Council of Anglican Provinces in Africa
Tenth CAPA Council Meeting
Mauritius, Indian Ocean, October 2007
1. We, delegates of the Council of Anglican Provinces in Africa, gathered at Hotel El Monaco, Quatre Bornes, Mauritius between the 2nd and 5th October 2007 for the tenth meeting of the Council under the chairmanship of the Most Rev’d Peter J. Akinola. We represent eleven of the twelve Provinces of CAPA* as laity, clergy, bishops and archbishops and we issue this CommuniquÃ© from our meeting.
2. We have gathered in Mauritius, a delightful republic that is a bright light of hope for all developing nations after its years as a colonial territory of Great Britain. Mauritius is a diverse multi-ethnic society, with a stable democracy, regular free elections, a positive human rights record and a growing economy that has won world-wide recognition. We have come here to join with our sisters and brothers of the Province of the Indian Ocean to give thanks for their faithfulness as we all bear witness to the Gospel of Jesus Christ that is the only hope for eternal transformation.
3. We are extremely grateful for the warm welcome shown to us by the Primate of the Indian Ocean and Bishop of Mauritius, the Most Reverend Ian Ernest, the Acting General Secretary, the Most Rev’d Benjamin Nzimbi, the Provincial Secretary, the Rev’d Samatiana Johnson, and the local support team. We are thankful for the gracious hospitality shown to us by the Prime Minister of Mauritius, the Honourable Dr Navinchandra Ramgoolam, the Acting Prime Minister, the Honourable Dr. Rashid Beebeejaun, and the Mayor of Quatre Bornes, Her Worship Regina Maudar. We were also pleased to be able to welcome the Archbishop of York, the Most Rev’d John Sentamu, for part of the meeting.
4. We recognize that not every nation in Africa is blessed with such an open and stable government and a helpful economic environment, but we do rejoice in the encouraging signs that have been shared with us. For example, after years of devastating war there are glimmers of hope in Democratic Republic of the Congo and the now vibrant economies of Kenya and Ghana have recently drawn plaudits from the World Bank.
5. We have met as representatives of the fastest growing part of our beloved Communion and those of us gathered account for more than 37 million Anglicans. We believe that we have “come of age”. We, who were once regarded as disobedient to God, are now compelled by the Gospel to declare the Good News of God’s liberating love to all those who live in disobedience to God’s Word.
6. We have come together recognizing the rich history of the African Church and the gift of faith that it has long given to the world. We are reminded of the saints, fathers and martyrs of the early church such as Augustine of Hippo, Tertullian, Cyprian and Perpetua of Carthage, and Athanasius and Clement of Alexandria; and more recent young martyrs of the Continent.
7. We have been distressed by the reports of the suffering and devastation that has occurred in both East, Central and West Africa as a result of recent environmental crises including both drought and floods. We were also disturbed by accounts of the military oppression in Myanmar, political oppression in Zimbabwe and by the conflict between Muslims and Christians in Darfur, Sudan. We are, however, encouraged by the response from the local churches and wider world community. We are praying that all those affected will quickly receive the practical aid that is so sorely needed and the abiding comfort of God’s Holy Spirit.
8. The theme of our meeting was “CALLED TO A LIFE OF FAITHFULNESS” and in his Opening Address, Archbishop Akinola challenged all present to see the importance of our faithfulness to God’s call as it applies to obedience to all of God’s commands, stewardship of all of God’s gifts and mission to all of God’s people. Failure in any one of these areas leaves the church impotent to take on the enormous challenges of today.
9. We were especially reminded of the need for obedience and faithful living when we received the report on our work with the HIV/AIDS pandemic. We were encouraged by the good progress made by the CAPA office in Nairobi but the disturbing growth in the numbers and classes of new infections reminded us that the battle is far from over. This is especially true for many women in Africa who find themselves increasingly vulnerable to sexual oppression and abuse. We believe that as a faith community, in addition to our ongoing care for those living with HIV/AIDS, we must issue a renewed call to prevention through abstinence and faithfulness ”“ with particular focus on the men of our communities. We also call on the UN and the Governments of the G8 nations to fulfill their commitments so that the suffering of our most vulnerable sisters and brothers can be alleviated.
10. The acting General Secretary, Archbishop Nzimbi, challenged us to demonstrate faithfulness in all aspects of financial stewardship throughout our various provinces and especially in our financial support of CAPA. There was unanimous conviction that all provinces presently in arrears will fulfill their commitments by the end of 2007. We were also reminded that the number of people living in abject poverty within our provinces continues to grow and is a devastating indictment of poor governance in a continent that has been blessed by God with remarkable resources. We were encouraged by the report of the Global South Economic Empowerment Consultation (see end note ) recently concluded in Accra, Ghana. We support its recommendations, especially in the call for the recruitment of an Economic Empowerment officer in each of our provinces.
11. Faithfulness in mission is at the heart of our call to be disciples of Jesus Christ. We were blessed by the reports of continued growth in mission throughout many of our provinces. We are, however, very much aware of the truth of the saying that “the church is always one generation away from extinction”. We urge all churches to reach out to and disciple the youth of our Provinces so that they are empowered to stand against the false promises of materialism that bombard their minds, become mature disciples of Christ and take their full part in the future mission of our church.
12. While we have spent the majority of our time focused on the CALL TO A LIFE OF FAITHFULNESS within our own Continent we have been unable to ignore the current crisis in our Communion. The situation is summarized well in “The Road to Lambeth” the report commissioned by the CAPA Primates, and is noted below . We are united in our conviction that the Lord of the Church is calling upon Africa once again to contend for the “faith once and for all delivered to the saints.”
13. We concluded our meeting with a special service for the inauguration of the DORCAS Activity Center at St. Thomas Church, Beau Bassin ”“ an outreach ministry to the underprivileged of the surrounding community. It was a joyful celebration and a reminder that in the middle of all of our struggles God is at work renewing his Church ”“ especially at the local level.
14. We recognize that in the few days that we have shared together we have only been given a glimpse of all that God is doing but it is enough to fill us with hope in God’s love, God’s power and God’s faithfulness. We are grateful for the dedication and commitment shown by the CAPA leadership team over these past four years and look forward to God’s continued blessing in the coming years.
Now to him who is able to do immeasurably more than all we ask or imagine, according to his power that is at work within us, to him be glory in the church and in Christ Jesus throughout all generations, for ever and ever! Amen. (Eph. 3:20,21)
* Provinces Represented:
Burundi, Central Africa, Congo, Indian Ocean, Kenya, Nigeria, Rwanda, Southern Africa, Tanzania, Uganda, and West Africa.