Friday 21 October 2022

To the Laos - To the People of God - October 2022

 Dear People of God,

In a visit to ACSA's Provincial residential college and in deliberations at the Synod of Bishops and the Provincial Standing Committee (PSC), a good deal of attention was given this past month to the vital issue of theological education for our clergy and people.

In Makhanda, I joined leaders in theological education to install the Revd Dr Percy Chinganga as Rector of the College of the Transfiguration (CoTT). We warmly congratulate him on his appointment, confident that the education of our ordinands is in good hands with him and his staff. His installation came soon after the annual September Provincial meetings, where we discussed a major report on the future of theological education, drawn up by a commission convened by the Revd Dr Barney Pityana. As I told PSC, the body which represents clergy and lay representatives as well as bishops from all ACSA's Dioceses, theological education and formation are not optional extras for the church: they are our lifeblood, and they matter not just for our future as an institution but for the welfare of God's people as we go out to proclaim the love and the justice of God in our suffering world.

I want to promote sound theological formation not just for our clergy but also for lay Anglicans. A wonderful way of doing this would be to enroll at CoTT, even if you don't want to enter the ordained ministry, and I invite those of you who want to improve their theological knowledge to explore studying there full-time. As I suggested at the Diocese of Cape Town's clergy school last week, my dream is that our parishes and homes will become institutions of teaching and learning, as well as places of prayer and worship, in your communities. I urge you to take steps to offer education of various kinds – including theological education – for all our people. And please consider supporting CoTT individually and through your parishes and Dioceses – it is playing a vital role.

Also recently, I attended the Desmond Tutu International Peace Lecture on what would have been the 91st birthday of our late Archbishop Emeritus. The lecture featured Amina Mohammed, a Nigerian who is the United Nations Deputy Secretary-General, and Doug Abrams, the American author who worked with Archbishop Desmond and the Dalai Lama to create The Book of Joy, and who brought us an inspiring message of hope. At the CoTT installation, I continued the commemoration of Archbishop Desmond's birth by delivering our first Archbishop Emeritus Desmond Tutu Memorial Lecture, where I stressed that we are still called and sent to carry out a prophetic ministry in the world today. As we held these events, we remembered warmly and sent our love to Mrs Nomalizo Leah Tutu, who has just turned 89! A belated Happy Birthday, Mama Leah!

In the ACSA memorial lecture, I said we still need to warn our governments that they are accountable, nowadays accountable to the people but also to God. I spoke out strongly against those in power who enrich themselves with tenders which they fail to deliver on, and warned opposition parties hoping to come to power soon that they too will experience the temptations of power. I also condemned the new “mafias” which we are seeing in the construction, mining and taxi industries, which are demanding protection money for allowing legitimate businesses to operate. If we continue down this road, I said, with police, municipal and national governments turning a blind eye, too cowardly to act, we will end up a failed state.

As I write, I have been on an inspirational visit to Rome with ecumenical colleagues to engage in dialogues aimed at ensuring that the mining industry internationally conducts its operations in a way that respects the integrity of the earth and takes care of people and communities. I am grateful to Cardinal Cardinal Michael Czerny, SJ, for his wisdom and the generous offering of his time, and to Archbishop Ian Ernest at the Anglican Centre in Rome, as well as their teams.

In conclusion, I am very pleased to confirm that Archbishop Justin Welby of Canterbury will be with us in Cape Town at the end of November, where he will join the final meeting of the Design Team which planned the 2022 Lambeth Conference. We will also welcome him publicly at Evensong in St George's Cathedral at 4 pm on Thursday November 24th.

God bless,

††Thabo Cape Town

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