From the Worldwide Faith News archives

ACNS3542 Archbishop of Cape Town speaks out about HIV/AIDS,

From "Anglican Communion News Service" <>
Date Thu, 7 Aug 2003 07:46:13 +0100

ACNS 3542     |     SOUTHERN AFRICA	|     7 AUGUST 2003 

Archbishop of Cape Town speaks out about HIV/AIDS, war, poverty and

[ACNS source: Anglican Diocese of Cape Town] The Archbishop of Cape
Town, Njongonkulu Ndungane, opened the Diocese of Cape Town's 60th
session of Synod by calling on the church to "make a difference to the
lives of those we meet in our everyday life".

Saying that the church is called to be the sign of God's presence in the
world, he challenged the synod, in a charge entitled 'Agents of the
Reign of God', to make a real difference by tackling the issues of war
and peace, interfaith relations, poverty, HIV/AIDS and domestic abuse
and gender violence.

Just a day after making strong criticisms of government policy, by
calling the HIV/AIDS situation in South Africa, "a world disgrace as
serious as apartheid", he now turned to his own church charging them to
work together with other Anglicans in Cape Town and South Africa, as
well as with other church denominations and faith groups, to respond to
"this enormous health crisis affecting us all."

The Archbishop spoke of his encouragement with regards to the church's
'Isiseko Sokomeleza' project, and the many HIV/AIDS projects being run
by parishes, but warned that it is essential that the church continue to
fight the sin of stigmatisation, "which prevents people from early
testing and decimates families".

According to the Archbishop, poverty, alongside unemployment is one of
the greatest challenges facing South Africa and he spoke about how, "for
those on the streets, in the informal settlements and in the rural
areas, ten years of democracy have not had the desired or promised
effect". He called on synod to support the church's social development
work and also to lobby government for basic poverty alleviation policies
such as the Basic Income Grant. 

The Archbishop went on to say that the money for the arms deal could
have been used for other needs and that he believed that, "there is such
a strong moral imperative against this deal that an appeal to the
international courts for cancellation would be sympathetically

The Archbishop also addressed internal church issues such as the use of
different ministry models, being open to the Holy Spirit to discern
truth, communicating the gospel to the next generation, prayer, being
confident in our Christian faith, and looking beyond the differences in
the church to seek a Christ-centred identity. 

The Archbishop finally spoke of his role as Archbishop and ways in which
the diocesan structure could be changed in order to allow him to fulfil
his ministry more effectively.

Diocesan synod is the highest decision-making body of the Anglican
Church in and around Cape Town (the Diocese of Cape Town). The opening
of synod was attended by Anglican clergy and lay-representatives as well
as ecumenical partners representing the African Spiritual Churches, the
African Methodist Episcopal Church, the Church of England in South
Africa, the Methodist Church of Southern Africa, the Dutch Reformed
Church, the Moravian Church, the Congregational Church, the Presbyterian
Church and the Western Cape Province Council of Churches.

A greeting was brought on behalf of all these ecumenical partners by
Methodist Bishop Andrew Hefkie, who challenged all the churches to be a
prophetic voice to government. 

Topics to be covered during the three days of synod include the possible
division of the Diocese of Cape Town, guidelines for interfaith
relations, violence against women, youth sexuality and HIV/AIDS. Any
additional motions or highlights will be announced by press release.

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