Friday 8 April 2016

Archbishop Thabo blogs from Lusaka on ACC-16

The Anglican Consultative Council begins its 16th meeting (ACC-16) in Lusaka today, and Archbishop Thabo is heading ACSA's delegation to the sessions. The ACC is one of four “instruments of Communion” for the worldwide Anglican Church, and the only one in which laity and clergy other than bishops are represented. Every Province in the Communion is represented by a bishop, a clergyperson and a layperson. The other “instruments” are the Archbishop of Canterbury, the Lambeth Conference and the Primates Meeting.

I have arrived in Zambia for ACC-16 and I will try, God willing, to update our Province on what happens here through brief reflections. There will be no Ad Laos or Good Hope articles from me this month.

Landing in Lusaka, I felt nostalgic. My first cousin, Peter Makgoba, spent time here during the armed struggle against apartheid. In those says, Lusaka was the “head office” of hope for liberation for most South Africans. When we were students, any message from Lusaka came with the feeling that the sunspot of apartheid would disappear.

This hope, excitement and dream is fading away now and my earnest prayer is this that this is temporary; that we will once again rise above this period in our country, and rekindle hope and energy for a future in which we all share and our dignity is restored. We dare not, I pray we will not, have another Marikana. We must not have another Marikana.

I came here following two two beautiful and hope-inspiring days in Joburg. First came the launch of the Archbishop's Vuleka boys' school in Sophiatown, in line with our missional priority to nurture the young. The Anglican Board of Education has taken our aspiration and delineated three practical areas for action:
  • To support existing church schools,
  • To galvanize parish and community involvement in schools, including schools run by governments, and
  • To establish high-quality, accessible Christian schools.
On the second day, I went back to my alma mater, Wits University, and asked my fellow alumni to be part of the solution we want to see for students who cannot afford to pay their fees. We established the South African Student Solidarity Foundation for Education (SASSFE), and already have pledges for donations. Our aim is to respond in tangible ways to ensure access to for poor students.

Here in Zambia, they had elections last year and are scheduled to hold them again in August. I am told President Lunga will celebrate them with fanfare. It's a great example.

The ACC's Standing Committee met on Wednesday and Thursday. I couldn't join them because when I was elected to serve this year, the events in Johannesburg had already been planned. Many ACC members are arriving and the mood of the Communion is forming like the clouds outside – which may bring rain.

I look forward to our time here, learning from others around the globe and experiencing personal growth. The Revd Jerome Francis from Cape Town is our clerical representative and Louisa Mojela of Gauteng, who also serves on the ACC's Standing Committee, is our lay rep.

God bless you,

†Thabo Cape Town

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