Prayer Book reform slated for South Africa: The Church of England Newspaper, April 7, 2013 p. 4 April 9, 2013Posted by geoconger in Anglican Church of Southern Africa, Church of England Newspaper, Hymnody/Liturgy.
Tags: Book of common prayer
Prayer Book reform, theological education, corruption and crime were the focus of last month’s meeting of the House of Bishops of the Anglican Church of Southern Africa.
While the church has seen rapid growth in northern Mozambique — leading to a call for the creation of a new episcopal area Diocese of Niassa — as well as Africa’s first Anglican women bishops, Ellinah Wamukoya of Swaziland and Margaret Vertue of False Bay, the statement released a close of the 5 – 8 March 2013 meeting in Modderpoort in the Diocese of the Free State acknowledged that “our hearts are deeply troubled as we gather.”
“We have noted with sadness the ever widening gap between the rich and the poor. Many of our people are trapped in the ever deepening spiral of abject poverty. We note the evidence for a close correlation between corruption and poverty. We, as a church, strongly condemn all forms of corruption, whether it is in the church or in civil society or in government or in business.”
“We call upon all of us to strive for a corruption free society and to challenge the governments and businesses in our region to do the same.”
The bishops also said an “area of particular concern is the escalating violence in South African society.” Citing a series of high-profile rapes and murders the bishops said they “condemn any form of violence, whether it is civil or state violence, domestic or public violence. We call upon all our people to strive for a violence-free society and, by so doing, to allow the light of Christ to permeate our society.”
Within the church the Bishop noted that 2013 would be a year dedicated to theological education and would also see the beginnings of liturgical reform.
There was an “inseparable link between the reform of liturgy and spiritual renewal,” the bishops said, adding: “There is a great sense of excitement as we embark on this process, as the Province, of revising the Anglican Prayer Book 1989. We realise that this will not be a hasty process, especially since we want to ensure that it will be a dynamic tool for mission and ministry, which will give expression to our distinctive identity and spirituality.”
“Through our sharing and praying” the bishops said they had become “deeply aware of the hard realities” of South Africa and had heard “the cries of God’s people”.
“We pray that we as the Church will listen intelligently to what God is saying to us at this time; observe diligently the signs of God’s restorative grace that is breaking through in places where our people are struggling; teach faithfully what God commands us to do; and continue to be God’s Good-news people wherever we live and work,” the statement said.