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The Church of the Province of Southern Africa

Posted on: September 11, 2006 2:25 PM
Related Categories: Southern Africa

Synod of Bishops - Statement on the Anglican Communion

The Synod of Bishops of the Church of the Province of Southern Africa, during its recent meeting, reflected on the position of the Anglican Communion and the present tensions within the Communion.

In affirming their desire for the unity of the Anglican Communion to be maintained, the Bishops want to extend to the Communion a message of hope. St Paul in his first Letter to the Corinthians talks of faith, hope and love, with faith and love being either side of hope. The recent reflections by the Archbishop of Canterbury and the response to those reflections by the Archbishop of Cape Town speak eloquently to the concepts of our shared faith and tradition as Anglicans and of our need for a deep sacrificial love towards one another. Such love and faith find their fullest expression in the grace and truth revealed in Jesus Christ.

Our own journey as a Province within the Anglican Communion tells of a desire for unity amidst the diversity of this region as an essential part of the struggle for liberation of the six countries, Angola, Namibia, South Africa, Lesotho, Swaziland and Mocambique, that with the island of St Helena, make up our Province. In our life, worship and witness we have learned, and will continue to need to learn, how to live together with our differences and conflicts. We know from experience that unity is a divine given but requires constant effort to be realised; a journey that requires tolerance and grace so that no-one should be hurt and all should feel that they belong. Our own journey continues to remind us of the need for a generosity of spirit and the respect for diversity. This life together has resulted in our church showing considerable growth with a high level of involvement by young people.

As Bishops, we remain convinced that within the Anglican Communion what unites us far outweighs what divides us. Our Spirituality and Worship with the daily reading of Holy Scripture within the Eucharist and the Daily Office unites us. Our experience has been that this has maintained and deepened our unity with each other. The Lambeth Quadrilateral has provided a framework for Anglicans for over a century and the Instruments of Unity as they have developed have played an important role in the unity of the Communion. We believe that the role of the Anglican Consultative Council ought to be strengthened as it best reflects the synodical governance of our churches. The Anglican Communion continues to unite us through the Cycle of Prayer, the networks it has established as well as through its work in the fields of Ecumenism, Theological Education, Mission and Canon Law. We look forward to the consultation needed towards the proposed Covenant and believe that it will further strengthen our unity. We remember with gratitude the support given by the Anglican Communion to the countries within our Province during our struggle for liberation and recognise the positive effect the Communion can have in situations of conflict and human need.

We urge the Anglican Communion to choose to remain united in accordance with the will of the Triune God whom we seek to serve. We understand that, given the situation in which we find ourselves at present, there is no simple or quick solution to the difficulties we face. We urge every part of the Anglican Communion to recognise, in one another, our common sanctification in Christ and to seek steps that, in time, will lead to reconciliation and the unity and peace that Christ wills for his Church. We pledge ourselves to continue to pray and work with all concerned for such reconciliation and unity and are ready to assist in this process where appropriate.

From The Anglican Church of Southern Africa