Wednesday 25 May 2022

A Message from Archbishop Thabo on flooding in KwaZulu-Natal

The latest news on more heavy rain in KwaZulu-Natal, six weeks after hundreds died in disastrous flooding, is traumatising. Please continue to pray for the people of the province, support leaders in all sectors who have stepped in to help, and do whatever you can to give practical or monetary help to help alleviate the plight of the survivors, either through our ACSA disaster fund or otherwise.

The following is a prayer for the people of the province:

Lord Jesus Christ, our Saviour and Redeemer, as we recall your Ascension, 

May those affected by death and destruction in KwaZulu-Natal feel your presence as you walk alongside them in their grief and suffering;

Protect them from the effects of the devastation of the flooding;

Minimise the effects of climate change in their communities;

And help them as they seek your mercy amidst the shock they have experienced;

For your name's sake, Amen

Monday 23 May 2022

Archbishop issues Ascension Day prayer for peace in Africa, Europe & the Middle East

Archbishop Thabo Makgoba has urged people to pray for peace on Ascension Day, and has issued a special prayer for parishes and Dioceses to use.

Preaching at a memorial service for the Revd Siyabulela Gidi, who died suddenly in Cape Town recently, he appealed to everyone "to give peace a chance wherever we are and in whatever we do."

He added: "In our communities, in our country and the world let us end the resurgence of conflict and war. As we look towards the Ascension, let us continue to pray for the people of Ukraine and Russia, for those in South Sudan, Mali and Ethiopia, for those in Yemen, Palestine and Israel, that social justice and the peace that flows from justice will prevail."

He published the following Ascension Day prayer today:

Loving God,

Your Son Jesus Christ has ascended in glory

and called many to witness of his resurrection:

Guide us and make us new that we may work for peace and unity in the world; 

For you live and reign in the unity of the blessed Trinity 

One God, now and forever,


Sermon for the Memorial Service for the Revd Siyabulela Gidi

 Sermon for the Memorial Service for the REVD SIYABULELA GIDI

St Mary Magdalene Parish – Gugulethu

The Most Revd Thabo Makgoba

Archbishop of Cape Town

22nd May 2022

Readings: Romans 8:31-39, Psalm 23; Luke 14: 15 - 23

May I speak in the name of God, Father, Son and Holy Spirit – God who is our comforter and friend and whom Revd Siyabulela so faithfully loved and served. Amen

Dear sisters and brothers in Christ; dear Bishop Josh, dear Mrs Gidi (Khayakazi) and your children, Okuhle, Oluvo, Chulumanco and Nmivuyo, your brother Zolani, dear Cirha and Tolo families and friends, dear colleagues and guests from near and far:

It is heart-rending that we are here today to offer condolences to you all, and to pay tribute to the Revd Siyabulela Gidi, a husband, a father, a grandfather, an uncle, a son, a colleague, a friend and a faithful priest in the Church of God.

When I received the news of his passing, I was distressed and moved. Distressed because like you, I always find it difficult to accept the loss of a loved one. Moved because I remember the prominent role that Father Siyabulela played in church and society alike – in the dioceses of Grahamstown, Natal and here in Cape Town.

As we say farewell, and give thanks to God for his life and witness, be comforted by these words from St Paul: “May the God of peace himself sanctify you entirely; and may your spirit and soul and body be kept sound and blameless at the coming of our Lord Jesus Christ. The one who calls you is faithful, and he will do this” (2 Thess. 5:38-23-24). Indeed we know that Fr Siyabulela has not been separated from the love of God – if these words are true for anyone, they are most certainly true for him.

But despite those comforting words the scriptures offer us, our hearts are heavy today. We struggle to comprehend that we shall not hear his voice, nor his humour again, nor shall we find ourselves enveloped in his huge embrace – an embrace of love that went far wider than the reach of his arms and touched the most marginalised and needy in our communities. I have been deeply touched by the accounts of his encounters with hundreds of people, as reflected in the past week through the testimonies we have heard. Since his ASF days, he has played such an important role in the lives and livelihoods of many, many people across the Province. Thank you MaMtolo, Dlangamandla for being his support system throughout his ministry.

Colleagues, we are here today to bring to God our grief, even as we give thanks for the life of our dear Fr Siya, and commend him to the everlasting care of God, who is the Resurrection and the Life. We have come to hear God's comforting words to us, for in Jesus God has tasted death and yet lives, and because he lives he has opened the gates of glory to all who believe.

We know that the Reverend Gidi now enjoys the fullness of abundant life (John 10:10). Just as Jesus wept at the grave of his dear friend Lazarus, though knowing he would rise, he understands our tears even as we believe. Dear friends, in him we find a safe place to bring our weeping as we mourn the loss of a dear husband, a father, a colleague and friend.

From his early years, when his love for God was expressed in his devotion to the ASF and youth ministry, Fr Siyabulela served the Church tirelessly. As a young cleric arriving in the Diocese of Grahamstown in 1995, he immersed himself in pastoral work and community activities as a field worker at Kei Road and later King Williamstown and Stutterheim. This period saw the growth of churching communities in the Church of the Holy Name (Cumakala).  

During those years the Church saw the depth of his ministry and he was soon appointed to lead God’s people in various ways. His leadership roles were too many to list here, but they included service in the dioceses of Grahamstown, Natal and Cape Town, in the Western Cape Council of Churches and the Kwa-Zulu Natal Council of Churches, as well as an appointment as Public Policy Officer during Archbishop Emeritus  Njongo’s time.

However, this brief outline does not fully convey the fullness of this remarkable priest, husband, father, brother and friend. St Paul, in the Letter to the Romans (8:31-39), gives a review of the course of a Christian life which is lived in a realm beyond the grasp and power of the law, demonstrating that if God be in our destiny nothing else matters, since he gave his own Son to die on our behalf. 

Sisters and brothers, as we celebrate the well-lived life of this faithful servant of God, may we all grow in conviction that God’s love poured out through the obedience of Jesus on the Cross is such that there can be no condemnation of those who live in Christ Jesus. The supremacy of Christ over all the Church’s foes is a guarantee that God takes care of our every need.

We thank you, Mrs Gidi, and we thank Mchenge, Dlangamandla, for sharing your husband and father with us. He became a brother to us and a father to many, and we are especially grateful that when he was called to serve the Church he willingly accepted God's call, wherever and in whatever way it came. In our Province and beyond, you willingly supported his ministry.

In Luke’s Gospel (14:14-23), Jesus mentions the blessings enjoyed by those who would share at the heavenly banquet. Key here is whether one has accepted the heavenly invitation. The idea that departed friends shall rise to glory is one that fills us with joy, and one which gives us hope in Jesus Christ. Just as the resurrection of all who died in him depends on him, so too will the resurrection of Revd Siyabulela. God’s overflowing love reaches out unconditionally to everyone, as our Gospel reading told us. It flowed unrestricted through Fr Siyabulela as well. He displayed that love exceptionally to his family, to those he cared for and to the community through his selfless life. Conscious of the needs of the poor and marginalised, his love also fuelled his unstinting involvement in the struggle for the liberation of the soul.

Dear brothers and sisters, as we remember Fr Siyabulela today, I appeal to all to resolve to give peace a chance wherever we are and in whatever we do. In our communities, in our country and the world let us end the resurgence of conflict and war. As we look towards the Ascension, let us continue to pray for the people of Ukraine and Russia, for those in South Sudan, Mali and Ethiopia, for those in Yemen, Palestine and Israel, that social justice and the peace that flows from justice will prevail. We should remember Siyabulela by advocating for peace and social justice, and we should divert the millions that are used for buying ammunition for war towards caring for the needy and poor as Fr Siya did during his lifetime.

As I end, let us call to mind the words of St Paul to Timothy – words that are just as apt for Fr Siyabulela today. For me they sum up his life: “I have fought the good fight, I have kept the faith. Now there is in store for me the crown of righteousness, which the Lord, the righteous Judge, will award on that day – and not only to me, but to all who have longed for his appearing” (2 Timothy 4:7-8).

Well done, good and faithful servant, may you rest in peace and rise in glory!

God bless the Gidi and Sigenu families and friends. God bless all gathered here today. God bless this Diocese, the Province and our nation - our beloved South Africa.


Wednesday 18 May 2022

To the People of God - Ad Laos - Easter 2022

Archbishop Thabo Makgoba's Easter letter, written primarily for the Diocese of Cape Town:

Dear People of God

As we continue to celebrate Easter, I encourage you – on a note of thanksgiving for the Resurrection of our Lord – to pursue the evangelisation of those around you, one by one. Check in with your friends and neighbours, whether they are Anglicans or not, to see whether they have returned to worship in the wake of the coronavirus lockdowns.

    Form study groups and buy a lectionary, or choose a segment of the Gospels yourselves, and meet weekly to read, reflect and pray – and then resolve to give to the neediest in our communities. Perhaps it can be a donation of food – even just a loaf of bread – or maybe a contribution to a disaster fund or our Theological Education Fund. If you're able, attend a group retreat, or start small groups following the Ignatian or Benedictine rules of life and commit to a year or two to nurture our church spiritually.

    I'm addressing these appeals to all, both clergy and laity, young and old. We need to recharge our batteries after these last two difficult years, but we also need to reach out once again to others. As part of this process of renewal, it is my intention that in 2023 we should begin an annual re-commitment service for our Diocese's lay ministers – and for choirs – just as the clergy reaffirm their ordination vows every year. I know that our young people, our servers and members of other organisations in our parishes are good at organising such services, and I want us to make sure that we use their talents to God's glory. And I especially want us to reach out into the world beyond our stained glass windows in the coming years.
    I write to you from Germany, which I am visiting for a few days, from where I joined faith leaders of different traditions from around the world in an event which was part of a much bigger summit of world leaders on Covid-19. Co-hosted by a number of countries, including Senegal (the current leader of the African Union), the United States and Germany, it included President Ramaphosa, who called on global agencies to assist in boosting the local manufacturing and production of Covid-19 vaccines by procuring vaccines and boosters from African manufacturers. For my part, I urged that low- and middle-income countries should be given more control over the supply of Covid-19 vaccines, tests and treatments. In a panel discussion, I was privileged to join young Buddhist nuns from Kathmandu in Nepal, who movingly described how they moved around their communities during the height of the pandemic to persuade people to get vaccinated.

    I will be taking sabbatical leave from June 1 until August 15, including time at the Lambeth Conference, during which Anglican bishops from around the world gather at Canterbury in  the UK. Bishop Joshua Louw and his team will be looking after the Diocese of Cape Town, and Bishop Stephen Diseko of Matlosane, the Dean of the Province, will look after the Province, assisted by the Metropolitan's Executive. Please direct your inquiries to them. If you feel the need to contact me, please rather add your concern to your prayer list instead! But if you really feel you must, you can write to my PA, the Revd Abigail Hopley, who will help where she can. Otherwise I will be reflecting, reading, resting, writing, walking, gardening, praying and enjoying time with my family, at home, in Makgobaskloof, in KwaZulu-Natal, Joburg, Makhanda and abroad.

    In your prayers for global peace on Ascension Day, please spare a thought for peace in Ukraine and all those affected by that conflict, even as you pray for peace on our continent and other continents, as well as for Palestine and Israel.

    God be with you until I write again, and God bless you.

++Thabo Cape Town

Sunday 1 May 2022

St Bernard Mizeki Guild - “A mission-shaped guild for a mission-shaped church in the world”

An address to the 19th Triennial Provincial Conference of the St Bernard Mizeki Men's Guild in Pietermaritzburg, Diocese of Natal, on 29th April 2022:

Dear Brothers in Christ,

I greet you all warmly in the name of our Saviour, Jesus Christ. He is risen, He is risen indeed! Alleluia! 

Thank you very much for doing me the honour of inviting me to address you, and for choosing as the theme the important subject “A mission-shaped guild for a mission-shaped church in the world”. The Guild is one of the most important initiatives in the life of our Church and you play a crucial role in so many congregations, not only in sustaining the faith and lives of your members, but in supporting mission and ministry in different ways. Thank you warmly for what you do, and thank you for who you are. We are blessed by your presence and work among us.