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Ad Laos - To the People of God

Dear People of God

This month marks the anniversary of significant milestones in the lives of the
two living previous archbishops of Cape Town.

Thirty years ago today, September 7, Archbishop Emeritus Desmond Tutu was
enthroned as Archbishop. As I write, he has been in hospital receiving
treatment for a recurring infection, and his office has announced that he will
undergo a small surgical procedure today to address the root cause of the
infection. I visited him upon my return from overseas at the weekend, and he
was in good spirits. Please keep him, Mrs Leah Tutu, and their family in your

Also this month, Archbishop Emeritus Njongonkulu Ndungane celebrates the 20th
anniversary of his becoming Archbishop. It is also 25 years since his
consecration as Bishop of Kimberley and Kuruman, and to cap it off he has
celebrated his 75th birthday this year. Our warm congratulations to Archbishop
Njongo, and our thanks to him for his continued public service in different

I write this against the background of last month's South African municipal
elections. I am grateful that people went to the polls and voted in such
numbers and with such enthusiasm, so that our democracy can be said to be both
vibrant and legally intact. What is most encouraging is that South Africa has a
legislative framework which establishes institutions and mechanisms that enable
the electoral process to happen successfully - so much so that although the ruling
party lost political control in major cities, the outcomes were accepted by
all. So we need to compliment our political role players but especially that
framework and those it empowers to keep our democratic processes operating.

Whether we voted or not, what all of us must now do is to act with the urgency
that is demanded of us to make South Africa work and to make our nation what
God has destined it to be. I say this also against the backdrop of my short
stay in Rwanda recently, where I attended a meeting of the Council of the
Anglican Provinces of Africa. Leaving the meeting in Kigali, the capital, to
visit the city's memorial to the 1994 genocide, I could not help but be struck
by how the city really does work. There is effective policing, the place is
clean and when you get to a shop, even if stocks are limited there is a
commitment to service. But although the city works, I had the impression that
it was a result of what one might call an obsession: a desire to run away from
the dreadful past, from the messiness of a system that did not work. That makes
me all the more grateful for how our electoral system mediates political
conflict, and leads me to re-commit myself to making our country work, and to
call upon all our parishioners to play their part in helping that happen.

Since returning from Kigali, I have been reading all the motions, measures and
reports that will come before Provincial Synod -  our Church's top legislative
body - when it meets in September. Reading the reports from provincial ministries
and organisations reminds me of the humbling privilege I have as Metropolitan
to have a 'helicopter' view of all that the Province does. If one looks only
only at the difficulties being experienced by a problematic diocese or parish,
or at the financial challenges we face, one doesn't appreciate the beauty, the
energy and the excitement of what is being done in our church right across
Southern Africa. The Province is busy, the Province is active and the Province
is alive with worship, mission and service. For that I give thanks to God.

We have resolutions before Synod which may be controversial, one of them on
human sexuality, and we too have legislative mechanisms which can help us to
address such matters successfully. The Canons allow us to go into Conference,
which frees us of the sometimes stifling rules of debate when we are
considering a motion. The Synod's advisory team has decided that we need to
create more time and space than would normally the available to discuss the
motion on human sexuality, so we will go into Conference for our initial
discussion of that motion. I am hoping that Synod will be a time of robust and
open debate as we confront and work through the issues.

God bless you

+ Thabo Cape Town

Posted: 2016/09/07 (09:06:15 AM)

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