Monday 22 May 2023

Ad Laos - to the People of God - May 2023

 As published in the May issue of Good Hope, the newsletter of the Diocese of Cape Town:

As we look ahead to Youth Day on June 16, when we celebrate the contributions of young people to winning freedom in our country, I want to extend the “Archbishop's Ballot Challenge” which I issued to the youth at Easter, and urge Rectors, all our clergy and Parish Councils to take a lead in this campaign.

Please make our houses of worship “voting sanctuaries”, where young people can be inspired to follow the example of previous generations, and use the freedom denied to their forebears to transform South Africa into the country we want.

As I said at Easter, I understand the attitudes of young people who are disillusioned with politics and public life, and scornful of the self-dealing and corruption of some of our politicians. But most of us neither can nor want to leave the country, and the only way to turn the situation around is to do something about it ourselves.

So in the lead-up to next year's national and provincial elections, I urge parishes to adopt your Archbishop's Ballot Challenge (ABC) and to provide voter education for young people. Perhaps using the slogan, “Registering to vote is as simple as ABC”, you could facilitate voter registration for both those who have become eligible to vote since 2019, as well as those who have not bothered to register in the past. You could also host workshops on voter education and provide instruction on our electoral system, if necessary partnering with local businesses to finance such an effort.

Then encourage young people to campaign for the parties, the candidates and the policies of their choice, and help them get to polling stations. In that way we can bring about a peaceful revolution in which we eliminate corruption, ensure good and efficient governance and save our country.

This month I also urge clergy to take care of themselves by joining “Caring for the Shepherd”, clergy wellness meetings being organised by our Safe and Inclusive Church initiative on May 20th. After the devastation and intense pastoral pressures of the Covid-19 pandemic, we need to say to our clergy in particular, “Sawubona! We see you and we are anxious for your welfare.”

And of course, load-shedding now brings its own pressure to bear on clergy, causing serious disruption and emotional distress to many of us. At Bishopscourt, we have assumed our Sawubona Archdeaconry teas, to which we invite the clergy of the Diocese to meet and share tea with one another and their archbishop. Please come and be welcomed when you receive the date for your Archdeaconry tea. I look forward to seeing you.

Looking ahead to an important Provincial event, the College of the Transfiguration in Makhanda celebrates its 30th anniversary from August 2nd to 6th this year. Please pray for the College, and visit them if you can make it. If you are a New Testament scholar and feel called to share your expertise, there is a vacancy for a lecturer there, so you might offer yourself to teach.

But whoever you are, clergy or lay, please donate generously to CoTT for their 30th anniversary – residential theological education is a powerful instrument of our church, and the College needs your financial support.

As we celebrate our Lord's Ascension and look forward to the celebration of the empowering of the Holy Spirit on the Day of Pentecost, please keep in your prayers those who have been bereaved this Eastertide, including the family of Dean Michael Weeder, who lost their mother, Sheila (Sarah) Weeder at the age of 90 on May 6th. May the souls of the departed rest in peace and rise in glory.

God bless you.

† Thabo Cape Town

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