’s introduction of Civil Unions between people of the same gender.

Provincial Executive Office, Anglican Church of Southern Africa, September 5, 2011