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To the Laos - to the People of God

To the Laos - To the People of God - June 2016

Dear People of God

We face a busy time in the Province in the coming months. The recent Elective
Assembly of the Diocese of Christ the King delegated to the Synod of Bishops
the choice of a new bishop to succeed Bishop Peter Lee. So the bishops must now
choose new bishops for both Niassa and Christ the King at their next meeting at
the end of September. Please pray for us as we consider these choices.

Immediately after the Synod of Bishops meets, we will have our three-yearly
Provincial Synod. Please pray for the planning process for Provincial Synod,
which brings together the whole body of Christ in our church in Angola,
Lesotho, Mozambique, Namibia, South Africa, the island of St Helena and
Swaziland. Looking beyond our Province, the body of Christ as represented by
Anglicans across Africa will meet in Kigali, Rwanda in August, when we will
have a meeting of the Council of Anglican Provinces of Africa (CAPA). Pray for
this meeting too, and for the election of a successor to the CAPA chair,
Archbishop Bernard Ntahoturi of Burundi. Beyond Africa, please pray for the
Gafcon grouping of Anglican churches and, indeed, for the whole Communion.

Both the Communion and our own Province continue to face the historic challenge
posted by the debate around human sexuality. It is a painful issue both for
those who support the traditional position on marriage and for those who wish
to introduce changes. In our Province, the bishops are committed to ongoing
dialogue and conversations around the issue, and I urge those who have not yet
read my pastoral letter after the last Synod of Bishops to read it here.

The Second Agenda Book for Provincial Synod will include a resolution on the
matter. Please begin to pray about this issue, reflecting on your own
sexuality, on your understanding of the sexual orientations of others and on
what might constitute a godly, pastoral, biblical and just way of dealing with
this matter, taking us to a place beyond where we are now, in which those on
both sides of the debate seem to be locked into our positions. I don't want to
pre-empt our discussions at Provincial Synod here, but just be aware that this
debate is on the agenda. I encourage you to ask your representatives to consult
as widely as possible in your diocesan and parish preparations for Synod.

However, I should say immediately that I don't want the issue of sexuality to
dominate our thinking as we view the Communion, and especially as we consider
the welfare of our sisters and brothers in other parts of our continent. I have
recently been reading material from the African Centre for the Constructive
Resolution of Disputes (ACCORD), in Durban, and the situation in the Great
Lakes Region is very worrying. Pray particularly for the Democratic Republic of
Congo - for an end to conflict in the east, for their planned elections and for
their rulers as it appears elections might be delayed and the President's term
of office extended. Madiba's role in brokering a previous settlement there
makes the fate of the Congolese people of special concern to us. As you
consider the issues to be dealt with by Provincial Synod, please pray for the
Synod using the prayer which appears at the end of this letter.

In South Africa, we are scheduled to have heavily-contested municipal elections
in August. It is against that backdrop that I joined other religious leaders
recently to witness party leaders and the IEC staff signing the Electoral Code
of Conduct in Cape Town. At the signing, the IEC pledged to be transparent and
accountable as they work to ensure a free and fair environment for elections.
Parties also pledged to play their part. Among the commitments which the Code
imposes on parties and candidates are that they undertake:

-    Not to use language which provokes violence,
-    Not to intimidate voters,
-    Not to publish false information about other candidates or
-    Not to bribe others to vote for a party,
-    Not to deface or remove posters, and
-     Not to carry weapons.

Preaching at St Luke's, Salt River, in Cape Town earlier this month, I
regretted the fact that in some provinces of the country we have seen an
upsurge in what are said to be political killings. I appeal to all Anglicans to
take seriously our civic responsibilities: to vote and to take action if you
see any signs of the Code being breached.

In Cape Town, news has come in of the passing of Bishop Charles Albertyn,
formerly Bishop Suffragan and a Regional Bishop in the Diocese. His funeral
will be on Saturday June 25. We remember Bishop Charles for his deep
spirituality and centredness on God, and for the deep wisdom and quick wit he
brought to the leadership of the Diocese. We convey the Province's heartfelt
condolences to Berenice and the Albertyn family.

Please offer your prayers for all the situations I have mentioned in this
letter in the spirit of St Paul, where he says so beautifully in 1 Corinthians
12, that 'all the members of the body, though many, are one body'... and 'If
one member suffers, all suffer together with it; if one member is honoured, all
rejoice together with it.'

God bless you

+ Thabo Cape Town


            Collect for
Provincial Synod

Bounteous God
You provide all that
is needed to proclaim your
to the nations in our generation:
Grant us
    the wisdom to discern the
available resources,
    the means to develop the
people you are calling, and
humility and strength to commit to the task before us;
through Jesus Christ
who has revealed the Kingdom to us
and in the power of
the Holy Spirit who drives us into your world.

Posted By Anglican Media Office, Bishopscourt to Archbishop
Thabo Makgoba
on 6/23/2016 11:15:00 am

Posted: 2016/06/23 (02:25:23 PM)

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