Category : South Africa
A presentation on progress made by the Archbishop’s Commission on Human Sexuality was given by the Revd Dr Vicentia Kgabe. The Chairperson of the Commission is the Bishop of Saldanha Bay, Raphael Hess. The Commission consists of six Commissioners and has invited each Diocese to constitute a Diocesan Liaison Team to facilitate the work of the Commission at diocesan level, with the objective that the voices of all will be heard in a consultative process to hear and discern what every Diocese is saying. The mandate of the Commission is to present to Provincial Synod 2019 a proposal enabling the Church “to minister to those in same-sex unions and the LGBTI Community in the context in which ACSA operates in Southern Africa”. This mandate does not rescind the decision of Provincial Synod 2016: it neither assumes that ministry to members of the LGBTI community will include the blessing of same-sex unions, nor does it exclude that possibility, should that be the mind of Provincial Synod 2019. It also directs the Commission to consider the situation of Dioceses outside South Africa, in which there is no provision in law for same-sex unions. The mandate is in line with the injunction of the 1998 Lambeth Conference and Provincial Synod 2002 to listen to the views of the LGBTI community, and in particular with that part of Lambeth Resolution 1.10 which “calls on all our people to minister pastorally and sensitively to all irrespective of sexual orientation and to condemn irrational fear of homosexuals.” The Commission asked for prayers for its work and the members of the Commission.
We appeal to members of ACSA and the Communion please to commit these matters to prayer and offer yourselves to God to serve in God’s mission and ministry. We your Bishops will continue to lead as God’s servants and servants of the church, to the best of our ability.
Anglican Church of South Africa plans to amend marriage its marriage Canon in the not too distant future
The Archbishop of Cape Town has appointed a Commission on Human Sexuality to report to both the Synod of Bishops this month and to table a motion at Provincial Synod 2019.
The aim of the Commission among other things is “… to amend Canon 34 which will enable ministry to those in Same Sex Unions and the LGBTI Community in the context in which ACSA operates in Southern Africa”.
The process is said to be a programme of ongoing ‘conversations’ throughout the Province, especially at parish level. The guidelines state that “…the most important and critical facet of the Commission’s Work, is [to] ensure full inclusivity and diversity in this debate.”
A priest of the Anglican Church of South Africa commented: “This is a direct copy of the strategy employed within the Episcopal Church (USA), the Anglican Church of Canada and other revisionist Provinces in the Anglican Communion, whereby the doctrine of the Church and the clear teaching of scripture have been questioned and undermined.
“Right from the beginning the premises and claims of gender ideology have been accepted without question. The ultimate result of this process, if it succeeds in its aims, will be the importation of a false theological anthropology and a false gospel of inclusion without repentance.”
Read it all (requires subscription).
The main problem with the Jesmond action is that it is ultimately so isolated and represents a fragmented and factional way of moving forward. It is an action that arises from a sense of frustration rather than a careful strategy. It is not borne of unity among critics of the Church of England. In fact it adopts the tactics of liberals in that it attempts to place facts on the ground rather than proceeding on the basis of unity, wide agreement and good order.
I say this as someone who thoroughly approves of protest and various forms of disengagement directed against the hierarchy. But Jesmond has leaped towards the nuclear option and evangelical Anglicans should not be in the business of ‘first strike’. The nuclear option should only be used as a weapon of the last resort.
The Church of England has not changed its teaching on doctrinal, creedal and canonical matters and until it does so the Church of England’s conservatives should organise, prepare and arm themselves but they should not deploy.
Read it all (requires subscription).
The Anglican Church of Southern Africa faces a civil action of over R4 million from one of its former priests following differences with the church which span a period of more than 10 years.
Reverend June Major, who now lives in Durban, is suing for alleged financial loss, impairment to her dignity and emotional stress, allegedly as a result of a job she applied for in Australia and then did not get.
She has blamed the church’s failure to provide important “information timeously” to the Diocese of Wangaratta, for her inability to secure the job, which would have earned her R42 000 a month and other benefits.
The leadership of Jesmond church have for some time been speaking publicly about the need for new missionary Bishops in Western nations who can oversee new Anglican ministries in the Celtic model. The reasoning can be found in the statement from the 2017 Jesmond Conference, here.
Gafcon UK have been informed of the latest developments but cannot comment further at this stage.
A conservative cleric in Newcastle has been consecrated a renegade bishop without the authority of the Archbishop of Canterbury, his church has confirmed.
Rev Jonathan Pryke, of Jesmond Parish Church, is one of three rebel bishops to be appointed by conservatives concerned about a liberal drift in the Church of England over homosexuality.
In a secret ceremony last Tuesday, the presiding bishop of deeply conservative Reformed Evangelical Anglican Church of South Africa (REACH-SA) consecrated Pryke, a statement confirmed.
Many churches have been involved in wonderful work in ministering in fearful communities, caring for the suffering and the families of those killed by disease or violence, while at the same time (in the case of bible-based congregations), continuing to teach of the love of Christ, and following God’s design for celibate singleness and faithful marriage as the best way of avoiding HIV. Some churches have been brave enough to challenge, with the Gospel, the toxic culture of machismo which is partly responsible for the high levels of murder and sexual abuse. While of course there are church leaders and nominal Christians who live no differently to those in the communities around them, there are many thousands of godly, prayerful and compassionate men and women who understand that counter-cultural sexual purity and control of anger is not old fashioned prudishness but a literal lifesaver and a witness to God’s goodness.
This background, essential for understanding any discussion about sex in South Africa, did not feature in the BBC programme, which sought to give the impression that people with same sex attraction are uniquely vulnerable. While violence against gay people is appalling and unacceptable, it is sadly part of a culture where women are abused whether they are gay or not, and people are beaten up and murdered for being foreign, or in the wrong place at the wrong time, for having a phone, for looking at someone’s girlfriend, etc, etc. The Western concept of LGBT rights is simply inappropriate in such a context. The church should be speaking up publicly against all violence and abuse, and developing communities of peace, safety and tolerance (as is doing so in many places), not focusing on one particular minority.
Also, given the prevalence of heterosexual promiscuity in society and even in the church, which combined with the sexual abuse has contributed to the devastating spread of AIDS and family breakdown, what effect would an acceptance and celebration of same sex relationships have in the townships and across Africa as a whole? It would surely send the message that the church is controlled by white Western liberalism (not good for mission?); that the Bible is not reliable; and that only ”˜love’, not sexual self-control, is the concern of the church. If a same sex relationship is OK, people will ask, then why is adultery wrong?
Archbishop Thabo Makgoba has called on the public to join him in a vigil for the country on the steps of St George’s Cathedral in Cape Town tomorrow”š Wednesday November 2”š from 1 to 2 pm. The theme of the vigil is “A lament for our beloved country”.
It will entail 45 minutes of silence”š followed by interfaith prayers and a commitment to ongoing prayers for South Africa for the next year.
Archbishop Thabo Makgoba of Cape Town penned an open letter to them “saying the vast majority of South Africans support their efforts to ensure that taxpayers’ money is spent for the benefit of all and not to enrich a few”.
It is not the first time Makgoba has backed Gordhan. In February”š he met with the minister before he delivered his Budget Speech.
Almighty and everlasting God, who didst enkindle the flame of thy love in the heart of thy holy martyr Bernard Mizeki: Grant to us, thy humble servants, a like faith and power of love, that we who rejoice in his triumph may profit by his example; through Jesus Christ our Lord, who liveth and reigneth with thee and the Holy Spirit, one God, for ever and ever.
Mpho Tutu-van Furth had to give up her priest’s licence last month when she married a woman. But she believes the Anglican Church of Southern Africa will ”” with a little divine intervention ”” come to embrace same-sex marriages….
In May in Franschhoek”š Tutu married Professor Marcelina van Furth”š a paediatrician who researches infectious diseases at the Vrije Universiteit in Amsterdam. The union had the blessing of her parents”š Archbishop Emeritus Desmond and Leah Tutu.
Van Furth is an atheist ”“ but this has not posed a problem. “It seems to work quite well”š” says Tutu-Van Furth. “I respect her atheism”š and she’s interested in Christianity. She comes to church with me”š sits in a pew”š listens to the teaching and asks me about it. She sinks into being a peaceful place and meditates while I pray”š and that’s also fine….
Archbishop Desmond Tutu’s youngest daughter Mpho Tutu van Furth recently made public her same sex marriage to her partner Marceline van Furth. She is also a reverend in the Anglican Church, but revealing her sexuality forced her to relinquish her licence to carry out her duties as a priest…
Listen to it all (just under 4 minutes).
The 2015 report (due out quite soon) will be much more specific about the particular operational issues, and lists
Failure to recruit sufficient new clergy and lay leaders
Failure of new initiatives to deliver church growth
Failure of safeguarding processes, and impact of national enquiries (such as the Goddard report)
Failure to gain support for the Renewal and Reform programme
Financial insolvency in a significant part of the church
IT capacity and security.
I wonder how that compares with your own list? I suspect most people would suggest that there is one very significant strategic risk for the church as a whole which isn’t covered by the above list of operational risks: the danger of schism over a major issue of belief or practice. Reading newspaper headlines, or attending to the internal workings of the Church, it would be hard not to notice that the debate on sexuality and its outcome is the ”˜major issue’ currently threatening the future of the C of E as we know it.
If that is the case, why would any diocesan bishop act in a way to exacerbate this risk? Yet in the last month, two appear to have done just that.
A street vendor from Mozambique, Emmanuel Sithole, lay begging for his life in a gutter as four men beat him and stabbed him in the heart with a long knife. Images of his murder have shaken South Africa, already reeling from a wave of attacks on foreigners, mostly poor migrants from the rest of Africa. Soldiers were deployed on April 21st to Alexandra, a Johannesburg township, and other flashpoints to quell the violence, though only after seven people had been killed. Thousands of fearful foreigners, many from Malawi, Mozambique and Zimbabwe, have sought refuge in makeshift camps. Others have returned home.
South Africa has experienced such horrors before. During widespread anti-foreign violence in 2008, 62 people were killed and some 100,000 displaced. Photographs of the murder of another Mozambican man, Ernesto Nhamuave, whom a jeering mob burned alive in a squatter camp, led to declarations that such atrocities would never happen again. Yet no one was charged in Mr Nhamuave’s death: the case was closed after a cursory police investigation apparently turned up no witnesses (who were easily found by journalists earlier this year). The latest violence flared up in the Durban area earlier this month after King Goodwill Zwelithini, the traditional leader of the Zulus, reportedly compared foreigners to lice and said that they should pack up and leave.
His comments poured fuel on an already-smouldering fire. Jean Pierre Misago, a researcher at the African Centre for Migration and Society in Johannesburg, estimates that at least 350 foreigners have been killed in xenophobic violence since 2008.