The Bishop of Swaziland, the Rt Revd Meshack Mabuza, has expressed great thanks for the visit to his diocese last month of a delegation from the worldwide Anglican Communion.
In a letter to the delegation leader - the Primate of the Church of the Province of Southern Africa (CPSA) the Most Revd Njongonkulu Ndungane - the Bishop said that the diocese, which covers all of Swaziland, was greatly encouraged by the magnitude of support that the delegation represented. “The Church of Swaziland is not alone in its struggles for justice,” he said, “but it is supported by the worldwide Communion…and that a concern in one part of the Communion is a concern for the whole communion.” Bishop Mabuza added that the press coverage of the visit throughout Swaziland and Southern Africa had highlighted the country’s plight and raised awareness of its many problems.
Swaziland has currently the highest HIV infection rate in the world at 40% of the population with the national life expectancy to fall to just 27 by 2010. About seven out of ten of the Swazi population also live on less than US$1 a day.
“The Anglican Communion has an interest in what is happening in Swaziland,” continued Bishop Mabuza, adding that the delegation had achieved its purpose in showing that “…not only are we being prayed for, but the scope is there for internationalising our struggle and getting support from a much wider circle than has ever been conceived before.”
The visit to Swaziland took place between 8-10 July and was organised in response to a request from Bishop Mabuza. The delegation met with church and civic leaders, the head of state, the prime minister, the Queen Mother, and various ambassadors to Swaziland to discuss the socio-economic situation and the country’s ongoing constitutional development. A service was held in the Anglican Cathedral Church of All Saints in Mbabane on 10 July.
Archbishop Ndungane was accompanied by the Bishop of Lebombo in Mozambique, the Rt Revd Dinis Sengulane; the Bishop of the Highveld and Dean of the Province, the Rt Revd David Beetge; the Episcopal Bishop of Washington, the Rt Revd John Chane; the Bishop of Edinburgh and representative of the Archbishop of Canterbury, the Rt Revd Brian Smith; the Reverend Canon John L. Peterson, the Secretary General of the worldwide Anglican Communion; and Canon James Rosenthal, who is Director of Communications for the worldwide Anglican Communion.
The diocese has 21 parishes, 30 clergy, and 82 congregations. The Anglican Church in Swaziland was founded in 1871 and until 1986 was incorporated as the Diocese of Zululand and Swaziland.
Article By Michael Craske