Thursday 23 May 2024

Ad Laos - To the People of God – May 2024

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

As Bishop Joshua wrote last month, Diocesan Synod is around the corner, and we ask for your prayers as the clergy and lay representatives of all the parishes in the Diocese gather from the 13th to 15th of June.

Synod is a time for clergy, laity and bishops to come together and take counsel on the needs of God’s church. We look at theological, pastoral and spiritual matters that should help us govern the church together for the next three years. We change our laws (the Canons) and pass resolutions to enable church order as well as to make our Diocese safe and inclusive. 

Synod is marked by open and robust discussions in plenary, small Bible study groups and a “conference of synod”, in which the strict rules of procedure are set aside to enable us to have a more free-ranging conversation. At this Synod, we will be revisiting our resolution of some years ago supporting pastoral ministry to church members in same-sex civil unions and agreeing on the path forward on this sensitive matter. It has been interesting to read a recent take on the draft prayers for those in civil unions which have been compiled for the Synod of Bishops, and which I published for comment last month. The Living Church, an independent American journal which tends to be on the conservative side, describes them as “eclectic” and suggests how unusual it is to see drafts which reflect different sides of this contested debate. I urge you to read the prayers before Synod, at: If you want to read the detailed description which The Living Church has published, you can do so at:

At the beginning of the month, I spent a week in Rome with other leaders of the world’s Anglican churches for a meeting of the Primates of the Communion. It was the first time we had met there and apart from having rich engagements with Roman Catholic leaders, we undertook pilgrimages to places such as the sites at which St Paul was martyred and where he was interred. A particular highlight was meeting again with Pope Francis. You can find a communique from the meeting on our Provincial website, at

I have just come back from the sesquicentennial celebrations of the Diocesan School for Girls in Makhanda. It was a delightful time indeed to be with Lungi back at the high school she attended – and where I first met her when I was preaching there as a student at what is now the College of the Transfiguration! In the sermon, I posed the question that has resurfaced in our country’s media: can politics and God mix? I argued that, based on the church’s involvement in bringing down apartheid, it’s our civic duty for every one of us to vote. Now, as people of faith, we must make this country work in order to bring about equality and security for all. If you have the energy, I wrote a piece on “Politics and the Church—Acting Incarnationally” in the Journal of Anglican Studies some years ago. It is not a heavy read but reminds us of God in Jesus Christ who breathed the air that we breath and walked on earth while yet divine.

Please continue to pray for an end to the killings, violence and destruction of war everywhere, and especially in Gaza, the West Bank and the Sudan. And of course, go out and vote in two weeks’ time!

God bless.

††Thabo Cape Town


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