Monday 21 September 2020

Celebrating 150 years of the Anglican Church of Southern Africa

Archbishop Thabo Makgoba's introduction at a Service of Solemn Evensong, held at St George's Cathedral, Cape Town, with St George's, Parktown, on Sunday September 20, 2020. The sermon preached by Archbishop Justin Welby of Canterbury follows the introduction. 

What a milestone, what an occasion! We celebrate today 150 years of faithful, worship, witness and service as Anglicans in Southern Africa. 

I want to make special mention today of my predecessors as Archbishop and to our clergy and people down the last century-and-a-half – remembering in particular the two living Archbishops, Njongonkulu Ndungane and Desmond Tutu. We remember Archbishop Njongo for his powerful witness against poverty, and his fierce independence from secular power. We remember Archbishop Desmond for his courage, his powerful witness against oppression and injustice everywhere, and for reconciliation based on justice for all. 

Almost all of our forebears knew the importance of the ecumenical family, represented today by our partnership in this service with the South African Council of Churches. We are better Anglicans if we belong to the ecumenical family and the wider household of faith. Thank you very much to the SACC and to the Solidarity Fund for making possible both this service and the other denominational and interfaith services to follow in the coming weeks. 

We are privileged to partner with them both with the aim also of uplifting people's spirits in the time of the coronavirus, of inspiring the nation's courage in moments of darkness and of enlivening hope for the future for all our people. We are here to say thank God for God’s mercies and protection. Many have died during this time of COVID-19, and we are here to celebrate their lives and to recharge our resolve to do everything possible to wear our masks, observe health protocols, practise social distancing, wear personal protective equipment and encourage others to do so also. We also give thanks for the health workers and scientists, and pray for a vaccine and changes in behaviour which will keep people safe. 

Finally, our warm thanks to the Chair of the Solidarity Fund, Dr Gloria Serobe, and your team, to Bishop Malusi Mpumlwana and the the SACC team, to the Anglican and SABC teams here in Cape Town and in Parktown, Johannesburg – have a blessed day.

 President Cyril Ramaphosa’s message to us aptly sums up the essence of today: 


I extend heartfelt congratulations to the Anglican community in Southern Africa as they celebrate 150 years of faithful worship, witness and ministry in our country. 

Today they lead and open a series of interfaith services arranged by the South African Council of Churches and Solidarity Fund aimed at inspiring hope, gratitude and courage in the midst of the coronavirus pandemic and the impact it has in our communities. 

 I wish you all well, and hope to join you in one of your future services. 

Mr Matamela Cyril Ramaphosa 
President of the Republic of South Africa

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