From the Church of the Province of Southern Africa (CPSA)
An intense three-day planning meeting of the Anglican Church in Southern Africa this week has resulted in a call to action to all Anglicans to address meaningfully some pressing issues affecting our society.
In his concluding remarks after the meeting (on Thursday 17 March) the Most Revd Njongonkulu Ndungane, Archbishop of Cape Town and the Primate of the Church of the Province of Southern Africa, has reminded Anglicans that the church is perhaps the only society that exists primarily for its non-members, for those on the margins of society - the poor and the excluded. He has asked a representative body of church clergy and laity who attended the meeting to avoid falling into patronising attitudes towards those worse-off and to look on all people with respect, honouring their right to be treated with dignity.
The meeting reflected firstly on the state of the Southern African Anglican Church, drawing parallels between the challenges it faces and those faced by the Southern African Development Community (SADC) as a whole. Some of these challenges are captured in the Millennium Development Goals (MDGs), the recently released Commission for Africa Report and supported by the philosophy and objectives of the New Partnership for Africa's Development (NEPAD).
"Clearly, pledging commitment to either MDGs or NEPAD is not sufficient. It is for this reason that the majority of discussion in this meeting has focused on the topic of development," said Archbishop Ndungane.
The Archbishop summed up subsequent discussions, which covered the challenges of women's emancipation; improving levels of education; making public services accessible to the poor; tackling HIV and AIDS, Malaria and other infectious diseases; implementing the Millennium Development Goals (MDGs) and other challenges specific to the Anglican Church such as sharing a common vision and building institutional capacity in all church dioceses.
Various action plans have been recommended to address these challenges:
"Let us make hunger history. Let us strive intentionally for a generation without AIDS. Let us rise up and build," said Archbishop Ndungane at the conclusion of the meeting.
For further information, please contact Penny Lorimer, Media Liaison for Archbishop Ndungane, on 082 894-1522