Sunday, 14 October 2018

Sermon at the 140th Anniversary Celebration of the Diocese of Pretoria

Readings: Job 23:1-9,16-17; Ps 22:1-15; Hebrews 4:12-16; Mark 10: 17-31

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

Bishops, dear brothers and sisters in Christ, dear people of God:

It is an honour and a privilege to have been asked to share with you the Word of God on this historic milestone in the life, witness and ministry of the Diocese of Pretoria. Thank you, Bishop Allan, the clergy, your leadership team and to the whole diocesan community for inviting me. Thank you everyone for your warm welcome. Thank you too to those who were involved in the preparations for this day.
It was a joy to meet with your Diocesan Standing Committee yesterday. Interacting with your Diocesan leadership was enriching, and I shared with them four key matters occupying my time recently:
  • The work being done by the Province's Liturgical Committee to produce material for transformative worship and to revise our Prayer Book;
  • The wide-ranging examination of theological education being carried out by a Commission chaired by Professor Barney Pityana;
  • The Safe Church Network's efforts to ensure that women, children and vulnerable adults are protected from abuse, which involves training and getting police clearance for those in ministry; and
  • The work of the Archbishop's Commission on Human Sexuality, and the decision of the Synod of the Diocese of Saldanha Bay to allow for the blessing of same-sex civil unions, subject to the approval of Provincial Synod.
I come to you having recently attended the Anglicans Ablaze conference in KwaZulu-Natal, where young people from all over the province were affirmed to continue as ambassadors of Christ wherever they are. I know everyone there would want me to greet those of you who couldn't make it there, and to bring you their and the Province's congratulations.
What an extraordinary journey this Diocese has made in the past 140 years – so unlikely, in fact, that we can understand it only if we accept that your origins and your transformation into what you represent today are the consequence of God's intervention in our lives.
As Bishop Allan has pointed out, Anglicans – just like the followers of other churches which have their roots in Britain – came here first following the paths of explorers and the agenda of British imperialism. (1) The first bishops who sought to minister to Anglicans in what was then the Transvaal Republic – the bishops of Bloemfontein and of Zululand – were responding to the needs of white English-speakers; although the bishop of Zululand did tell one of the first priests he ordained, and I quote, “not to neglect the natives.” (2)
The first recorded act of Christian missional work in what is now the Diocese was recorded in 1871, with the establishment of a school for the children of English and German settlers, the School of the Holy Trinity, in Rustenburg. (3) Bishop Bousfield was sent here to establish the Diocese in 1878 after the British had seized the Transvaal in the previous year. He was a product of the British establishment who attended an exclusive public school and Cambridge University, and whose only prior service was in parishes in England.
He was once quoted as saying that, and again I quote, “the natives of South Africa are wholly unfit for the franchise which, if granted, would ruin them...” (4) Yet missionary work among local people was one of his early priorities, albeit conducted under the paternalistic regime of the time. As Bishop Allan has written, the first recorded missionary activity among local people was the establishment of the Good Shepherd School for Poor Children. (5)
South African church historians have observed that while white clergy may have established most of the early missions in South Africa, it was Africans who were the most effective evangelists. Testimony to this is provided by Canon Edwin Farmer, one of the best-known early missionaries of our Province. Of the Diocese of Pretoria, he wrote:
“In 1894 there were 50 Native men working hard for the Church. I found that I had to register… thousands who had been converted by these men each year… I was also surprised that these Natives had built for themselves, without any prompting or assistance, rough buildings for churches… One of these evangelists is Jacob Dabani. He lived evangelically, never went back to his cattle and possessions but walked from village to village preaching wherever he had opportunity. He had no home of his own ever. He called his converts his children. His influence was marvellous.” (6)
Beginning with five clergy, the Church grew steadily under Bishop Bousfield's supervision through the first British occupation, then under the South African Republic until the Anglo-Boer War, when he had to go into exile. These years also of course marked the era in which either ZAR or British troops, with Pretoria as their capital, crushed the last independent indigenous kingdoms of the former Transvaal – including that of the Makgobas. It was under Bishop Bousfield's successor that the real growth of the Diocese took off. From one diocese for the whole of the former Transvaal in its early days, the Diocese of Pretoria has given birth to six more dioceses, beginning with Johannesburg in 1922. We give thanks to God that the missionary work begun here 140 years ago has now multiplied to include the Dioceses of St Mark the Evangelist, the Highveld, Christ the King, Matlosane and Mpumalanga.
We owe thanks to the many in this Diocese who kept the candles of faith and hope burning through the turmoil of our history. To name just a few, we remember Hannah Stanton, who served at Tumelong Mission and was detained without trial, then deported, for collecting evidence against the police for using violence against defenceless women. We recall also Father, later Bishop, Mark Nye, who gave hospitality to defendants in the Treason Trial of the 1950s and was also jailed after Sharpeville for his support of Hannah Stanton. We remember Bishop Richard Kraft's leadership during the stormy 1980s, including his leadership of the Pretoria version of the anti-apartheid marches which swept the country in September 1989.
And of course in the democratic era we recall with pride the role of Bishop Jo Seoka in standing up for the victims of Marikana, and how the Cathedral hosted a rally in November 2016 calling for President Zuma's resignation. As Bishop Allan has written, there is irony in the fact that a Cathedral which used to be a rallying point for anti-apartheid forces became the venue of “a meeting that demanded action from the liberation movement that it had helped to put in place.” (7)
Many deans of your Cathedral became bishops, and more recently we recall the contributions to our Church of that brilliant church historian, Dean Livingstone Lubabalo Ngewu. So today we remember and recall all the bishops, clergy, churchwardens and other lay leaders who paved the way for our worship in this Diocese today. They are our inspiration in leading the witness of Jesus through some of the most difficult times of our history.
Perhaps there are times when you, clergy and people of this Diocese, feel overawed by your illustrious past and wonder whether you are adequate for the challenges of today. Well, Job stands as an encouragement for us. This is good news for all of us. It is good news not because we are necessarily like Job – but because God is our God. And our God still delights in putting his spirit in us. It is God who enables us to live as Job did – going forward, believing in the righteousness and fairness of God. Job did not know the full story behind his suffering but he knew that he was suffering unjustly. He was living in a world that he could not understand and worshipping a God he could not fully comprehend.
Spurgeon, looking at Job, says that good men “are washed towards God even by the rough waves of their grief, and when their sorrows are deepest, their highest desire is not to escape from them, but to get at their God”. Job says “I am not silenced by the darkness, by the thick darkness that covers my face” (23:17). What greater encouragement could we ask for? We need to play our part too, but we can do so inspired by faithfulness to and the promises of God. In today's Psalm also, we heard how the Psalmist felt abandoned by God and like Job laments or remonstrates. Later the Psalmist praises God and his plea is finally answered.
Our second reading reminds us that our God is alive and active, exposing everything in creation, penetrating us to the core of our being. As the reading vividly states, “Sharper than any double-edged sword, [the Word of God] penetrates even to dividing soul and spirit, joints and marrow.” He is able to judge the thoughts and intentions of the heart – the totality and depth of one’s being. This is the benchmark by which we are all judged.
Confronted by this truth, we are confronted by God before whom nothing can be concealed. This indeed makes us aware that all things are stripped and bare and exposed to His searching glance. Friends, in the final accounting we give of our lives, we must all look to God and be looked upon by Him face to face. The writer of Hebrews stresses the parallel between Christ’s temptations and ours. Christ did not have each temptation we have but experienced every kind of temptation a person can have, yet was without sin.
In this celebration of the faithful of the Diocese of Pretoria, what are we bringing before God as an account of our ministry?
We celebrate today 140 years of service and witness to God’s love and care in one of the principal cities – indeed the principal city of governance – in our country. The rise and fall of our country rests on the decisions that are taken in this city. In today's Gospel reading (Mk 10: 17-31), Jesus is faced by a young man in the area of Judea and Perea, the focus of Jesus's ministry at the time. This young man was perhaps like someone we might find in Pretoria – a person of great wealth and therefore of power and status.
This rich young man wanted eternal life, and he thought that he would earn it through righteousness. But Jesus taught him that it was a gift to be received. The goodness of Jesus was in some sense subject to growth and testing in the circumstances of the incarnation, wherein he learned obedience through what he suffered.
The primary focus here is on the need of the man who, despite his sense of insecurity for the future, would have felt that he had attained a measure of goodness judged by the standards of the law. The lesson to be learnt here is that human attainment, such as he relied upon, can produce nothing good in God’s sight. Jesus administers to this rich young man a liberal dose of the law that he would be justified not by works but by faith. And to inherit eternal life is to dispose of anything that hinders you – in this case material possessions – and then to follow him and the Gospel.
Friends, encouraged particularly by Job, the Psalmist, the rich young ruler and the promise of the persecuted Hebrews, I invite each and every one of us to look deeply into ourselves. Bishops, priests and lay people over the past 140 years have given all for the Diocese to be where she is today. What is it that each of you commit yourselves to? What are your individual contributions spirituality and discipleship of all especially to the poor, the needy and the vulnerable in your communities? What is Jesus asking to set aside and dispose of today as you move forward in your personal and communal lives? What hinders you from being true followers of Jesus? What are you hoarding? What needs deliverance?
And what will be remembered about this city? Is it greed? Is it fraud and corruption? Or will our descendants remember it as the source of life, abundant life as John says, for our country for the ages to come? Our church, our country, and therefore this Diocese and this city face some big decisions in the coming months and years. In the Church, we have important decisions to make leading up to Provincial Synod next year on how we order our collective life: on how we transform our liturgies so that we worship God in ways best suited to the times in which we live; on how we ensure that our congregations are safe spaces for all our people, especially vulnerable children; on how we respond to the need for sensitive and effective ministry to those in same-sex unions.
Both in church and society, we are challenged to work out how best we can manage and develop our land – both urban and rural land – to ensure that all our people flourish in an economy that provides work and dignity for all. In the Church, the Provincial Standing Committee resolved last month that we should carry out an audit of church land and make recommendations for the use of vacant land. We have also commissioned theological reflection on the issue of land expropriation without compensation.
In society as a whole of course, the question of land is the burning issue of the day, one which will require enormous dedication and patience, but also a willingness to take quick and decisive action to bring about sensible reforms which both fulfil the demands of justice and the practical need for economic growth and jobs.
But the problem is not insoluble. Twenty-five years ago, we didn't know quite how we were going to get of apartheid, but we worked together and we succeeded. Just a year ago, we didn't know how we were going to restore good governance in a country which was heading for economic destruction. But now, although we are not out of the woods yet, we are on the way to doing that too. Can you imagine a year ago a Cabinet minister offering his or her resignation because, even though they made some admirably brave decisions, they also made some mistakes? We wish more would do the same!
As you move forward into your next 140 years, I bring you a challenge and an assurance. The challenge is: What is your vision for this diocese for the next 140 years? What can you do to enable it to move confidently into the next 140 years? Your founders – through wars, world wars, the Anglo-Boer War, colonialism and oppression – planted this Diocese, I charge you today to pick at least one thing that will make eternal life felt in the here and now; something that will better the lives of many in this diocese and the world. The assurance is that God has, again and again, met people and sent them out to proclaim his truth, with clarity and courage, through difficult and challenging times in the past. And he will do so again today and in the future.
“Truly I tell you,” Jesus said, “no one who has left home or brothers or sisters or mother or father or children or fields for me and the Gospel will fail to receive a hundred times as much in this present age: homes, brothers, sisters, mothers, children and fields—along with persecutions—and in the age to come eternal life. But many who are first will be last, and the last first.”
Again, the Province warmly congratulates you on this anniversary.
God bless the Diocese and all her people.

Archbishop Thabo Makgoba

1. The 140th Anniversary of the Diocese of Pretoria: A Short Historical Overview, Allan Kannemeyer, page 1.

2. Compromise and Courage, Peter Lee, page 5.

3. Allan Kannemeyer, page 1.

4. Peter Lee, page 19.

5. Allan Kannemeyer, page 1.

6. Quoted in A History of the Church in Africa, Bengt Sundkler and Christopher Steed, page 412-413.

7. Allan Kannemeyer, page 2.

Sunday, 30 September 2018

Infuse land debate with Gospel values: sharing, reconciliation, healing and taking care of neighbour

Members of the Provincial Standing Committee of the Anglican Church of Southern Africa have appealed for the full text of Archbishop Thabo Makgoba's op-ed piece in last week's Sunday Times, Johannesburg, to be made more widely available. The text, as sent to the newspaper, appears below. At the end of the page is a link to a scan of the piece as it was published.  

The Makgobas and our clan, baTlou of Makgoba’s Kloof, Limpopo, know all about the pain of having our land expropriated without compensation.

To the Laos - To the People of God - Appeal for the people of South Sudan

Dear People of God

The suffering and challenges of the church elsewhere in Africa turned my schedule upside down for a week last month. Returning from a meeting of the Standing Committee of the Anglican Consultative Council in London, I had to urgently fly to Nairobi at the request of the Council of Anglican Provinces of Africa (CAPA).

There I joined other church leaders at the headquarters of the All Africa Conference of Churches (AACC) for an emergency meeting on the situations in the Democratic Republic of Congo and South Sudan. Both countries have been plagued by instability and strife in recent years, and both face huge challenges in the coming months. In the DR Congo, President Kabila has at last agreed to step down and hold elections in December, and now unity and reconciliation are an important priority of the church.

When I first became a bishop, I did my month-long “baby bishop” training course in Malawi with the person who now leads the church in South Sudan, Archbishop Justin Badi Arama. Ever since, I have prayed for him, his church and for the freedom of his country. I rejoiced when they attained independence in 2011, but the promise soon evaporated. Two years later, after they had only tasted freedom and independence, two factions of the ruling alliance fell out, and I have previously mentioned the civil war which broke out as a result.
Anglicans in South Sudan (Photo: Jesse Zink, Montreal Diocesan Theological College) 

A few days before we gathered in Nairobi, the national youth coordinator for the Episcopal Church of South Sudan was shot and killed when his vehicle was sprayed with bullets. At the meeting I listened to stories of interventions by local dioceses to try to end the conflict in this resource-rich country. The refrain was that all those born after 1955, when the first of the civil wars started, are children of war, that they have lived in war but they are determined not to die in war. As we met, peace talks had resumed in Addis Ababa and there was great expectation that a new agreement would be signed. This indeed happened soon after we wrapped up our meeting but in the past agreements have come unstuck so there is still great trepidation – there are international, regional and local actors who do not want peace, because conflict has better dividends for them. At our meeting in Nairobi, we looked at ways in which the region could accompany the church in South Sudan and how the AACC can help the county understand and live in freedom. 

Upon my return to Cape Town, I asked clergy – and now through this Ad Laos I ask you as parishioners: please help me put together prayers, Bible verses and pictures as a resource for daily prayer for peace and freedom in South Sudan, beginning at Advent and running for a full year through to Advent 2019. You don’t need to be a professional, or ordained, or a leader in your parish to contribute: whether it's a line, a poem, a sentence, a song or a picture, just write it down and help your archbishop to pray effectively for this country.

The Ven Terry Lester is ACSA's official representative on South Sudan, so you may want to arrange a special meeting or day of prayer with him or others. Since I arrived at Bishopscourt, I have had a group of intercessors who join us regularly for worship – you may also want to also explore having a group of intercessors from the Diocese to pray for peace, justice and progress in South Sudan in their and our lifetimes. Yes, we have our own unresolved social issues of poverty, land, racism, unemployment, inequality of opportunity, crime and others, but I am asking that we also focus on and include these children of God in our prayers. Prayer enables peace within and then we can share this with South Sudan.

At a personal level, I am happy to have Manala, my wife Lungi, back after she did a 30-day individually guided retreat with the Jesuits at their retreat centre at St Lucia in KwaZulu-Natal. I have burnt a couple of her pots as I attempted to cook whilst focused on reading, answering emails etc at the same time. I now appreciate her ability to multi-task without burning things!

Please continue to pray for our church and its response to what God is up to in his world. Also pray not only for South Sudan and the DR Congo, but for other conflict areas as well, and especially Syria.

†Thabo Cape Town

[As published in the October issue of Good Hope, newsletter of the Diocese of Cape Town]

Saturday, 1 September 2018

To the Laos - To the People of God - Church must be in the forefront over land reform

Dear People of God

The debate over land reform in South Africa came to mind on a trip to Chile recently, where I represented the Archbishop of Canterbury on an Anglican Communion delegation investigating whether to recognise the church in that country as the 40th Province of the Communion.

Monday, 27 August 2018

South Africa's new dawn "is not yet visible on the horizon" - Archbishop

A sermon preached at a combined Confirmation Service for Anglican Schools in Cape Town, held at St Cyprian's School, on 26 August 2018: 

Readings: 1 Kings 8:1,6,10-11,23-30,41-43, Psalm 84,  Ephesians 6:10-30,  John 6: 56-69

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

Tuesday, 21 August 2018

Archbishop preaches at service for Prince Buthelezi's 90th birthday

A homily preached by Archbishop Thabo Makgoba at an Ecumenical Service of thanksgiving for the 90th birthday of Prince Mangosuthu Buthelezi, Durban, on 19 August 2018:

Readings: 1 Kings 2:10-12; 3:3-14, Ps 111, Eph.5:15-20, John 6:51-58

May I speak in the name of God, our Redeemer and our Sustainer. Amen.

Dear brothers and sisters in Christ, dear people of God; it is a great honour for me to celebrate with you in this service today.

Sunday, 19 August 2018

Archbishop gives thanks for lives of a selfless generation of leaders

This weekend we have reason to thank God for the contributions to the good of humanity of a great, selfless generation of leaders.

In South Africa, we give thanks for the life of Mama Zondeni Veronica Sobukwe, widow of Robert Sobukwe, who died in Graaff-Reinet weeks after her 91st birthday.

Abroad, we received with shock the news that Kofi Annan, a great African and a Nobel peace laureate who gave new energy to the United Nations to intervene to prevent conflict, has died in Geneva after a short illness.

And at home we celebrate the long lives of leaders who are still with us: the 93rd birthday of Mama Gertrude Shope, a former trade unionist and the first leader of the ANC Women's League, and the 90th birthday of Prince Mangosuthu Buthelezi.

I am pleased to be preaching at a thanksgiving service for the Prince in Durban today, of which we will write more later.

Our prayers go to the families of those who have died, and our best birthday wishes to those veterans celebrating milestone birthdays.

Archbishop Thabo Makgoba 

Wednesday, 11 July 2018

'The poor pay the price for climate change'

Archbishop Thabo was one of three speakers who addressed the General Convention of The Episcopal Church in Austin, Texas, on the "Care of Creation" on Tuesday. An excerpt from an Episcopal News Service report on the session:

Sunday, 8 July 2018

Archbishop defends Mandela's legacy

The Archbishop's column in the July issue of Good Hope, the newsletter of the Diocese of Cape Town. July 18 marks the centenary of the birth of Nelson Mandela.

This month we celebrate the 100th anniversary of Madiba's birth. As Christians, we know that our God in Jesus Christ, is the God of the living and the dead. In that spirit, we give thanks for Madiba's life. 

Thursday, 14 June 2018

Church welcomes ConCourt judgement on sexual assault cases

Archbishop Thabo Makgoba has welcomed today's Constitutional Court judgement making it easier to bring to justice the perpetrators of sexual assault. He has also urged South Africa's parliament to act quickly to end the bar on pressing charges if offences were committed more than 20 years earlier.

He said in a statement issued in Cape Town:

Saturday, 19 May 2018

Dedication of Emmanuel Church, Umlazi

Sermon preached by Archbishop Thabo Makgoba at the dedication of Emmanuel Church, Umlazi, on Saturday May 19 in the Diocese of Natal:

Readings: 1 Kings 8: 22 -30, Ps 122, 1 Pet 2:4-10, Luke 19:1-10

May I speak in the name of God, Creator, Redeemer and Sustainer of our lives, Amen.
Bishop Dino, dear brothers and sisters in Christ, dear people of God: it is a great joy for me to be here with you as we give thanks to God for this place of worship.
Let me also acknowledge Prince Buthelezi and Fr Ncaca, who presided at Lungi and my wedding 28 years ago.
Emmanuel Church, Umlazi.
It is an honour and privilege to have been asked to celebrate with you at this historic moment in the life of this community and the Diocese. Thank you, Bishop Dino and your entire team for inviting me. Thank you everyone for the wonderful and warm welcome we received on our arrival here. Thank you also to those who gave of their time and were involved in the preparation for today.
I thank God for the unsung heroes and heroines who have kept the gospel light burning here through their lives, their zeal, their prayers and their service and witness.

Thursday, 19 April 2018

To the Laos - To the People of God - on Eastertide & Winnie Madikizela-Mandela

My dear People of God

Easter has once again been a busy time for travel: on the evening of Easter Sunday I left to chair a meeting of the Design Group for the 2020 Lambeth Conference. Preparations for the conference are well on their way, and the theme is:  “God's Church for God's World: walking, listening and witnessing together”.

Wednesday, 18 April 2018

Accounting giants 'have strained our trust' - Archbishop

The text of an address by Archbishop Thabo Makgoba to the School of Accountancy at the University of the Witwatersrand:

Students, staff, members of the Institute, friends all:

Thank you for the invitation to be here. It is very encouraging to learn that you are engaged in a process of scrutinising yourselves and your practices with a view to ensuring that you are living up to your duty to serve the public and the nation.

Sunday, 15 April 2018

[VIDEO] Archbishop Thabo responds to Mama Winnie's death

Archbishop Thabo Makgoba says the death of Winnie Madikizela-Mandela marks a “changing of the guard” moment in South Africa.

He was in London, chairing meetings of the design group for the 2020 Lambeth Conference, when he heard the news. He flew home in time to attend her funeral.

He told the Anglican Communion News Service that “The old guards who were the stewards and custodians of our struggle, those who led us into democratic South Africa, are moving on...” He asked: “Are we mature enough, capable enough, to sustain the vision of a non-racial democratic South Africa where all South Africans flourish?”

He said he was “enveloped with a sense of deep pain and sorrow” when her heard that Ms Madikizela-Mandela had died.

“Then I started saying there were good things Winnie did and we need to give thanks to God for those... There are mistakes that she made because life threw a lot of curve-balls towards her... She handled some of those with dignity, but some she really hopelessly failed.

“But we need to remember the good that Winnie did, as a Methodist Christian, as a courageous woman, as a beautiful woman. And we need to say ‘what can we learn from who Winnie is?’”

He sent his condolences to the family, “particularly to the girls who have had to be mature adults while their parents were incarcerated.”

[Excerpted from the Anglican News report, South Africa will “stop and reflect” for funeral of Winnie Madikizela-Mandela]

Thursday, 12 April 2018

[VIDEO] Thy Kingdom Come - Archbishop Justin Welby speaks to Archbishop Thabo

Archbishop Thabo Makgoba has asked churches in the Province to join the Thy Kingdom Come initiative, praying for mission and evangelism between Ascension Day and Pentecost - May 10 to 20.

Ahead of this year's events, Archbishop Thabo discusses the question “what does it mean when we pray Thy Kingdom Come?” with the Archbishop of Canterbury, the Most Revd Justin Welby. During the discussion, he touches on his experiences as a teenager in Alexandra, Johannesburg, when he was chased by troops and feared for his life. 

[Acknowledgements: Anglican News

Monday, 2 April 2018

To the Laos - To the People of God - April 2018

Dear People of God

Usually in Lent I try to cut back on my schedule, but this year the busyness of the time leading up to Lent continued and I took on a number of tasks. While I maintained a discipline of prayer and reflection, particularly on water justice – praying for more rain in Cape Town and less flooding in the Diocese of Niassa in northern Mozambique – I also engaged the Anglican Communion and society equally.

Saturday, 31 March 2018

Archbishop's Easter Sermon

Archbishop Thabo Makgoba's sermon, preached at the Easter Vigil at St George’s Cathedral, Cape Town:

Is 55:1-11; Ps 114; Rm 6:3-11; Mk 16:1-8

Alleluia! Christ is Risen! He is risen indeed. Alleluia!

Brothers and Sisters in Christ, we meet this Easter, joining the whole Communion and faithful Christians across the world in singing this acclamation, and celebrating the Resurrection of our Lord Jesus Christ.

Sunday, 25 March 2018

Archbishop receives honorary degree from Stellenbosch University

The text of Archbishop Thabo's acceptance remarks appears below the video clip. 

Remarks on receiving the degree Doctor of Theology (Honoris Causa) at Stellenbosch University, on March 20, 2018:

Chancellor, Vice-Chancellor, students, staff and guests,

Thursday, 22 March 2018

Archbishop consults on improving Church's response to sexual abuse cases

Statement by the Most Revd Thabo Makgoba, Archbishop of Cape Town:

“In recent weeks, four individuals have either spoken out publicly or contacted my office privately to report experiences of sexual abuse in two dioceses, apparently during the 1970s and 1980s.

Wednesday, 14 March 2018

Courageous Conversations as Public Theology: In Search of New Partnerships for Justice

A keynote address to the Together for Justice Conference at the University of the Western Cape:

Friends, colleagues, sisters and brothers in Christ: I greet you all in the name of God, Creator, Redeemer and Sustainer of our lives.

Tuesday, 13 March 2018

College of the Transfiguration - 2018 Graduation Ceremony

Graduation address at the College of the Transfiguration: 

Readings: Jeremiah 17:19-27; Ps 78:19-27; Mark 8:1-10 

I greet you all in the name of God, Creator, Redeemer and Sustainer of our lives. Amen

Monday, 12 March 2018

The Church's response to writer Ishtiyaq Shukri's open letter

The South African writer Ishtiyaq Shukri has written an open letter in which he responds to Archbishop Emeritus Desmond Tutu’s recent stepping down as an ambassador for Oxfam after a scandal around allegations of sexual misconduct. 

In the letter, Mr Shukri said he was the victim of sexual abuse by Anglican priests and accused Archbishop Desmond of never fully addressing what he claimed was systematic and institutionalised sexual abuse happening in his own organisation.

In response, Archbishop Tutus office issued the following statement:

Monday, 19 February 2018

Appeal for prayer for South Sudan and the Democratic Republic of Congo

Dear Fellow Anglican

Friday February 23: Pray for South Sudan and the DR Congo

After Sudan became independent in 1956, it suffered decades of civil war. Just over six years ago, South Sudan broke away from the north amid great hopes that at last it would find peace. But a little over two years later, South Sudan suffered a new outbreak of civil war and it has not known true peace since. Under pressure from their neighbours, the opposing sides began new peace talks earlier this month, but at present they stand adjourned for an undetermined period.

The Democratic Republic of Congo has also not known permanent peace, in their case for the past 20 years. Armed rebel groups proliferate in the east. More than four million people are displaced from their homes. The President has served his two terms but has delayed a new election for two years. A former United Nations humanitarian chief, Jan Egeland, said a few days ago that right now the country faces one of the worst crises on earth, yet no one seems to care.

Pope Francis and a number of Anglican leaders, including Archbishop Peter Munde Yacoub in South Sudan, have issued a call to prayer for the people of both nations on Friday February 23. In his appeal the Archbishop said:

“Jesus says if we pray faithfully, the mountains can fall into the sea. We have mountains in front of us: the evil war and the killing of innocent people. Pray that Almighty God will remove this evil war and bring us peace, and remove the suffering of South Sudanese people.”

Friday is an Ember Day in our Province. Please add to your prayers for that day the following prayer as well. You might also use it on the Second Sunday in Lent too:

Loving God, Prince of Peace, we pray today for our sisters and brothers in South Sudan and the Democratic Republic of Congo;

We pray for the victims and survivors of violence in those nations,
We pray for refugees who have fled to neighbouring countries, and for the millions of people crowded into camps for displaced people,
We pray for their politicians, that they will learn how to become servant leaders, dedicated to the interests of their people.

Lord Jesus, you are our hope,
Our faith in you grounds us in hope,
It gives us certainty that peace can be made,
It strengthens our resolve that peace must be made,
And hope helps us to triumph over all.

We pray that the people of the DR Congo and South Sudan,
Will focus on the hope that you inspire,
Hold one another's hands,
Look upon one another, eyeball to eyeball,
And resolve to build united, peaceful nations.

This we pray in your precious name,


†Thabo Cape Town

Thursday, 15 February 2018

Archbishop Thabo responds to President Zuma's resignation

President Zuma's resignation is an acknowledgement that public power is to be exercised on behalf of and in service to the people of South Africa, rather than for the self-service of the incumbent.

Wednesday, 14 February 2018

A homily for Ash Wednesday

A homily preached by Archbishop Thabo Makgoba on Ash Wednesday at St George's Cathedral, Cape Town:

Readings: Genesis.1:1-10; Psalm 133; Revelation 22:1-5; John 4:1-15

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

Ash Wednesday reminds us of our need for repentance and coming closer to God. This is a time during which the whole church of God comes together to begin a journey towards Easter. The beginning of Lent calls us all to fasting and repentance in preparation for Easter, giving up sinful habits and embarking on spiritual discipline.

Monday, 12 February 2018

Destiny is not a Matter of Chance… But a Decision of Choice

Archbishop Thabo's reflection on the 28th anniversary of the day Nelson Mandela woke up a free man at Bishopscourt, on February 12, 1990:

Today, February 12, marks the anniversary of the day in 1990 on which Nelson Mandela woke up a free man for the first time in 27 years, after spending the night following his release at Bishopscourt, the Archbishop's residence in Cape Town. I have today blessed a plaque on a terrace in front of the house, marking the spot from which Madiba greeted the world's media that morning before conducting his first news conference.
Archbishop Thabo after blessing the plaque. 

I remember Madiba's long walk to freedom, as we all do, on many emotional levels. I have often celebrated his release on February 11 by visiting the gates of the former Victor Verster Prison near Paarl. On other occasions I have sat and meditated in the apartment at Bishopscourt which Archbishop Tutu made available to him for his first night away from prison.

Among the volumes of words written about or used by Nelson Mandela, the 13 that I most often remember are those from the poem by W.E. Henley which sustained him in prison:


Those words are as true for us as when they first inspired Madiba. The emotional vertigo of the Zuma decade that has left each of us, our families, our friends, our communities and our nation feeling like we have been on the deck of a ship in the middle of the fiercest storm, is close to ending. South Africa’s destiny now is a choice that we all have in our hands: black hands, white hands, brown hands, yellow hands… rainbow hands.

At the same time, I am a realist. Unquestionably, I believe in South Africans and in South Africa. But as the boxer portrayed in the film Rocky Balboa says, let me remind you of something you already know: the world is not all sunshine and rainbows. It can be a very mean and nasty place and I don’t care how tough you are, it will beat you to your knees and keep you there permanently if you let it.

Despite the progress made since Madiba's release, South Africans have been hit hard by many things over the past 20 years. We have been slowed down, we have been diverted, and we at times have been stopped by barriers thrown up by morally corrupt leaders who have created a most unequal society in terms of service delivery, education and healthcare. My principal concern is the way in which inequality has remained pervasive, hitting the poor again and again. But, to invoke Rocky Balboa again, the key to winning, surviving and thriving is, in the end, how much you can take and keep moving forward. That’s how winning is done!

The 11th of February 1990 was a moment of destiny. Seeing Nelson Mandela elected president of a free South Africa was another. Now, in 2018, we stand at the dawn of a new age where the dizziness of uncertainty can be replaced by the equilibrium of equality. We are again witnesses to a moment of destiny in which a decade of corruption can be replaced with the birth of a South Africa which, despite its many challenges, has a chance to unite, not as a political party but rather as a society committed to becoming a nation of extraordinary achievers of equality.

Let me ask: What do you and Nelson Mandela have in common? We are a nation of bridge builders. We will bridge the barriers of bigotry, bridge the chasms of inequality and bridge the barricades which block everyone from having equal opportunities. So, my countrymen and women: start cleaning the tools which we will use to build prosperity, start finding trust again in your hearts, and most importantly, start asking not what South Africa can do for me, but what I can do for South Africa.

Please pray for all our leaders, but in particular for the National Executive Committee of the ANC, for Cyril Ramaphosa, the party's president, and for all members of Parliament as they chart the way forward in the coming days.

ABOVE: Bishopscourt staff, from left, the Revd Mcebisi Pinyana, the Revd Nobuntu Mageza, Ms Wendy Kelderman, the Archbishop and the Revd Canon Desmond Lambrechts.
BELOW: The plaque commemorating Madiba's visit to Bishopscourt.

Sunday, 4 February 2018

Sermon preached at the 150th anniversary celebration of Leliebloem House, Cape Town

A sermon preached by Archbishop Thabo Makgoba at the 150th anniversary celebration of Leliebloem House, Cape Town, on February 4, 2018.

Readings: Isaiah 40:21-31, Ps 147:1-11, 1 Corr 9:16-23, Mark 1:29-39

May I speak in the name of God who is Father, Son and Holy Spirit. Amen.
It's a great joy to be with you today as we celebrate with Leliebloem 150 years of service to the community. History tells us that in 1868 Bishop Robert Gray established the House of Mercy as a refuge for women in Plein Street. Archdeacon Lightfoot made the initial donation for this initiative and the Society of St John the Evangelist (SSJE) made a generous input to its establishment.

Sunday, 28 January 2018

On the Guptas and Steinhoff: Sermon for the 160th Anniversary of St Paul’s Bree Street

A sermon preached by Archbishop Thabo Makgoba at the 160th Anniversary Celebration of St Paul’s Church, Bree Street, Cape Town:

Readings: Acts 26:9-23 , Ps 67, Galatians 1:11-24, Mark 10:46-52

May I speak in the name of God who is Father, Son and Holy Spirit, Amen.
    Let me start by congratulating you on 160 years of fruitful ministry, witness and service to God in this place.
    On Thursday we commemorated the conversion of St Paul. What a colourful history St Paul had, and the cover page of your service booklet gives us a flavour of the colour you reflect.

Tuesday, 23 January 2018

Archbishop's tribute to the late Hugh Masekela

On behalf of the Anglican Church, and on my own behalf, I extend our condolences to Hugh Masekela's nearest and dearest family and friends.

Hugh Masekela's legacy is that of an inter-generational institution, someone who across generation after generation articulated our people's experiences and reflected our evolving history through music.

Saturday, 6 January 2018

To the Laos - To the People of God – On the Feast of the Epiphany

Dear People of God

The Feast of the Epiphany is so special but here at home in Southern Africa it comes in the middle of our summer holiday and most parishioners are away. We still celebrate it of course, even if we do so on the Sunday following.

This year I send you, our parishioners and others who might read this, a short message wishing you good health and renewal as we celebrate the feast of the manifestation of our Lord to all people. May God manifest himself in our lives and wherever we live and work.