Monday 30 September 2013

Prayer for Provincial Synod

Please pray for Provincial Synod, from 1 to 4 October 2013

Here is the special Collect which you can use in your daily prayers:

Collect for Provincial Synod

Lord of all wisdom
you led your people through the wilderness
in the cloud by day and the fire by night:
grant to all who gather in Provincial Synod
the grace to listen to your direction
the assurance of the inspiration of your Spirit,
and the joy to celebrate your presence in prayer and praise
that all may be done to your honour and glory;
through Jesus Christ our Saviour
who reigns with you and the Holy Spirit,
one God now and for ever. Amen.

Synod of Bishops and Provincial Synod

Please pray for Synod of Bishops and Provincial Synod, meeting this week

Media Advisory - Anglican Church of Southern Africa's Provincial Synod to Meet October 1 to 4

25 September 2013

The highest decision-making body of the Anglican Church of Southern Africa (ACSA), its Provincial Synod, will meet at the Kopanong Conference Centre, Benoni from Tuesday October 1 to Friday October 4.

During the opening service of the Synod on Tuesday afternoon, the Archbishop of Cape Town, the Most Revd Dr Thabo Makgoba will deliver his Charge, the address in which he summarises the life of the Church and the challenges before it.

The theme of the Synod will be "A Vision for Education - Education for a Vision". Prof Mary Metcalfe, formerly of the University of the Witwatersrand and now with the Development Bank of South Africa (DBSA), will make a presentation on Education to the Synod.

A special guest at the Synod will be the Most Revd Dr Daniel Deng Bul Yak, Archbishop of the Episcopal Church of the Sudan and Bishop of Juba. The Revd Dr J Cooper of Trinity Wall Street, Washington, a long time partner of ACSA, will also join part of Synod.

Other items on the agenda include:
1. Matters of Canon Law (the rules by which the Church lives);
2. A presentation on transformational leadership by Prof Bev Haddad of the University of Kwazulu-Natal;
3. A presentation on human sexuality by Bishop Martin Breytenbach of the Diocese of St Mark the Evangelist.
4. A presentation on theological education by Prof Barney Pityana, Rector of the College of the Transfiguration.
5. The consideration of resolutions on matters including Church action on alcohol and drug abuse, the protection of the environment and pastoral guidelines for ministry to couples who enter same-sex civil unions.

Dioceses in Angola, Lesotho, Mozambique, Namibia, South Africa, the island of St. Helena and Swaziland will be represented by their bishops as well as clergy and lay members of the Church.

The meeting will be preceded by a closed meeting of the Church's Synod of Bishops.

Issued by the Office of the Anglican Archbishop of Cape Town
Inquiries: Ms Wendy Kelderman, 021 763 1320 (office hours)
The Revd Canon Dr Sarah Rowland Jones, 082 856 2082 (during Synod)

Monday 23 September 2013

Nairobi Mall Terrorist Attack

The following media statement was issued on 23 September 2013

Nairobi Mall Terrorist Attack

The Anglican Archbishop of Cape Town, the Most Revd Dr Thabo Makgoba, has written the following letter to his counterpart, the Most Revd Dr Eliud Wabukula, the Archbishop of Kenya:

‘My dear brother in Christ

The Bible tells us that when one part of the body suffers, all suffer together.

Yet I write to you, and to the Bishop of Nairobi, Rt Revd Joel Waweru, following the terrorist attack on the Westgate Shopping Mall, to express not only that the Anglican Church of Southern Africa stands in solidarity with you at this time, but that we too share in the grief that this senseless attack has brought. For a very dear churchwarden of my own Diocese, Mr James Thomas, has been confirmed among those whose lives were so brutally taken.

We have watched events unfold with shock and horror, knowing only that violence and death inevitably beget further conflict and loss of life. Our hearts go out to all those who have lost loved ones, as well as to the injured. We hold them in our hearts and in our prayers, knowing that we are united both in our humanity and in our grieving.

And so we pray for the fractured human family, in which such inhumane acts can be perpetrated. Alongside our desire for a swift end to the siege, and for justice to be done, we ask also that God will guide you with his holy wisdom. As you speak and act in response to these terrible events, may you be a channel of God’s grace: to comfort the bereaved, bind up the broken hearted, and proclaim the triumph of our Lord Jesus Christ over both evil and death. In condemning this appalling crime, may you also be able to bring God’s redemptive possibilities into the complex political, historic and religious context in which it arose. May the God whose light shines in the darkness shine through you, as a beacon of the hope and promise that are at the heart of the gospel.

Yours in the service of Christ our Lord and Saviour – crucified, risen and ascended

+Thabo Cape Town

Cc: Bishop of Nairobi, Rt Revd Joel Waweru

Saturday 21 September 2013

Praying for Madiba

Below is the prayer I was privileged to pray today at Nelson Mandela's home in Houghton, Johannesburg.

I share it on this, the International Day of Prayer for Peace, and the day after so many of us joined in a Human Chain in Pretoria to stand up for the values for which Madiba has dedicated his life – values of unity, non-racialism, democracy, and a nation free from poverty (see I ask Anglicans in Southern Africa and around the world, and everyone else who feels able, to join me in continuing to pray for Madiba, for his legacy to bear a rich harvest, and for the peace of the world.

Let us pray:
Creator God, Lord of Life and Love, you hold the whole universe in your hands
and yet you also number the hairs on all our heads.
You know the fates of the nations, and the hopes and fears of each individual.

On this, the International Day of Prayer for Peace, we pray for the peace of the world –
for peace without, and for peace within.
Jesus Christ, Prince of Peace,
may your shalom touch every place of conflict, division, brokenness, or fear.
May it fill our communities, families, and lives.
From the horrors of Syria and the turmoil of South Sudan,
to the fractured relationships and violence of too many homes,
bring your reconciling love.

We pray also for South Africa on the eve of Heritage Day.
Help us to draw on the best lessons of our past,
and build on the firm foundations that, by your grace, Madiba laid for us.
Give us courage to hold fast to his values, to follow the example of his praxis,
and to share them with the world.
We thank you that, in human chains, we can stand together for the united,
non-racial, democratic nation, free from poverty, for which he strove.

We lift our hearts, with gratitude for your loving care,
giving thanks that Madiba has been able to come home.
We thank you for all who have tended him, and who continue to do so,
and that he now is stronger and more comfortable.
We especially pray for courage and strength for Ma Machel at such a time as this.

Hold him in the palm of your hand, surround him with your love,
and give him – and all who love him – that deep sense of assurance and inner peace
that we are all kept safely in your infinite merciful care, that never lets us go.

Draw him ever closer to your heart, so that when your perfect time comes
he may make that final journey home to you, without fear and without pain.
Give all who love him the courage to entrust him to your never-failing care,
knowing you are doing for him things beyond all we can think or ask.

Come, Holy Spirit, renew the face of the earth with your breath of life,
so that even as we walk in the valley of the shadow of death,
we may know that Jesus Christ has opened for us the gates to everlasting life.
This we pray in his holy, precious name. Amen

Thursday 12 September 2013

Prize Giving at St Andrew's School, Bloemfontein

This statement was issued on 11 September 2013

The Archbishop and Metropolitan of the Anglican Church of Southern Africa, Dr Thabo Makgoba will deliver a speech at the Prize Giving ceremony of St Andrew’s School, Bloemfontein, Free State.

The school's Price Giving ceremony will be held this Friday, 13 September and will commence at 10am at the Doxa Deo Church Hall, 29 Van Iddekinge Avenue, Fichardtpark, Bloemfontein.

The Archbishop's keynote speech to St Andrew’s School which is also celebrating its 150 years, will focus on the importance of raising critical but compassionate leaders in South Africa. Dr Makgoba will also share the plan of the Anglican Church of Southern Africa to re-engage in education through the Archbishop's Education Initiative.

Media can interview the Archbishop at the Prize Giving venue or contact him on 0834034826 after his speech. Prize giving starts at 10am.

Note for Journalists: The Anglican Church of Southern Africa comprises of the dioceses of Cape Town, Angola, Christ The King, False Bay, the Free State, George, Grahamstown, Highveld, Johannesburg, Khahlamba, Kimberley & Kuruman, Lebombo, Lesotho, Matlosane, Mbhashe, Mpumalanga, Mthatha, Namibia, Natal, Niassa, Port Elizabeth, Pretoria, Saldanha Bay, St Helena, St Mark the Evangelist, Swaziland, Umzimvubu, Zululand. St Andrew's School is within the Diocese of the Free State.

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

Thursday 5 September 2013

A lament for the people of Syria and a prayer for peace

The following statement was issued on 5 September 2013

A lament for the people of Syria and a prayer for peace

The current debate in the United States Congress over whether to go to war against Syria gives the United States the opportunity to place sanity, logic and respect for the right to life above the understandable desire simply to hit back in anger and punish President Bashar al-Assad and his regime for their evil use of chemical weapons.

Yes, Syria's dictator has killed his own people. Yes, we all acknowledge the insanity of chemical attacks. Yes, we were horrified by the images of children, their parents and grandparents who died agonising deaths, probably from sarin gas, in Damascus on August 21. Yes, the general population across the globe must rise up against Assad.

But would an attack on Syria now meet the conditions required for a just war? To meet those conditions, we need to balance the chances that an attack will protect people's lives in future against the possibility that intervention will escalate the conflict and lead only to greater killing.

Military leaders warn us that once we start a war, the effects are unforeseeable and can quickly become unmanageable. Can we truly say that the international community has exhausted all peaceful ways of bringing humanitarian and diplomatic pressure to bear on Damascus? Are we sure no innocent civilians will die in a military intervention?

President Obama's advocacy of war is anachronistic and runs the risk of responding to killings with more killings. By referring the issue to Congress, he has given himself space to act, as we would expect of a Nobel Peace Prize laureate, and to exhaust all peaceful means of bringing an end to the suffering in Syria before considering a resort to war.

I lament in my prayers for the suffering of the people of Syria. I pray passionately that they will be given what we all desire for ourselves, namely security and peace. And I pray that President Obama will not go down in history as a leader who had the opportunity to broker peace but instead opted for war.

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

Tuesday 3 September 2013

Fix our Schools - Solidarity Visit Photo Exhibition at Bishopscourt

All are welcome to the Archbishop of Cape Town’s historic residence of Bishopscourt, on 3 and 4 September, to see the ‘Fix Our Schools – Solidarity Visit Exhibition’

These remarkable photographs by Sydelle Willow Smith record the visit to schools in the Eastern Cape made in April by Archbishop Thabo Makgoba, leading a delegation of eminent South African educationalists, human rights specialists, academics and writers, in partnership with Equal Education.

These photographs illustrate the dire need for quality norms and standards to be set, and upheld, for school infrastructure across South Africa – a campaign that Equal Education has led for four years.

In July Equal Education secured a court order compelling the Minister of Basic Education, Angie Motshekga to publish draft Minimum Norms and Standards by 12 September 2013.

The exhibition is open from 10am to 4pm on both 3 and 4 September, at Bishopscourt, 20 Bishopscourt Drive.

For further information, see

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

Sunday 1 September 2013

Ubuntu: more than a braai

This is the Sunday Independent opinion column from 1 September 2013

On the first day of Heritage Month, I wonder if I dare admit that I am only a limited fan of braaing, especially as I largely gave up red meat a couple of years back for health reasons, and have since felt all the better for it.

Heritage Month is about celebrating the best of what it means to be South African, in this beautiful land which we share, and across the whole breadth of our diversity. I’m sympathetic to the view that we should give greater prominence to ubuntu as the keystone of our common heritage. This is a distinctly southern African understanding of what it is to be truly human, through our participation in the humanity of others.

Beginning with ubuntu, rather than the braai, puts a completely different spin on how we approach this month. It’s not that I’m against braaing. Far from it! But I’d like us to move beyond focussing on lowest common denominators to which we can all sign up. For this can be seen as implying that our differences must otherwise dominate the way we view one another.

In contrast, ubuntu invites us to assume that our starting point, our real context, is what we have in common. We are all flesh and blood human beings who desire to live in peace, security and relative comfort with our nearest and dearest, able to bring up children in safety so they too may go on to lead lives that are, to a realistic degree, happy and fulfilling. When we recognise this in one another, differences such as race, language, culture and religion inevitably become secondary, and less significant.

On this basis, we can far more easily stand together, as we must, in tackling the divisions that ought to be opposed, such as the shocking economic disparities, because those who are on the wrong end of such differences are no longer seen as “them” but as “us”.
Of course this is a big ask, but we have to start where we are, and take what steps we can.

This week has been a good one for me in encountering ways in which ubuntu is alive and well, if only we have eyes to see. On Monday I was in Ulundi, where celebrations for Prince Mangosuthu Buthelezi’s 85th birthday included unveiling a statue and a service of thanksgiving, at which I was privileged to preach. He, like his mother Princess Magogo, is a life-long Anglican, and has let his faith nurture his family and public life. However, one views the life he has devoted to politics, few can have been left untouched by the courageous and heart-breaking honesty with which he spoke about the death of two adult children from Aids. At a time of denialism, he spoke out, and gave a voice to the tens, even hundreds of thousands of South Africans who had lost a loved one to this pandemic, but who were trapped in the conspiracy of silence. He stood in solidarity with them all, and helped break the stigma and change how we dealt with this scourge.

Tuesday morning found me at the Constitutional Court ceremonial sitting to honour the late Judge Pius Langa, a former chief justice of our new democracy. I was privileged to call this outstanding man a friend. He was an amazing intellectual, yet always ensured his mind was informed by his heart and his soul. He understood, perhaps better than anyone I have ever met, the true meaning of the rule of law, and how the letter of the law must deliver the spirit of the law, in the service of constitution, country, and all its citizens. This also is the mark of authentic ubuntu.

I felt proud to be a South African, listening to speeches that praised all Judge Langa had achieved, yet also acknowledged there was still so much to be done to bring about a united, reconciled, non-racial society, free from the scourge of poverty. To walk this path, as many have said, requires selflessness and commitment to the public good – commitment to the realisation in practice of all that ubuntu stands for.

How to encourage a more stable and sustainable environment, in which workers also flourish, was at the heart of Tuesday’s mining lekgotla in Sandton. In the margins, I had a “mini-lekgotla” with top executives of Anglo American, and in genuine dialogue we brought the perspectives of faith and ethics into vigorous engagement with those of business and economics. How to promote better human flourishing of all, in whatever contexts we are part of, is a topic that should engage us all, particularly through holding conversations that bridge our differences – and here I also include age and political partisanship alongside the old familiar labels.

Within the context ubuntu provides, we can dare to pursue the robust honesty that is necessary if we are to get beyond superficial words and break down the barriers we have allowed to stand between us. Especially as we approach next year’s elections, we need to know, and make explicit, that we truly are all on the same side, and it is from this stance that we engage over differences.

Pope Francis recently lamented those who have “good manners and bad habits”, who say the right thing, and even argue for it publicly, but whose actions show a preference for staying within their own comfortable space, reluctant to take risks, and preferring the company of those like themselves. Bad manners also come in the “othering” of those who are not like us, and mentally placing them at a distance where they can conveniently be left, largely ignored. Cowardice, thuggery, corruption and worse can all hide behind the appearance of “good manners”.

So I want the fine words of public tributes, lekgotlas, and popular debate to be matched by action that goes the extra mile which ubuntu demands from us, and that grasps restorative opportunities. For example, I’d like to see those in the construction cartel not merely accepting their legal penalty, but making practical amends such as through delivering sanitation, toilets, schools and other necessary amenities in our neediest communities.

Taking that further, those who benefited from apartheid, and those who enjoy the legacies of those ill-gotten benefits, must consider this month the time to set in motion concrete steps to redress the balance. We must not be shy of talking about making financial reparations, and channelling these into areas like education where we can make the greatest difference. I’m already engaged in dialogue around such possibilities at Wits Business School. Heritage Month, and the moral imperatives of ubuntu call on us to intensify our focus and commitment.

And what about the rest of us? At the very least, I hope that at least once this month, when you fire up your braai, you will make sure that your invitations go beyond “the usual suspects” to embrace the new friends that ubuntu brings you.

Happy Heritage Month.