Wednesday, 4 December 2019

A letter to Parishioners from Archbishop Thabo on Archbishop Emeritus Desmond Tutu

Dear Parishioners

Many of you will have heard that Archbishop Emeritus Desmond has been admitted to hospital for the treatment of what Mama Leah described as a stubborn infection. He has been hospitalised a number of times over the past few years for such infections.

I went to see him this evening, where I found him lucid and engaging. He said he is as good as he can be for an 88-year-old, especially in view of his ill-health in childhood.

When I told him that I had told Leah I was coming to scold him out of hospital, he chuckled warmly, which is a good sign. He also said he apologised for  making me do so many hospital visits!

Before leaving, we said the Lord's Prayer together and I gave him a blessing.

Please pray for him, for Mama Leah, for Trevor, Thandi, Nontombi and Mpho and their familes, and for the doctors treating him.

God bless

++Thabo Cape Town

Note: To avoid spam the Comments section below is moderated, so it may take a few hours for your message to appear. Thank you for sending them!

Saturday, 30 November 2019


Mrs. Matlotlisang Mototjane of the Provincial Executive Office recently represented the Archbishop at the International Water Week (IWW) Conference and the Water Symposium in
Amsterdam in the Netherlands.

Her report can be downloaded here:


Friday, 15 November 2019

Archbishop appeals for prayers for refugees after church attack

(Photo: CMM)

Archbishop Thabo today appealed for prayers for asylum seekers and refugees after being attacked by some of those who have taken refuge in Cape Town's Central Methodist Mission (CMM).

“The key is to focus on their plight and how South Africa can be more welcoming,” he said in a comment released after visiting the mission's church on Greenmarket Square.

The Revd Chris Nissen of the South African Human Rights Commission told the Mail & Guardian that some refugees had attacked him, a Congolese pastor and Archbishop Thabo. They had hit the archbishop and “threw bottles at him.”

The archbishop confirmed that he had been hit on the forehead. He told the Mail & Guardian, “We were clobbered... I have a bump on my head, but I’ll be alright...

“If I were to put on my psychologist's hat, I would describe this as termination anxiety. We were delivering the hard truth. Things they didn’t want to hear. So they expressed some level of anger,” he added.

The newspaper's report said the attack followed a reportback on options available to those who had occupied the church, which fell short of what they had been demanding.

The Revd Alan Storey of the CMM said in a report on the mission's website that the group which met the refugees included the Human Rights Commission, the Africa Diaspora Forum, More than Peace, Archbishop Thabo and pastors to the refugee community.

“The hope was to inform everyone of the discussions that had taken place over the last week that had been facilitated by the South African Human Rights Commission as well for me to request that people begin to vacate the Sanctuary.

“The chair of the Human Rights Commission and myself were able to speak to everyone. But when one of the Pastors (known to the refugees) tried to speak – some people refused to allow him to do so and thereafter the Pastor and other members of the above-mentioned group were assaulted.

“A semblance of calm was restored with the help of some refugee leaders and many of the refugees intervening to protect people. Thereafter we were able to get members of the group out of the sanctuary into safety. It is very concerning that three people of this group were injured while everyone else is obviously in shock.

“The whole situation is very sad and troubling, not only because of where it took place or who was hurt, but because any violence anywhere against anymore is self-defeating. Violence does not solve anything. It just causes more hurt and more problems.”

Wednesday, 13 November 2019

Archbishop sends prayers and condolences after KZN tornado

To God’s People in the Diocese of Natal, and to Bishop Tsietsi,

The TV coverage of the wreckage left by the tornado in your Diocese has shocked and devastated me. Weather patterns are definitely changing and whether or not we agree that we face a climate crisis, the changes are hitting God’s people, more especially those who haven't the resources to mitigate the severe consequences on their lives.

I reassure you of my prayers and condolences, and those of our whole Church, for the relatives and friends of those who died, for those who were injured, and for those whose property was destroyed. I appeal to our parishioners who were not as badly affected to please assist those who have suffered the most.

Be assured of our love and prayers

God bless

Archbishop Thabo Makgoba

Thursday, 10 October 2019

Archbishop Thabo Makgoba condemns anti-semitic attack on German synagogue

Archbishop Thabo today condemned the attack on a synagogue in Halle, which took place on Yom Kippur:

"Yesterday's attack on a synagogue in Halle comes as a triple shock to the conscience, and must be condemned with all the vigour we can muster.

"Firstly, it reflects the deeply disturbing rise of anti-semitism and extremist nationalism to levels unprecedented in recent European history, moreover in a country responsible for the horrors of the Holocaust.

"Secondly the attack is all the more shocking in that it was directed at a place of worship, and thirdly - compounding the evil - it was carried out on Yom Kippur, the holiest day of the year.

"We grieve for the victims of the attack and pray for the survivors. We also pray for our Jewish sisters and brothers everywhere, for whom centuries of persecution make any such attack anywhere in the world profoundly worrying and distressing."

Thursday, 3 October 2019

An address to Taize pilgrims in Cape Town

(Photo: Ricky Kleinhans)

Taizé Pilgrimage
28 September 2019

Good evening. Bonsoir. Molweni. Guten abend. Dumelang. Boa noite. Goeienaand. Sanbonani. Buena noches. Habari za jioni.

A very warm spring welcome to all of you! Palaeontologists tell us that all human life as we know it started here in the southernmost part of Africa, so welcome home. You are all Africans!

Thank you, young people from across South Africa, from the rest of Africa and from other parts of the world, for coming on this Pilgrimage of Trust and for gracing us with your presence. I am sorry that I could not join you earlier – I have just returned from the three-yearly meeting of my church's legislative body. But you were in good hands.

Thank you to the host families and hosting congregations. Thank you for making us proud with your gifts and skills of hospitality! Julle skrik vir niks! Baie dankie. Enkosi kakhulu.

Thank you to the members of the Taize community – to Brother Alois, Brother Luc and your whole team (to Brothers Norbert, Claudio – I hear you have an angelic voice – to Paolo, Herve, Parfait, Kombo and all the others). Thank you all for your hard work over these last two years.

Thank you for what your community represents and for reminding us that we draw our strength from God's first language, which is silence. I know that these two years during which you have planned this Pilgrimage have not been an easy time for you. But you have laboured on despite the challenges. You therefore deserve a standing ovation.

There is a young man here from the Moravian Church who has given an enormous amount of his time to help organise this. His name is David Daniels. The Moravian Church provided the first Christian missionaries for South Africa and you are living up to that legacy beautifully. Thank you, David, for your hard work.

We also thank those such as Baruti Wilma Jakobsen and Chris Ahrends from South Africa and Mona Okelo from Kenya for their hard work in helping and encouraging the brothers in their work. Asante sana. Thank you very much.

Thank you too to my twin brother, Archbishop Stephen, for your constant support – ke
leboha haholo, Archbishop Stephen – and also a very special thanks to my brother Dr Gustav Claasen of the NG Kerk for your support and wonderful contributions – baie dankie, my broer in Christus. Thank you also to all the other church leaders. And a huge thank you to another very special brother in Christ from the Anglican Communion, Archbishop Sentamu, the Archbishop of York, who is very close to the Taize community and who brought a group of young people from the UK to this pilgrimage.

Before I say anything more, please allow me to convey through you, our sisters and brothers from other parts of our continent, my profound apologies, and I am sure the profound apologies of other South Africans here, for the violence inflicted in recent times on migrants and refugees from other parts of Africa. We are appalled and ashamed by the actions of those of our compatriots who attacked your compatriots. All of us, including our government, need to adopt new attitudes and new laws so we can truly live the spirit of ubuntu. The church affirms that we are Catholic, in the best and widest sense of that word. We embrace all as Christ embraces all. Let us continue to aspire to that.

I believe that this pilgrimage has begun to re-energize us from below, so helping us South Africans to reimagine the ecumenical movement at the grassroots. I hope that the Church Unity Commission, the South African Council of Churches, the South African Christian Leadership Initiative and other ecumenical structures have taken note of what happened here this week. You, the young people have shown us what unity in Christ really means.

Unity in Christ cannot happen instantly, but is a movement of the Spirit. So we must ask:

  • Will the seeds that have been planted here fall on fertile ground and grow? Or will they fall on hardened hearts?
  • If we can grow them, are we ready to nurture the young plants? Or will our disunity be like weeds that strangle what has been started?
  • And is the church on this continent ready to be the answer to the prayer of Jesus in John 17: “Father, may they be one, even as you and I are one”?

The work of building unity is often approached with anxiety, as an issue of complexity. But what would happen if we rather approached it with simplicity, building friendships and trust, just listening to each other's stories? Can we imagine what might happen?

Please, young people, don't wait for the rest of us. Show us the way as you have always done. Show us what unity in action means. Show us what hope means. Show us what just economic relationships mean. Show us the way on climate justice. Show us that there is no Planet B. Show us that the poor will suffer most when water levels rise. Show us that serving Mammon will only lead to our destruction and that we should speak out on behalf of the trees and the birds and the animals. Ecological destruction is all around us and if we are not careful, we will soon not have enough fish and clean air and clean water. Help us to defend and preserve this.

Young Christian men: you have a special responsibility to stop the violence against women. When God sees the violence being perpetrated on women and girls, then God weeps over God's creation. God has created us all equal: now live that out in your everyday lives. We must, through our lives and our love, make God smile again.

Christian young people: you have a special responsibility to build and strengthen community for other young people. Many of our young people are traumatised and wholesome Christian community is needed for their healing. If we don’t do this in our schools, in our communities and on our campuses, we leave a vacuum which those with evil intentions will fill. We need to strengthen our youth ministries and young people must lead the way.

Thank you, Lord Jesus Christ, for the hope of the Resurrection! This is a hope that is not here today and gone tomorrow, but it is a permanent hope, which we will celebrate tomorrow. Just when we fear that evil is overwhelming us, God gives us new hope and new joy. Just recently, the Ndlovu youth choir from Limpopo raised our spirits by inspiring America with their story of hope and joy. They did so not representing only South Africa, but the whole of Africa.

We all can and must live that same hope and joy every day. We light candles where we are every day. Don't stop doing that even if you are not acknowledged. God sees your action and God rejoices. Be assured that such small acts will multiply and grow.

Please take our love back to your homes, your families, your friends and your congregations. Please pray for South Africa as we battle the forces that corrupt the vision of Nelson Mandela.

When he was inaugurated as our president, he declared that “never, never and never again shall it be that this beautiful land will again experience the oppression of one by another.” Tonight, let us adapt and repeat those words as our declaration of commitment:

Never, never and never again must our disunity be a stumbling block for others;
Never, never and never again should we suffer corruption and the abuse of power in Africa or elsewhere;
Never, never and never again must one person think of him or herself as more important than others;
Never, never and never again must young people beg us adults to care for creation.

Always live the joy and the hope that Christ has planted in your hearts through the Resurrection. And let me conclude with a prayer we adapted from Archbishop Emeritus Desmond Tutu:

God bless our world
Protect our children
Transform our leaders
Heal our communities
Restore our dignity
And give us peace
For Jesus Christ's sake,

God loves you and so do I. God bless you, and travel safely when you return home. 

Archbishop Thabo Makgoba

Sunday, 29 September 2019

Archbishop issues Pastoral Letter to Diocese of Natal after Bishop's resignation

The text of a Pastoral Letter sent after the Synod of Bishops meeting in Benoni last week:

26 September 2019


Resignation of the Rt Revd Dino Gabriel as Bishop of Natal

To the People of God in the Diocese of Natal,

Greetings in the name of our blessed Lord.

I write to you, lay Anglicans and clergy in the Diocese of Natal, in consequence of the sudden resignation of your Bishop, the Right Revd Dino Gabriel, and after a discussion of his decision to resign by the Synod of Bishops on Monday 23 September.

It is my duty to inform you that Bishop Dino has made clear that his decision is irrevocable and that I have accepted it.

In summary, his resignation was precipitated by the consequences of pressures on Diocesan finances. Those pressures do not involve any financial wrongdoing, but rather are the result of an ambitious growth projectory which could not be sustained.

There is a sense in which Bishop Dino's resignation is an unexpected bringing forward of the inevitable, since he was due to retire soon. Nevertheless, I am heartbroken over this development and its implications for the Diocese.

Ever since I was Bishop of Grahamstown, the second oldest diocese in our Church, the Diocese of Natal, as the third oldest, has held a special place in my heart. You have produced many of our best theologians and teachers of theologians, and you continue to be one of the greatest supporters of the College of the Transfiguration and the future of theological education. Your last two bishops have served as Deans of the Province, Bishop Michael Nuttall as “Number to Tutu” and Rubin Phillip to me.

But precisely because of the inherent strengths of your Diocese, I am hopeful for the future, in particular for your capacity to come together, soberly and prayerfully, to reach out to one another across the differences you will experience and to chart the way forward with integrity and compassion.

The Synod of Bishops wants me to assure you of their deep concern and care for all of you. The appropriate steps will be taken to ensure that the Diocese is administered in accordance with the Church's Canons in the interregnum and that the spiritual well-being of the Diocese is attended to.

A detailed plan of pastoral oversight for the Diocese will be developed to ensure that pastoral, liturgical and administrative ministry is exercised with love and care. The Synod of Bishops will also ensure that pastoral and personal care will be provided for Bishop Dino and his family.

It is the Synod of Bishops' sincere prayer and desire that you will find God’s will and one another as you continue to seek resolution to the challenges you are facing as a diocesan family. At a time which is appropriate to meeting those challenges, I look forward to presiding over an Elective Assembly.

May almighty God, in His infinite love and mercy bring peace and wholeness to each one of you, members of God’s family.

Yours in His love and service,

++Thabo Cape Town

Saturday, 28 September 2019

Archbishop responds to Synod debate on ministry to LGBTQI Christians

Responding to debates at this week's meeting of Provincial Synod, Archbishop Thabo Makgoba - who is on record as saying that ministry to the LGBTQ community should be dealt with as a pastoral matter in local communities - gave the following comments:

 “Because the Archbishop’s Commission has sensitised more people to the issue and got the broader church to think and reflect, there has been movement forward since 2016. At least we are now engaging with one another. 

“But the discussion is still painful for everyone, and emotion, prejudice and fear rather than theological substance dominated this year’s deliberations on both sides.

“I am obviously disappointed in this year’s outcome, but take heart that (1) we now have a permanent commission, (2) we have tangible suggestions that we are sending to the faithful, and (3) that we have a year to review the situation. I will continue to soak everyone involved in prayer.” 

A report on the debates -- including the Archbishop's comments in their context -- appears here:

Tuesday, 24 September 2019

Archbishop's Charge to Provincial Synod 2019

Review, Renew and Restore: Reconnecting Faith to Daily Life Inside and Outside the Stained Glass Windows
Charge of the Archbishop and Metropolitan, the Most Revd Dr Thabo Makgoba to Provincial Synod 2019 

A PDF version of this Charge is available here >>

Readings: Esther 5:1-14; Psalm 124 and Luke 8:19-21

Greetings and Appreciation

May I speak in the name of God who creates, redeems and sustains us. Amen.

Wednesday, 11 September 2019

Archbishops of Nigeria and Southern Africa issue joint statement on attacks on migrants

Joint statement by the Primate of Nigeria, His Grace the Most Revd Nicholas D. Okoh, and the Metropolitan of Southern Africa, His Grace the Most Revd Thabo C. Makgoba

As the Archbishops of Nigeria and Southern Africa, we condemn the breakdown of law and order consequent upon the xenophobic attacks carried out on Africans from other parts of the continent, including Nigerians, who live and work in South Africa. No matter what grievances people have, mob violence is no way to respond, and we condemn the violence outright. We express our sympathy to those who have been injured in the attacks and our regrets at the loss of property and businesses.

Within and between our respective churches, we commit to opening dialogue with all involved with a view finding lasting solutions to the tensions. As two leading nations on the continent, Nigerians and South Africans should be working together to the mutual benefit of friendship and productive economic relations between our peoples. We pray for peace among our peoples, and for God's blessings on Nigeria, South Africa and all Africans affected by these deplorable attacks.

We prayerfully task our two Presidents (Nigeria and South Africa) to seek a diplomatic solution to the issues causing tension and bitterness.

++Nicholas Nigeria ++Thabo Cape Town    

Sunday, 8 September 2019

Sermon for a Combined Confirmation Service for Anglican schools in Cape Town

Sermon for a Combined Confirmation Service for Anglican schools in Cape Town, St Saviour's Church, Claremont:

Readings: Jeremiah 18: 1-11; Psalm 139:1-5,12-18; Philemon 1-21; Luke 14: 25-33

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

Dear brothers and sisters in Christ, dear people of God, heads of participating schools – Mr Stewart West of Herschel, our host school this year; Mrs Sue Redelinghuis of St Cyprian’s; Mr Guy Pearson of Diocesan College; and Mr Julian Cameron of St George’s Grammar School – also friends and families, it is a great joy to be with you today and share in this important milestone in the lives of the confirmation candidates. Let me also greet Bishop Garth and Marion, whom I saw as I entered the church today. Indeed, there is life after retirement!

Saturday, 7 September 2019

Archbishop Thabo issues message condemning South African attacks on other Africans

Transcript of the message:

I am Archbishop Thabo Makgoba of Cape Town, and on behalf of the Anglican Church of Southern Africa, its Synod of Bishops and its people, drawn from Angola, Lesotho, Mozambique, Namibia, St Helena and Swaziland, as well as across South Africa, we are deeply disturbed by the recent orchestrated attacks on citizens from outside our country – sadly called foreign nationals, for no one is foreign, all are all God's people and all are Africans.

Tuesday, 3 September 2019

Archbishop Thabo writes to South Africa's President about attacks on migrants

In 2017, then Deputy President Ramaphosa at Bishopscourt.

His Excellency M. Cyril Ramaphosa
President of the Republic

Dear Mr President,

We know that you are as distressed as we in the churches are at the injury to people and the wanton looting of the property of those perceived to be migrants that we have seen in recent days. In a number of areas, the police seem to be overwhelmed.  One fears for the chaos that will ensue if this spreads completely out of control of the law enforcement agencies.

Monday, 2 September 2019

Statement on the death of Uyinene Mrwetyana

On my own and the Anglican Church's behalf, my deepest condolences to the family of Uyinene Mrwetyana, to her friends and fellow students and to staff at UCT. May her soul rest in peace.

As the father of a daughter at the same institution, I feel this loss especially painfully. Society must rally against the dreadful prevalence of violence against women and children, and the quick investigation and arrest in this case is to be commended.

Archbishop Thabo Makgoba


Wednesday, 31 July 2019

Ad Laos - to the People of God - August 2019

The text of Archbishop Thabo's June Ad Laos, also to be published in the Cape Town diocesan newsletter, Good Hope:

Dear People of God

I am writing this Ad Laos as soldiers of the South African National Defence Force deploy in our communities to help deal with the emergency precipitated by the spiralling violence in our Church’s – and South Africa’s – beautiful mother city of Cape Town.

Sunday, 14 July 2019

Discussing 'Faith and Courage" with the BBC

Sunday the weekly religious news and current affairs programme on BBC Four, one of the British broadcaster's domestic radio channels, has interviewed Archbishop Thabo Makgoba on the publication of the UK edition of his book, Faith and Courage: Praying with Mandela.

The full interview, conducted by one of the programme's hosts, William Crawley, can be found on the BBC Sounds website (click past the sign-in request if you don't want to visit regularly, and use the "Try again" button if you initially can't access the page):

A shorter edit of the interview was carried in the live broadcast of the programme on Sunday July 14, halfway through the programme:

Friday, 28 June 2019

'Lambeth 2020 boycotts will not help anyone'

From the Church Times, London, of June 28, 2010

The Archbishop of Capetown speaks to Anli Serfontein

THE Archbishop of Cape Town, Dr Thabo Makgoba, has urged bishops and Provinces in the Anglican Communion — including members of GAFCON — not to boycott the Lambeth Conference in 2020. Instead, he has said that they should “all come around the table”.

You can read the full report on the Church Times website at:

Thursday, 30 May 2019

Archbishop Makgoba lauds “inclusive” Cabinet, urges Parliament now to step up

Archbishop Thabo Makgoba today welcomed the appointment of a Cabinet including women and young leaders but urged the next Parliament to play its proper role in holding the executive to account.

He said in a statement issued in Cape Town:

Monday, 27 May 2019

Ad Laos - to the People of God - June 2019

The text of Archbishop Thabo's June Ad Laos, also to be published in the Cape Town diocesan newsletter, Good Hope:

This month I have the bittersweet privilege of giving God our profound thanks for the ministry of Bishop Garth Counsell as Bishop of Table Bay, and also of saying farewell to him and Marion on his retirement from that position.

Saturday, 25 May 2019

A New Dawn - Reflections on South Africa's Democracy

(Photo:  Jiayi Liu/Amherst College)
An address delivered at Amherst College in Massachusetts, ahead of a graduation ceremony in which Archbishop Thabo received the degree of Doctor of Divinity (honoris causa):

Today being Africa Day, and also the feast day of the Venerable Bede and the 18th anniversary of my consecration as a Bishop, I am honoured to be with you.

And in the year in which we are celebrating the 25th anniversary of the liberation of my country, I have great pleasure and joy in bringing greetings to you, the citizens of one of the world's older democracies, from your sisters and brothers in South Africa, one of the world's younger democracies. In my mother tongue, Sepedi, on an occasion like this we say: "Rea lotjha. Ke tagwa ke le thabo." (Greetings. Today I am intoxicated by joy.) Your reply is: "Agee" or "Thobela." (Meaning: We agree and we can see your joy.)

Friday, 24 May 2019

Archbishop Thabo's message on inauguration of SA's President

Archbishop Thabo Makgoba is in Massachusetts in the USA, receiving the honorary degree of Doctor of Divinity from Amherst College. He was invited to receive the degree a year ago, before the date for the inauguration of President Cyril Ramaphosa was set. He has sent his apologies for the inauguration and issued the following message:

On behalf of the Anglican Church of Southern Africa, its Synod of Bishops and on my own behalf, my warm congratulations to the new Members of Parliament and to the President upon his inauguration.

Having been critical at Easter of the failure of past Parliaments to hold the Executive accountable, I am particularly pleased to see that a number of people on party lists against whom serious allegations have been made have withdrawn their names from consideration at this stage.

I hope others will follow their example, not because they have been found guilty but because their names need to be cleared before they can credibly represent our people.  We need morally astute parliamentarians who represent our country's finest values and who will act in the interests of the nation as a whole.

God bless the new Parliament, the new President and his new Executive.

Pray that God will give wisdom to those in authority, and direct this and every nation in the way of justice and peace, that all may honour one another and seek the common good. Amen  

Tuesday, 21 May 2019

"A space that speaks of our shared worship, shared dreams..." - St Paul's Chapel, New York City

A sermon preached on the Fifth Sunday of Easter at St. Paul's Chapel in the Parish of Trinity Church Wall Street, New York:

Acts 11:1-18; Psalm 148:1-3, 7, 9-11, 13; Revelation 21:1-6; John 13:31-35

We hear these incredible words of possibility in our foundational texts today in a wonderful space, in a chapel and a parish that have towered over the city’s and the nation's history, whose graveyards hold the bones and the memories of some of its founding parents; a parish located in an area that once boasted a barrier, usually described as a wall, to keep out those seen as “the other”; a parish that witnessed the struggle to establish your democracy; and a chapel in which your forebears and your founding president thanked God for his inauguration. [Continues below the video...]

And of course more recently the inner sanctuaries of the churches of this parish provided refuge and ministry during and after that fateful day when the Twin Towers were attacked and then collapsed, a day forever etched in our memories as evil was let loose. Today, at a time when there seems to be a renewed threat of war involving this nation, I count it a particular privilege to be preaching here in St. Paul's, which in the difficult months and years after nine-eleven represented to the world the best of American values – values of hope and healing as you brought to your city and nation a ministry of pastoral care, of reconciliation and of peace.

Speaking of your contributions to the nation and the world, I cannot continue without referring to what you have meant to us in the church in Southern Africa, and indeed across the whole continent of Africa. We too were colonised by the Dutch, and people of my heritage were kept out of the suburb where I now live by a barrier – in our case an impenetrable hedge – by the Dutch. In our case too, the church has played a part in bringing about democracy, and you made a direct contribution to the inauguration of our own founding president, Nelson Mandela, by responding 30 years ago to the pleas of Archbishop Desmond Tutu to divest from companies which did business with apartheid South Africa. Responding to our plea for help probably ran counter to the instincts of Wall Street financiers, but you put your relationship with us, your partners, first and for that we are deeply grateful. I see in the congregation an honorary canon of our Province, Canon Jamie Callaway, and acknowledge the role he played in supporting us.

It is with pride and pleasure that I can report to you that the young democracy you helped us establish is  flourishing. It is true that until 15 months ago, we had a president whose influence badly corrupted the executive branch of our government, and that our legislature failed to hold him to account. But the combined power of the media, civil society and the judiciary forced his party to remove him from office before the end of his term, and our new president has begun to clean up our government. So we have faced huge challenges in recent years.

Beyond your contribution to our liberation, you have enabled and continue to enable important ministry in dioceses of the church in Southern Africa, and in other Anglican provinces in Africa. As the longest-serving Primate on the continent, I make bold to speak on behalf of all of us, and to thank you from the bottom of our hearts for all you have enabled the church in Africa to be and to do. By sharing your resources, you demonstrate that you are following Jesus' new commandment.

Returning to the witness of this chapel and of Trinity –   through the unfolding of the layers of history, amidst the contestation of ideologies and memories of walls, this place has continue to maintain its rhythm of prayer, to contextualise the sense of the Holy, to explore God's words and to discern its echo in the community of lower Manhattan. Above all you hold out, day in and day out, the promise of God which we pondered today: “See, I am making all things new!” “To the thirsty I will give water…” and “By this everyone will know that you are my disciples, if you have love for one another.”

What an awesome sacred space! I feel that deep emotion that Jacob felt when he sensed that despite the limitations of his own history, he had a dream of a God who promised a new beginning, crying out: “Surely the presence of God is in this place, it is none other than the house of God, this is the gate of heaven!” It is for that reason, as well as the shared elements of our histories and of your sharing in love that I feel at home here today, in this space that speaks of our shared worship, shared dreams and a shared commitment to the work of making all things new.

The implications of our faith are that you do not need to engage the secrets of heaven, or fathom out deep theological propositions, or speculate endlessly on eschatological nuances. That won't help us see and understand God. It is much easier than that: experiencing God, to the degree that we humans can do so, is quite simply done in acts of love, even just in random deeds of kindness.

You carry in your parish's name a commitment to live out practically and contextually our Christian understanding of the Trinity. At the heart of that understanding is the abiding truth about three persons in every way equal. It is the metaphor that the Gospel writers seek to express in different ways, but always by returning to a fundamental notion of “self-gift”. As that great African saint, Augustine, argued time and again, God loves because that is the divine nature, not because creation deserves it. In parable after parable, statement after statement, the “meaning of God” is revealed as the “One who is perfectly self-giving”. Thus the Trinity is also the story of self-giving in love and of belonging in love. We become more fully what we are meant to become by entering into loving and life-giving relationships. In Africa we express this in what we call ubuntu, or in the languages to which I am closest, botho. We hear this at the very heart of the Gospel today.

The Lutheran theologian, Samuel Torvend, asks the question that we who gather for prayer must ask. He asks: “Who is hungry at the feast?” and then answers it for himself. “To be honest,” he says, “I think I am. I yearn for, I am hungry for the word, the image, the lyric and the prayer that will invite many others and me to redress the terrible injustices, deprivations and imbalances that surround us.” “Who is still hungry at the feast?” he asks again, and answers for himself: “The many who will never hear this sermon or read this text because they must work two or three jobs each day, six days a week in order to feed their children in a society that rewards the wealthy and stigmatises the working poor.” Who is still hungry at the feast? “The people of this world deprived of food, capital employment and land.”

One could and should add to that litany the victims of domestic violence, the women and children who suffer abuse, refugees from conflict in places such as Bangladesh, and – as we have seen in our own sub-continent of Southern Africa in recent months – those who are refugees as a result of the devastating effects of climate change.

In the last few years, the people of the three dioceses of our Province which lie in neighbouring Mozambique have been hit alternately by drought and by flood. Twice during April, I had to pay emergency visits to two of the dioceses and witnessed  the aftermath of Cyclone Idai. Homes, churches and schools in settlements and towns across the countryside were destroyed, people's crops were swept away and families had to climb trees to escape the water and wait for helicopters to rescue them. Hundreds died, many of them people who survived the hurricane but not the wait for rescue. Swathes of rural countryside were turned into vast lakes, and scattered rural villages have been replaced by concentrated tent townships to which people have been relocated. These agrarian communities are at risk of losing their identity and their way of life. Those who are worst affected by climate change are not the citizens of the materially wealthy countries who contribute most to it; no, it is those who are already poor and vulnerable.

Wherever we are in the world, in our churches every Sunday, let us remember that our worship is not merely an act of forgiveness, a spiritual sacrifice, a moment of thanksgiving, an intimate union with Christ, but that it is  an ethical practice that expands outward into the world, offering life in the midst of diminishment and death. St. Theresa of Avila captured this call to love, to be about the business of making all things new and providing fresh water, when she wrote: “Christ has no body but yours. No hands, no feet on earth but yours. Yours are the eyes through which he looks compassionately on the world. Yours are the feet with which he walks to do good. Yours are the hands through which blesses all the world. Yours are the hands, the feet, yours are the eyes. You are his body. Christ has no body now on earth but yours.” That’s the challenge of love.

The key moment in the post-Resurrection story of the disciples on the road to Emmaus came when, after recognising the Lord, they were faced with the choices that we all face. They could have sat back, finished their meal and congratulated themselves on the special epiphany they had received from the Lord. They could have created a safe, comfortable, spiritually warm place of personal intimacy and memory. Or they could have taken fright. After all, the Jesus whom they had just encountered was a wanted man in Jerusalem. It was a very dangerous moment and they might have decided to run away.

But no; instead they got up straight away and returned to Jerusalem, to the place where their dreams had been shattered, where hope was in short supply, and where their friends were locked in the Upper Room, imprisoned by fear. It was to Jerusalem they returned with their word of hope, with their testimony of new possibilities, with their vision raised beyond the exigencies of the moment, to proclaim that something new is possible. They did not have a blueprint and could not provide firm assurances but they could keep the good news alive.

Each of us can do that much. We do not know precisely who all those who are hungry at the feast are, and we certainly cannot do everything. Maybe like those disciples in Emmaus, all we can really do after every service of worship is go back into the city and look upon it and our fellow human beings with new eyes, so that our perceptions of generosity, humanity, justice and mercy become clearer and freer. For when that transpires, slowly will we become known by our love for one another.

God loves you and so do I. God bless each one of you. God bless America, and God bless Africa.


Monday, 6 May 2019

Mission of Mercy, Hope and Solidarity to Mozambique - A Report


A report for Archbishop Thabo Makgoba by Mrs. Matlotlisang Mototjane, Provincial Executive Administrator and a former Manager in the Lesotho Disaster Management Authority.

Download here (PDF-15 pages) >>

Sunday, 5 May 2019

Human sexuality issue sparks "good energy", "robust debate" at ACC

Basetsana Makena (centre) with Joyce Liundi and Dean Hosam Naoum. 
Archbishop Thabo wraps up his reporting on the 17th meeting of the Anglican Consultative Council in Hong Kong: 

The final closure of ACC-17 happened yesterday, Saturday.

In the morning, three new members were elected to the ACC's standing committee, a body which meets between the three-yearly sessions of the full ACC.

The three were Joyce Haji Liundi from Tanzania, Hosam Elias Naoum, Dean of St George’s Cathedral in Jerusalem, and our own Basetsana Makena, who represented Africa as one of the new regional youth members of the ACC. She is the first ever to be elected to this high office. Congratulations to all, especially Basetsana.

Otherwise, the final day's proceedings mainly concerned finance, preparations for next year's worldwide Lambeth Conference of bishops, and then resolutions.

A resolution calling for affirmation of those who feel discriminated against because of their sexuality, and calling for feedback on the section of Resolution 1.10 of the 1998 Lambeth Conference in which the Church committed itself to listening to gay and lesbian members, created good energy and a robust debate – a feature which had been missing until now. 

This was the best part: we argued, we shared real emotions and the issues briefly became real. It was a deeply touching and proud moment for me which was not “manicured”. The Archbishop of Canterbury and a team suggested an alternative motion to that originally presented, which was broad and referred to human dignity instead of human sexuality. This was a safe alternative and was passed without much debate. [See the text at the end of this report.]

The next motion, which called for a theological study of the identity and limits of the Anglican Communion because of the absence of Nigeria, Rwanda and Uganda from the Communion’s common life was defeated. My sense is that it was limited in scope and did not relate to the other “Instruments of Communion” (the Archbishop of Canterbury, the Lambeth Conference and the Primates' Meeting), nor did it take cognizance of what the Communion is currently engaged in. The resolution assumed that we had already concluded that the absence of these three Provinces was a theological matter, and passing it would have meant spending energy and time on Communion navel-gazing and internal problems instead of prioritizing the poor, the marginal etc.

We ended with a fanfare, a big reception and good byes, as Archbishop Paul Kwong of Hong Kong, the chair, declared that “ACC-17 is dissolved.” Then we held the first meeting of the new ACC standing committee, affirmed certain matters and agreed on September 19th as the date of the next standing committee meeting.

Later today, Sunday, we will go to different parishes. I go to St. Andrew's Church, Kowloon. Then we will go to the Cathedral for the final closing service and a meal afterwards. After that I have a meal and meeting with Paul Yung from Trinity Wall Street to talk about our building projects, following which I head for the airport.

Thank you for reading my prayers of recent days, bringing our Province to Hong Kong and the Communion to our Province. Thank you for your prayers for us. To South Africans, happy voting on Wednesday May 8th. In the coming days, pause to think: what values are key in making South Africa the best it could be in service to the poor? Then vote. 

Friday, 3 May 2019

Networks share the lifeblood of the Communion today

Archbishop Thabo blogs on his Friday at the Anglican Consultative Council meeting in Hong Kong:

Today we had a salad and were able to choose which presentations on the Anglican Communion's various networks to attend. (An authorised Network of the Communion connects Anglicans globally and creates a cluster of energy around a particular area of mission, ministry and concern.)

The sessions started with an input on communication in the Communion, raising the questions of what we communicate and why, after which we viewed a video on what networks are and what they do. 

This was followed in turn by a video on our response to the cyclones in Mozambique, made from Bishopscourt through the help of the Revd Rachel Mash of Green Anglicans and Frank Molteno of St George's Cathedral in Cape Town, which you can see below and on our Facebook page.

Then I joined the session of the International Anglican Women's Network, followed by the Youth Network and lastly the Anglican Church Planting Network. (See photos below the video.) Amazing work is done through these, showing that even when we disagree on some issues, at the heart of the Communion we are all involved in God‘s mission and as his broken body we are doing all through his grace.

Later we passed resolutions and I was moved to pray in isiXhosa when I felt the love and deep concern ACC members had for those countries affected by natural disasters or which were in conflict. I remembered and celebrated why am an Anglican – because of our ability to recall that even as the broken body of Christ, the Communion is called to offer others who are broken to God in Jesus Christ so that we are all healed.

This evening I will swim, have dinner and just enjoy the view from my room as I connect the dots. (Also below, see where we are staying.) And talking about the Health Network, I am sending my prayers to Bishop Adam Taaso of Lesotho, who was admitted to hospital yesterday. We wish him a speedy recovery. 

Thursday, 2 May 2019

Intentional Discipleship in action in Hong Kong

On Thursday afternoon, members of the Anglican Consultative Council members left the ACC-17 meeting venue to see intentional discipleship in practice across the Hong Kong Sheng Kung Hui – the Anglican Church in Hong Kong, the host of the meeting. Archbishop Thabo writes:

 We went to see and hear about love in action through service. 

I joined a group to visit Holy Trinity Cathedral in the Diocese of Eastern Kowloon, where we learned the history of the cathedral from the Sub-Dean, the Revd Chan Kwok-keung.

Then we were shown a church-run primary school, which is in blocks of flats - unusual for us to see.

After that we went to the Centre for Joy, which is for children and adults with special needs. 

All these ministries are run by the Cathedral, with their mission defined by John 10:10: "I came that they may have life, and have it abundantly."

Holy Trinity Cathedral 
Hearing an overview of the Church's welfare services
A warm welcome was given to....

The visitors from ACC-17

Bonus photo by Canon Jerome Francis: Hong Kong at night

Also at ACC-17, we met up with Pumla Titus of the  International Anglican Women’s Network 

Archbishops face a "grilling" at ACC-17

Archbishop Thabo continues his account from Hong Kong on the work done on Wednesday and Thursday by the Anglican Consultative Council: 

In further sessions, we heard a report from the Communion's Safe Church Network, which was set up to develop guidelines to enhance the safety of all persons in the church, especially children, young people and vulnerable adults.

Though time was limited, we started digging deeper into the regrettable pain of past and present abuses in the church, hearing voices from Africa, Europe, Asia and the Pacific. The discussion has been reframed to recognise that the abuses have hurt and negatively affected the mission of the church and the imperatives of the Gospel. The key development is that we have received guidelines, liturgy and a resolution on how we can move together to make the church safe and inclusive.

We then listened to an intervention and study commissioned by the Church of England called “Living in Love and Faith,” which is intended to provide Christian teaching and learning about human identity, sexuality and marriage. This is work in progress.

Before dinner, I again went for a swim to keep up with my exercise regimen. The meals are too good and one cannot do without physical activity as well – after all, physical activity is also part of my spiritual and prayer life. Sea bass is my favorite fish and today I had sea bass with veggies for dinner. (I am careful about sharing my favorite meals publicly. In one diocese, I foolishly did that and almost every parish responded by preparing it abundantly until I announced that I was off that. So sea bass is my favorite only as a treat and when I say so!)

At an after-dinner session, we had an hour-long event called “grilling the Archbishop” in which we could ask Archbishop Justin anything we liked, from what made him happy or sad to decisions about Lambeth, Brexit, his prayer life, Donald Trump and his vision for the church in 25 years, including what his prayer needs were. This was useful, as it eased the frustrations of working in a highly-structured ACC meeting, allowing some informality and including voices that would otherwise not be heard.

On Thursday, there was time for photos, of the whole meeting, the Standing Committee, the Primates on the Standing Committee and of the tables around which we are grouped. If you scroll down below the video which follows, you can see the community I have spent more time with than anyone else here, in Bible study and group work at Table 3, including ACC members from South Sudan, Singapore, Tanzania, Australia, Spain and Chile (two people from each) as well as Archbishop Josiah Idowu-Fearon, the Secretary General.

We also listened to theological feedback, of which the graphic - also below the video - gives you a flavour, and I joined Archbishop Justin and Bishop Jane Alexander, the Bishop of Edmonton in Canada, to face a grilling from a panel of Anglican Consultative Council youth members. That's the photo you see at the top of this entry, and the video which follows records the session.

Wednesday, 1 May 2019

ACC-17 focuses on ecumenical relations with WCC, Reformed and Catholic churches

Archbishop Thabo blogs on proceedings during the third day of the 17th meeting of the worldwide Anglican Consultative Council (ACC-17), being held in Hong Kong: 

We are halfway through ACC-17. Today, besides the rhythm of worship and Bible studies, we received reports and listened to greetings from ecumenical partners: His Holiness the Ecumenical Patriarch, Bartholomew, and (from left in the second photo below) the World Council of Churches General Secretary, Dr Olav Fykse Tveit, the General Secretary of the World Communion of Reformed Churches, the Revd Chris Ferguson, and Fr Tony Currer from the Pontifical Council for Christian Unity.

They all affirmed the Communion and appreciated our polity, especially our diversity and provisionality in polity as we continue walking together, seeking possible final answers to ecclesial and other questions.

We also adopted an enabling resolution that created a body within the Communion called the Reception Committee. This is a critical body which will receive ecumenical documents for the Communion instead of the Lambeth Conference, where time is at a premium. The committee will review the documents on behalf of, and with a select group from the ACC. This is an issue on which I have had robust discussion with the Communion’s Director of Unity, Faith and Order, Dr John Gibaut, who is sadly retiring.

Correction: The above report has been corrected since first published by clarifying that the Reception Committee will receive documents instead of the Lambeth Conference (not Lambeth Palace).

Tuesday, 30 April 2019

ACSA's youth rep does us proud in Hong Kong

Archbishop Thabo continues his reflections on the meeting of the Anglican Consultative Council being held in Hong Kong: 

The sessions at ACC-17 are progressing well and the daily rhythm is now established. Hong Kong's weather changes at any time – today is cloudy.

Today's main presentation is on intentional discipleship. In the photo you can see Fr Jerome Francis, our clergy rep to the ACC, and our youth rep, Ms Basetsana Makena, with me, and down the page you can see Basetsana doing us proud, interviewing the Anglican Communion Office directors of mission cluster group this afternoon. Below that you can see her at her meeting table and engaging others during tea breaks.

We listen to stories of faith around the globe and how, although there are challenges of money and lack of growth in some parts of the Communion, on the whole there is growth and excitement about mission in most provinces.

We also looked at a framework for catechesis for intentional discipleship in the Anglican Communion. Full of energy today, we were told that although we see longing, hurt and pain in the world, we are called to bring life, to change lives and to make disciples. The Holy Spirit will give us the heart of Jesus, the heart of discipleship, we also heard.

In the discussion of the Anglican Communion's five marks of mission, key issues raised were: a call for a prophetic voice on Argentina, where the number of women murdered is high; respect for the rights of refugees and migrants; and the challenges of climate change.

Monday, 29 April 2019

ACC-17 opens in Hong Kong - and an appeal to ACSA Dioceses

The ACSA delegation to ACC-17:
the Archbishop, Ms Louisa Mojela  and Canon Jerome Francis
Archbishop Thabo reports on the opening of the 17th meeting of the Anglican Consultative Council (ACC-17): 

#ACC-17 has officially opened with great fanfare and fine music, preaching and liturgy and worship. Archbishop Justin Welby of Canterbury preached powerfully, urging us to look beyond our bounds as we participate in God’s mission in the world.

Archbishop Paul Kwong, our gracious host and chair of the ACC standing committee, spoiled us with a reception of many courses, attended by numbers of people, including local leaders of other churches. A great day, full of energy although we went through it at a pace.

I could not help but note the plight of many domestic workers here in Hong Kong, who are on the whole migrants, sitting on the pavements of the city during their day off. They reflect the two diametrically opposed faces of Hong Kong.
With Sr. Patricia

Today we listened to various presentations and continued our Bible studies – on the road to Emmaus – and explored our theme of going deeper into international discipleship. The Secretary General, Archbishop Josiah Idowu-Fearon, also presented his report to ACC.

I ended the day with a swim as the gym was full this evening. I also had a long chat with Sister Patricia of the Community of the Holy Name, a delightful and brilliant religious. It really is my wish and hope that each diocese in our Province should have a religious order.

A choir from Hong Kong
ACSA lay delegate Louisa Mojela

The opening service of ACC-17

Friday, 26 April 2019

Archbishop Thabo blogs from an Anglican meeting in Hong Kong

ACC-17 is being held at a hotel outside central Hong Kong. 
Archbishop Thabo blogs from a meeting of the Anglican Consultative Council (ACC). The council is one of the four "Instruments of Communion" of the world-wide Anglican family, the others being the Archbishop of Canterbury, the Lambeth Conference and the Primates' Meeting. The ACC is the only body which includes bishops, other clergy and lay representatives.

After a two-hour delay at OR Tambo, we have arrived safely. Louisa Mojela from our Province and I are both on the council's standing committee and so have a meeting tomorrow before ACC-17 starts. It is labelled ACC-17 because this is the 17th time the body has met. The first meeting took place in Kenya in 1971 and the last time it happened in South Africa was when ACC-9 met in Cape Town in 1993 during the archiepiscopate of Archbishop Desmond Tutu.

The ACC is the most representative Anglican body in the Communion and receives reports of commissions, networks and the Anglican Communion Office in London. It also passes resolutions on Mission, Ministry and Anglican polity. The last meeting was in Zambia in 2016.

Louisa Mojela is our lay representative, Canon Jerome Francis is the clergy rep and I represent the episcopate. Louisa's and my terms both end now, and Canon Jerome has another three years. This time round, we will be joined by a youth rep, the Provincial Executive Officer, the Ven Horace Arenz, who will represent us on matters of administration, and Canon Rachel Mash of Green Anglicans, who will represent us on environmental matters.

It is warm here and it drizzled just a bit when I took my walk after dinner this afternoon. We have a full programme and ask for your prayers for our Province's delegation and everyone meeting here.

Wednesday, 24 April 2019

Responding to widespread flooding in South Africa

Archbishop Thabo today sent messages of solidarity and condolence to Dioceses affected by flooding in different parts of South Africa: the Diocese of Johannesburg after flooding in Alberton, Mthatha because of the dire situation in Port St Johns, Natal after floods in areas around Durban and Zululand over those in Empangeni.

He writes: "Our hearts go out to those affected and those who have lost loved ones. We send our love and prayers to them, our condolences to the families of those who have died, and wish a speedy recovery to those injured or displaced. We are concerned about the weather patterns in areas where there is not usually as much rain as they have experienced.

"We appeal once again for Anglicans to pray for those affected and and to show practical support and solidarity through food, shelter and other assistance that is needed."

Sunday, 21 April 2019

[VIDEO] eNCA reports on Archbishop Thabo's Easter homily

Read the full text of the Easter homily at St George's Cathedral, Cape Town

Archbishop Thabo Makgoba's Easter sermon

(File photo)

Easter Vigil – St George’s Cathedral, Cape Town
Ez. 36:24-28; Ps 114; Rom 6:3-11; Lk 24:1-12

Christ is risen, He is risen indeed! Alleluia!
Ever since I was a little boy, I have continually felt attracted by all the details of our Easter celebrations and of the Easter service, and am especially inspired by the pervasive feeling of optimism and hope that characterises Eastertide.

Thursday, 18 April 2019

Archbishop calls on South African politicians to “tone down” election rhetoric

Election observers from religious and civil society groups are calling on political parties in the Western Cape to “tone down their campaign rhetoric,” warning that “character assassination is as devastating as physical violence.”

In a statement released today by Archbishop Thabo Makgoba, who chairs the Electoral Code of Conduct Observer Commission (ECCOC), he said:

Graduates' achievements are built on the sacrifices of the 70s generation

A graduation address at the University of Cape Town: 

Good morning, greetings to you all, and thank you so much for the honour and privilege of allowing me to address you. Thank you to the Vice-Chancellor, Professor Mamokgethi Phakeng, and your  executive for inviting me.  Congratulations to the parents, relatives, sponsors of those graduating, and to you, the graduates. on your achievement. We are immensely proud of you.