|Communique From the Tenth CAPA Council Meeting
October 8, 2007
Mauritius, Indian Ocean, October 2007
[CAPA - Africa]
1. We, delegates of the Council of Anglican Provinces in Africa, gathered at Hotel El Monaco, Quatre Bornes, Mauritius between the 2nd and 5th October 2007 for the tenth meeting of the Council under the chairmanship of the Most Rev'd Peter J. Akinola. We represent eleven of the twelve Provinces of CAPA* as laity, clergy, bishops and archbishops and we issue this Communique from our meeting.
2. We have gathered in Mauritius, a delightful republic that is a bright light of hope for all developing nations after its years as a colonial territory of Great Britain. Mauritius is a diverse multi-ethnic society, with a stable democracy, regular free elections, a positive human rights record and a growing economy that has won world-wide recognition. We have come here to join with our sisters and brothers of the Province of the Indian Ocean to give thanks for their faithfulness as we all bear witness to the Gospel of Jesus Christ that is the only hope for eternal transformation.
3. We are extremely grateful for the warm welcome shown to us by the Primate of the Indian Ocean and Bishop of Mauritius, the Most Reverend Ian Ernest, the Acting General Secretary, the Most Rev'd Benjamin Nzimbi, the Provincial Secretary, the Rev'd Samatiana Johnson, and the local support team. We are thankful for the gracious hospitality shown to us by the Prime Minister of Mauritius, the Honourable Dr Navinchandra Ramgoolam, the Acting Prime Minister, the Honourable Dr. Rashid Beebeejaun, and the Mayor of Quatre Bornes, Her Worship Regina Maudar. We were also pleased to be able to welcome the Archbishop of York, the Most Rev'd John Sentamu, for part of the meeting.
4. We recognize that not every nation in Africa is blessed with such an open and stable government and a helpful economic environment, but we do rejoice in the encouraging signs that have been shared with us. For example, after years of devastating war there are glimmers of hope in Democratic Republic of the Congo and the now vibrant economies of Kenya and Ghana have recently drawn plaudits from the World Bank.
5. We have met as representatives of the fastest growing part of our beloved Communion and those of us gathered account for more than 37 million Anglicans. We believe that we have "come of age". We, who were once regarded as disobedient to God, are now compelled by the Gospel to declare the Good News of God's liberating love to all those who live in disobedience to God's Word.
6. We have come together recognizing the rich history of the African Church and the gift of faith that it has long given to the world. We are reminded of the saints, fathers and martyrs of the early church such as Augustine of Hippo, Tertullian, Cyprian and Perpetua of Carthage, and Athanasius and Clement of Alexandria; and more recent young martyrs of the Continent.
7. We have been distressed by the reports of the suffering and devastation that has occurred in both East, Central and West Africa as a result of recent environmental crises including both drought and floods. We were also disturbed by accounts of the military oppression in Myanmar, political oppression in Zimbabwe and by the conflict between Muslims and Christians in Darfur, Sudan. We are, however, encouraged by the response from the local churches and wider world community. We are praying that all those affected will quickly receive the practical aid that is so sorely needed and the abiding comfort of God's Holy Spirit.
8. The theme of our meeting was "CALLED TO A LIFE OF FAITHFULNESS" and in his Opening Address, Archbishop Akinola challenged all present to see the importance of our faithfulness to God's call as it applies to obedience to all of God's commands, stewardship of all of God's gifts and mission to all of God's people. Failure in any one of these areas leaves the church impotent to take on the enormous challenges of today.
9. We were especially reminded of the need for obedience and faithful living when we received the report on our work with the HIV/AIDS pandemic. We were encouraged by the good progress made by the CAPA office in Nairobi but the disturbing growth in the numbers and classes of new infections reminded us that the battle is far from over. This is especially true for many women in Africa who find themselves increasingly vulnerable to sexual oppression and abuse. We believe that as a faith community, in addition to our ongoing care for those living with HIV/AIDS, we must issue a renewed call to prevention through abstinence and faithfulness - with particular focus on the men of our communities. We also call on the UN and the Governments of the G8 nations to fulfill their commitments so that the suffering of our most vulnerable sisters and brothers can be alleviated.
10. The acting General Secretary, Archbishop Nzimbi, challenged us to demonstrate faithfulness in all aspects of financial stewardship throughout our various provinces and especially in our financial support of CAPA. There was unanimous conviction that all provinces presently in arrears will fulfill their commitments by the end of 2007. We were also reminded that the number of people living in abject poverty within our provinces continues to grow and is a devastating indictment of poor governance in a continent that has been blessed by God with remarkable resources. We were encouraged by the report of the Global South Economic Empowerment Consultation (see END NOTE) recently concluded in Accra, Ghana. We support its recommendations, especially in the call for the recruitment of an Economic Empowerment officer in each of our provinces.
11. Faithfulness in mission is at the heart of our call to be disciples of Jesus Christ. We were blessed by the reports of continued growth in mission throughout many of our provinces. We are, however, very much aware of the truth of the saying that "the church is always one generation away from extinction". We urge all churches to reach out to and disciple the youth of our Provinces so that they are empowered to stand against the false promises of materialism that bombard their minds, become mature disciples of Christ and take their full part in the future mission of our church.
12. While we have spent the majority of our time focused on the CALL TO A LIFE OF FAITHFULNESS within our own Continent we have been unable to ignore the current crisis in our Communion. The situation is summarized well in "The Road to Lambeth" the report commissioned by the CAPA Primates, and is noted below.** We are united in our conviction that the Lord of the Church is calling upon Africa once again to contend for the "faith once and for all delivered to the saints."
13. We concluded our meeting with a special service for the inauguration of the DORCAS Activity Center at St. Thomas Church, Beau Bassin - an outreach ministry to the underprivileged of the surrounding community. It was a joyful celebration and a reminder that in the middle of all of our struggles God is at work renewing his Church - especially at the local level.
14. We recognize that in the few days that we have shared together we have only been given a glimpse of all that God is doing but it is enough to fill us with hope in God's love, God's power and God's faithfulness. We are grateful for the dedication and commitment shown by the CAPA leadership team over these past four years and look forward to God's continued blessing in the coming years.
Now to him who is able to do immeasurably more than all we ask or imagine, according to his power that is at work within us, to him be glory in the church and in Christ Jesus throughout all generations, for ever and ever! Amen. (Eph. 3:20,21)
* Provinces Represented: Burundi, Central Africa, Congo, Indian Ocean, Kenya, Nigeria, Rwanda, Southern Africa, Tanzania, Uganda, and West Africa.
** The current situation is a twofold crisis for the Anglican Communion: a crisis of doctrine and a crisis of leadership, in which the failure of the "Instruments" of the Communion to exercise discipline has called into question the viability of the Anglican Communion as a united Christian body under a common foundation of faith, as is supposed by the Chicago-Lambeth Quadrilateral. Due to this breakdown of discipline, we are not sure that we can in good conscience continue to spend our time, our money and our prayers on behalf of a body that proclaims two Gospels, the Gospel of Christ and the Gospel of Sexuality.
Global South Economic Empowerment Consultation, Accra, Ghana, September 2007, Communique
1. As representatives of Global South Provinces of the Anglican Communion we gathered at the New Coco Beach Hotel in Accra, Ghana, between 19th and 22nd September 2007. We were called together by the Global South Steering Committee and its chairman, the Most Rev'd Peter J. Akinola, to continue the work of the Economic Empowerment Track established exactly one year ago in Kigali, Rwanda. Nine Provinces were represented at the meeting*. We are extremely grateful for the warm welcome shown to us by the Primate of West Africa, the Most Reverend Justice Akrofi, the Provincial Secretary, the Reverend Father Anthony Eiwuley, and the local support team.
2. We have gathered in Ghana, formerly the Gold Coast, as this nation celebrates fifty years of independence as a sovereign state after its years as a colonial territory of Great Britain. At the time of independence there were high hopes for freedom and prosperity that are only now beginning to be realized. We are grateful, however, for the recent improvements and signs of hope and are praying that these signs will be transformed into an improved standard of living for all Ghanaians. We have come together out of our common conviction that the Gospel of Jesus Christ is a holistic gospel that addresses economic issues and community development just as surely as it speaks to the importance of personal transformation.
3. We have met as representatives of the fastest growing part of our beloved Communion and those of us gathered account for more than 31million active Anglicans. We recognize, sadly, that many of our members know the daily reality of poverty and we have come together to further the action steps that we identified a year ago. We have studied and worked together. We have shared our experiences of economic empowerment and practical models that have worked. We have sought to identify creative ways to meet the basic economic needs of our respective churches without relying upon the false comfort of dependency upon outside resources.
4. We have examined the Biblical basis for wealth creation, poverty alleviation and stewardship and have noted that there is a great deal of emphasis on economic morality in both the Old and New Testaments. Indeed we have observed that Jesus speaks more often about money and the right use of financial resources than he does about prayer. We have heard testimonies from participating Provinces of the various ways in which they are moving towards increased financial freedom. We were encouraged by their progress because it allows their member churches to grow in numbers and effectiveness, especially at the local congregational level, and so brings honour to the name of God.
5. We have been reminded that the greatest resources in every Province are the men and women, young and old, who make up its active membership and are the primary source of income for our churches. We recognize the critical need for ongoing Biblical discipleship for every aspect of their lives. We have heard numerous testimonies of the importance of encouraging every person to know that they have been gifted by God and that these gifts, when brought together, can accomplish far more than we can ask or imagine. We strongly urge every Province to establish Spirit-led, Measurable Attainable, Realistic and Time bound (SMART) goals for the identification and development of its own human resources.
6. We have examined the issues of dependence, independence and interdependence and the role of mutually beneficial partnerships within the Global South. We have been challenged to identify the many resources by which God has blessed each of our Provinces and we have been reminded of the vital importance of personal and corporate integrity, transparency and accountability. (See attached Ethical Economic & Financial Covenant )
7. We have also developed specific action plans for Economic Empowerment for each Province represented and have observed the value of Peer Review Teams working between Provinces and we commend this practice as an ongoing part of our life. We have also noted the critical importance of developing Project Management skills if we are to make full use of our God given resources and talents. In particular we have noted that a number of Provinces are exploring ways to develop their various lands and buildings and recommend that this be done with cross-provincial consultation.
8. We have also noted the importance of developing approaches for Economic Empowerment at every level of the life of our respective Provinces. We have learned of effective programs and models that have been implemented at the grassroots level for individual members of congregations through Christian Micro Enterprise Development such as Five Talents International. We have also learned of large scale economic development plans for the support of Provincial headquarters such as that being undertaken by the Anglican Church of Kenya. In all this we have been blessed by the level of professionalism and creativity among our Provinces.
9. We are very much aware that what we have done in these past few days is only a beginning step to the full realization of the hopes expressed in the eight action steps outlined at the Kigali meeting . We recommend that this Consultation become an annual event to
a. Strengthen the development of this network of Provincial leaders for Economic Empowerment,
b. Monitor the various projects underway and also
c. Share the various insights gained from practical experience in a wide variety of contexts.
10. Throughout our time together in Accra we have not only shared in discussions but have also spent time together in table fellowship, prayer and worship. We are grateful that because of the time that we have shared our lives have been strengthened and our love for Christ, His Church and His world confirmed. Accordingly, we pray for God's continued blessing on all members of our beloved Communion that we might all be empowered to continue in our mission to a needy and troubled world.
Now to him who is able to do immeasurably more than all we ask or imagine, according to his power that is at work within us, to him be glory in the church and in Christ Jesus throughout all generations, for ever and ever! Amen. (Eph. 3:20)
* Provinces Represented: Congo, Indian Ocean, Jerusalem and Middle East, Kenya, Nigeria, South East Asia, Uganda, Papua New Guinea and West Africa. Also present were facilitators from Tanzania, UK, Kenya and the USA