Thursday, 17 August 2017

Archbishop's Charge to Cape Town Diocesan Synod

The text of the Archbishop's Charge to the 65th Session of the Synod of the Diocese of Cape Town, delivered during the opening Eucharist at St George's Cathedral: 

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

Sisters and brothers in Christ, dear friends, I greet you all in the name of our Lord and Saviour Jesus Christ, and welcome you to the 65th Session of our Diocesan Synod. This year, the Synod Advisory Team advised me that in this Charge, rather than deliver a theological treatise or give the kind of administrative account of the affairs of the Diocese which is normally covered in a Charge, I should instead speak of the things that are in my heart. They told me that in my tenth year in Cape Town, and at my fourth Synod in this 169-year-old Diocese, you know more or less what I think and what I am capable of or not, and so – this is what they told me – we want to hear and feel what is in your heart. They even set up a Twitter account called “Tips for Thabo” to help me gauge the feelings in the Diocese.

But before I do that, I must acknowledge and give thanks for all of you who help me and the Diocese to do what we do and to be what we are: my family, Diocesan Chapter, Bishop Garth, the Dean, Charleen and all the Diocesan staff, the heads of our schools and homes, the clergy and their families, our legal advisors and all the other lay people who aid us. A special thanks to the Synod Advisory Team, to the Synod Manager, Fr Karl Groepe, and to all of you for supporting my ministry and praying for me and my family.

At this time in our Diocese's history, what is in my heart is Intentional Discipleship – which I am pleased that you will be able to go into in more depth in your small groups as you look at how discipleship serves mission and evangelism.

Hear God's Word, brought to us in Ezekiel, Chapter 34:
“I will seek the lost, and I will bring back the strayed, and I will bind up the injured, and I will strengthen the weak, but the fat and the strong I will destroy. I will feed them with justice.” (Ezekiel: 34:16)

In Psalm 24:
“The earth is the Lord's, and the fullness thereof; the world, and they that dwell therein.” (Psalm 24:1)

And in John's Gospel:
I have said this to you, so that in me you may have peace. In the world you face persecution. But take courage; I have conquered the world!” (John 16:33)

In the context of our theme, there are three questions that this Synod needs to be asking and wrestling with:

The first is: How do we address the needs of our youth, both inside and outside the “stained glass” of our churches?
The second is: How do we respond to the call, issued by the Communion and our Provincial Synod, and discussed at Anglicans Ablaze, for Intentional Discipleship?

And finally: How do we release God's money and other resources to help young people, both inside and outside the “stained glass”, to cope with the world outside the stained glass.

Combining these questions, we must ask: As recipients of generous gifts of property and people to the Church; how do we release the inherent potential these have for mission now and for at least the next 169 years? One of the possibilities we are exploring is adopting a different model of funding ministry, by using to better effect the properties which God has endowed the Diocese with to leverage development. Another exploration is happening in the arena of theological education.

About eight years ago, motivating the launch of the Archbishop's Theological Education Fund, I shared with Chapter a graph depicting how many senior clergy would be retiring a decade hence. This has begun to happen and we are losing many clergy of enormous experience and knowledge. Many of you will know that finding my particular vocation to the ministry 30 years ago was not a matter of me finding or choosing the Church. No, as I say in my soon-to-be-published book, Faith and Courage, the Church found me and moulded me for the tasks that I am doing. I brought nothing but was equipped by this church for ministry, beginning with my formation at the old St Paul's College. That is why theological education, not only that at the successor to St Paul's, the College of the Transfiguration, but in all the initiatives in this field, are particularly close to my heart.

It is why I have been involved in serious discussions with St Mellitus College in the UK to explore their model of education for parts of our own Province of Southern Africa. Only 10 years old, St Mellitus has four sites in England, partnerships with colleges in Malaysia and Haiti, 250 ordinands in training and 650 students taking its programmes. Its approach is similar to that of Duncan McLea's commendable initiative in our diocese, the St John's Leadership Academy, which is training people actively involved in mission and ministry rather than taking them out of a parish and sending them to a residential college. As I said to a group of vibrant young people both engaged in and training for ministry at the Academy recently: “We don't have an option but to do things differently... God is calling you to create the cracks. You will need courage. Do it in love. Do it beautifully. Do it confidently.” I have linked Father Duncan with the Dean of Studies and St Mellitus to work on a possible model, to be shared when it is ready with Chapter and the Diocese, and in the long term with the Province.

That is what is close to my heart – not theological education only for those to be ordained, but theological education for all the baptized. That too is the reason I launched the E-Reader project at Bishopscourt. We've had to acknowledge that I was too ambitious and we tried to do too much too quickly. But all the centres we aimed to establish are operational, albeit on lower than the anticipated level, and the roll-out of fibre-optic cable will improve its prospects. The aim is still to put a tablet computer in the hands of all lay ministers, clergy and theological students and to provide a significant library of theological literature for all to have access to.

It's sometimes said that we can't do church planting in the same way as other dioceses because we are an urban diocese. But I long to evangelise both inside and outside our stained glass. Every time I go to another diocese to bless a new church building, or a new school – and it happens encouragingly often across the Province – I feel deprived of experiencing the same joy and excitement in our own Diocese. Could we by next Diocesan Synod plant at least four new parishes? Perhaps we can engage our young people on ways in which to make them central to that, or some other equally exciting project?

Anglicans Ablaze says – and I endorse them – that we should expose, inspire, equip and encourage the young as participants to return to their communities and engage in holistic mission, evangelism, discipleship and service in the power of the Holy Spirit. I am always most encouraged by the contributions of young people – notably in initiatives such as Green Anglicans and HOPE Africa – to our Church; they provide welcome relief from the more unpleasant duties which assail me, such as facing the legal cases that come across my desk every week of my life and which challenge me to pray constantly for the grace and mercy needed to deal with them.

Moving to concerns in wider society which are close to my heart, I can identify with the Apostle Paul when he speaks of the whole of creation groaning as if experiencing labour pains. We groan inwardly over the suffering of our communities. I weep and cry in my prayers about the terrible spate of gender-based violence and the related killing of young children and girls which plagues our Diocese. We have attained political liberation, but women and children are being killed brutally and there is violence on our streets. Shamefully, scandalously, a Deputy Minister of this country who has openly admitted that he hit a woman in a nightclub remains in office. Is that the depth to which our public morality in South Africa has sunk? We see young people destroyed by drugs and alcohol, gangs hold our communities hostage and decay and corruption perpetuate the oppression of the poor and needy.

Beyond the Diocese, in South Africa we are living through a time of acute misery for very many of our people, a life where Government promises to the people of South Africa have been repeatedly broken and promises to their corrupt cohorts are kept daily. We are stuck in a rut which pits race against race, ethnic group against ethnic group, class against class, and prejudice against prejudice. There is an increasing tendency towards seeing people in terms of one dominant “identity”, imposing on us priorities which are arbitrarily determined by others, denying us the liberty to make our own decisions on where we choose to place our loyalties.

Despite attempts to criminalise “white monopoly capital” the more accurate picture of South Africa is that our culture has become one that accepts greed, fraud and pillaging of public resources as a “tribal” right. Corruption and looting have shown themselves to be multi-cultural and practised by people of every race. The current generation of leaders are trying their best to undermine a democracy and infect the entire South African ecosystem with their form of corruptive cancer. And while public plundering takes place, most of the middle and upper classes become indifferent to what is happening, so as not to threaten their piece of the proverbial pie.

Elie Wiesel, the Holocaust survivor, warns us that “opposite of love is not hate, it's indifference… The opposite of faith is not heresy, it's indifference. And the opposite of life is not death, but indifference between life and death.” The Dalai Lama adds: “To remain indifferent to the challenges we face is indefensible. If the goal is noble, whether or not it is realized within our lifetime is largely irrelevant. What we must do therefore is to strive and persevere and never give up.”

Turning to our own scriptures, the Bible tells us that God is a God of justice and righteousness, a God of mercy and truth. The sons and daughters of God are those who desire to see justice and righteousness. They are men and women who will stand for truth. They are men and women who will stand boldly and allow themselves to be guided by their conscience, led by the truth of the word of God. Pain and suffering produce the character that is required in order to set creation free from bondage. As Paul says, the suffering we experience cannot be compared to the glory that will be revealed in us.

South Africa is more than a country… it's an idea. We have always envisioned that we are a nation which embraces diversity, encourages inclusion and seeks a more just and human world. South Africa is not broken. Our freedom of the press, universal free education, and independent judiciary are all indicators of a potentially healthy country. However there is not equality of opportunity. There is not equality of service delivery, health care, clean water, sanitation and education.

During a time when Chinua Achebe’s words “that things fall apart” ring poignantly, God tonight providentially brings us the words of Joshua. Joshua who, in a time of crisis, at the moment of choice, refused to return to Egypt; Joshua who refused to return to or dignify that place so marked in the experience of God's people as a place of unprincipled politics, a place polluted by the physical landscape and spiritual spaces alike. Centuries later the Ghanaian writer, Ayi Kwei Armah, would echo that same sentiment as he looked back at a legacy of betrayal:

“How horribly rapid everything has been from the days when men were not ashamed to talk of souls and of suffering and of hope, to these low days of smiles that will never again be sly enough to hide the knowledge of betrayal and deceit. There is something of an irresistible horror in such quick decay.”

Even as others urged him to settle for compromise and the illusion of peace, Joshua understood, as indeed Martin Luther understood in the lead up to Reformation, that “Here I stand; I can do no other.” He understood the power of speaking out against injustice and tyranny, of speaking truth to power, as did the hymn writer James Russell Lowell who, protesting against America’s war against Mexico, out of profoundly spiritual and political anguish, left us these hauntingly beautiful words:

“Once to every man and nation, comes the moment to decide, in the strife of truth with falsehood, for the good or evil side.”

Joshua understood, and the challenge is clear to us, that there comes a moment when integrity demanded that he could no longer be a part of that world of decay and betrayal. Joshua saw beyond the great barriers to the Promised Land of Canaan.

He saw giants it is true, but he also saw a land overflowing with good things, a land filled with milk and honey. He saw the possibilities of enough to sustain everyone. He saw, to use the celebrated phrase that the arc of the universe is long but it bends towards justice. That was his vision for his ministry; that was the purpose of his leadership, that there would be enough for all and that it was only failure to take bold steps forward that stood in the way of a better life for all.

It is of course Martin Luther King Junior, who is best remembered for those inspiring words about the arc of the universe being long but indeed stretching towards justice. Those words were actually rooted in a much earlier reflection, in the thinking of Theodore Parker the abolitionist, and emerged from the cauldron of inhuman slavery as the American Civil War loomed. He wrote:

“We cannot understand the moral Universe. The arc is a long one, and our eyes reach but a little way; we cannot calculate the curve and complete the figure by the experience of sight; but we can divine it by conscience, and we surely know that it bends toward justice. Justice will not fail, though wickedness appears strong, and has on its side the armies and thrones of power, the riches and the glory of the world, and though poor men crouch down in despair. Justice will not fail and perish out from the world of men, nor will what is really wrong and contrary to God’s real law of justice continually endure.”

Joshua discerned a deep need in the cry of those who yearned to be free, of those growing dispirited in the desert, for the gift of hope. The South African theologian Ernst Conradie has said that “Christian hope is a protest statement, a form of resistance and defiance instigated by an unacceptable present.” Albert Nolan reminds us that theology and spirituality in fidelity to the sources insist that transforming hope can only be located in the places of suffering. 

From KwaZulu-Natal, Palm and Le Bruyns assert in the Journal of Theology for Southern Africa that “those who follow this God can embody the divine vision by seeing otherwise and imagining differently in the places of suffering in our world,” and “a vision sensitive to those who suffer in the present as Jesus did in the past is indeed the place where hope for an alternative reality can emerge.”

My generation grew up politically with the insights Paolo Freire who writes challengingly: “The idea that hope alone will transform the world and action undertaken in that kind of naiveté is an excellent route to hopelessness, pessimism and fatalism but the attempt to do without hope in the struggle to improve the world – as if that struggle could be reduced to calculated acts alone or a purely scientific approach – is a frivolous illusion… Just to hope is to hope in vain. My hope is necessary but not enough. Alone it does not win. But without it my struggle will be weak and wobbly… we need critical hope the way a fish needs unpolluted water.”

One of our greatest needs in South Africa is the need to rekindle the lamps of hope, to take courage from battles won and victories gained. Joshua 4 records, that when Joshua led the people across the Jordan, he placed 12 stones from the wilderness side of the river in the midst of the riverbed. And after the people had arrived in the Promised Land, the first thing Joshua did was to build a memorial with the 12 stones that had been in the riverbed. From then on, all God's people could look at the memorial pillar and say: This is where we crossed the Jordan! This is where we parted company with betrayal and disappointments and began to live with a spirit of victory. This is the place and the hour when we found hope, a hope that had been deferred and withheld from us. This is where we said that we will no longer allow anyone to rob us of our birthright, of the fruits of the battles we fought against powers and principalities.

We face a kairos moment yet again in South Africa. We must re-create the clarity of thought and vastness of hope that allowed the previous kairos moment to be such a powerful force for ushering in a new day. Our task as ministers of the Gospel, as the heralds of Good News, is like God's people to remember what God has done for us and to consciously allow God's great deeds in the past to continue to empower us. We must rekindle our own hope and the hope of the people of this land and the countries of our region.



We too have to echo Martin Luther’s words: “Here we stand we can do no other.”

God bless you, your families, this Diocese, Province and South Africa. Amen




Monday, 7 August 2017

"Follow your conscience," says Archbishop ahead of no-confidence vote

Remarks prepared for delivery to Monday's civil society march under the banner #UniteBehind, ahead of a debate of no-confidence in President Jacob Zuma, scheduled in Parliament for Tuesday. The remarks were scheduled to be delivered by the Bishop of Table Bay, the Right Revd Garth Counsell: 

A message from Archbishop Thabo Makgoba, who can't be with us today due to prior engagements:

My friends, MPs of South Africa, fellow citizens:

Someone once said that time is not measured by clocks, but by moments. Similarly, it has been said that life is measured not by each of the breaths that you take but rather by the moments that take your breath away.

Tomorrow, August the 8th, marks one of those significant moments in our own lives and in the life of our nation.

It offers the opportunity to take a stand which will influence the course of South Africa's history. We can liken it to an opportunity to join the world's most exclusive club – the “life-changing events club.”

Being a member of this club is the last thing that anyone initially wants in their life. But being a member is the best thing that ever happens to a person in their life, and there is not a person in the club that would ever give up their membership.

To be a member of this club you simply have to vote your conscience and remember that, in matters of conscience, the laws of majority have no place.

Jesus did not get stuck in intellectual arguments with people. He did not go for the intellect; He went for the conscience. He spoke to that part of a person that knows the difference between right and wrong instinctively. His message to us is that it takes a great deal of bravery to stand up to our enemies, but just as much to stand up to our friends.

In the end, your conscience is your compass. It is more important to follow your conscience than to follow the dictates of your party, your colleagues or your friends.  Upon the guidance of your conscience depend 55 million lives. Your conscience will determine which road South Africa travels for the rest of your lifetime and those of your children and grandchildren.

You cannot afford to vote against your conscience.  Never.  Never do anything against your conscience, even if the state demands it. Your vote is wasted unless you vote your conscience.

Your family is watching.  Your friends are watching.  Your community is watching.  Your country is watching.  The world is watching.  And most important, God is watching.

God bless you, your family and God bless South Africa.

Monday, 31 July 2017

'Let us not bow to fear and intimidation, but boldly stand for truth'


The sermon preached by Archbishop Thabo Makgoba at the funeral of Ronnie Mamoepa at St Alban’s Cathedral, Pretoria, on Saturday July 29, 2017: 
May I speak in the name of the Father, the Son and the Holy Spirit. Amen.

At the outset, on behalf of us all, those here in St Alban’s Cathedral and everyone watching this service, let me convey our sincerest condolences, to you, Audrey, to your children and to your family. Fellow mourners, clergy here present, particularly the ecumenical family and specifically the Lutheran family, the President of the country, the Deputy President and the former President, and Mam' Zanele. 

Tuesday, 6 June 2017

Archbishop Meets SA Deputy President Ramaphosa

Archbishop Thabo Makgoba met South African Deputy President Cyril Ramaphosa at Bishopscourt today, where they discussed structured partnerships between Church and State.


Sunday, 4 June 2017

Mothers’ Union March Against Violence on Women and Children

An address to members of the Mothers’ Union in St George's Cathedral, Cape Town, at the end of a march to protest violence against women and children:

Wednesday, 31 May 2017

VIDEO: Celebrating 500 years of the Reformation

Video coverage of the festive service celebrating the Reformation, held at Wittenberg, Germany, on May 28, 2017. Archbishop Thabo was the preacher.

A newsclip from the service. Archbishop Thabo's contribution begins 50 seconds into the clip:




The Archbishop reflects on the service in an interview afterwards:



The full service (102 minutes):


Monday, 29 May 2017

Breaking bread together in Luther's Wittenberg

Archbishop Thabo wraps up his reflections on the German Kirchentag after preaching at the Festive Service in Wittenberg to celebrate 500 years of the Reformation: 

Saturday, 27 May 2017

Meeting Merkel & Preparing for Preaching with Precision

Archbishop Thabo continues his blog from Berlin, where he and his wife, Lungi, are attending the "Kirchentag" See photos at the end of his post. 

Thursday, 25 May 2017

Archbishop Thabo blogs from Berlin


Archbishop Thabo Makgoba is one of the leading international guests invited to this year's edition of the great celebration of German Christians, the Kirchentag. He will preach to a festive service on Sunday outside Wittenberg, to mark the 500th anniversary of the Reformation. 

On the first days of the celebrations, he blogs from Berlin.

DAY 1

The opening service was beyond my expectations: there were about 20,000 people at our venue and there were two others. The papers say that in total there were 70,000 people present.

Then there was a great reception, addressed by the President of the Kirchentag, Professor Christina Aus der Au, the chair of the Council of the Evangelical Church in Germany, Bishop Heinrich Bedford-Strohm, and Chancellor Angela Merkel.

This was followed by a dinner in which we spent the evening in her company, as well as that of Archbishop Justin Welby of Canterbury and other church leaders. It was a delightful evening, talking about the church in the political life of nations and the church’s vocation to care for all - including a reflection on South Africa.

DAY 2

This morning I led a Bible study in Hall 18, an exhibition  hall. There was a choir from Limpopo, which was very special. They sang Senzeni Na? and Hake Le Tjee Ke Le Mobe, then it was to an exposition of the Bible study. (You can download my notes here.)

Bishop Ebenezer Ntali of of Grahamstown is also here, in the same hotel, but we have not yet had a chance to meet. The crowds here are multitudes beyond measure.

Then we were fetched and whisked to the Brandenburg Gate in Berlin, where Chancellor Merkel had a discussion on faith, religion and politics with former President Barack Obama. It will remain with me as a most memorable interaction, two world leaders talking opening and sincerely in the public square about faith, willing to be vulnerable, admitting their failures and not pretending to be omnipotent. You can see a recording of the interaction below. 

I am due to pay my respects to our Ambassador, Stone Sizani, later today and to have TV interviews tonight.









Monday, 24 April 2017

AUDIO: Listen to the Archbishop's Easter sermon

A recording of the sermon preached by Archbishop Thabo Makgoba at the Easter Vigil at St George's Cathedral, Cape Town, on April 15, 2017.  The full text of the sermon can be found here.


Saturday, 15 April 2017

Archbishop Thabo's sermon for the Easter Vigil

The following is the text of the sermon preached by Archbishop Thabo Makgoba at the Easter Vigil at St George’s Cathedral, Cape Town, tonight:

Christ is risen, He is risen indeed! Alleluia! Happy Easter to you all.

We come to this Easter Sunday, to this open tomb, with the dark reality of our country very much at the forefront of our minds. Over these Lenten days we have come to the lowest point in our political life. Like many, I feel that the dream of South Africa sometimes feels more like a nightmare, a prolonged Passiontide, so to speak. Personal interests, corruption, private gain, entitlement, a vicious contempt for the poor and the common good, a culture of blatant lies and cronyism—and possibly worse—dominate our public landscape.

Thursday, 6 April 2017

Archbishop prays for "a powerful, united coalition which puts first the interests of the poor"

A prayer offered at the beginning of a memorial service for the late Ahmed Kathrada in St George's Cathedral, Cape Town:

Loving and compassionate God of the Universe, Triune God, Creator, Sustainer and Redeemer,

Whose arm bends the arc of justice towards the poor and the oppressed,
 and whose ear is ever inclined to the cry of those who are burdened under the weight of injustice,

Friday, 31 March 2017

Archbishop's statement on South African Cabinet reshuffle

President Zuma's dismissal of the stellar team at the finance ministry constitutes an assault on the poor of South Africa.


Who stands to lose when we can't raise foreign investment to finance growth in our country? The poor. Who stands to lose when interest rates on the money we already owe gobbles up our nation's resources? The poor.

Wednesday, 29 March 2017

Archbishop Thabo's prayer at the interfaith funeral of Kathy Kathrada

Prayer at the funeral of Kathy Kathrada at West Park Cemetery, Johannesburg

Let us pray:

Loving and compassionate  God of the Universe, Triune God, Creator, Sustainer and Redeemer,

Whose arm bends the arc of justice towards the poor and the oppressed,
 and whose ear is ever inclined to the cry of those who are burdened under the weight of injustice,

Tuesday, 28 March 2017

Archbishop Thabo mourns "gentle giant" of our struggle

Today we mourn the passing of a gentle giant of our struggle for freedom.

But we also celebrate the life of a very courageous and principled leader of that struggle.

Saturday, 25 February 2017

Archbishop Thabo prays for foreign nationals

Archbishop Thabo Makgoba lit a candle and prayed for foreign nationals under attack in South Africa, at the beginning of a service in Turffontein, Johannesburg, on Saturday February 25.

Wednesday, 22 February 2017

Scrap nuclear power, expand renewable energy sources, Church urges

Protesters outside court at a previous hearing (SAFCEI/GroundUp)
Archbishop Thabo Makgoba has appealed to the South African government to scrap plans for developing nuclear energy and instead to spend the money on education, training and other development initiatives.

The archbishop said in a statement issued from the church's Synod of Bishops today:

“The Synod of Bishops has revisited the resolution adopted by the church's Provincial Synod last September, in which the church expressed its opposition to the expansion of nuclear energy and urged the government to pursue the path of renewable energy initiatives.

Thursday, 16 February 2017

To the Laos - To the People of God – Lent 2017

Dear People of God

This year we are celebrating the 25th anniversary of the ordination of women as priests in our Province. Bishop Margaret Vertue of False Bay and the ACSA gender programme have been discussing the impact that women's ordination has had on the church. While they have acknowledged that there is much to celebrate—and I believe we have been immensely enriched by their ordination—it is also clear that the church still has many challenges to overcome when it evaluates the leadership, empowerment, participation and inclusion of women, both ordained and lay, in the church today.

Monday, 6 February 2017

Water is Life, Sanitation is Dignity - JustWater 2017

Cathedrals and churches on four continents have come together to raise awareness and activism about water by launching the JustWater website. This website is part of a new project focussed on celebrating, protecting and ensuring equal access to the gift of water for all, with an international programme organised by St George's Cathedral (Cape Town); St Paul's Cathedral (London); St Paul's Cathedral (Melbourne); and Trinity Church Wall Street (New York). Archbishop Thabo spoke at the launch of the initiative in London.


Water is Life, Sanitation is Dignity
JustWater 2017

Archbishop Thabo Makgoba
London, February 2017

Thank you Dean David and your team for inviting me here to help launch this initiative. Hillary and David are spoiling me at the deanery – thank you for your generous hospitality. Barbara thanks for all the practical arrangements.
As I was preparing for this event, we learned in Cape Town that as a result of diminished rainfall over the past year, the dams supplying water for our metropolitan area are only 29 percent full, this at a time when we cannot expect our winter rains to begin before May. While I won't go here into the linkages between the El Niño phenomenon and global warming, our water crisis had the effect of concentrating my mind on how precious water is and on how devastating the effects of scarcity can be.

Sunday, 29 January 2017

Sermon delivered in the Diocese of Madhya Kerala, Church of South India

Diocese of Madhya Kerala, Church of South India
Sunday January 29, 2017
Micah 6: 1-8

Good morning! How exciting it is to be with you, here in the Church of South India, a church with such a rich and glorious history, in this vast nation. Coming from a country which finally overthrew its colonial past and achieved democracy only 20 years ago, it is inspiring to be here with you in the largest democracy on earth. Thank you Bishop Thomas for inviting us to your Diocese and for asking me to preach at this auspicious Convention Mass, and warm congratulations to you on your election as Moderator.

Thursday, 19 January 2017

Collect and Prayer Resources for Education Sunday, February 5th

The Anglican Board of Education has prepared the attached sheet comprising a Collect and suggestions for prayers to be used on Education Sunday.

 The Diocese of Natal has also produced a resource document.

See also the Archbishop's appeal for parishes and Dioceses to observe Education Sunday.

Anglican Board of Education - Education Sunday >>

Diocese of Natal - Education Sunday Liturgical Resources >>

Archbishop's appeal >>

[Post updated with Diocese of 

Wednesday, 18 January 2017

Reminder: Archbishop's Lenten Course - 2017

The link to the Archbishop's Lenten Course, first published in December. Parishes and Dioceses are free to download the PDF and to have it printed or photocopies for local use:


REFLECTING, PRAYING AND ACTING TOGETHER, a series of Bible studies for Lent commissioned by Archbishop Thabo Makgoba is now available online for downloading and printing by parishes and Dioceses.

The course comprises daily readings and six weekly teachings centred on weekly themes for personal and/or communal prayer and meditation. Excerpts from the Archbishop's preface:

READ the original post on the Lenten Course here >>

Monday, 16 January 2017

Call to focus on universities on Education Sunday, February 5

To the Laos - To the People of God - January 2017

Dear People of God,

On January 6th, we celebrated the Feast of the Epiphany, reminding us of the manifestation of God to all. For our context today, I want to paraphrase this by expressing it in terms of the liberation, the enlightening, the empowering and the “making able” of all God’s children in order to engage with God in his world and with one another so that none is dominated nor demeaned. Education embodies this vision. Hence, in keeping with our ACSA missional priority of “nurture of the young” this Ad Laos is dedicated to education.

Our Anglican Board of Education (ABESA), the Anglican Students' Federation, the Synod of Bishops and other organisations within our Church have been consulting in recent months on how we can engage with the crisis on our campuses in South Africa and beyond. The South African Council of Churches has also been taking initiatives and a number of our bishops have been responding to developments on campuses in their dioceses, among them the bishops of Pretoria, Johannesburg, Grahamstown, Port Elizabeth and the Free State.

Good education is, as I have said before, at the heart of our capacity to realise our Provincial Vision, “Anglicans Act”. Although the South African matric pass rate has improved, the quality of our school-leavers' education still needs a lot of improvement. And it is critical both for fulfilment in the lives of young people, and for the health of our society, that the burgeoning growth in tertiary education is well managed, sustainably financed, and kept at the highest possible level of educational quality.

As in the 1976 generation, young people today are bypassing their parents and demanding to be treated as adults who can negotiate their own educational destinies. Meanwhile the Government triggered their anger last year by sidelining its own commission on higher education, and announcing a fee increase for 2017 unilaterally. No wonder young people feel abused, marginalised and degraded.

At the same time, many young people speak of their vulnerability when it feels as if their parents’ generation – families, teachers and the churches – seem to have left them exposed to abuse, violence and intimidation, unheard and unaccompanied in deep waters. We need to redress that by standing with our students, listening to them and shielding them from danger.

When church leaders went to pray at Parliament after a student march in Cape Town last year, there was a warm response as if somehow there was a dimension missing in the conflict – something spiritual which many students knew from their upbringing, and which they miss in secular dialogue.

So what can we do?

We already have the first Sunday in February each year designated as Education Sunday across the Province, a time to pray for educators, learners and institutions of learning at the beginning of the school year. We want to urge this year that we observe this day, SUNDAY 5 FEBRUARY 2017 with special events not only at churches but ecumenically at schools and where possible on campuses where we have access through Anglican students, administrators or chaplaincy ministry.

This is a time to listen and to be close to people not only in the tertiary sector but as the crisis extends, as it will, to high schools and across society. Our presence, our prayers and where appropriate, our parenting are needed, alongside our prophecy where the powerful have also been absent and unapproachable, or simply overwhelmed.

We all know how disabled our education systems have been, especially in South Africa but also through the colonial histories of other countries which make up the subcontinent which ACSA seeks to serve. Building healthy education systems in all our nations is a critical priority to which ACSA has long been devoted. As we do so, there are people full of passion and potential for whom we have to care.

Please observe Education Sunday with special intent for universities and colleges in the tertiary education sector this year!

God bless you

†Thabo Cape Town



Tuesday, 3 January 2017

Archbishop of Canterbury supports Archbishop Thabo

The Archbishop of Canterbury, the Most Revd Justin Welby, has declared international Anglican support for Archbishop Thabo Makgoba after controversy between Church and State in South Africa.

The support was expressed in a sermon preached at Evensong in St. George's Cathedral, Cape Town, on December 30.