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

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