Tuesday, 21 June 2022

Sermon at the Consecration of four new Bishops for IAMA (Maputo)

Igreja Anglicana de Mocambique e Angola

Sermon for Consecration Service

The Most Rev Dr Thabo Makgoba

Archbishop and Metropolitan of ACSA

19 June 2022

Pavilhao de Maxaquene Sports Hall: Maputo

Readings: Isaiah 6: 1-8, Psalm 100; 2 Cor. 4: 1-10; John 21: 15 -17

May I speak in the name of the Holy Trinity: God, Father, Son and Holy Spirit, our advocate and friend. Amen.

Your Excellencies, Presiding Bishop Carlos, Dean of the Province Andre, fellow Bishops, distinguished guests, clergy and people of God:

It is a great joy for me to welcome you to this service as we give thanks to God for this very important milestone in the history of IAMA – the consecration of new bishops for the church of God and this new Province of the Anglican Communion.

It is an honour and privilege to celebrate with you at this historic moment. Thank you, everyone, for the wonderful, warm welcome we received on our arrival here. Thank you, Presiding Bishop Carlos, the Dean of the Province, Bishop Andre, Bishops Vicente and Ernesto, together with your entire teams, for envisioning and planning this day. Thank you to the ACSA Provincial teams for their visits here and their guidance in ensuring that all the requirements for the new Province were met before its inauguration last September. Thank you, Bishops–elect Paulo, Agostinho, Emmanuel and Sergio, for allowing yourselves to be used by God for this important role – shepherds for God’s flock. Thank you to your families too for their support. Warm thanks to Archbishop Josiah for conducting your retreat. Lastly, thank you to all those who in whatever way gave of their time to make today possible, including those who prepared this service.

We thank God for the faithful who have kept the Gospel light burning both here in Mozambique and in Angola through their lives, their zeal, their prayers and their service and witness. Today, I especially thank God for his faithfulness to you who have made it possible for this Province to consecrate new bishops for the new dioceses of IAMA. We are able to gather here today because the new dioceses in both your nations have elected their first bishops, not only those who will be consecrated today but also those who will be consecrated in Niassa and Messumba in the coming weeks.

And this development is truly historic for the Anglican Communion in this southern part of our continent. Just two years ago ACSA celebrated its 150th anniversary as a Province in the Communion, and now we celebrate one of the most spectacular results of that achievement, namely the extraordinarily rapid growth of the Communion in Angola and Mozambique under the wise leadership of your founding bishops, enabling you to consecrate eight new bishops within the time-span of a single month.

Your achievement is all the significant when one reflects on the history of your nations over the last half century: the fight to overcome colonial oppression, the resulting conflict, the civil strife and the suffering of so many in so many ways. Let the events of today and the coming weeks be a celebration of all that you have achieved in the Church and in your nations, dating back to the founding of the Diocese of Lebombo in the 1890s, and the work in Angola from the 1920s.

Let us give our heartfelt thanks to God for all those who have laboured over so many generations and in so many different ways to get us to where we are today. But above all, our thanks go to God for his sustaining love and care for you, particularly during the turbulent times of the past, and for affording you this time of great hope and opportunity, even though of course it comes with its own challenges.

In our first reading today (Isaiah 6:1-8), the writer presents to us the commissioning of Isaiah which preceded his public ministry. In this vision, the major concerns of God are discernible: God’s holiness and majesty, the glory which God has decreed and the cleansing it demands; the cleansing of those who are penitent and the new life that bursts forth among the people of Israel. The passage re-emphasises the holiness of God, in whose presence even those already living exemplary lives are fit neither to see God nor be seen, yet they are swift to serve and tireless to praise him. The shaking of foundations, the darkness and dismay awaken echoes of Sinai and a premonition of judgement. It is integral to Isaiah’s message that his words will be those of one who is forgiven, despite being as guilty as those to whom he will offer life or death. In this reading, God's judgement is experienced through a cleansing. The fiery messenger and the burning coal does not at first appear to offer any kind of salvation; yet they came from a place of sacrifice and spoke the language of atonement. The symbol applied to Isaiah’s lips assures him of personal forgiveness. Then we hear the remarkable pronouncement “Here I am! Send me” (v.8).

Dear Bishops–elect, when you were chosen to assume this office, you, like Isaiah, echoed those words. I want to assure you today, that “the One who calls you is faithful, and he will do this” (2 Thess. 5:38-23-24). Paul takes this further in that when God through his mercy calls and commissions his servants, he also provides the strength necessary for them to persevere in the face of hardships and persecution (2 Corr. 4:1ff). And so you must be assured that God will give you the strength and resilience you need to become servant leaders dedicated to God's glory.

Sisters and brothers, Paul uses the imagery of the veil that covers the divine glory so that those who reject the Gospel fail to see that glory – the image of God. Christ, who is both the incarnate Son and the second Person of the Trinity, authentically displays God to us, for he is the very radiance of divine glory. Christ is the image of God in which we were originally created and into which redeemed humankind is being gloriously transformed until at last, when Christ comes again at the end of this age, we who believe will be like him.

Friends, our total inadequacy to play the role God has assigned to us reveals our total dependence on God, in whose power to equip us for our ministry we can totally trust. The frailty of our humanity, like Paul's, is plainly seen in the constant hardships and persecutions which we often go through for the sake of the Gospel and through which we share in Christ’s suffering. As we look forward to the challenges of building up the people of God in this new Province, let us all ask ourselves: What is it that we are prepared to sacrifice for the sake of the Gospel? What is it we are prepared to sacrifice for the sake of the poor, the needy and marginalised?

The Gospel passage (Jn. 21:15ff) sums it up with the restoration of Peter. The second word used by Jesus, to “tend” or “care for” involves the responsibilities of shepherding the sheep. Whatever interpretation is adopted in this story, the important point, the great question, which is key to the reinstatement of Peter, is whether he loved Jesus. And so: do we love Jesus? Can we reassure him of our love with as much conviction as does Peter?

Friends, the blessed presence of God in his church is the glory of the Church. You might have been in tears due the heaviness of the load on your shoulders, or faced by afflictions or disasters in one way or another – the apostle assures you that tears are wiped away in Jesus as he restores Peter. God himself, as your tender Father, restores you today for the common good.

Belief in Christ is the keystone essential to the fulfilment of God's promise: without that belief, there can be no church. As we gather here to consecrate you as bishops for the Church, you are crucial to the building of the Kingdom of God in your dioceses: without you to remind the community of faith of the presence of God in and around IAMA, all human efforts, no matter how wonderful, no matter how admirable, become meaningless.

You are persons who derive your life from Christ; Christ who is the original living stone from whom you have come, the life-giving spirit. The whole body of Christ, priests and believers, are to reflect the holiness of God and that of their high priest, to offer spiritual sacrifices, to intercede for people before God and to represent God before humanity.

May the Holy Spirit which brought back the resurrected Christ, the Spirit which changed the life of Peter for the better, and the Spirit which God's people experienced like a rushing mighty wind at Pentecost – may that Spirit transform your lives to be living stones for the foundation of God's church and this Province.

As you continue and grow God’s work in IAMA, just like Isaiah and Peter you will need God's authority and the leading and encouragement of His Spirit. So, friends, as we come to consecrate you as bishops, it is my prayer that you will continue to seek authority and guidance from God at all times and in all situations.

As the Psalmist says, may we shout for joy and praise God, may we worship him with gladness and come before him with joyful songs (Ps 100). Jesus’ love and faithfulness are unfailing through all time. As Jesus lives, and because he lives, we too shall live. From grateful hearts, from lips touched by holy fire, let the glad song ring out, Christ our Foundation stone.

He lives to make intercession for us. As one writer says: Grasp this hope, and it will hold the soul like a sure, tried anchor. Believe and you shall see the glory of Incarnate Christ.

God bless IAMA. God bless Angola and Mozambique. God bless Africa. God bless each one of you. Amen.


Wednesday, 25 May 2022

A Message from Archbishop Thabo on flooding in KwaZulu-Natal

The latest news on more heavy rain in KwaZulu-Natal, six weeks after hundreds died in disastrous flooding, is traumatising. Please continue to pray for the people of the province, support leaders in all sectors who have stepped in to help, and do whatever you can to give practical or monetary help to help alleviate the plight of the survivors, either through our ACSA disaster fund or otherwise.

The following is a prayer for the people of the province:

Lord Jesus Christ, our Saviour and Redeemer, as we recall your Ascension, 

May those affected by death and destruction in KwaZulu-Natal feel your presence as you walk alongside them in their grief and suffering;

Protect them from the effects of the devastation of the flooding;

Minimise the effects of climate change in their communities;

And help them as they seek your mercy amidst the shock they have experienced;

For your name's sake, Amen

Monday, 23 May 2022

Archbishop issues Ascension Day prayer for peace in Africa, Europe & the Middle East

Archbishop Thabo Makgoba has urged people to pray for peace on Ascension Day, and has issued a special prayer for parishes and Dioceses to use.

Preaching at a memorial service for the Revd Siyabulela Gidi, who died suddenly in Cape Town recently, he appealed to everyone "to give peace a chance wherever we are and in whatever we do."

He added: "In our communities, in our country and the world let us end the resurgence of conflict and war. As we look towards the Ascension, let us continue to pray for the people of Ukraine and Russia, for those in South Sudan, Mali and Ethiopia, for those in Yemen, Palestine and Israel, that social justice and the peace that flows from justice will prevail."

He published the following Ascension Day prayer today:

Loving God,

Your Son Jesus Christ has ascended in glory

and called many to witness of his resurrection:

Guide us and make us new that we may work for peace and unity in the world; 

For you live and reign in the unity of the blessed Trinity 

One God, now and forever,


Sermon for the Memorial Service for the Revd Siyabulela Gidi

 Sermon for the Memorial Service for the REVD SIYABULELA GIDI

St Mary Magdalene Parish – Gugulethu

The Most Revd Thabo Makgoba

Archbishop of Cape Town

22nd May 2022

Readings: Romans 8:31-39, Psalm 23; Luke 14: 15 - 23

May I speak in the name of God, Father, Son and Holy Spirit – God who is our comforter and friend and whom Revd Siyabulela so faithfully loved and served. Amen

Dear sisters and brothers in Christ; dear Bishop Josh, dear Mrs Gidi (Khayakazi) and your children, Okuhle, Oluvo, Chulumanco and Nmivuyo, your brother Zolani, dear Cirha and Tolo families and friends, dear colleagues and guests from near and far:

It is heart-rending that we are here today to offer condolences to you all, and to pay tribute to the Revd Siyabulela Gidi, a husband, a father, a grandfather, an uncle, a son, a colleague, a friend and a faithful priest in the Church of God.

When I received the news of his passing, I was distressed and moved. Distressed because like you, I always find it difficult to accept the loss of a loved one. Moved because I remember the prominent role that Father Siyabulela played in church and society alike – in the dioceses of Grahamstown, Natal and here in Cape Town.

As we say farewell, and give thanks to God for his life and witness, be comforted by these words from St Paul: “May the God of peace himself sanctify you entirely; and may your spirit and soul and body be kept sound and blameless at the coming of our Lord Jesus Christ. The one who calls you is faithful, and he will do this” (2 Thess. 5:38-23-24). Indeed we know that Fr Siyabulela has not been separated from the love of God – if these words are true for anyone, they are most certainly true for him.

But despite those comforting words the scriptures offer us, our hearts are heavy today. We struggle to comprehend that we shall not hear his voice, nor his humour again, nor shall we find ourselves enveloped in his huge embrace – an embrace of love that went far wider than the reach of his arms and touched the most marginalised and needy in our communities. I have been deeply touched by the accounts of his encounters with hundreds of people, as reflected in the past week through the testimonies we have heard. Since his ASF days, he has played such an important role in the lives and livelihoods of many, many people across the Province. Thank you MaMtolo, Dlangamandla for being his support system throughout his ministry.

Colleagues, we are here today to bring to God our grief, even as we give thanks for the life of our dear Fr Siya, and commend him to the everlasting care of God, who is the Resurrection and the Life. We have come to hear God's comforting words to us, for in Jesus God has tasted death and yet lives, and because he lives he has opened the gates of glory to all who believe.

We know that the Reverend Gidi now enjoys the fullness of abundant life (John 10:10). Just as Jesus wept at the grave of his dear friend Lazarus, though knowing he would rise, he understands our tears even as we believe. Dear friends, in him we find a safe place to bring our weeping as we mourn the loss of a dear husband, a father, a colleague and friend.

From his early years, when his love for God was expressed in his devotion to the ASF and youth ministry, Fr Siyabulela served the Church tirelessly. As a young cleric arriving in the Diocese of Grahamstown in 1995, he immersed himself in pastoral work and community activities as a field worker at Kei Road and later King Williamstown and Stutterheim. This period saw the growth of churching communities in the Church of the Holy Name (Cumakala).  

During those years the Church saw the depth of his ministry and he was soon appointed to lead God’s people in various ways. His leadership roles were too many to list here, but they included service in the dioceses of Grahamstown, Natal and Cape Town, in the Western Cape Council of Churches and the Kwa-Zulu Natal Council of Churches, as well as an appointment as Public Policy Officer during Archbishop Emeritus  Njongo’s time.

However, this brief outline does not fully convey the fullness of this remarkable priest, husband, father, brother and friend. St Paul, in the Letter to the Romans (8:31-39), gives a review of the course of a Christian life which is lived in a realm beyond the grasp and power of the law, demonstrating that if God be in our destiny nothing else matters, since he gave his own Son to die on our behalf. 

Sisters and brothers, as we celebrate the well-lived life of this faithful servant of God, may we all grow in conviction that God’s love poured out through the obedience of Jesus on the Cross is such that there can be no condemnation of those who live in Christ Jesus. The supremacy of Christ over all the Church’s foes is a guarantee that God takes care of our every need.

We thank you, Mrs Gidi, and we thank Mchenge, Dlangamandla, for sharing your husband and father with us. He became a brother to us and a father to many, and we are especially grateful that when he was called to serve the Church he willingly accepted God's call, wherever and in whatever way it came. In our Province and beyond, you willingly supported his ministry.

In Luke’s Gospel (14:14-23), Jesus mentions the blessings enjoyed by those who would share at the heavenly banquet. Key here is whether one has accepted the heavenly invitation. The idea that departed friends shall rise to glory is one that fills us with joy, and one which gives us hope in Jesus Christ. Just as the resurrection of all who died in him depends on him, so too will the resurrection of Revd Siyabulela. God’s overflowing love reaches out unconditionally to everyone, as our Gospel reading told us. It flowed unrestricted through Fr Siyabulela as well. He displayed that love exceptionally to his family, to those he cared for and to the community through his selfless life. Conscious of the needs of the poor and marginalised, his love also fuelled his unstinting involvement in the struggle for the liberation of the soul.

Dear brothers and sisters, as we remember Fr Siyabulela today, I appeal to all to resolve to give peace a chance wherever we are and in whatever we do. In our communities, in our country and the world let us end the resurgence of conflict and war. As we look towards the Ascension, let us continue to pray for the people of Ukraine and Russia, for those in South Sudan, Mali and Ethiopia, for those in Yemen, Palestine and Israel, that social justice and the peace that flows from justice will prevail. We should remember Siyabulela by advocating for peace and social justice, and we should divert the millions that are used for buying ammunition for war towards caring for the needy and poor as Fr Siya did during his lifetime.

As I end, let us call to mind the words of St Paul to Timothy – words that are just as apt for Fr Siyabulela today. For me they sum up his life: “I have fought the good fight, I have kept the faith. Now there is in store for me the crown of righteousness, which the Lord, the righteous Judge, will award on that day – and not only to me, but to all who have longed for his appearing” (2 Timothy 4:7-8).

Well done, good and faithful servant, may you rest in peace and rise in glory!

God bless the Gidi and Sigenu families and friends. God bless all gathered here today. God bless this Diocese, the Province and our nation - our beloved South Africa.


Wednesday, 18 May 2022

To the People of God - Ad Laos - Easter 2022

Archbishop Thabo Makgoba's Easter letter, written primarily for the Diocese of Cape Town:

Dear People of God

As we continue to celebrate Easter, I encourage you – on a note of thanksgiving for the Resurrection of our Lord – to pursue the evangelisation of those around you, one by one. Check in with your friends and neighbours, whether they are Anglicans or not, to see whether they have returned to worship in the wake of the coronavirus lockdowns.

    Form study groups and buy a lectionary, or choose a segment of the Gospels yourselves, and meet weekly to read, reflect and pray – and then resolve to give to the neediest in our communities. Perhaps it can be a donation of food – even just a loaf of bread – or maybe a contribution to a disaster fund or our Theological Education Fund. If you're able, attend a group retreat, or start small groups following the Ignatian or Benedictine rules of life and commit to a year or two to nurture our church spiritually.

    I'm addressing these appeals to all, both clergy and laity, young and old. We need to recharge our batteries after these last two difficult years, but we also need to reach out once again to others. As part of this process of renewal, it is my intention that in 2023 we should begin an annual re-commitment service for our Diocese's lay ministers – and for choirs – just as the clergy reaffirm their ordination vows every year. I know that our young people, our servers and members of other organisations in our parishes are good at organising such services, and I want us to make sure that we use their talents to God's glory. And I especially want us to reach out into the world beyond our stained glass windows in the coming years.
    I write to you from Germany, which I am visiting for a few days, from where I joined faith leaders of different traditions from around the world in an event which was part of a much bigger summit of world leaders on Covid-19. Co-hosted by a number of countries, including Senegal (the current leader of the African Union), the United States and Germany, it included President Ramaphosa, who called on global agencies to assist in boosting the local manufacturing and production of Covid-19 vaccines by procuring vaccines and boosters from African manufacturers. For my part, I urged that low- and middle-income countries should be given more control over the supply of Covid-19 vaccines, tests and treatments. In a panel discussion, I was privileged to join young Buddhist nuns from Kathmandu in Nepal, who movingly described how they moved around their communities during the height of the pandemic to persuade people to get vaccinated.

    I will be taking sabbatical leave from June 1 until August 15, including time at the Lambeth Conference, during which Anglican bishops from around the world gather at Canterbury in  the UK. Bishop Joshua Louw and his team will be looking after the Diocese of Cape Town, and Bishop Stephen Diseko of Matlosane, the Dean of the Province, will look after the Province, assisted by the Metropolitan's Executive. Please direct your inquiries to them. If you feel the need to contact me, please rather add your concern to your prayer list instead! But if you really feel you must, you can write to my PA, the Revd Abigail Hopley, who will help where she can. Otherwise I will be reflecting, reading, resting, writing, walking, gardening, praying and enjoying time with my family, at home, in Makgobaskloof, in KwaZulu-Natal, Joburg, Makhanda and abroad.

    In your prayers for global peace on Ascension Day, please spare a thought for peace in Ukraine and all those affected by that conflict, even as you pray for peace on our continent and other continents, as well as for Palestine and Israel.

    God be with you until I write again, and God bless you.

++Thabo Cape Town

Sunday, 1 May 2022

St Bernard Mizeki Guild - “A mission-shaped guild for a mission-shaped church in the world”

An address to the 19th Triennial Provincial Conference of the St Bernard Mizeki Men's Guild in Pietermaritzburg, Diocese of Natal, on 29th April 2022:

Dear Brothers in Christ,

I greet you all warmly in the name of our Saviour, Jesus Christ. He is risen, He is risen indeed! Alleluia! 

Thank you very much for doing me the honour of inviting me to address you, and for choosing as the theme the important subject “A mission-shaped guild for a mission-shaped church in the world”. The Guild is one of the most important initiatives in the life of our Church and you play a crucial role in so many congregations, not only in sustaining the faith and lives of your members, but in supporting mission and ministry in different ways. Thank you warmly for what you do, and thank you for who you are. We are blessed by your presence and work among us.