Saturday 29 February 2020

Of the new Bishop of Table Bay and his ministry - To the Laos, the People of God

The Archbishop writes in the March 2020 issue of Good Hope, the newsletter of the Diocese of Cape Town, about the election of the Ven Joshua Louw as Bishop-Elect of Table Bay:

It is my great joy this month to congratulate our new Bishop-Elect of Table Bay, the Venerable Joshua Louw, on his election by the Synod of Bishops, sitting as an Electoral College of the Diocese of Cape Town.

You will recall that the election was delegated to the bishops after the Diocese of Cape Town was unable to elect a candidate last July, no candidate having received the necessary two-thirds majority at the Elective Assembly. The provisional date for Archdeacon Joshua's consecration is May 2, so that a year after Bishop Garth Counsell's retirement, we will finally have our new Bishop.

I am thrilled to welcome Archdeacon Joshua, a deeply faithful son of this Diocese, steeped in its history and its quirks, to the Episcopal Bench. As many of you know, he grew up in Ravensmead (Tiervlei) as one of seven children, and has been immersed in the church's life since childhood – in Sunday School, the Brigade and as a youth worker. After life-changing experiences beyond the Diocese in the National Youth Leadership Training Programme, and in the Taize community in France, he did secular work for two years, then went to theological college – firstly to the old St Bede's and then to the College of the Transfiguration in Makhanda.

He was ordained deacon in March 1995, served his curacy at St Aidan's, Lansdowne, and St George's, Silvertown, and after being priested 10 months later, became Rector of the Church of the Reconciliation, Manenberg. He has since served as Rector at St George's, Silvertown, and St Paul's, Bree Street, as well as Archdeacon of Ibongolethu, of Athlone and of the Waterfront. He has spent a sabbatical in Washington, DC, and with other clergy has been on a preaching tour to Michigan in the USA.

As Bishop of Table Bay, there will be three distinct areas in which the future Bishop Joshua will be required to perform: the teaching ministry of a bishop of the Church; the liturgical ministry, or modelling; and then the pastoral ministry. Those are the three areas in which, with your help, he and I will be sharing as we do mission and ministry together, putting special emphasis on the Gospel as a model for hospitality Of course there is also administration, but that can be delegated to others.

For me, Bishop Joshua's arrival will be a boon, helping me with the heavy load of licensing and institution which is the lot of any bishop. I also believe he has the skills to negotiate the complexity of the curious position in which the Canons place him: that he has the “the powers, rights and authority” of a diocesan bishop, but that at the same time I remain the Bishop of Cape Town, and in relation to me he is a Bishop-Suffragan!

At heart, the vocation of a bishop is to:

    • Love the people of God,
    • Teach them about God and Jesus Christ, and
    • Then care for them.

Bishop Joshua is equipped to do that, and more. We and Chapter will work as a team, one of my aims being that the Diocese should move from maintenance and into mission mode. I have been eager for us to invest more in the theological formation of all God's people and to remind each one of you, the parishioners, that you are the place where Christ is revealed, and that each one of you is called to be a missionary in the best sense of the word.

So I dream that our partnership will enable us to revive missionary groups, perhaps recruiting a retired cleric to be our Canon Missioner to help us bishops in our apostolic vocation. I would, for example, love for us to re-evangelise the Atlantic Coast and Waterfront as well as plant new parishes and new communities.

Please join us as we embark on this exciting new journey with Bishop Joshua.

† Thabo Cape Town

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