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To the Laos - to the People of God

Dear People of God


This year we are celebrating the
25th anniversary of the ordination of women as priests in our Province. Bishop
Margaret Vertue of False Bay and the ACSA gender programme have been discussing
the impact that women's ordination has had on the church. While they have
acknowledged that there is much to celebrate - and I believe we have been
immensely enriched by their ordination - it is also clear that the church still
has many challenges to overcome when it evaluates the leadership, empowerment,
participation and inclusion of women, both ordained and lay, in the church


As a consequence, the anniversary
in September of the first ordinations in 1992 will be celebrated with a
conference on the issue. The theme and venue are still to be confirmed, but I
want to take the earliest opportunity to urge you to give the commemoration and
the celebratory conference your full support. In this way we can all support
and encourage women in their ministries and to take up positions of leadership
in the church.


By the time you read this, almost
all of South Africa's universities are expected to be open for the 2017
academic year, and students, parents, teachers and staff will be in our prayers
as studies are resumed. I have agreed to join a platform, known as the National
Education Crisis Forum, which is convened by the former deputy chief justice of
South Africa, Dikgang Moseneke, to bring together different stakeholders to
ensure, in the forum's words, 'that the right to education enshrined in the
South African constitution becomes a lived reality for all..' As the forum
seeks to broker a long-term solution to the crisis, please support us and
commit to helping in whatever way will resolve this educational, economic and
also political challenge to the country. Perhaps you could build this concern
into your Lenten observances, using the
resource that the Province has produced
to help you.


In January I spent nine days in
the Diocese of Madhya Kerala in the Church of South India, learning how they do
mission through markets in particular, and preached
at their Convention
Eucharist. I was also struck by the
commitment to education of the Moderator of the church, Bishop Thomas Oommen,
not only in words or feelings but in practical ways. Their church schools
educate 35,000 pupils! Most of the offerings at the Sunday Eucharist“
generously and spontaneously given' were shared with the schools to encourage
them to keep up their high standards of performance. Both parents and the whole
community are involved in education through the church. We too can emulate
their example, especially by supporting our universities whose vice-chancellors
are trapped between students' demands on the one hand and government policies
and often inertia on the other.


Last month I helped to launch a worldwide
Anglican initiative
called “Just Water' in which churches on four
continents -  Africa, Australia, Europe and North America -  are uniting in
support of World Water Day 2017. As well as being at
the launch at St. Paul's Cathedral
in London, I will be speaking
during the Water Justice
at our own St. George's Cathedral, which takes place
from March 23 to 25. If you want to supplement our Provincial Lenten Bible
Studies with a focus on water justice during the Sundays in Lent, you will find
and other material in a short resource document
produced by
Trinity Wall Street, St. Paul's Cathedral and St. George's. I commend it to you
for reading and discussing. But above all, use water sparingly in your own
personal lives by fixing dripping pipes, showering instead of bathing where you
can, keeping your showers short and possibly harvesting rain water.


May Jesus Christ, the Holy
Spirit, lead you as you transform educational institutions to serve
the public good and even as we use water wisely to be in solidarity with
those who lack proper water and sanitation in our country.


Have a blessed Lent!



+Thabo Cape Town

Posted: 2017/02/17 (11:43:53 AM)

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