Wednesday 30 July 2014

To the Laos – To the People of God, July 2014

Dear People of God

This month I am thrilled to announce the appointment of the Revd Dr Vicencia Kgabe as the new Rector of the College of the Transfiguration (COTT) from January next year. She will succeed Dr Barney Pityana, whom we thank for his sterling service in establishing the college as a provider of accredited qualifications.

Born and educated in Soweto, Dr Kgabe, left, trained at COTT and has served at parishes in the Diocese of Johannesburg since her ordination in 2002. She has been responsible for the promotion and discernment of vocations to the ordained ministry in the Diocese, and has served in the Bishop’s Executive as Archdeacon. Her doctoral degree was earned (in Practical Theology) at the University of Pretoria. She has also taken part in a leadership programme at the university's Gordon Institute of Business Science (GIBS) and served on the boards of both COTT and Hope Africa.

The Church is proud and grateful to announce Dr Kgabe's appointment as we enter Women's Month, and in similar vein, we congratulate the Church of England on its General Synod vote giving final approval for women to become bishops in the church.

We are also entering the Month of Compassion, which we observe every year as part of the ecumenical community. I urge you not to let up in your efforts to help your parish find new and creative ways of observing the month. Just google the search phrase "Month of Compassion" and you'll find ideas from other parishes and churches: near the top of the list, for example, you will see that St Stephen's Church in Pinelands, Cape Town, holds Month of Compassion "Hunger Suppers", at which parishioners eat simply and donate the savings to a ministry chosen by the evening's host.

I am pleased to announce as well the appointment of Marupeng Moholoa as co-ordinator of the E-Reader Project at Bishopscourt. I am very excited about this electronic communication and e-learning initiative. Maropeng is working on "switching on" the service so that you can all have access to a wide range of resources. We are also in the infancy stage of establishing an internet "radio station", linked to the E-reader Project, to beef up our communication, which we will begin by making podcasts available on the internet. If you have parishioners with expertise in audio production who can volunteer advice and training, especially in Cape Town, please send details to Marupeng at e-reader[at] or to John Allen (at media[at], who is advising us on setting up these key communications channels for the Province.

Looking back, congratulations to Anglicans Ablaze for a successful conference in Johannesburg earlier this month. In due course, you will find conference highlights, summaries and feedback on their website. You can hear Archbishop Justin Welby's address on the Lambeth Palace website and read my Charge to the conference on this blog.

This will be my last Ad Laos for some months, since I will be on sabbatical until October, interrupted only by a few prior commitments: the Elective Assembly of the Diocese of Lebombo, for which I ask for your prayer, and the Synod of the Diocese of Cape Town. Please also pray for this gathering of the very special family which nurtures me and my family, helping to sustain and empower me to do ministry in our Province. If urgent issues arise, I will post them here.

I cannot sign off without referring to the resurgence of conflict and war in our world - in Gaza and Israel, in Ukraine, in Nigeria and elsewhere - and to the horrific kidnapping of children in our communities. War is an indication of our failure to meet one another in indaba and look each other in the face. Let your voices be heard in protest and seen in actions for justice. Pray for the families of those killed in our own communities, in the recent airline bombing, and in the Middle East, Nigeria, Ukraine and the conflicts in the Central African Republic and South Sudan.

God bless you,

+Thabo Cape Town