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Theological grounding essential in today's world, says South African Primate

Posted on: August 17, 2015 12:06 PM
Photo Credit: ACNS

By ACNS staff

The Primate of the Anglican Church of Southern Africa, Archbishop Dr Thabo Makgoba, has emphasised the importance of training Anglicans for ministry in a letter to church members leading up to Theological Education Sunday on 23 August.

“In times such as these, we need theologically trained leaders who will in turn encourage everyone in the church - clergy and lay people - to be theologically attuned,” he said. 

Such sound theological training provided essential grounding for the Church to face the challenges of today’s world, Archbishop Makgoba stated.  

“We can approach the world with the eyes of God, seeking the mind of Christ in the varied challenges we face, from those posed by the changing earth system, seen in global warming, to those which result from the inequality of our societies, experienced in the desperate conditions in which so many of our people live.”

The training offered by schools such as the College of the Transfiguration (COTT), the Province’s full-time formation institution for ordained ministry, made it possible to bring hope and discern the hand of God in a rapidly-changing world, Dr Makgoba told members of the Church.

With COTT the dream of having an Anglican university in Southern Africa was becoming a reality, he added.

It was important to continue to emphasize and fund theological education, Archbishop Makgabo said. “We must develop the college not only for the future of our Province and the Anglican ethos in Southern Africa, but for the Church in Africa,” he commented, noting the presence of students at COTT from Mauritius, Sudan and Zimbabwe and other countries.

In the August letter, the Archbishop of Cape Town also pointed out that South Africa marked Women’s Day during the month (9 August) and recalled the challenge of a young woman at the Diocese of Natal’s elective assembly the month before never to forget the needs of women in the elective process. The Church would do well to heed her words as it selected leaders and made decisions related to leadership, he said.

Dr Makgoba said that the Province still had a disproportionately high number of men as clergy and that funding bursaries for woman students and the work of woman theologians was an ongoing challenge.  

However, he remarked that increasing numbers of women in leadership - notably the appointment of Dr Vicentia Kgabe as COTT’s Rector - were strengthening efforts to “encourage women to train for ordination and to assume positions of leadership in the church”.