Friday, 18 June 2021

Archbishop commends Holy Land studies

The Anglican Diocese of Jerusalem’s hospital in Gaza provides emergency care in the conflict.

My dear sisters and brothers of ACSA,

In September 2019, our Provincial Synod passed a resolution expressing our strong support for justice for the Palestinian people.  In order to give effect to our Provincial Synod resolution, one of the actions I have taken is to commission a series of studies for use in parishes around the Province.  Those studies are now ready and are available freely on our Provincial website.  I commend them to you and would strongly urge that as many Bible study groups as possible make use of them.  

The issues of the Holy Land and its conflict are deeply complex and there are no easy answers. But before we express opinions it is a good spiritual discipline to try and understand more clearly and listen to one another more carefully.  It is my belief that these studies will facilitate this understanding and listening process.

Since the passing of the Provincial Synod Resolution and my recent Pentecost letter concerning the conflict in Israel and Palestine, I have received a number of comments both commending and condemning our Provincial decision.  It is very clear that there are strong feelings about the issues which divide the people of the Holy Land.  It is my hope and prayer that the use of these studies will assist us all to make more informed opinions and thus contribute to peace and justice rather than fuelling divisions and conflict. 

As always, I implore you to pray for a just peace in Palestine and Israel.

God bless,

+Thabo Cape Town

LINK to the studies: 




Southern Africa mourns Kenneth Kaunda

"The night has passed, rest in peace KK." This was Archbishop Thabo Makgoba's response to the death announced yesterday of former Zambian president Kenneth Kaunda. He is remembered in the Province of Southern Africa especially for his wise and unstinting support for the liberation of all our nations. The following is the text of the citation of the Archbishop's Award for Peace with Justice, conferred upon KK on April 16, 2016, while the Archbishop was in Lusaka for a meeting of the Anglican Consultative Council: 

Archbishop’s Award for Peace with Justice

Kenneth David Kaunda

He has told you, O mortal, what is good;

   and what does the Lord require of you

but to do justice, and to love kindness,

   and to walk humbly with your God? (Micah 6:8)

The role played in Southern African history by his Excellency Kenneth Kaunda, former President of Zambia, epitomises how a statesman can fulfil the injunction in Micah to do justice, to love kindness and to walk humbly with our God. 

Born the son of a minister and a teacher, President Kaunda was steeped in the values of the Gospel from an early age. From early adulthood, his life revolved around service to his fellows, as a teacher, a community activist and a founding member of the liberation movement in Zambia. His commitment to service found its highest expression in his term as founding president of Zambia and in his unwavering commitment to liberation for others, making exceptional sacrifices as a consequence of harbouring fellow liberation fighters who were branded by white minority regimes as “terrorists”. At the end of the Cold War, he achieved new distinction as an exemplary leader when he became one of the first leaders to allow multi-party elections and afterwards to step down from power. Respected and loved by Nelson Mandela and the other liberators of Southern Africa, he was rightly honoured with an important role at Madiba’s funeral.

Supported by the Archbishop of Central Africa, the Bishop of Lusaka and the Dean of Lusaka, the Anglican Church of Southern Africa is honoured to present the Archbishop’s Award for Peace with Justice to President Kenneth Kaunda. 

“The inability of those in power to still the voices of their own consciences is the great force leading to change.” – Kenneth Kaunda

Tuesday, 1 June 2021

A Pastoral Letter on the tragic situation in Palestine and Israel

My dear Sisters and Brothers,

In September 2019, our Provincial Synod passed a resolution expressing our strong support for justice for the Palestinian people. We did not do this lightly: our own experiences and the way the Christian faith was manipulated in the service of apartheid meant that we could not keep silent in the face of similar developments elsewhere.

Our resolution was a cry from the heart aimed at avoiding new outbreaks of violence such as that we have seen recently in the Holy Land. The indiscriminate attacks on whole communities which we saw are to be condemned in the strongest of terms, particularly when aimed at the blockaded territory of Gaza, which has taken on the nature of a huge open-air prison.

The rise in tensions which lay behind the recent violence is partly attributable to attempts to evict Palestinian families from their homes in a largely Palestinian neighbourhood of Jerusalem, and to replace them with Jewish settlers. It shocks the conscience to learn that Israeli law gives Jewish people the right to return to property said to have belonged to them before the state was established in 1948, but that Palestinians have no such right.

The dispute over land goes to the heart of the conflict: because Israel has been declared a homeland for the Jewish people, those of Jewish descent who have no connection to the land other than that biblical Israel was the historic home of their faith have the right to settle there. Yet Palestinians who fled or were expelled from their homes in 1948 have no right to return to their land and properties. And in recent years, the invasion of Palestinian territory occupied by Israel in 1967 by Jewish settlers renders any “two-state solution” even less viable than our Bantustans were.

The current state of affairs is unjust and evil. We therefore call for an arms embargo to be placed on all fighting forces in the region, just as there was a United Nations arms embargo on South Africa. We also call for other pressure, including sanctions, to be imposed to bring all the parties around a conference table to negotiate a just peace.

God must be weeping when God sees what is happening in the place where Jesus was born, lived, died and rose again. The “Holy Basin” should be a place where God’s reconciliation is showcased, but the current imbalance of power means that the Palestinians are suffering disproportionately.

We pray for those working for change. We pray for citizens across the world as they rise up in protest. We pray for a united response from across the world and we pray that the Holy Spirit will intervene and unite us across all barriers so that what happens in the Holy Land will surprise us and that we will glorify God because of it. It is possible. We must not lose hope. We must not become cynical. Let us hold onto faith, hope and love. And the greatest of these is always love.

May God bless you during Trinitytide.

† Thabo Cape Town

Saturday, 22 May 2021

A Pastoral Letter to the Diocese of Natal

The text of a letter sent to Anglicans of the Diocese of Natal for Pentecost, 2021:

Pentecost Pastoral Letter to the Laos of Natal

It was such a privilege to spend three days in the Diocese early this week, two of which were at the Elective Assembly with representatives of the parishes, where we broke bread together and shared both laughter and tense moments as we discerned the future together. Discernment, as you may have noticed, can be robust and even frightening but it does not necessarily have to be that way. 

Thank you for that special time together. Thanks too for your hospitality in allowing the Ministry of Health to enter our space. We are grateful for those who were able to join me in being vaccinated. I will always cherish my visit and the proceedings of the assembly, and I thank God without ceasing for our experiences together. I know that some of you as lay people were hurt by the fruit of our discernment, but discernment goes with vulnerability, and vulnerability inevitably means hurt for some. 

Despite everything, God remains the Lord of the Church. The Gospel reading on Tuesday was powerful and put things in perspective for me: “Jesus spoke about glorifying God and pointing us to God.” Yes, considering the challenges of Covid-19 and having four vacant dioceses at present, I wish that the assembly could have made an election. But you discerned differently and have used the relevant provisions of the Canons to ask the Synod of Bishops to join you in discernment. Many rush to brand a decision to delegate an election to the bishops as a failure to elect. It is far from that – I regard it as a spirit- and God-filled request, an invitation issued after eight ballots that you wish the bishops to accompany you in your journey. It is an invitation that the Synod and I take very seriously. 

I have also heard your fears about the vastness of the Diocese and your concern that one person cannot fulfil the enormous task of shepherding it. I agree with you. You have a huge Diocese led in the recent past by three bishops, each in their own region. No one bishop can manage this big and precious Diocese. Synod of Bishops will elect a bishop for you, possibly sooner rather than later, so you don't need to be stressed about that. (I am exploring calling an early meeting of the Synod to hold the election.) But as your Diocesan in the interim, I suggest that we explore taking a venture of faith and passing an enabling resolution in terms of the Canons, asking the Province to multiply the current Diocese into two, or even three.  

Other dioceses have successfully taken this journey. Johannesburg, which once stretched from the Botswana border to the Swazi border, birthed three new dioceses in 1990. Mthatha birthed two, Cape Town two and Grahamstown one more. This coming year, ACSA will, God willing, birth a new Province – Igreja Anglicana de Moçambique e Angola (the Anglican Church of Mozambique and Angola). 

So, I invite you to be courageous, to trust God and to learn from your financial challenges that such a step would not be about trimming clergy numbers, but rather about creating more manageable entities, each able to address those challenges in a more focussed and efficient way. I will discuss with the diocesan leadership the calling of a diocesan conference or Synod to discuss this, chaired either by me or by your new bishop. 

As I have said before, the Diocese of Natal is in my heart and sinews. It is too important to fail in our time. Although it is in danger of heading towards congregationalism, and some are gripped by fear for the future, it is not in ruins and Nehemiah calls us to rebuild. May the spirit of Pentecost give you strength and courage to dream God’s dream through his church.

God loves you, and so do I. 

God bless. 


 

 

 

 

 

Friday, 14 May 2021

RIP Martha Makgoba-Nkoana, Archbishop's Sister

Bishopscourt regrets to announce that Ms Martha Makgoba-Nkoana, who celebrated her 80th birthday recently, died of coronavirus complications on Ascension Day.

The oldest sister of Archbishop Thabo, she was a member of the Mothers' Union and of St Hilda’s Parish, Senoane in Johannesburg. She is surived by two sisters, Archbishop Thabo, two daughters and about 12 grandchildren. 

She was a nursing sister for many years and taught nursing at both Chris Hani Baragwanath Hospital and Wits University. She saved lives and loved life. With the Makgoba family, we give thanks to Jesus as we weep.

Thursday, 29 April 2021

World Religious Leaders Call for a People's Vaccine


Nearly 150 religious leaders from across the world, including Anglican leaders such as Archbishops Rowan Williams, Albert Chama of Central Africa and Archbishop Thabo Makgoba, have issued an appeal for an end to vaccine nationalism. 

Their appeal was given widespread publicity, including on CNN International (view here) and by The Guardian, London, which reported:

Faith leaders are calling on states and pharmaceutical companies to produce and distribute enough vaccines to immunise the entire global population against Covid-19, saying there is a “moral obligation” to reach everyone.

Almost 150 religious leaders from around the world – including Rowan Williams, the former archbishop of Canterbury, Thabo Makgoba, the Anglican archbishop of Cape Town, and Cardinal Peter Turkson of the Roman Catholic church – are urging an end to vaccine nationalism. The Dalai Lama is also supporting the campaign.

Full Guardian report: Global faith leaders call for drug firms to vaccinate world against Covid

The full text of the appeal, entitled World Religious Leaders Call for a People's Vaccine, follows:

As religious leaders, we have witnessed the personal stories behind the Covid statistics - we have, every day, heard the cries, shared with us, of the suffering, the frightened, and the bereaved. We have witnessed too the profound love shown by those working at the frontline, and by those who have reached out to help their neighbours.

The Covid crisis has reminded us all of our interdependence, and of our responsibilities to care for one another. We can each only be safe when all of us are safe. If one part of the world is left to suffer the pandemic, all parts of the world will be put at ever-increasing risk.

The access of people to life-saving Covid-19 vaccines cannot be dependent on people's wealth, status, or nationality. We cannot abdicate our responsibilities to our sisters and brothers by imagining that the market can be left to resolve the crisis or pretend to ourselves that we have no obligation to others in our shared humanity. Every person is precious. We have a moral obligation to reach everyone, in every country.

Right now, despite the incredible success in developing so many safe and effective vaccines in record time, and the relief of seeing them being rolled out, with deaths starting to decline as a result, it pains us greatly that access to the vaccines is so inequitable. Rich countries have been able to ramp up vaccination efforts and secure doses whilst in most low- and middle-income countries vaccines are only beginning to trickle in. At the current pace of vaccine production and distribution, people in much of the world may not be vaccinated until at least 2024. The consequences for the poorest individuals, families, and communities, will be devastating.

Neglect would undermine the dignity not only of those left behind, but also of those who have left them behind. 

This unprecedented public health crisis calls, above all, for global solidarity, for all people to stand together as brothers and sisters. The same spirit of unity and common purpose that has driven scientists to develop Covid-19 vaccines at breathtaking speed, that drives the care of those tending to the sick, must also inspire the leaders of government, civil society and the private sector to massively ramp up vaccine production so there are sufficient doses for every person in the world to be vaccinated.

We call on all leaders to reject vaccine nationalism and embrace a commitment to global vaccine equity. As religious leaders, we join our voices to the call for vaccines that are made available to all people as a global common good -- a People's Vaccine. This is the only way to end the pandemic. Let us work together to build a more just and peaceful world. To love is to take action.

Signed by 145 leaders:  

1. Rev. Adam Russell Taylor, President, Sojourners\ 2. Imam Ahmed Ghanem, Göteborg mosque, Gothenburg, Sweden\ 3. The Most Revd Dr Albert Chama, Archbishop of Central Africa and Chair of the Anglican Alliance\ 4. Adrian Cristea, Executive Officer, Dublin City Inter-faith Forum\ 5. Ann Scholz, SSND, Leadership Conference of Women Religious (LCWR)\ 6. His Eminence Archbishop Angaelos, Coptic Orthodox Archbishop of London\ 7. Anthony Nanson\ 8. Avera Health\ 9. Rabbi Awraham Soetendorp, Netherlands\ 10. Fr. Bernhard Bürgler SJ - Provincial of the Austrian Province of the Society of Jesus\ 11. Blessing Makwara, General Secretary of the Evangelical Fellowship of Zimbabwe\ 12. The Revd Canon Bob Fyffe, General Secretary, Churches Together in Britain and Ireland\ 13. Rabbi Bonnie Margulis, President of the Board at Wisconsin Faith Voices for Justice\ 14. Rev. Brian D. McLaren, USA\ 15. Brigid Lawlor, Province Advocacy Liaison, Congregation of Our Lady of Charity of the Good Shepherd, US Provinces\ 16. The Rev. Cn. Bruce W. Woodcock, Asia and the Pacific Partnership Officer for the Episcopal Church\ 17. Carolyn Lawrence, Vice-President of the Methodist Conference\ 18. Rev. Charles Berahino, Executive Secretary for Peace and Diakonia at the All Africa Conference of Churches (AACC)\ 19. Rev. Chris Hudson, Moderator, Non-Subscribing Presbyterian Church in Ireland\ 20. Christopher Cox\ 21. The Rev. Christopher Frye, St. Luke Evangelical Lutheran Church, Chambersburg, PA\ 22. Revd Clare Downing, Moderator of General Assembly, United Reformed Church\ 23. The Rev. Clelia P. Garrity, LCSW, Diocesan Missioner for Global Refuge Missions\ 24. Rev. Colin Holtz, President, Faithful America Board of Directors\ 25. Commissioner Anthony Cotterill, Salvation Army Territorial Commander, United Kingdom Territory with the Republic of Ireland\ 26. Revd Duncan Dormor, General Secretary, USPG\ 27. Fr Damian Howard SJ\ 28. Rabbi Danya Ruttenberg, Scholar in Residence, National Council of Jewish Women\ 29. Bishop David Musumba, Free Pentecostal Fellowship in Kenya\ 30. Rev. Derrick Jones, Supervisor of RCA Mission programs in Africa\ 31. Dominican Sisters, Grand Rapids, Michigan, USA\ 32. Rev Dyfrig Rees, General Secretary of the Union of Welsh Independents\ 33. Eddy Ruble, Cooperative Baptist Fellowship\ 34. Edwin Graham, Coordinator, Northern Ireland Inter-faith Forum\ 35. Sister Eileen Gannon, Sparkill, NY\ 36. Elijah M. Brown, General Secretary, Baptist World Alliance\ 37. Emmanuel Ahua\ 38. Sr. Emily TeKolste, SP, Network Lobby for Catholic Social Justice\ 39. Rev. Erik Oland S.J., Provincial - Jesuits of Canada\ 40. Esther Mombo\ 41. Franck Janin, President, Jesuit Conference of European Provincials\ 42. Franciscan Action Network\ 43. Rev. Fredrick Gilbert\ 44. Gustavo Calderón, S.J. Provincial de Ecuador - COMPAÑIA DE JESÚS\ 45. Hazel Loney, Lay Leader, Methodist Church in Ireland\ 46. Haider Ibrahim, Chairman, Islamic Shia communities in Sweden\ 47. Rev. Hodari Williams, New Life Church, Atlanta, Georgia, USA\ 48. Shaykh Ibrahim Mogra, Imam\ 49. Very Revd Dr Ivan Patterson, President, Irish Council of Churches\ 50. Rabbi Jacob Siegel\ 51. The Rev. James L. Reisner\ 52. Fr. Jan Roser SJ, Provincial\ 53. Sr. Jane Herb, IHM Sisters of Monroe, Michigan - President\ 54. Jason Miller, Franciscan Action\ 55. Javier Perez, Director of Global Missions Programs & Impact, Cooperative Baptist Fellowship\ 56. Rev Jennifer Butler, Faith in Public Life\ 57. Rev Dr Jennie Hurd, Chair of the Methodist Church Cymru Synod\ 58. Jennifer Lau - Executive Director, Canadian Baptist Ministries\ 59. P. Jesus Zaglul, Casa Generalicia de los jesuitas, Roma\ 60. Jim Winkler, President, National Council of Churches\ 61. Sr. Joan Mumaw IHM\ 62. John Celichowski, OFM Cap., NAPCC Novitiate, Santa Ynez, CA\ 63. Rev. John Chan, Canadian Baptist Ministries\ 64. The Most Reverend John Davies, Archbishop of Wales\ 65. Most Revd John McDowell, Archbishop of Armagh, Church of Ireland\ 66. Rabbi Jonah Dov Pesner, Director of the Religious Action Center of Reform Judaism\ 67. Rev. Canon Joseph P Collins\ 68. The Most Revd Dr Josiah Idowu-Fearon, Secretary General of the Anglican Communion\ 69. The Rev'd Fr. Johannes Mokgethi-Heath, Act Church of Sweden\ 70. Rev. Julia Bowering, Canadian Baptist Ministries\ 71. Rev Judith Morris, General Secretary of the Union of Welsh Baptists\ 72. Judith Toner, member NY State UCC Global Ministries Committee\ 73. Judy Byron, OP, Inter-Community Peace & Justice Center, Seattle, Washington, USA\ 74. D. Kang-San Tan, BMS World Mission\ 75. Pastor Kay Woike, Church of the Nativity, United Church Of Christ\ 76. Ven. Kofi deGraft-Johnson, CAPA Secretariat, Nairobi, Kenya\ 77. Dr. Krish Kandiah, Greater Good Global\ 78. Rabbi Laura Janner-Klausner, Former Senior Rabbi, Reform Judaism\ 79. Dr. Lauren Jinshil Oliver, founder, CirclesWork.net\ 80. Lawrence Couch, National Advocacy Center of the Sisters of the Good Shepherd\ 81. Lawrence Gilley, United Church of Christ, Deansboro, New York, USA\ 82. Dr. Lesmore Gibson, All Africa Conference of Churches\ 83. The Most Reverence Archbishop Linda Nicholls, Primate of the Anglican Church of Canada\ 84. Louise Hannem, Canadian Baptist Ministries\ 85. Janice Tsang, Co-convenor of the Anglican Health & Community Network (AHCN)\ 86. Lucas Lopez Perez SJ, del equipo de la Conferencia de Provinciales Jesuitas de Amerrica Latina y el Caribe\ 87. Rev. Luis Cortes, Jr. President Emeritus Hispanic Clergy, President & CEO, Esperanza\ 88. Rt Revd Luke Pato, Bishop of Namibia and Co-Convenor of the Anglican Health & Community Network\ 89. Friar Marco Moroni, Sacro Convento of Assisi\ 90. Most Rev Mark Strange, Bishop of Moray, Ross and Caithness and Primus of the Scottish Episcopal Church\ 91. Right Reverend Dr Martin Fair, Moderator of the General Assembly of the Church of Scotland\ 92. Mary Ellen Holohan,Sisters of the Holy Names of Jesus and Mary, Member of Congregational Leadership Team\ 93. Rt Revd Dr Michael Beasley, Bishop of Hertford and Co-Convener of Anglican Health & Community Network\ 94. Archbishop Miguel Cabrejos Vidarte OFM\ 95. Mohamed Temsamani, Chairman of United Islamic Associations of Sweden\ 96. Archbishop Mouneer Anis\ 97. Margaret Rose, The Episcopal Church\ 98. Marie Dennis, Pax Christi International\ 99. Rev. Dr. Martin Junge, General Secretary, Lutheran World Federation\ 100. Mary J. Novak, Executive Director, NETWORK Lobby for Catholic Social Justice\ 101. Rev. Maxwell Doss - General Secretary, National Christian Council of Sri Lanka\ 102. Merritt Johnston, Baptist World Alliance\ 103. Rev. Nathan Empsall, Executive Director of Faithful America\ 104. Nathan Jones, Oasis Waterloo\ 105. Nick Park, Executive Director, Evangelical Alliance Ireland\ 106. Rabbi Nora Feinstein\ 107. Patricia Millen, Sisters of St. Francis of Philadelphia\ 108. Bishop Paul Horan, Diocese of Mutare, Zimbabwe\ 109. Paul Parker, Quakers in Britain\ 110. Peter Pay, Moderator of General Assembly, United Reformed Church\ 111. Sister Pegge Boehm, PBVM, Sisters of the Presentation of the BVM of Aberdeen SD\ 112. Cardinal Peter Turkson, Prefect, Dicastery for Promoting Integral Human Development\ 113. Sister Quincy Howard, NETWORK Lobby for Catholic Social Justice\ 114. Rev. Randy Stanton\ 115. Rebecca Linder Blachly, Director, The Episcopal Church Office of Government Relations\ 116. Revd Richard Teal, President of the Methodist Conference\ 117. Richard Walters, The Pension Boards-United Church of Christ, Inc.\ 118. Rabbi Rick Jacobs, President, Union for Reform Judaism\ 119. Roberto Jaramillo Bernal, S.J., Presidente de la Conferencia de Provincias, Jesuitas de America Latina y El Caribe\ 120. Sr. Rose Marie Jasinski, CBS\ 121. Dr. Rowan Williams, UK\ 122. Sacro Convento of Assisi\ 123. Rt Revd Sarah Groves, Moravian Church\ 124. Rev. Fr. Seamus Finn OMI, Missionary Oblates of Mary Immaculate- US Province\ 125. Sheila Katz, CEO National Council of Jewish Women, USA\ 126. Sister Simone Campbell, SSS, Network Lobby for Catholic Social Justice\ 127. Sisters of Charity of Saint Elizabeth Leadership\ 128. Sisters of Mercy of the Americas - Justice Team\ 129. Sisters of St. Joseph of Peace\ 130. Rev. S.J.Wilson, Atlanta GA\ 131. Rev. Dr. Stephen Wigley, Chair of the Wales Synod of the Methodist Church\ 132. Susan Gunn, MaryKnoll Office for Global Concerns\ 133. Rabbi Suzan E. Lipson\ 134. Rev. Sylvestre BIZIMANA, General Secretary, National Council of Churches of Burundi\ 135. Dr. Tarunjit Singh Butalia, Executive Director, Religions for Peace USA\ 136. Fr. Ted Penton, SJ, Secretary of Justice and Ecology, Jesuit Conference of Canada and the US\ 137. The Most Revd Dr Thabo Cecil Makgoba, Archbishop of Cape Town\ 138. Rev Dr Tom McKnight, President, Methodist Church in Ireland\ 139. Bishop Venson Shava\ 140. Vicky Heslop, Jampa Ling Tibetan Buddhist Centre\ 141. Wanda M Lundy, Siloam-Hope First Presbyterian Church/ New York Theological Seminary\ 142. Rev. Wayne A. Laws, Minister of Social Justice & Mission at Mountain View United Church\ 143. Bishop William Crean, Bishop of Cloyne and Chair of the Trócaire Board of Directors\ 144. Xavier Jeyaraj SJ, Secretary for Social Justice and Ecology, Curia Generalizia, Rome\ 145. Dr. Zahid Bukhari, Executive Director, Center for Islam and Public Policy.

Saturday, 3 April 2021

Celebrating Easter while waiting for Covid vaccines

The text of the sermon preached at the Easter Vigil at St George’s Cathedral, Cape Town, Easter 2021:

Lections: Romans 6:3-11; Ps 114; Mark 16:1-8

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

Mr Dean, Cathedral staff, clergy, wardens, lay leaders, choristers and members of the congregation both here and online, and I want to call you Canon Andile [Weeder], because you are enabling us to project and ensure that we all hear the word of God. Thank you for your dedication and support at this difficult time in our lives. Thank you for who you are and for what you do for God and God’s people in this city and beyond. And thank you all for being here tonight. I also want to wish my predecessor, Archbishop Njongonkulu, a happy birthday - he turned 80 yesterday.

[Text continues below videos]

Our readings this evening speak of transformation, the transformation of our lives, firstly through our baptism, as Paul explains to the Romans, and then through the Resurrection of our Lord in Mark’s account, that saving act of God which assures us that death does not have the last word, that life ultimately triumphs over death. 

Mark is very deliberate in the way he frames the Easter narrative. He says, very poignantly, “early in the morning, the first day of the week, the sun had just risen.” He is clear that there is a definitive shift out of darkness, out of the shadows of the past week, a week characterised by betrayal, denials, death, the brutal display of state power, and the desire of religious authorities to destroy a force that was disruptive for them. Something new has dawned; the entrance to a tomb blocked by a stone is now a space filled with good news, delivered by an angel sitting on the right-hand side, the place of power and authority, assuring the women that the crucifixion was not the end of the story, that Jesus “is risen and gone before you.”

Note that the angel doesn’t send the women to Jerusalem, the site of political and religious power, but instead to Galilee, to the margins, the place in which Jesus’s ministry had brought transformation. It was in Galilee that a little girl was raised to life. It was in Galilee that the strength of the faith of believers was such that they made a hole in a roof through which to lower a sick man into Jesus’s presence. It was in Galilee that Jesus changed water into wine to spare embarrassment to a couple at a wedding. It was a place where those doomed to the margins of society, unnoticed by elites, were taken out of the shadows and transformed by Jesus. And the angel tells the women to go back to Galilee, where they will meet the Risen Lord, who continues to work miracles, to transform situations, to give voice to those on the margins and to bring the hope of Easter. 

In many ways the past year has been a time of darkness. It has been gruelling, a year of grief and anxiety, a year of challenge and adaptation in which we have had to rethink the way we do things. The long months of lockdown have been hard for many, especially for the women and children who are victims of domestic and gender-based violence. Competition for resources has added to racial tensions. And the suffering continues for those impoverished by the lockdown, those who have lost jobs, whose businesses have been destroyed, whose dreams have been shattered. Even as humankind achieved new heights in a ground-breaking mission to Mars, the pandemic has forcefully reminded us that our human existence is conditional, impermanent and reliant on the infinite grace of the God we worship.

The stresses created by the pandemic have sadly sometimes brought out the worst in us. There are those who have stolen from the common purse, who have plumbed the depths of the scandalous corruption in our society, who have stolen the very breath of those struggling to breathe in intensive-care units. They have denied others, especially the poor, the means to cope with the effects of the pandemic. Their behaviour is all the more sad when we think back on how we hoped that by throwing us together to face a common crisis, the pandemic would make us rise to the occasion by creating a different future. 

Across the world we spoke of different economic models, of systemic ways of caring, of respectful relationships and honouring difference. But with time we seem to have slipped into a business-as-usual approach where the few benefit and the many suffer. We stand accused of missing the moment and condemning our sisters and brothers, and the earth which nurtures us, to relentless injustice and human wrong. In our own country we see again how our democracy is being tested, how constitutionalism stands at the crossroads and how too many with power abuse it to their own selfish ends.

And yet – and yet, we recall again the good that we have seen emerge from this crisis, the sacrifices of frontline health workers, of those who ensure that we have food on our tables and keep our environment clean, of all who take great risks and with generosity of spirit have kept us going. Their dedication is perhaps epitomised best by those in hospitals and other institutions who have gone above and beyond their everyday duties, and have taken the trouble to hold up cellphones to enable those who are ill or dying to speak to members of their families. 

Above all, we can celebrate the achievements of the world’s scientists, who have achieved the extraordinary feat of developing, in record time, vaccines to fight a pandemic which threatened to destroy us all. We owe much to our scientists, including the world-class researchers South Africa has brought to this task. 

Now that we know science can beat Covid-19, we face the next big challenge: to live up to the highest ideals of our different faiths and moral codes, and to ensure that everyone, whether rich or poor, whether they live in Africa or in Europe, are vaccinated quickly. The scientists have done and continue to do their work splendidly; now it is for leaders in other fields, in government, in the pharmaceutical industry, in the transport business, to match the achievements of the scientists and to find ways of rolling out vaccines which ensure that the citizens of every country on earth receive their jabs at a similar rate. 

Internationally, the prospects are looking bad. Vaccine nationalism has already taken hold. A quick check this week showed that while the United States had vaccinated 16 percent of its population, we had covered less than half a percent of ours, and many countries haven’t seen vaccines at all. As I told Dr Fauci in a recent letter, the voluntary vaccine supply mechanisms, such as COVAX, and the bi-lateral agreements used to procure vaccines across the world, are failing. And they are failing especially for the Global South, where we can with justification say that the poor of the world are suffering from vaccine apartheid. 

President Cyril Ramaphosa’s announcement this week that agreements with pharmaceutical companies will bring us enough doses to vaccinate 41 million of our people, and that the most vulnerable among us will begin receiving our jabs in the middle of May, is welcome. But in view of the fragility of some of our health insfrastructure, the President will understand if I am sceptical of how quickly the roll-out will progress. Those covered by the private healthcare industry and on medical aids can feel more confident. But I am worried that, as is often the case, it is the poor and the marginalised who will suffer. 

We know very well that there are large areas of our country where political corruption has poisoned public healthcare systems. We know that political leadership has been woefully lacking in the worst areas affected: shame on those who have left hospitals and clinics short of people, equipment and protection. I have read that on the current strategy it would take 18 years to vaccinate our entire present population! We cannot allow that to happen.

Make no mistake: we are a world-class country. Our medical scientists are world-class. Ten years ago, we built world-class soccer stadiums and ran a world-class World Cup. Distributing and administering vaccines is not rocket science: it’s just a matter of getting the logistics right. If humankind can send a spacecraft 470 million kilometres to Mars and gently drop a landing rover onto the planet’s surface, surely South Africans can come up with a co-ordinated plan to collaborate in getting vaccines quickly to every corner of our country? 

It is time for the unheard, the unlistened to, the unnoticed and the young in South Africa to draw on the hope that Easter gives us, and to raise their voices. Insist that those who have power and resources, including government and business, come up with a clear, achievable, published timetable for getting everyone their vaccines. 

My call today, to all people of faith, and those of no faith, is: we are never alone; let us renew our determination, let us remember our resilience, let us bemoan the corruption which brings death, let us weep for the 52,000 people who have died in the pandemic so far. But above all, let us challenge our government to be transparent and fair in the roll-out, for while vaccines will not do away with Covid-19, they will help us cope better with it. And let us take those vaccines as soon as they become available. 

Let us also challenge vaccine nationalism - you can't put a flag on the vaccine and hope that the virus will not cross borders – and let us challenge the vaccine apartheid practised by those who play God and determine who is condemned to suffer and die on the cross of coronavirus. Let us fight against those with money and who are greedy, who put profits above human life, and who determine who can have access to a vaccine and who not.

Easter provides answers to the deepest questions of the human spirit. Easter provides a degree of certainty and answers to questions that have puzzled the probing minds of philosophers and theologians over the generations. This is the Easter message. It says that love is the most durable power in the world; that we will solve Covid; that we will get our families, friends and neighbours vaccinated. And through a devotion to equality and justice we will solve all our problems and challenges. 

Easter says we can live with hope. Hope, says Denise Ackermann, is not a “blithe sense that all will end well (or alles sal regkom)”. Rather, to live out hope “is to try to make that which I hope for come about – sooner rather than later.” Every time we take action aimed at giving practical expression to our hopes, we join the journey to Galilee and we honour the command of the angel at the tomb to “Go and tell.” If we don’t take up this challenge the peddlers of fake news and false hopes will colonise people’s hearts with untruths that lengthen the time in the tomb. 

Now is the moment for boldness, to retake those places where once death held sway and say “He is not here, He has gone before you.” Into all those places we must take our Easter anthems of alleluias because whatever else has occurred, the tomb is empty. Therein lies our ultimate hope. Amen, alleluia. 

God bless you, your families and God bless South Africa. 

And most importantly, remember…God loves you and so do I. 


Friday, 2 April 2021

A Homily for Good Friday

 Reflection on the Via Dolorosa, recorded for a Good Friday Service arranged by the SA Council of Churches on SABC2: 

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

 I've been asked to reflect on the Via Dolorosa, the Way of Suffering which Jesus followed on that original Good Friday as he carried his cross to Golgotha, helped only by an African, Simon of Cyrene.

 [Transcript continues below video]

 

For all of us in South Africa and the world, I dare say that we have all been given heavy crosses to carry in this past year. Reflecting on the account of Jesus's walk to the place of his crucifixion in Mark, Chapter 15 verses 16 to 21, it was a journey of betrayal, a journey of suffering, a journey of demeaning others, a journey of grief and a journey of sorrow. 

But in the Christian tradition, drawing on Paul's words in Philippians Chapter 3, verses 10 and 11, we read that journey as one that helps us to know Christ; to share in his suffering by becoming like him in death, and then to know the power of his resurrection. Just as Paul at one and the same time shares both the suffering of the Cross and the joyful triumph of the Resurrection, this has been the experience of all of us, at least in this past year, and no doubt throughout many years for some of us.

We have seen during the time of the pandemic both death and life at work in many different ways. In a Christmas message I said that in the past year my mind and heart have been flooded with the lives, the hardships, the challenges and the resilience of everyone I have encountered; everyone whom I think of, whom I cry for and whom I pray for every day. And I recall especially those who have died, whose names and faces I will never forget; those who died without saying goodbye to their loved ones. I remember also those whose families are going hungry, those who have had struggles beyond the usual challenges they face, and those, dear friends, for whom the stringent lockdowns have brought enormous psychological problems. And let us never forget the victims of gender-based violence, the incidence of which has gone up during the pandemic. 

So we have faced our fair share of trials in the past year, experiencing just a little of what Jesus must have suffered on the via dolorosa: the mocking, the spitting and the beating. Like the Suffering Servant in Isaiah, we have carried these trials, these charges and this suffering. In South Africa in the past year, these crosses were not only carried by Christians. They were carried by people of all faiths, and of no faith. Today, as the South African Council of Churches, the Anglican Church, other member  churches, as people of faith, we pause today and want to say:

“Thank you, God, you were in solidarity with us, for you were in solidarity with Christ in those painfully lonely, dying moments. And you're in solidarity with us through the crosses we carry, for within those crosses lie our redemption and victory and hope.”

We are never alone. We were crucified with Christ and we will be raised with Christ. Paul, in a beautifully poetic manner, says in the Letter to the Colossians that through the Cross of Jesus Christ, God was pleased to reconcile to himself all things, whether on earth or in Heaven by making peace through the blood of the Cross. 

So my call today, to all people of faith and no faith, is: we are never alone; let us renew our determination, let us remember our resilience, let us bemoan the corruption which brings death, let us weep for the 52,000 people who have died in the pandemic so far. Let us reflect on the thorns around Jesus Christ's head, and remember our own thorns which have brought pain to our hearts and souls during this past year. 

Let us renew our resolve that we will speak out and really speak up for the people of Cabo Delgado in Mocambique and for the people of Tigray in Ethiopia. Let us speak out on the issue of the world's climate, for the changes in climate are impacting most severely those who are contributing least to those changes. 

Let us challenge our government to be transparent and fair in the roll-out of vaccines, for although they will not do away with Covid-19, they will help us as humanity to cope better with Covid. And let us take those vaccines as soon as they become available. Equally, let us join the voices of those who are calling for vaccines to be free, or at least affordable, and easily accessible. Let us challenge the pharmaceutical industry in Africa to manufacture vaccines ourselves – I am sure we can make more drugs ourselves instead of importing them. 

Let us also challenge vaccine nationalism - you can't put a flag on the vaccine and hope that the virus will not cross borders. Let us challenge the vaccine apartheid practised by those who play God and determine who is condemned to suffer and die on the cross of coronavirus. Let us fight against those with money and who are greedy, who put profits above human life, and who determine which people can have access to a vaccine and which not.

Dear friends, as Christians, as people of faith, as people of hope: 

We know that the Cross repaired the damage that was caused by frail and sinful human beings. It transfigured all that our sins had marred. It rescued the lost. It mended the broken-hearted and it healed the wounded. So let us hold onto our trust in God, for Good Friday leads to Easter. The Cross leads to eternal life. The darkness of sin is transformed by the body of Christ. And we too are saved, even in a time of coronavirus.

God bless you, and God bless South Africa. Amen.

 

Tuesday, 30 March 2021

Blessing of Inkwenkwezi Music Centre

Blessing of Inkwenkwezi Music Centre at Herschel Girls School, Cape Town, on March 30: 

1 Corinthians 1: 18 – 31; John 12: 20 -26

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

Sisters and brothers in Christ, dear people of God, Mrs Goedeke, Mrs Heidmann, Ms Taylor of the Music Department, other heads of schools present here, the Chairperson and members of Council, educators, parents and learners; Bishop Joshua, Archdeacon Mark Long and the Revd Jaques Pretorius: it is a joy to be with you this evening in Holy Week and share in this exciting milestone in the life of Herschel Girls, as we dedicate this music centre to the glory of God for the use of this school. 

Let me extend a warm welcome to you all. Thank you for inviting me and most importantly, many thanks to all who were involved in the planning and preparation of this day. Thank you to the chaplain, the Revd Lorna Lavarello-Smith, for preparing the liturgy and the service booklet. And a special welcome to the parents and guardians who are present. 

In today’s reading from the Letter to the Corinthians (1 Corr. 1:18ff), St Paul says emphatically that all humanly-devised philosophical systems end in meaninglessness because they have a wrong concept of God and God’s revelation. Also, that in God’s providential ordering of human affairs, to know God implies harmony with God’s mind and character, which are alien to the world. Therefore, the crucified Christ is the power that saves and the wisdom that transforms seeming folly into the ultimate and highest discernment. In short, we are utterly dependent on God.

When I was here in February 2020 I highlighted that the task of the school is the development of a girl child – intellectually, socially, emotionally and spiritually – through instilling ethical and moral values, self-esteem, self-confidence and a sense of worth; through developing creativity, flair and the capacity for  independent and critical thinking with an ability to lead when facing the challenges of today. The Inkwenkwezi Music Centre – appropriately titled for a school which bears the name of an astronomer – will play an important part in enabling the nurturing of the young women of Herschel to that end. 

The music we hear today, the hymns we sing, remind us that we are called to be those who seek to serve, to understand the context of despair, of darkness and of sadness. Never have we needed that focus in our lives more than in the past year. It has been a gruelling year for most, a year of grief and anxiety, a year of challenge and adaptation in which we have had to rethink the way we do things. Even as humankind achieved new heights in a ground-breaking mission to Mars, the pandemic has nevertheless forcefully reminded us that our human existence is conditional, impermanent and reliant on the infinite grace of the God we worship. 

And it is testament to God’s grace that God has given our scientists the skills and insight which not only empower us to send landing vehicles to Mars, but which enable the extraordinary feat of developing, in record time, vaccines to fight a pandemic which threatened to destroy us all. We owe much to our scientists, including the world-class researchers which South Africa has brought to this task. Now it is the task of others, especially those in the pharmaceutical business and in government, to match the achievements of the scientists and to find ways of rolling out vaccines which ensure that the citizens of every country on earth receive their jabs at a similar rate. 

In Africa it is as if we are suffering from vaccine apartheid, so far behind are we in receiving and administering the vaccine. Getting this right is not rocket science, it is rather a logistical challenge which we are perfectly capable of overcoming if we repudiate vaccine nationalism and remember that in God’s eyes we are all created equal.

Friends, it is God who has called us to union and communion with Christ and it is by faith in Christ that we are justified. So, as we bless this Music Centre today, it is my prayer that through it we will praise the Lord. For as Psalm 150 says:

“Praise him for his acts of power; praise him for his surpassing greatness. Praise him with the sounding of the trumpet, praise him with the harp and lyre”.

God bless you, and God bless the teachers, staff, benefactors and learners of Herschel. God loves you, and so do I. Amen. 


 

Wednesday, 24 March 2021

Pastoral Letter concerning Easter and Covid-19

Dear People of God

With Easter approaching and scientists and government officials in South Africa warning against a "third wave" of coronavirus, our Covid-19 Provincial Advisory Team and I are anxious that the Church at all levels should be extra-cautious to keep every member of our congregations safe over the next few weeks.

In consequence, I want to draw your specific attention to the revised and updated coronavirus guidelines the Advisory Team issued on March 18, and in particular the supplementary guidelines issued on March 24 on funerals in cases of Covid-19 related deaths. Please read them carefully and implement them strictly.

In addition, on the advice of the Advisory Team, Maundy Thursday services must be kept to a one-hour maximum and foot-washing in any form is NOT permitted. Foot-washing cannot be performed under health protocols, since we would not be maintaining social distance, we would be breaking the prohibition on touching and we would increase the possibility of droplet spread because of the proximity of others and the time washing takes.

These matters, especially concerning funerals, are sensitive for our people and we are conscious that clergy in particular have a hard time explaining them to grieving families. But we have no choice if we are to prevent our people from falling ill and dying. You should feel free to invoke my authority in enforcing the restrictions.

A blessed Holy Week and a joyous Easter to you.

† Thabo Cape Town

Update:  Since this letter was issued, Bishops have pointed out that families may want to use elements of the Maundy Thursday evening service at home, see Anglican Prayer Book pages 183-186.

Thursday, 18 March 2021

Archbishop's sermon: Requiem Mass for His Majesty King Goodwill Zwelithini KaBhekuzulu

This SABC recording of part of the State Memorial Service begins with the readings during the Requiem Mass. The Archbishop's sermon begins 12 minutes into the recording:


The text from which the Archbishop preached:

State Memorial Service and Requiem Mass for
HIS MAJESTY KING GOODWILL ZWELITHINI kaBHEKUZULU
Sermon by the Most Revd Dr Thabo Makgoba
Archbishop of Cape Town
Nongoma, 18th March 2021

Readings: Genesis 50:12-14, Psalm 23 and John 5:24-29
May I speak in the name of God, who is Creator, Redeemer and Sustainer, who is our comforter and friend at all times, and especially when we mourn. Amen.

Friday, 12 March 2021

Condolences to the Zulu Royal Family


Your Majesty Queen Thandekile, 

Your Royal Highnesses, 

to the whole Royal Family and indeed to the Zulu Nation: 

On my own and my family's behalf, and on behalf of the bishops, clergy and people of the Anglican Church of Southern Africa, I convey our deepest and heartfelt condolences on the tragic loss of His Majesty King Goodwill Zwelithini ka Bhekuzulu.

As Christians we can be assured that after an epic reign of half a century, His Majesty is now safely with his Maker, who is God of the living and the dead. We know also that His Majesty is now reunited with his royal ancestors who have fought bravely over the centuries to bring our nation to where it is today.

May each one of you be comforted by the God who loves us all, even in your bereavement. May his dear soul rest in peace and rise in glory. 

Bayede! 

God bless you

+Thabo Cape Town

Tuesday, 23 February 2021

Archbishop Thabo Makgoba pleads for the people of Tigray, Ethiopia

Tens of thousands have been displaced in the Tigray region. (Photo: WFP/Leni Kinzli)

The plight of the Tigrayan people in northern Ethiopia tears at my heart. Over and above the coronavirus which threatens us all in Africa, tens of thousands of people in the region have been forced from their homes, millions need humanitarian aid and there are shocking reports of war crimes in the form of attacks against civilians. 

Opposition parties allege thousands have died since the federal government in Addis Ababa sent troops into the province against the regional government controlled by the Tigray People's Liberation Front just over three months ago. The Ethiopian Red Cross has reported that more than half of the region's six million people need humanitarian assistance, but it doesn't have the capacity or resources to reach 80 percent of them. Human Rights Watch has accused federal troops of  indiscriminate shelling of urban areas, striking homes, hospitals, schools, and markets, killing at least 83 civilians, including children, and wounding over 300.

The level of ethnic hatred which has emerged on social media around this conflict is deeply disturbing. A quarter of a century ago, the genocide in Rwanda occurred under our noses, with the world failing to stop it. What is happening in Tigray must not be allowed to deteriorate even further.

South African faith groups and civil society lobbies should press our government not only to step in to avert a humanitarian catastrophe, but to act more decisively in bringing pressure to bear on the African Union and all parties in Ethiopia.

Access should be allowed to all parts of Tigray to enable aid to flow. Journalists and independent human rights experts need to be allowed in. Foreign troops should leave Ethiopian soil and the tensions between Sudan and Addis Ababa defused. And the Ethiopian people need to sit down with one another and work out a broadly acceptable resolution which balances regional autonomy and federal power.

Pray for justice and peace for the people of Tigray and all of Ethiopia, and for the people of Sudan and Eritrea. 

Archbishop Thabo Makgoba of Cape Town

An interview on Tigray with Newzroom Afrika:

Sunday, 21 February 2021

A Homily for Ash Wednesday

Preached at St George's Cathedral, Cape Town, on Wednesday February 17, 2021:

Readings: Isaiah 58:1-12, Psalm 51:1-17, Matthew 6:1-6, 16-21

May I speak in the name of God, who is Creator, Redeemer and Sustainer. Amen.

Every year, Ash Wednesday and Lent give us the opportunity to re-consider our dependence on God’s grace in transforming our lives for the better. This year our lives have been turned upside down so much that it is hard to focus on what it means to work to transform our lives for the better, other than praying for a quick roll-out of coronavirus vaccines. I am glad that the roll-out has started today in the country. 

Monday, 8 February 2021

ACSA wishes King Zwelithini a speedy recovery

Archbishop Thabo Makgoba has wished King Zwelithini of the Zulu nation a speedy recovery after his hospitalisation in an intensive care unit.

Monday, 1 February 2021

For the record: Interview with Anglican Journal, Canada

 ‘We can name the evil that is racism’: A conversation with Archbishop Thabo Makgoba

The struggle against anti-Black racism is a common thread in the history of North America and South Africa. During the apartheid era, the Anglican Church of Southern Africa played a major role in supporting the movement to end the official system of racial discrimination. While apartheid officially ended three decades ago, racism continues to plague South Africa today alongside persistent economic and social inequality.

Sunday, 31 January 2021

For the record: Letter to Dr Fauci and Others

People’s Vaccine Campaign: Letter from Archbishop Thabo Makgoba to Dr Anthony Fauci and Others

URGENT

To: Dr Tony Fauci and Dr Rochelle Walensky

And to: Dr David Kessler; Dr Vivek Murthy; and Dr Marcella Nunez-Smith

Per e-mail

Wednesday, 27 January 2021

Installation of new Principal, Bishops, Cape Town

Installation of Antony Reeler as Principal of Diocesan College

Bishops Memorial Chapel

Reading: Mark 4:10-20

May I speak in the name of God who calls, informs and transforms us. Amen.

Brothers and sisters in Christ, dear Bishops family, Bishop Joshua, Archdeacon Mark Long, it's a great joy to be with you this morning and to celebrate the installation of a new College principal amidst the challenges of Covid-19. I warmly welcome you all – parents, guardians and learners – and thank you for inviting me. A special welcome to Mr Reeler, his wife Rose, Michael-John and Lexie as they join the College community.

Tuesday, 26 January 2021

“Living Holy and Healthy Relationships” - 2021 Lent Course

Dear People of God

We enter Lent this year at a time of unprecedented  suffering as a consequence of Covid-19. But while, thanks to medical science and collective action, we can be confident that this pandemic too shall pass, the “hidden pandemic” of our times – gender-based violence – remains deeply rooted in our society.

It is with that in mind that Provincial Standing Committee commissioned “Living Holy and Healthy Relationships” as the Lent Course for 2021.  As the introduction says, “Given that GBV brings such deep devastation to individuals, families and communities, we are often overwhelmed by the disastrous effects of this violence.” But just as we can overcome Covid-19, so too can we overcome GBV if we dedicate as many resources, both spiritually and through collective action, to uprooting this evil.

I commend warmly “Living Holy and Healthy Relationships” and appeal to you to engage earnestly with it, mustering all the energy you can to working among those in your patch of God’s Kingdom to bring about the changes in outlook and behaviour needed to end permanently this scourge.

To the Provincial Liturgical Committee and the Parish of St Francis of Assisi Parish, Parkview, we extend our thanks for the fine work they have done.

God bless.

†† Thabo Cape Town

Download: Living Holy and Healthy Relationships” 


Sunday, 24 January 2021

Homily for the funeral of Bishop Ellinah Wamukoya

Preached for the funeral in Mbabane on January 23, 2021:


2 Corinthians 4: 7-18; Psalm 42: 1-7; John 6: 37-40

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

Tuesday, 19 January 2021

RIP - the Right Revd Ellinah Wamukoya

It is with profound sorrow that I have to announce the devastating news that the Bishop of Swaziland in eSwatini, the Right Revd Ellinah Wamukoya, died today.

Bishop Ellinah was admitted to hospital late last week and was put on oxygen therapy for Covid-19. 

We express our deepest condolences to her husband, Okwaro Henry Wamukoya, their children and grandchildren. May her soul rest in peace.

BISHOP ELLINAH WAMUKOYA

Bishop Ellinah Ntfombi Wamukoya was elected to the position in 2012, becoming the first woman bishop in the Anglican Church in Africa. 

She was previously the Town Clerk of Manzini, eSwatini's commercial hub, having earlier served as the City Planner. She held a Master’s degree in Town and Regional Planning.

She had a history of serving in community offices and organizations, and had a long involvement with the Anglican Diocese of Swaziland. She was ordained priest in 2005. At the time she was elected bishop, she was Anglican chaplain to the University of eSwatini.  

In her Diocese, the Province of Southern Africa and the Anglican Communion, Bishop Ellinah was widely known for her advocacy of the integrity of creation. She was the liaison bishop for the environment in the Province of Southern Africa. 

In 2016, she was named by the BBC in London as one of the world's 100 most inspirational and influential women.

† Thabo Cape Town

Wednesday, 13 January 2021

Tribute to Dolly Mokgatle

The sudden death of Dolly Mokgatle, an accomplished entrepreneur and leader in both South Africa's private and public sectors, comes as a huge shock which has sent ripples of concern through the Anglican Church, of which she was a dedicated member.  

Saturday, 9 January 2021

Homily - Memorial Service for Suzanne Peterson

Preached at an online service on January 8 in thanksgiving for the life of the the Rev. Canon Sally Suzanne Peterson, formerly of the Diocese of Grahamstown and of the Archbishop's office at Bishopscourt, Cape Town: 

May I speak in the name of God who is Creator, Redeemer and Sustainer. Amen.

Letter of condolence on the death of King Thulare III of the Bapedi

Dear Nape

I write on behalf of the Anglican Church of Southern Africa and my family, le Ditlou ka moka, to convey our condolences to the Royal family on the death of His Majesty King Thulare III. I recently sent him a Christmas message, to which he warmly replied, “Thobela, Thobela Archbishop, Merry Christmas, hope you are well. Kea leboga.”

As you know, the King valued our relationship and had hoped that I would play a part in his coronation to cement a long-lasting working relationship. I will miss seeing him annually at the Motsepe Foundation meetings and of course I will treasure the memorable dinner at the Pretoria Diocesan event. We are sorry and pained at this time of grieving. Even at his young age of 40, he did so much for the monarchy and Bapedi, for which we are grateful. I pray that his death will build the family and not divide it, leaving a legacy of a united Bapedi Kingdom after years of contestations.

We have entered a trying second wave of Covid-19 - please ask Dikgomo as a tribute to King Thulare III to be safe, to join in keeping hope alive and finally to defeat this cruel virus whilst we await the vaccines. As Christians, we know that the King is still with us. We know that King Thulare III is with his Maker, who is God of the living and the dead. We know that his Majesty is now reunited with the royal ancestors who have fought bravely for us to be where we are today. May his soul rest in peace and rise in glory. May his young family be comforted and consoled even in their bereavement.

Sebata Kgomo!!!

Arch Thabo Makgoba

Thursday, 7 January 2021

Covid-19 - A new, urgent call for prayer

Archbishop Thabo Makgoba has made a renewed and urgent call for prayer after the news that coronavirus infections reached a new daily record high in South Africa on Wednesday. 

The South African Department of Health announced that there had been 21,832 new coronavirus infections in a 24-hour period, the highest daily number since the outbreak of the pandemic. Noting the “grim milestone”, it said the total cumulative number of cases had risen to 1,149,591.

The Archbishop said in a note to the Bishops of the Province: “The second wave of Covid-19 is harsher and fierce. It calls for us to be more vigilant and perhaps make a call to our respective dioceses for a day of prayer again or to intensify soaking our countries in prayer.”

He also re-published prayers for use in the Province which he composed during the first wave of the pandemic last year. 

Daily noon-time prayer

God bless the world,

Give it wisdom at this time,

Grant us relief and release,

Be with those who are ill,

And bless the carers fighting this pandemic,

For Jesus Christ’s sake,

Amen


Prayer to conclude worship

Lord God, in this season of fear and uncertainty, 

as we face the threat of the coronavirus,

Grant us the wisdom and determination to walk in one another’s shoes,

The confidence and the humility to draw closer to you and to those affected,

Empower us to pastor those who are ill, to weep for the dead, to support the healers and to care for and love one another.

And the blessing of God, Father, Son and Holy Spirit, be with us all, now and always. 

Amen


Saturday, 2 January 2021

Ad Laos - to the People of God - A Message for Epiphany

Dear People of God, 

2021 is more than a new year: it presents us with a new dawn. The introduction of Covid-19 vaccines will help return our country to a base of normalcy that will allow us to address the inequality of equality and the inequality of opportunities. But even before that, 2021 gives us the breathing room to reflect on the lessons we need to remember about the year we’ld like to forget, 2020. [Text continues after Audio version]