Friday, 25 December 2015

'Corruption has infected government in epidemic proportions'

From St George's Cathedral, Cape Town, Esley Philander of the SABC reports on the Archbishop's Christmas homily:

South African Anglican Archbishop of Cape Town, Thabo Makgoba delivered a sobering midnight mass sermon at the Saint George's Cathedral in Cape Town on Thursday night warning that corruption has infected government in "epidemic proportions".  (full text follows video clip)


Thursday, 24 December 2015

“Glad Tidings of Peace Demand Courage and Action”

A homily for Christmas Eve 2015, preached at St George's Cathedral, Cape Town:

Isaiah 62: 6-12, Psalm 97, Titus 3: 4-7, Luke 2: 8-20

Thank you, Dean Michael and your staff, who always make this Christmas Eve Mass such a great occasion. As the hymn says of this night of the year, “O Holy Night, the Stars are brightly shining, it is the Night of our dear Saviour’s Birth.” It is a night on which we experience God’s love for us, a love so great that God, in his pursuit of us, becomes one like us, risking all so that we might receive God’s boundless mercy.

    And God does indeed pursue us. The English poet Francis Thompson reminds us of this in the poem in which he describes God as a “Hound of Heaven” who pursues us “down the nights and down the days.” C S Lewis says that thinking that we are pursuing God is like imagining a mouse chasing a cat. Both make the Advent point: that God will never stop seeking us out and loving us into fuller life.

    Not only that: we don’t have to earn God’s love. As Paul says in his letter to Titus, “...when the goodness and loving-kindness of God our Saviour appeared, he saved us, not because of any works of righteousness that we had done, but according to his mercy, through the water of rebirth and renewal by the Holy Spirit.” Our archbishop emeritus says it more colourfully. One of his favourite Bible verses is that in Paul’s letter to the Romans which reads: “Whilst we were yet sinners, Christ died for us.” In typically vivid language, Desmond Tutu adds: “If Jesus had waited until we were die-able for, then he would have waited until the cows came home.”

    The constant prayer of that great African saint, Augustine of Hippo, was this: “Because you have loved me O Lord, you have made me lovable.” Christmas is the reminder that all of us are lovable because, by coming amongst us, God has made us lovable. In a world in which so many harbour poor self-images, one of the greatest Christmas reassurances lies in the reminder that we are loved by God without reservation. The shepherds of Jesus’s time were despised by the religious and social elites because their calling demanded that they respond all the time to the needs of the sheep, and thus they could not comply with religious rituals. Yet it was to them that the angels made known the wonderful message. We might well conclude from this that God delighted more in their response to the needs of the sheep than in their ritual purity. It might well be that this Christmas too, God will manifest Godself and rejoice more in our responses to the cries of the world, to the pain of the poor and lonely, than in any rituals.

    Tonight we live in a world and a country in which cries are rising from many quarters. Our Anglican sisters and brothers are among those in South Sudan and Burundi who cry out for peace. Our sisters and brothers, Christian and Muslim alike, in northern Nigeria, the Central African Republic, Mali and Burundi, cry out for peace. The peoples of Syria, Palestine and Israel cry out for peace and justice. We cry out for climate justice – and have been encouraged by the milestone agreement reached in Paris, which gives us hope for a climate-friendly, resilient and more equitable future.

    In South Africa, after the events of the last few weeks, our cry is that the sacrifices which we and our forebears made for our liberation will not be squandered in the pursuit of false gods and in our worship at the altar of greed and corruption. It is not easy tonight to bring good news of great joy or say, without inhibition, “Happy Christmas”. Many are asking: Where is the joy? How can we put aside our daily cares to celebrate the birth of Christ? Growing, deepening discontent is palpable in South Africa, a discontent that is causing even the most beautiful of days to be invaded by the pervasive smell of the rot which is being spread by the moral pollution of our public life.

    The #FeesMustFall campaign reflected the dark clouds of restless unhappiness, frustration and rebelliousness against the increasing inequalities that contaminate our daily lives. But whether or not you agree with the government’s response to that, at least it was rational. The sheer recklessness of the firing of Nhlanhla Nene, the failure to consider the needs of the nation, and particularly the needs of the poor, was staggering. Since then, we have seen the shocking revelations by City Press of how corrupt leaders and members of a teachers’ union have captured large parts of our educational system for personal gain rather than our children’s welfare. Frighteningly, our nation’s moral pollution has infected sections of our government in epidemic proportions. If not purposefully and vigorously addressed, this pollution will disorient us, engulf us and eventually overwhelm us, and will deny us the possibility of achieving our unique potential as a nation.

    It sometimes feels as if some of our leaders stopped their fight for a new South Africa at the point at which they joined the ranks of those who corruptly and immorally amassed wealth under colonialism and apartheid. Our struggle now should not be for the new, multiracial middle class to live as the white elite lived under apartheid: it should be for a new society, a more equal society, a society of equality of opportunity in which the wealth that comes from new economic growth is shared equitably among all. And let us not make the mistake of thinking that the solution to our problems lies simply in replacing one leader with another. The new struggle is about values and institutions rather than about personalities, which is why, when church leaders went last week to see President Zuma, we said we agreed to work with the Presidency to restore trust in government. Working with the Presidency means working with the institution, no matter who the incumbent happens to be. We know that the abuse of our institutions for political reasons did not begin with President Zuma’s incumbency, so whether or not he is replaced before his term ends, we need to build strong systems and institutions which cannot be undermined by one party or person’s whim.

    Some of our readings for this season allude to frightening signs and apocalyptic visions - signs and visions which have seduced many followers down the centuries into strange doctrines, unusual expectations and relentless fear. Yet a close reading of the scriptures reveal a comforting truth, that no matter what the circumstances, no matter how dismal the outlook or how bleak the diagnosis, we are heirs to the unshakeable promise that God is always with us. In the midst of our trials and tribulations, God is waiting to be born, or waiting to be discovered again no matter where we are in our lives.

     So as we face 2016 with all its uncertainties, with its governance challenges, and with its threats to our well-being as a nation, we must hold onto the belief that we can overcome them. And then let us act on that belief: join together, organise, lobby and embark on what I call the New Struggle, the struggle to ensure that the sacrifices that so many made for our liberation are not wasted, the struggle against greed, corruption and nepotism, the struggle for true justice, including economic justice, and the peace from God that flows from justice.

    That New Struggle began in 2015, when we saw a national mobilisation of young and old alike against the failures of leaders who are allowing the corruption epidemic to rob the people of South Africa of the fruits of their hard-won freedom, gained over many decades by the old struggle against apartheid. We must use our words and our actions against those who put their own personal interests ahead of those of the people, promoting a culture of “Me” instead of a culture of “We”. We must oppose those who take and don’t give, those who use hateful racist and xenophobic language, those who ignore the needs of our students, our neighbours and communities. Against all of this, we must rise up. If we learned anything from the courage of our students who said “enough is enough”, it is that we are able to create a society rooted in human love and in God’s care for us and all people everywhere.

    In that spirit, let us light candles of hope across the country -- mindful that there are those who cannot afford even a candle. This Christmas, let us recognise that if we are to be signs of the new dawning Kingdom, it will involve a journey away from all that blinds us to the suffering and misery of others, from inherited forms of privilege and wealth, and from a world view that is comfortable with excluding from the resources of the world the other who is different to us. It will involve, instead, a commitment to works of justice and peace, to building relationships that are gentle and nurturing, and to doing that which the Angels did, bringing good news of great joy for all people.

    And let us draw hope from the prophet Isaiah. Addressing circumstances in which the Israelites had been feeling despondent after their return from exile, and Jerusalem was in shambles, the prophet reminds the people that they needed to be persistent in their faith, and adds:

   You who remind the Lord,
   take no rest,
   and give him no rest
   until he establishes Jerusalem
   and makes it renowned throughout the earth. 


    God will not take rest until South Africa is again renowned throughout the earth. May that day come soon. God bless you, your family and South Africa, and have a happy, hopeful and blessed Christmas.                         AMEN


Monday, 21 December 2015

Do Churches Still Hold Moral Authority in Today's Society?

Ashraf Garda of SAfm in Johannesburg talks to Archbishop Thabo Makgoba and Bishop Malusi Mpumlwana, General Secretary of the South African Council of Churches.

Afternoon Talk, SAfm, December 18, 2015 (Find original programme here: iono.fm/e/239098)


Friday, 18 December 2015

AUDIO - Archbishop Thabo Makgoba's Reflection on Advent IV

The Archbishop completes his Advent reflections. The reading for the Fourth Sunday in Advent is Luke 1: 39-55.

Thursday, 10 December 2015

AUDIO: Reflection for Advent III - Archbishop Thabo

Archbishop Thabo's reflection on the Third Sunday in Advent: Reading from Luke 3: 1-6.

Click on the recording below, or you can download the file to your mobile device and share with your friends.



Monday, 7 December 2015

St George's Cathedral, Cape Town - Nelson Mandela Commemoration Service

The full recording of Evensong at St George's Cathedral, Cape Town, on December 6, the Second Sunday in Advent and the day after the second anniversary of the death of Nelson Mandela. 

Preacher: Archbishop Thabo Makgoba. (Scroll down to read the text of the sermon.) Prayers led by: Dean Michael Weeder. Soloist: Titilayo Adedokun-Helm




Sunday, 6 December 2015

What would Madiba think of South Africa today?

Archbishop Thabo Makgoba, on the second anniversary of the death of Nelson Mandela, St George's Cathedral, Cape Town on 6th December, 2015:

In the Name of God, Father, Son and Holy Spirit,  Amen.

We meet today as people of faith, joining with brothers and sisters around the world, to pause and remember Madiba on the second anniversary of his death.  It is fitting that we should do this at the Cathedral because it is here that we, people of faith and of none, have over the past half century proclaimed a message of justice -- from this pulpit, from the platform below and from the steps outside.

Thursday, 3 December 2015

AUDIO: Archbishop Thabo's reflection for Advent II

Archbishop Thabo's reflection on the Second Sunday in Advent. Click on the recording below, or you can download the file to your mobile device, listen later and share with your friends. The Gospel reading is Luke 3: 1-6.

Tuesday, 1 December 2015

My last day at the climate talks

Fasting at an empty table.
My last day at COP21. As one of those who have been fasting for climate change - and in solidarity with those who don't have food - on the first day of every month, I today joined a group who have been doing this fast for two years.

To drive the point home, at lunchtime we set a table with a "menu" in a passageway at the talks, and took turns to sit there, 10 of us at a time in 10-minute shifts to comply with a police regulation prohibiting gatherings of more than that. Our plates were empty and our cutlery unused as we shared why we were fasting, drawing from the wealth and plenty of our spiritual wells.

Monday, 30 November 2015

Notes from Paris - Day Two at the climate summit


Keeping my head warm in Paris.
Well, the United Nations climate summit known as COP21 is under way here in Paris, with world leaders speaking first to kick off the negotiations.

Eleven governments today, Monday, pledged nearly 250 million U.S. dollars towards support for vulnerable communities to adapt to climate change, and the ACT Alliance - for whom I am acting as an ambassador - said in a statement today that this signals hope for an ambitious agreement that will secure the planet’s future.

Sunday, 29 November 2015

Notes from the climate summit in Paris - Sunday

Here at the United Nations climate summit, COP21, in Paris, I spoke to a representative of African pilgrims who covered 6,000 miles cycling across nine countries, collecting signatures calling on the world's leaders to deliver climate justice.

Saturday, 28 November 2015

Nearly 2 million people lobby against global warming

At COP21, the UN climate summit in Paris, Archbishop Thabo Makgoba joined other members of the international ecumenical grouping, the ACT Alliance, in handing over petitions signed by 1,7 million people, urging political leaders to take decisive action to curb global warming and deliver a strong, fair deal that helps poor countries adapt to their changing climate.

In the photo below with Archbishop Thabo is Christiana Figueres, who as executive secretary of the UN Framework Convention on Climate Change is the UN's top official dealing with the issue.


Photo: Sean Hawkey/WCC

Friday, 27 November 2015

From Paris, Archbishop calls for climate change agreement


Archbishop Thabo Makgoba, in Paris for the UN climate change conference, has called for an agreement to be reached at the talks which promotes renewable energy, helps people to adapt to climate change and where that is not possible, to give them assistance to mitigate its effects.

Thursday, 26 November 2015

AUDIO: Archbishop Thabo's reflections on Advent I

Archbishop Thabo is again delivering a series of reflections on each Sunday in Advent. Listen to his first reflection on the Gospel reading for Advent 1, below:



Sunday, 15 November 2015

A Charred Cross of Redemption - To the Laos - To the People of God



Dear People of God
Charred Cross.

Whew! What a rushed few weeks, travelling to meet commitments in Johannesburg, Lesotho, London, then back to South Africa to talk to protesting students, then to Washington, back to Swaziland and finally, unexpectedly, to the Diocese of Umzimvubu.

Let me start with the news that fire has devastated Umzimvubu's diocesan centre at Glenthorne farm, outside Kokstad, on the very day the Diocesan Council was meeting to plan the way ahead under the interim leadership of Bishop Sitembele Mzamane of Mthatha, who is Vicar-General while the future of Bishop Mlibo Ngewu is decided.

Wednesday, 11 November 2015

Tribute to a pioneering priest - the Revd Canon Nancy Charton - 1920-2015


On behalf of the Anglican Church of Southern Africa, its bishops, clergy and people, I send our condolences and prayers to the family of the Revd Canon Nancy Charton, who died in Graaff Reinet yesterday at the age of 95.

Saturday, 7 November 2015

Fire destroys Umzimvubu buildings - Letter to the Bishops

Property destroyed by fire at the Diocese of Umzimvubu.

Subject: Diocese of Umzimvubu

Dear Bishops and Colleagues

I write to ask for your continued prayers on the issues of the Diocese of Umzimvubu.

Friday, 6 November 2015

On Bishop Bernard Mkhabela / Drought in Swaziland



A sermon preached in the Diocese of Swaziland:

Thursday, 5 November 2015

Friday, 30 October 2015

SACC calls for end to university protests

SOUTH AFRICAN COUNCIL OF CHURCHES CALLS FOR END TO UNIVERSITY PROTESTS

Friday October 30, 2015

The South African Council of Churches National Executive Committee at a meeting in Johannesburg last Thursday called on all university students to suspend their protracted protests and focus on crucial end of year examinations.

Archbishop Reports on E-Reader Project

Archbishop Thabo Makgoba reported at a meeting of the Compass Rose Society in London this week on progress with the E-Reader project being run from Bishopscourt.

Sunday, 25 October 2015

Sermon preached in the Diocese of Lesotho

Sermon preached by Archbishop Thabo Makgoba at the consecration of the new Church of St Matthias, Peka, Lesotho:

Your Majesty, King Letsie III,
Your Cabinet ministers present, especially the Prime Minister and Deputy Prime Minister,
Bishops present from our Province and Central Africa, as well as the Bishop of Durham and his colleagues,
Dear people of God of the Diocese of Lesotho,
Dear brothers and sisters in Christ, 



What a delight it is to share with you in consecrating a new church building.

God is good!
All the time!
All the time!
God is good! 

Thursday, 22 October 2015

Faith leaders' statement on student fee crisis

National church leaders and other faith leaders gathering in Johannesburg from 21-22 October 2015 at OR Tambo, for their annual meeting, issued the following statement on the student fee crisis:

Archbishop Thabo joins religious leaders to support protesting students

Archbishop Thabo issued the following statement to the Church this morning. It was also released to the media:

"I will join about 40 leaders of the National Religious Association for Social Development on a visit to Wits University, my alma mater, this morning. We are interrupting meetings in Gauteng to do so.

Religious leaders label student protests a crisis




Wednesday, 14 October 2015

To the Laos - To the People of God



Dear People of God

I write to you at a challenging time in the life of the leadership of our Church, in which a succession of some of our most senior bishops are retiring one after another, and dioceses across the Province have met and are due to meet to elect their successors. At the last meeting of our Provincial Standing Committee, on bidding farewell to bishops Rubin, Jo and Mark, my deep emotions overcame me and I even shed tears. The coming few months and years will indeed be a time of new leaders, new contexts, new energy and new hope.

Please pray for the Elective Assembly of the Diocese of Zululand, which will meet on December 9 to choose a successor to the Right Revd Dino Gabriel, recently elected to replace Bishop Rubin Phillip as Bishop of Natal. Pray for the consecration, God willing, of the new bishop on April 24 next year, and also for the installation in Natal on November 21. Your prayers are asked too for Bishop Jo Seoka of Pretoria, who retires on December 31, for the Elective Assembly taking place in Pretoria on February 4 and, God willing, for the consecration on May 15.

As a result of the resignation of the Right Revd Mark van Koevering as Bishop of Niassa in northern Mozambique, an election there is scheduled for January 26 and a consecration on May 29. Finally the Synod of Bishops will elect the new Bishop of Namibia at its February meeting, after an Elective Assembly referred the decision to the bishops. Please pray also for those dioceses. 

On the other hand, I am very glad to announce that South Africa's courageous Public Protector, Thuli Madonsela, and our own distinguished theologian and educator, Professor Barney Pityana, have been named as the inaugural recipients of the Archbishop's Award for Peace With Justice. Advocate Madonsela was decorated at a function at Rhodes University where she spoke on values-based leadership. Prof Pityana was decorated at a special farewell service held at the chapel of the College of the Transfiguration. This is a new award established by our Church which acknowledges those within the life of the countries of Southern Africa who make outstanding contributions in their communities which reflect the values espoused in Micah, whatever faith they espouse or do not espouse and whether they are lay people or clergy. We are honoured that Advocate Madonsela and Prof Pityana have accepted the award, bringing distinction on it by doing so.

I am pleased also to share with you the decision of the Provincial Standing Committee at its recent meeting to adopt a new stewardship handbook developed by dioceses in the Western Cape. We have spoken for years, in many dioceses, of the need for a special and renewed focus on stewardship and giving, so the new material which will guide us theologically and practically is particularly welcome. 

Accompanying this letter is a presentation I made last week at what we called “A Day of Courageous Conversations” at Bishopscourt, a quite unique and ground-breaking meeting involving about 60 leaders from the mining sector, civil society and faith communities. Growing out of an initiative that began at the Vatican, then continued at Lambeth Palace, the South African meeting sought to begin a process of repositioning the sector as one that can be a partner for long-term sustainable development with host communities and governments. Mining forms a crucial part of our economy and, as the Marikana crisis and falling commodity prices demonstrate, it is in many ways under threat. Please pray for the industry and all within it, as well as for this initiative.

As I write this, I am heading off on retreat, then later in the month to a meeting in London of the Compass Rose Society – an international group of generous Anglicans who seek to support the ministry of the Archbishop of Canterbury and the Anglican Communion. Then at the beginning of November I will attend the installation of Bishop Michael Curry of North Carolina as the new Presiding Bishop of The Episcopal Church (TEC) in the United States. We celebrate with TEC and send our greetings as they begin this new era in their life, ministry and witness. Please pray for him, for our global church and especially for our stewardship of this special gift that we have been endowed with, the Anglican Communion. When the Son of Man returns, may he find faith in it. (Luke 18:8). 

God bless you,

†Thabo Cape Town

Monday, 12 October 2015

South African Day of Courageous Conversation: An inter-faith initiative


South African Day of Courageous Conversation: An inter-faith initiative

The Most Revd Dr Thabo Makgoba,
Anglican Archbishop of Cape Town

Bishopscourt, 8 October 2015

Representatives of the faith communities here present,
Leaders of the mining sector, representing both workers and management,
Representatives of government, who were invited here,
Members of civil society,
Members of the Steering Committee:

Thank you all for being here today. I want to thank particularly those involved in the mining sector for coming, and for allowing yourselves to be vulnerable in taking these conversations forward. Why do I say that, and why are we calling this a day of courageous conversation? As many of you know, this is the South African step along a road which began at the Vatican two years ago, when the Pontifical Council for Justice and Peace hosted a Day of Reflection in September 2013. It continued with an Ecumenical Day of Reflection at Lambeth Palace in London, hosted by the Archbishop of Canterbury and the President of the British Methodist Conference, and more recently another Day of Reflection at the Vatican, which I was privileged to join.

Archbishop hosts mining industry discussions

Representatives of the South African mining sector, civil society and faith communities met at my invitation at Bishopscourt on October 9 in Cape Town to discuss the future of the industry in South Africa. 

The meeting, which we called a "Day of Courageous Conversations", was the first step in South Africa along a journey which began at the Vatican two years ago, when the Pontifical Council for Justice and Peace hosted a Day of Reflection in September 2013. It continued with an Ecumenical Day of Reflection at Lambeth Palace in London, hosted by the Archbishop of Canterbury and the President of the British Methodist Conference, and more recently another Day of Reflection at the Vatican. 

In this process, mining industry leaders are seeking to reposition the sector as one that can be a partner for long-term sustainable development with host communities and governments. A key outcome of the global-level discussions held so far has been a recognition that the dialogue needs to be replicated at a local level in regions and countries where mining is an integral part of the socio-economic fabric. 

To begin the conversations in South Africa, I agreed to host today's meeting and to invite leaders from the mining industry – including both management and labour – to join representatives from the faith communities, civil society and government for a day of conversations. 

About 60 participants were encouraged to share their perspectives and to hear those of others about what is needed to chart a different way forward for how the mining industry contributes to South Africa’s future. 

We shared a commitment to seek collaborative solutions to the problems which threaten the sustainability of mining and the communities in which mines operate. I have every hope that the process which today's discussion initiates will lead to action to develop creative new models of working constructively together.

Read the Archbishop's opening remarks at the Conversations >>

Wednesday, 30 September 2015

Cape Town religious community joins march against corruption



Archbishop Thabo Makgoba was one of those who addressed the crowd at the end of the march, outside Parliament and the Presidency in Cape Town


Hundreds carried posters protesting against corruption.



The marchers gathered outside Parliament and against the backdrop of St. Mary's Roman Catholic Cathedral and Table Mountain.


Corruption entrenches inequality in South Africa, says Archbishop

Remarks by Archbishop Thabo Makgoba to the Anti-Corruption March in Cape Town:

My heart leaps with joy to see so many here who not only share our anger, but mostly our sadness.  Sadness that we have to express our universal frustration for the absence of moral leadership in South Africa by harnessing our collective voices to say, "enough is enough!".

I ask that we now observe a moment of silence, as we recall to mind our various journeys as South Africans, that have lead us here, as individuals, as a community of communities, and as a country.

It's time to stop marching against corruption. 

Yes, you heard me right. 

It's time to stop marching, having discourses and debates, writing and repeatedly speaking about being anti-corruption. Why?

Monday, 14 September 2015

Message from the Bishops to the People of the Anglican Church of Southern Africa

We, the Bishops of the Anglican Church of Southern Africa, meeting on 13th and 14th September at the Kopanong Conference Centre in Benoni in the Diocese of the Highveld, wish to greet and report to our people across the Province.

At the Consecration of Mthetheleli Charles May as Bishop of the Highveld on 12th September, Bishop Peter Lee of the Diocese of Christ the King took as the springboard for his sermon the words of Jesus in his great prayer : ‘Father, they are your gift to me’ (John 17:26).

It is as the people of God are placed into our hands as gifts, for Bishops to pray for them, care for them and endeavour to lead them, that we find our vocation.

In these few days we have tried to do this in several ways.

On 11th September at the invitation of the Archbishop and of Lonmin, many of the Bishops undertook a pastoral visit to Marikana, where we toured the site of the killings of August 2012 and prayed together for the victims, their families, and the continuing community around the mine. We met some of those involved in working towards hope for the future and saw some of the projects which the company is undertaking to improve living and working conditions. We are invited to engage further and more deeply with that community as time allows.

On 12th September we exercised our liturgical and sacramental functions in the glorious service of Consecration and Enthronement of Bishop May in a vast tent at St Dunstan’s College in Benoni.

Our Synod meeting was brief as we prepare to enter into a two-day planning meeting for the Church, and then to carry the outcomes of those discussions to the Standing Committee on 17th and 18th. These too are part of our calling, to assist in developing vision for the Church and doing the responsible housekeeping which gives effect to such vision.

In our brief meeting the Bishops heard encouraging news –
  • about the process of developing a new prayer book and related resources for transformational worship
  • about education across the Province
  • about theological education for future clergy
  • about Anglicans Ablaze and the launch of a new way of approaching the stewardship of our resources, which is about to be reflected in new study
  • materials for the Church.
  • about the possibility of launching a community-level ministry of mediation across the Province
  • about the next Anglicans Ablaze conference to be held in Cape Town 5-8 October 2016.
We went through all the portfolios carried by each Bishop, adjusted these in light of impending retirements and changes, and sorted out a rack of key dates for 2016.

We continued to wrestle with some of the challenging issues before us, including the best way to introduce pastoral guidelines for parishioners living in civil unions, and challenges to unity in some of the Dioceses.

At the conclusion we bade farewell to Bishop Mark van Koevering as he undertakes a new ministry in West Virginia, to Bishop Jo Seoka and to Bishop Rubin Philip, also Dean of the Province, as they will be retiring before we meet next. We give thanks to God for them and their ministries. 


Saturday, 12 September 2015

Consecration and enthronement of the new Bishop of the Highveld

Archbishop Thabo Makgoba of Cape Town leads the Right Revd Mthetheleli Charles May from the service at which Bishop May was consecrated and enthroned as the Bishop of the Highveld. 
Bishop May blesses Archbishop Makgoba after the service, held in a huge marquee in the grounds of St. Dunstan's School in the Diocese on Saturday September 12, 2015.

Bishops pray at site of Marikana mine killings

Eleven bishops of the Anglican Church of Southern Africa visited Marikana Mine in the North-West Province of South Africa on September 11, 2015. At the scene of the killing by police of striking miners in 2012, they were briefed by officials of Lonmin, the company which owns the mine.


After the briefing, the bishops gathered at the foot of Wonderkop, the hill on which miners were killed in the first fusillade of police bullets. A number of bishops prayed for the miners, their families and the police, and Archbishop Thabo Makgoba ended the prayers with a blessing.
[Communicators: downloadable photos available here: http://bit.ly/1QvsV8e ]

Thursday, 10 September 2015

Prayer for Refugees and Migrants - by Archbishop Thabo Makgoba



On the feast of the birth of the Blessed Virgin Mary 2015

O God, give us tender hearts and restless minds,
to pray and act with open hearts and discerning minds.

O Christ, move us to ask profound questions,
about the plight of your people.

You know each one of them by name,
they are all yours.

Our hearts are torn Lord, because
some are running from fighting and violence,
some are running from hunger,
some are running from political persecution.
Why do you seem far off from them?

Holy Spirit of God,
help us to pray and act for refugees and migrants everywhere.
You know each of their situations,
whether forced to flee their homelands,
or displaced within the countries of their birth,

You care equally for every one of them,
whether from Syria or South Sudan,
Afghanistan or Zimbabwe,
Eritrea or Nigeria,
Burundi or the Central African Republic

You call upon us to extend Your embrace to all people,
Guide us, Lord, in opening ourselves to their plight in practical ways,
without fear or prejudice.

For your tender mercy's sake.
Amen


Sunday, 6 September 2015

Homily at a Prayer Service for Bishop Emeritus Charles Albertyn and Archbishop Emeritus Desmond Tutu

Preached at the Church of the Resurrection, Bonteheuwel, Cape Town:

"Oaks of Righteousness"

Isaiah 61:1-3

The Good News of Deliverance
The spirit of the Lord God is upon me,
   because the Lord has anointed me;
he has sent me to bring good news to the oppressed,
   to bind up the broken-hearted,
to proclaim liberty to the captives,
   and release to the prisoners;
to proclaim the year of the Lord’s favour,
   and the day of vengeance of our God;
   to comfort all who mourn;
to provide for those who mourn in Zion—
   to give them a garland instead of ashes,
the oil of gladness instead of mourning,
   the mantle of praise instead of a faint spirit.
They will be called oaks of righteousness,
   the planting of the Lord, to display his glory.


Thank you all for coming both to celebrate the presence in our lives of both Bishop Emeritus Charles and Archbishop Emeritus Desmond and to pray for their healing, and the healing of all who are ill.

Both Bishop Charles and Archbishop Desmond are, in the words of Isaiah, indeed "oaks of righteousness" who have brought and -- by the way they live their lives -- continue to bring good news to the oppressed, to bind up the broken-hearted, to proclaim liberty to the captives and to comfort those who mourn.

Before turning to our readings, let's reminisce and recall those characteristics they have in common which endear them so much to us.

When one speaks to people around the dioceses of the Western and Northern Cape -- the old, enormous Diocese of Cape Town for which they shared responsibility with their other episcopal colleagues -- perhaps the most striking gift they were known for was their deep spirituality and centredness on God and how they could laugh at themselves and minister to others through laughter.

They are no different in retirement. Visiting Bishop Charles in his ward, there was an RSV Bible prominently at his side, even though he was not able to refer to it at the time I was there. It was the same as soon as I stepped into Archbishop Desmond's hospital room – the Bible was at his side. And the day before he came out, he shared with me the prayer intentions of the Order of St Julian of Norwich -- an order in which he is an Oblate -- which was alongside him on his bed. His life testifies to the power of prayer in helping us to discern what what God is calling us to do and to strengthen our resolve that God's will be done. Prayer and worship remain at the centre of his life, whether he's in hospital or at home, on a plane or a train – he has an unchanging spiritual routine and discipline.

Of course, being Archbishop Desmond, he also had an IPad and IPhone in bed with him -- instruments of modern technology which he uses to continue to reach out into the world to support others:  to encourage them, to joke with them, to make them feel good about themselves, to console them, to inspire them, and to assure them of his prayers.

He and Bishop Charles also share an extraordinary capacity to use laughter to overcome difficult moments, to ease tensions and thus to give glory to God.

There are wonderful stories about Bishop Charles's deep wisdom and quick wit. For example, when he wanted to tell people that they might be right in what they thought, but that pursuing the course they were determined to pursue was perhaps not a good idea, he would tell the story of the man at a pedestrian crossing. If the man saw that he had right of way, but that a car was speeding towards him too fast to stop, and the man decided to obey the little green man and cross, Bishop Charles would say, yes, the man would be right: but he would be "dead right".

Think also of how he joked that when accosted by people at traffic lights in Modderdam Road, wanting to clean his windscreen with a rag and a bucket of dirty water, he would say: "I will pay you NOT to clean my windscreen." Or of how, marching just behind Archbishop Desmond on the streets of Cape Town, he said he preferred protest marches under apartheid, which were always stopped by the police after a few yards. After marches became legal, he complained, he had to walk the whole distance.

And remember how they both laughed during Archbishop's Desmond's 80th birthday celebrations, when Bishop Charles forgot that he was down to preach and came in late in his wheelchair.

Or course, Archbishop Desmond's use of humour and laughter to leaven his message during the most bleak moments of our struggle are legendary, from his Van der Merwe stories to his jokes against himself. And when I visited Archbishop Desmond recently, he laughed so much that he cried. He reminded me that When we buried Archbishop Philip Russell, his predecessor, and he invited me to read part of the liturgy on his IPad, and I declined, he said that "I know that it's because you don't know how to use an IPad." And I have to confess now that he was right!

So as we reflect on how their special qualities of leadership and service sustain and empower us, consider how the words of Isaiah, in stating his confidence that "the spirit of the Lord is upon me," suggest that healing is not only physical. Healing is also liberation from anxiety, it is easing heartache, it is helping us to face in the eye the reality that, in the end, death comes to all of us. That reality was recognised in an exchange with Bishop Charlie and Berenice on June 16 this year. After the diocesan soccer tournament, Father Jerome Francis and I went to visit them at home. As I was leaving, he said, "Archbishop, can you see that old black dial-up phone?" I said "Yes." He said, "It is not connected and that is why the good Lord can't call me back home. But I am ready for him." At which I retorted, "Don’t worry, St Michael has misplaced your file and you will be with us for a long time."

The spirit of the Lord brings us the assurance of God's ever-present comfort, whether we are retired or in active ministry, or both, whether we are ill or healthy. For those of us who are trying to emulate Bishop Charles and Archbishop Desmond in our ministry today, the spirit of the Lord encourages us not to be faint-spirited but to act courageously, to face the challenges of our own times, the most important of which in South Africa today is to usher in justice for all our people, especially those living in the squalid conditions of our vast informal settlements.

In Psalm 121, the psalmist affirms that help will come from the Lord, that we can confidently turn to God for the strength to do what we are called to do, because God watches every step and movement we make, even the pulse of our heart or the movement of our breathing. And the dramatic story that we heard from Mark, in which Jesus, as the Gospel puts it, "makes the deaf to hear and the mute to speak", tells us that when it comes to healing, God is in charge.

Of course in these days of modern medicine, God has enabled us, with the gifts he has given us, to offer opportunities for healing we have never had before. And that brings us full circle, back to Isaiah, which urges all of us here, today, now, to bring good news to the oppressed. We need to ask: is it good news for the oppressed when our public health system in parts of South Africa is falling apart? Is it good news for the oppressed when, at the same time, those of us with money or a good private medical scheme can go to private hospitals. Is it good news for the oppressed when some of us can get what Archbishop Desmond describes as medical treatment which ranks with the best in the world, and others must suffer as a result of the failures of management in our hospitals?

Down the main road next to Tokai, down at the bottom end of town and on the main road in Claremont, new hospitals are being built or older ones undergoing massive renovation. Private hospitals are sprouting up everywhere, charging high fees which as a result make them inaccessible to most of our people. Even for clergy, the church is struggling to get to grips with the rising costs of medical care. The difference between the way he is being treated and the fate of most of our compatriots is a deep source of distress to Archbishop Desmond.

As people of faith, let us approach the world with the eyes of God, seeking the mind of Christ in the varied challenges we face. These are myriad, from global warming to the desperate conditions in which so many of our people live. But today, let us re-commit ourselves to working for a public health system which will bring good medical care to all. Following Jesus' example of simplicity, let us work for good primary health care in our clinics. Let us bring our existing public health facilities, the hospitals and the clinics, up to scratch so that they money we already spend on them is used more efficiently. And let's advocate for the national health scheme which our Minister of Health is working hard to introduce.

The spirit of the Lord is upon me. The spirit of the Lord is upon each one of you. Lord, heal our land and people, and begin with me.

Amen

Friday, 4 September 2015

Archbishop Thabo asks Archbishop Emeritus Desmond about prayer and God

This week we are praying for Archbishop Emeritus Desmond Tutu and Bishop Emeritus Charles Albertyn of Cape Town, who are both ill.

Ahead of a special service for our two much-loved bishops in Bonteheuwel, Cape Town, on Sunday I asked Archbishop Desmond for a message for those who have been praying for and thinking of him and his family.

Please click on the link below to hear our chat.

If you are in Cape Town, please join us at the Church of the Resurrection in Bonteheuwel at 3 pm on Sunday September 6 to pray for them both. More details here >

Archbishop Thabo




Sunday, 30 August 2015

Charge to the Synod of the Diocese of Umzimvubu

Charge delivered to the Sixth Session of the Synod of the Diocese of Umzimvubu, 28-29 August 2015, by the Most Revd Dr Thabo Makgoba, Archbishop and Metropolitan:

Theme: Law and Grace

Wednesday, 26 August 2015

Call to Prayer for Archbishop Desmond Tutu and Bishop Charles Albertyn

Archbishop Thabo Makgoba calls on Anglicans in the Diocese of Cape Town to say special prayers for Archbishop Emeritus Desmond Tutu at their Sunday services on August 30.

The Diocese is also arranging a Prayer Service for Archbishop Tutu at the Church of the Resurrection, Bonteheuwel, at 3pm on Sunday September 6.

The service will enable people to gather in a public act of worship to support Father Desmond and the Tutu family as he recovers from infection and to celebrate his continuing ministry and presence among us.

It will also give us the opportunity to offer prayers for our deeply-loved former Bishop Suffragan, Bishop Charles Albertyn, who is very ill at the moment.

Choirs, poets, brass bands and the Bonteheuwel-based Jazz Academy are all being asked to showcase their talents at the September 6 service.

The Church of the Resurrection is at 24 David Profit Street, Bonteheuwel.

GPS: 33°56'45.0"S 18°32'38.3"E

Google maps: http://goo.gl/maps/swWMp

Tuesday, 25 August 2015

Anglicans called to join worldwide Day of Prayer for the Care of Creation

Anglican Communion bishops beat the drum for climate justice
(From the Anglican Communion News Service)

The Primate of the Anglican Church of Southern Africa, Archbishop Thabo Makgoba, has called on Anglicans everywhere to join Orthodox, Roman Catholic, Lutheran and other Christians in a World Day of Prayer for the Care of Creation on 1 September.

Monday, 24 August 2015

Sermon at a Combined Confirmation Service for Anglican Schools in Cape Town

Sermon preached at Herschel Girls School on Sunday 23rd August 2015:

Readings: 1 Kings 8:22-30; Psalm 84; Ephesians 6:10-20; John 6:56-69

May I speak in the name of God who is Father, Son and Holy Spirit.

Archbishop Thabo had the "rare and humbling opportunity" to confirm Paballo Makgoba and her friends.


Saturday, 15 August 2015

Thanksgiving and Farewell Service for Nomfundo Kwini, Johannesburg

Genesis 3:8-15; Psalm 113; Galatians 4:4-7; Luke 11:27-28

May I speak in the name of God who is Creator, Redeemer and Sustainer. Amen.

Dear Nomfundo and Kwini family, what a joy it is for Lungi and I to share in today’s celebrations! Thank you for your invitation to preach and celebrate at this farewell Mass on the Feast of St Mary the Virgin.

Sunday, 2 August 2015

To the Laos – To the People of God - Theological Education Sunday

Dear People of God, 

We bring a special focus across Southern Africa this month to the importance of training Anglicans for ministry, leading up to Theological Education Sunday on August 23. But in South Africa, we also mark Women's Day, so a word about that also.

At the Elective Assembly we held in the Diocese of Natal last month - where the diocese elected Bishop Dino Gabriel, currently the Bishop of Zululand, as Natal's new bishop - an articulate young woman challenged us never to forget the needs of women in the elective process. We would do well to heed her words as we select leaders and make other choices as the leadership of the church.

On Theological Education Sunday last year, we raised about a million rand for the College of the Transfiguration (COTT), our full-time training institution for the ordained ministry. This year, we are appealing to all of you again to give generously.

Friday, 24 July 2015

An Appeal for Prayer for a Landmark Event in the Life of our Church


Dear People of God,

I write to share with you my excitement over a forthcoming landmark event in the life of the Anglican Church of Southern Africa.

In just over six weeks' time, representatives from all 28 dioceses, including experts in strategic planning, will hold two meetings, back-to-back, in which the Province will seize a Kairos moment to review our Vision and Mission as a church, to strategise around ways to implement our priorities, and then to make practical decisions on how to implement them in a manner that is productive, holistic and transformative.

Wednesday, 8 July 2015

Tablets Donated to College of the Transfiguration Students

The Anglican Church of Southern Africa’s e-reader project has donated tablet computers to the Province's residential seminary, the College of the Transfiguration.

This followed meetings with the Rector of the college, the Revd Dr Vicentia Kgabe, on incorporating and exploring new methods of teaching and learning through technology. The tablets will remain the property of the college and the project will be evaluated in October, shortly before the students commence their final exams.

PHOTO: The tablets were handed to second-year students and academic staff by Mrs Lungi Makgoba (centre).


Thursday, 18 June 2015

Archbishop Makgoba welcomes Pope Francis's letter on 'Our Sister, Mother Earth'

People of faith need to focus on the moral and spiritual elements of the crisis brought about by rapid climate change, Archbishop Thabo Makgoba of Cape Town said today in response to Pope Francis's encyclical on the issue.

In a statement issued from Cape Town, the Archbishop said:

“I would like to thank Pope Francis for this historic, ground-breaking letter. I look forward to studying it in more detail.

“Across Africa and in other developing countries, we are already suffering the impacts of climate change, and the people hit hardest by severe droughts or storms are in our most vulnerable communities.

Tuesday, 16 June 2015

Archbishop Thabo fasts for the climate

Archbishop Thabo Makgoba travelled to Bonn, Germany early in June for United Nations talks held to prepare for the next major international climate conference in Paris in December.

The Archbishop, who chairs the Anglican Communion Environmental Network, attended the talks in his role as a Global Climate Ambassador for the ACT Alliance, an international coalition of more than 140 churches and affiliated organisations working to create positive and sustainable change in the lives of poor and marginalised people.

During the meeting, he fasted for a day. He explains why:

Friday, 5 June 2015

Reflection on Corpus Christi

From the chapel at Bishopscourt, Archbishop Thabo Makgoba reflects on Corpus Christi against the backdrop of a major conference on Ecclesiology and Ethics: The state of ecumenical theology in Africa, and of the 2015 World Economic Forum on Africa.

Readings referred to:
Psalm 116: 11-18
Hebrews 9: 11-15
Mark 14: 12-16, 22-26



Friday, 29 May 2015

New Generation Appeals to World Leaders: 'Save Our Soils for Us and Our Children!'

Amsterdam Declaration focuses on need for immediate action to safeguard soils - vital for food supplies - for future generations

AMSTERDAM - "Please look after our planet. Cultivate it, pass it on responsibly, so we may do the same. Please look after the soil."

This was the urgent plea, on behalf of the Youth Food Movement and the world's children, of 20-year-old Nyakallo Makgoba at the closing ceremony of the Celebrating Soil! Celebrating Life! conference in Amsterdam last Friday. 

Speaking at the UN-backed event on the importance of soil to food supplies, Nyakallo Makgoba and Joszi Smeets of the Youth Food Movement demanded delegates, including ministers, royalty and business leaders, act to stop to soil erosion and degradation.


Wednesday, 27 May 2015

To the Laos – To the People of God, Pentecost 2015

Dear People of God,

At Pentecost, we celebrate the birth of our Church, marked by the empowering of Jesus’ Apostles by the Holy Spirit. So Pentecost, and the season which follows, give us an opportunity to ask questions about the nature of the Church. Questions such as: What are we as believers supposed to become if we want to witness to the presence and the working of the Holy Spirit? 
           
On Pentecost Sunday, I worshipped with the congregation of St Monnica's in Midrand, north of Johannesburg, where we used the reading for the day from Ezekiel, in which the prophet is set in a valley that was full of dry bones. I call that passage my conversion passage, because growing up in Alexandra Township I recall vividly how the Revd Sam Buti, the schools chaplain in Alex, linked the image of the dry bones to the frequent gang killings that happened there. In particular, he warned us that one day all of Alex would be a valley of dry and dead bones if we didn’t pluck up the courage to root out the gangs. 

Tuesday, 26 May 2015

Pentecost & Xenophobia

In an audio message recorded for Pentecost, Archbishop Thabo Makgoba has linked the celebration of the beginnings of the Church to the creation of a society that is "neither Afrophobic nor xenophobic."

Listen to the message here / Read the continuation of this report below




Speaking against the backdrop of recent attacks by South Africans on migrants from other parts of Africa, the Archbishop likened the diversity of languages spoken at Pentecost, as recorded in Acts, to the languages spoken by migrants in South Africa today. 

He said in the message:

Saturday, 9 May 2015

Graduation Address at the the School of Theology University of the South, Sewanee, Tennessee

University of the South, Sewanee, Tenn.

Archbishop Thabo Makgoba

Isaiah 46:3-5; Psalm 27:5-11; Hebrews 10:19-24; John 4:23-26

Graduates and your families, guests, fellow honoree Bishop Skirving, Bishop Howard, Bishop Alexander, Vice-Chancellor McCardell, sisters and brothers in Christ:

Firstly, congratulations to all of you who are graduating, and especially to your families who have prayed for you and supported you in a myriad of other ways.

My warm thanks to you, Bishop Alexander, and the School of Theology, for doing me the honour of asking me to join you on Commencement day. It is a great privilege to come up here on the Cumberland Plateau and to follow in the footsteps of my predecessor but one, Archbishop Tutu, who came here in 1988 to be similarly honoured. I am especially pleased to be able to visit the University of the South, this great institution of the Episcopal Church, because education is one of the top missional priorities in our Province of the Anglican Church.

Tuesday, 5 May 2015

University of Pretoria honours two prominent South African clerics

Two of South Africa’s prominent clerics, Archbishop Dr Thabo Cecil Makgoba and Reverend Frederik (Freek) Swanepoel, were awarded the Chancellor’s Medal at the University of Pretoria’s Autumn Graduations in recognition of their contribution towards peace and reconciliation in South Africa.

The Dean of the Faculty of Theology, Prof Johan Buitendag, said the award of the Chancellor’s Medal by his faculty is the start of a build-up to the centenary celebrations by the Faculty of Theology to be held in 2017. The Faculty of Theology, founded in 1917, was the first theology faculty in the country.

Statement from an Extraordinary meeting of the Synod of Bishops


The Synod of Bishops held an extraordinary meeting at the Wits Business School in Johannesburg on Saturday April 25, primarily to elect a new Bishop of the Highveld, but also to discuss other urgent matters.
  • The Synod considered six exceptional candidates for the Diocese of the Highveld. It elected the Very Revd Charles May, currently Dean of Johannesburg. Please pray for Charles and his family as they prepare for his consecration and new ministry.
  • We discussed the xenophobic attacks in South Africa in recent weeks. Bishops from Mozambique, Swaziland, KwaZulu-Natal and other areas of South Africa reported on the situations in their dicoeses. We resolved to:
    • Urge that the crisis brought about by the violence and the search for solutions should be viewed as a regional issue, involving South Africa's neighbours and nations elsewhere in Africa as much as South Africa itself;
    • Condemn the violence unequivocally, and to lift up the stories of compassion and hope which have emerged in response to the brutality of some;
    • Endorse the Archbishop's interventions in recent weeks and align ourselves with his calls for a “new struggle” in South Africa, directed against inequality, especially inequality of opportunity.
  • The Synod noted with sadness and pain the appalling loss of life in Nepal, and assured survivors and those trapped after the earthquake, after-shocks and avalanches of their prayers.


Monday, 4 May 2015

An Appeal to Young People by Archbishop Thabo

21st ANNIVERSARY OF OUR DEMOCRACY

Dear People of God

It has struck me afresh again that it is our 21st anniversary of our democracy and most of our youth have just turned 21 or are still 20. I would like to hear from this age group (20 – 21) who have voted for the first time last year.

I would like to hear from you as I regard myself as the servant of God and what I would like to hear from you is:

1. What are the 2 main issues that you are currently wrestling with?
2. What are the values that you think that are missing in Southern Africa?
3. What are the important values you would like to hear from the Anglican Church of Southern Africa?

We have created a special e-mail address that will be open for a period of 2 months only for this project to enable me to respond directly to all. Please do disseminate the message to all in your parishes as this opportunity is open to all who would like to write to the Archbishop. Herewith is the e-mail address:
archbishop01@anglicanchurchsa.org.za.

Yours in the service of Christ
ϯThabo

Wednesday, 29 April 2015

Archbishop Thabo on the national symbol of St George's Cathedral

In Cape Town, Pippa Hudson of the radio station Cape Talk interviewed the Archbishop on the role that St George's Cathedral played and continues to play in South Africa's democracy. The Cathedral has launched a campaign called Under One Roof to raise money to replace the tiles on its roof.

Wednesday, 22 April 2015

"Hear the cries of the poor and marginalised"

Remarks prepared by Archbishop Thabo Makgoba for an Anti-Xenophobia Rally at the City Hall, Cape Town on April 22, 2015:

Thank you, Cosatu, for the initiative you have taken in bringing us together.

After the attacks of 2008 on migrants from other parts of Africa, we hoped that we had seen an end to xenophobic conflict in our country.

But more than five years on, the tension has erupted again.

People are dying again.

And now we are seeing the ominous threat of counter-attacks from people who say they can no longer sit and wait to be killed.

Today, we are here of course to condemn xenophobic attacks.

To say: Enough is enough!

To say: Cut it out!  This is not ubuntu!

To say: Foreigners are God's people too! All foreigners, not just those from Africa!

And we are here to express our condolences with the families of those who have been killed, and our sympathies with those who have been injured.

But we must go beyond that – way beyond that.

Firstly, we must condemn the irresponsible talk of those South Africans, whether leaders from public platforms or ordinary citizens on social media, who fan the flames of violence.

Secondly, we must go beyond condemnation.  We must come up with long-term solutions.

Monday, 20 April 2015

Call for action against xenophobic violence

Archbishop Thabo Makgoba has called on Anglicans and other people of faith to join acts of public witness this week against xenophobic violence.

He appealed to the people of Cape Town and Gauteng to join:

  • A service at 12 noon on Tuesday April 21 at St George's Cathedral, Cape Town, and a silent vigil on the steps of the Cathedral at 1 pm, organised by the Western Cape Religious Leaders' forum;
  • A civil society anti-xenophobia rally at 6pm on Wednesday at the Cape Town City Hall, organised by Cosatu; 
  • A march in Johannesburg at 1pm on Thursday, beginning at the Peter Roos Park, Empire Road, and ending at Mary Fitzgerald Square in the city, arranged by the People’s Coalition Against Xenophobia & Friends.
  • A “One Million March Against Xenophobic Attacks” beginning at 9am on Friday April 24 at the Pretoria City Hall and ending at 11am at Union Buildings in Pretoria. The Archbishop will join Mrs Graça Machel, Yvonne Chaka Chaka and Prof. Pitika Ntuli as a speaker.

“Please join me in your numbers,” he asked Anglicans and other South Africans.

“Please pray for an end to xenophobia and for tolerance. Let us be voices of reason, acknowledging the anxiety and desperation which leads to attacks on foreigners.

“Let us look at sustainable ways of removing the conditions which cause these attacks, and each commit ourselves to one act of witness to change the situation.

“We need not fear the future,” he concluded. “During the season of Easter, we celebrate that God in Christ Jesus has overcome sin and death. ”

After issuing a statement on the violence last week, the Archbishop planned this week to join high-level initiatives, including walks of witness against xenophobia in affected areas in Gauteng.

In meetings he held last week with clergy and their spouses, as well as directors and staff of Church children's homes, they shared with me the xenophobia they observed among people they ministered to – including learners and workers – and supported his call for tolerance.

Thursday, 16 April 2015

'Foreigners are God's people too' - Archbishop Thabo

Archbishop Thabo Makgoba of Cape Town has added his voice to calls for an end to the current outbreak of xenophobic violence. 

He issued the following statement in Cape Town today. A slightly shorter audio version of the statement, sent to radio stations, follows below the text version:

After the attacks on African migrants in South Africa were ended in 2008, we hoped we had seen the end of xenophobic conflict in our country. 

But more than five years on, the tension has erupted again, people are dying again and now we are seeing the spectre of revenge attacks from migrants.

Foreigners are God's people too and deserve the dignity and protection we enjoy. This is not ubuntu, it is painful and deeply regrettable.

I join my colleagues in the churches and other religious leaders in calling for an end to the attacks, in calling for restraint on all sides and in sending our condolences to the families of those who have died.



Friday, 10 April 2015

Archbishop Makgoba calls for "creative, society-wide" campaign for change

Archbishop Thabo Makgoba called on Friday for the energy behind campaigns for the removal of colonial and apartheid-era statues to be harnessed "into rigorous self-examination and action to expand the current campaigns into a creative, society-wide drive for real transformation."

He was responding in Cape Town to the removal of a statue of the British colonial politician and empire-builder, Cecil John Rhodes, from a central position on the campus of the University of Cape Town. Its removal followed a vigorous student-led campaign which became defined by its Twitter hashtag, #RhodesMustFall.


Archbishop Thabo said in a statement:

"The campaign against symbols of the injustice of our past, along with service delivery protests and public outrage over corruption, reflect the anger of South Africans at the inequalities that continue to plague us.

"From students to unemployed youth on the streets, from the middle-classes to women struggling to make ends meet in township homes, South Africans are tired of our collective failure to improve all our people's lives for the better.

"We must harness the energy being poured into protest into rigorous self-examination and action to expand the current campaigns into a creative, society-wide drive for real transformation.

"The churches, along with government, business and educational institutions, must all join this, the new struggle for equality of opportunity."

Sunday, 5 April 2015

Listen to the Archbishop's Reflection for Easter 2015

Archbishop Thabo reflects on today's Gospel reading, Mark 16:1-8, after a quick survey of how each of the Gospel writers describes the scenes at Jesus' tomb after the Resurrection.


To the Laos – To the People of God, Easter 2015

Dear People of God

Alleluia, Christ is Risen! He is risen indeed, Alleluia!

I wish you all a blessed Eastertide. This year I have recorded a short Reflection for Easter, particularly on the Gospel reading, Mark 16: 1-8, for our new audio ministry on SoundCloud: you can listen to it online, or download it to your computer or mobile device, here >> You can also read my message at the Easter Vigil at St. George's Cathedral, Cape Town here on the blog.

In a significant development in the life of our Church, we recently licensed the Revd Roger Cameron as the Chief Executive Officer of the Anglican Board of Education in Southern Africa (ABESA). I am exhilarated by this move because ABESA has the potential to reclaim the Church's role in education. I congratulate Roger on his appointment, and I urge you all to support and work with ABESA in its threefold objectives:

  • To support existing church schools,
  • To galvanize parish and community involvement, and
  • To establish high quality accessible Christian schools.


For this Ad Laos, I want to share with you my message to the clergy of the Diocese of Cape Town on the occasion of the Chrism Mass on Maundy Thursday, during which we renewed our ordination vows:

Isaiah 61:1-9; Psalm 89:21-27; Luke 4:16-21

May I speak in the name of God, who anoints His only Son –  High Priest of the New Covenant – and gives us a share in His consecration that we might be faithful witnesses to His saving work.  Amen. 

It is wonderful to be amongst all of you at this Service of the Renewal of Vows.  It is a great joy indeed to see almost all clergy and retired clergy of this Diocese. I feel privileged that we are called together to share in His consecration and to be faithful witnesses to His saving power. And I really appreciate the privilege of being here with you all.

My heartfelt thanks to Bishop Garth for his support and outstanding leadership amongst us; to Chapter, kitchen cabinet, diocesan staff and to all, especially the Dean and Canon Precentor who did the preparatory work to make this service a success. We also acknowledge the presence of Bishop Christopher Gregorowski, Archbishop Emeritus Desmond and staff from Bishopscourt.

Saturday, 4 April 2015

Sermon for the Easter Vigil – St George’s Cathedral Cape Town

Romans 6:3-11; Psalm 118:14-18; Mark 16:1-8

Alleluia, Christ is Risen! He is risen indeed, Alleluia! Sisters and brothers in Christ, may all the fullness of Easter Resurrection life be yours!

It is a great joy to be sharing this Easter celebration with you in the mother church of the Diocese and Province. It is particularly special to be sharing with our Archbishop Emeritus Desmond Tutu, who for me epitomizes in reality Julian of Norwich’s saying that “...all shall be well, and all manner of thing[s] shall be well.”

Mr Dean, your staff, licensed and unlicensed, the clergy, the wardens, the lay leaders of the Cathedral, those who conduct music and all your other ministries, including the office staff, the cleaners as well as the verger, thank you for all that you are and all that you do.

Everywhere I look, everywhere I go, there is a great anticipation about Easter. Unquestionably, Easter, and Holy Week leading up to Easter, are profoundly personal for Christians everywhere. But why do we celebrate Easter? What makes Easter so intensely important?

Monday, 30 March 2015

Now is the Time for Prayer and Action on “Unprecedented Climate Crisis”: Anglican Bishops

A group of 17 Anglican Bishops from all six continents have called for urgent prayer and action on the “unprecedented climate crisis”. Their Declaration The World Is Our Host: A Call to Urgent Action for Climate Justice released today sets a new agenda on climate change for the 85 million-strong Anglican Communion.

The group met in South Africa in February to build on months of conversations carried out via the internet. The group involved bishops both from cultures and nations that are major contributors to climate change, and those producing low levels of CO 2 but disproportionately affected.

The Archbishop of Cape Town and Primate of Southern Africa, the Most Revd Dr Thabo Makgoba, who brought the group together, said:

“We accept the evidence of science: Human activity, especially in fossil-fuel based economies, is the main cause of the climate crisis. We heard of extreme weather and changes to seasons; rising sea levels; acidification of seawater; depleted fishing grounds; and displaced people who are climate refugees.