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80 dead in Mozambique flooding: The Church of England Newspaper, February 24, 2013 p 6. March 23, 2013

Posted by geoconger in Anglican Church of Southern Africa, Church of England Newspaper, Church of the Province of Central Africa, Church of the Province of the Indian Ocean, Disaster Relief.
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Church leaders in the Indian Ocean and Southern Africa have launched appeals for aid following flooding across the region.

On 1 Feb 2013 Archbishop Ian Ernest of the Indian Ocean asked for support for the Diocese of the Seychelles after the island was hit by Tropical Cyclone Felleng. The “country and the diocese have suffered heavy losses from the floods,” as “church buildings and other important structures have been destroyed. However we give thanks to the Lord as there has been no loss of life.”

Bishop Brighton Malasa of the Diocese of Upper Shire in Malawi reported his country had been hard hit by floods. He estimated that 33,000 people had been dislocated by flood waters in his diocese.  “We would appreciate humanitarian support such as soap, clothes, cereals, sugar, blankets and tents,” he said.

While floods are common in the early part of the year in southern Malawi, the “oldest people in our communities are saying they have not seen such rains in the past 50 years,” the bishop said.

In the Diocese of Lebombo in southern Mozambique approximately 70,000 people have been displaced by flood waters, Bishop Dinis Sengulane said. “The situation is dramatic and it calls for our response if we are to avoid more damages to the lives of people”.

The flooding had destroyed crops and left “stagnant waters [that] will become favorable places for the proliferation of mosquitoes that bring malaria,” the bishop wrote to supporters in the West in an appeal for “mosquito nets to prevent malaria” as well as “seeds and school materials for children.”

On 31 Jan 2013 the United Nations reported severe flooding in southern Mozambique has affected a quarter of a million people, while heavy rains buffeted the north of the country as Tropical Cyclone Felleng made landfall after passing over Madagascar.

The floods have killed at least 48 people in the south of Mozambique, the UN reported while government officials put the death toll at 80.

Indian Ocean Synod reelects Ian Ernest as Archbishop: The Church of England Newspaper, September 2, 2012 p 6. August 31, 2012

Posted by geoconger in Church of England Newspaper, Church of the Province of the Indian Ocean.
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The General Synod of the Province of the Indian Ocean has re-elected the Bishop of Mauritius Ian Ernest to a second five-year term and archbishop and primate of the eight diocese province covering Madagascar, the Seychelles and Mauritius.

Meeting last week in Fianarantsoa, Madagascar the bishops and synod discussed the political and economic situation in Madagascar, which since independence from France in 1960 has suffered repeated changes of government.  A Fourth Republic was established in 2010 after the adoption by referendum of a new constitution.  In 2009 President Marc Ravalomanana was removed by a coup led opposition leader and then-mayor of Antananarivo, Andry Rajoelina.  In March 2009, Rajoelina was declared by the Supreme Court as the President of the High Transitional Authority, an interim governing body responsible for moving the country toward presidential elections.  Elections have been set for next year.

In an interview with Week-End magazine, Archbishop Ernest said the synod hoped the Anglican Church could act as a mediating agent between the rival political groups in Madagascar and help bring an end to political instability that had dried up the tourist trade and hampered economic growth.  The Synod welcomed the government’s pledge to hold elections next year, and asked that they be free and fair and respectful of the dignity of the people (“respectueux du peuple malgache”). They also called upon the government to support the right to information and freedom of expression (droit à l’information et à la liberté d’expression).

In other business synod heard reports on diocesan projects, including the foundation of an Anglicare Mauritius to oversee church social service work on the island.  The church agency’s first project is a home for un-wed mothers built in conjunction with the Roman Catholic Diocese of Port-Louis.

Archbishop Ernest told Week-End the Anglican Church sought to be a full partner in the social, spiritual and economic development of Mauritius.  “We are all called to work together to honor the sacrifice made by the ancestors of all Mauritians to make this country a land of milk and honey,” said the archbishop.

First printed in The Church of England Newspaper.

American arrogance leads to schism with African church, archbishop says: The Church of England Newspaper, April 16, 2010 p 8. April 22, 2010

Posted by geoconger in Archbishop of Canterbury, Church of England Newspaper, Church of the Province of the Indian Ocean.
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Archbishop Ian Ernest of the Indian Ocean

First published in The Church of England Newspaper.

The Province of the Indian Ocean has broken with the Episcopal Church (TEC) and the Anglican Church of Canada (ACC) in the wake of the affirmation of the election of a lesbian priest as suffragan bishop of Los Angeles.

In a letter dated April 12, Archbishop Ian Ernest, the Bishop of Mauritius and Chairman of the Council of Anglican Provinces of Africa (CAPA) told the Archbishop of Canterbury that he would “forthwith suspend all communication both verbal and sacramental with both the TEC and the ACC – their Primates, bishops and clergy until such time as they reverse their theological innovations, and show a commitment to abide by the decisions of the Lambeth Conference.”

The decision by Archbishop Ernest to break with the US and Canadian churches represents a significant shift within the political calculus of the primates.  Last week’s letter to the Archbishop of Canterbury from the Archbishop of Uganda, while expressing similar exasperation with the US church, reiterated Uganda’s long-standing concerns.

Archbishop Ernest, however, had served as a bridge from the Archbishop of Canterbury to the African primates, and he had held back from confronting the North American churches in response to Dr. Williams’ pleas.  With his defection to the anti-American camp, Dr. Williams has suffered a significant setback in his bid to keep the Global South churches on-side while he attempts to broker a solution to the American crisis.

It was the arrogance of the Episcopal Church as displayed in Presiding Bishop Katharine Jeffert Schori’s March letter to the primates that pushed him over the edge, Archbishop Ernest said.

Addressing Dr. Williams, he wrote, “you have yourself been amazingly patient with TEC, we as Primates have made our position abundantly clear on occasions without number, some of us going so far as to declare broken or impaired communion with both the TEC and the Anglican Church of Canada. This it seems has been to no avail, as the recent letter to the Primates from the Presiding Bishop of TEC makes clear that a deliberate course has been irrevocably chosen by that church.”

Bishop Jeffert Schori’s letter stated it was TEC’s “intention to proceed with the consecration of a second person living in an actively homosexual partnered relationship and thereby to disregard the mind of the rest of the Communion.”

The break with TEC and the ACC was not complete, however, as the Indian Ocean would remain in fellowship with those Anglicans who had disavowed the North American rejection of “gracious restraint.”

The archbishop also backed the call by the Primates of Uganda and the Middle East for an emergency primates meeting to respond to the Glasspool election.  He further endorsed their request that the agenda for the meeting be distributed in advance and that the US and Canada not participate in the discussions over their place in the Communion.

The innovations of the past decade in the structures of the Anglican Communion were not working, he said.  He asked for an “overhaul of the structures of the Communion to bring them into line with the changed demographics which are the reality of our church today. If over 80% of Anglicans live in the global south, why is this not reflected in communion structures?” he asked.

Archbishop Ernest supported Dr. Williams’ plans for an Anglican Covenant, but stated the “credibility of the structures which are meant to oversee the process needs to be addressed.”

Unless swift action was taken, Archbishop warned Dr. Williams the future would see “the Communion falling into deeper chaos and disintegration.”

Archbishop Makgoba criticizes Madagascar “power grab”: CEN 3.27.09 March 28, 2009

Posted by geoconger in Church of England Newspaper, Church of the Province of the Indian Ocean, Politics.
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The Archbishop of Cape Town has issued a call to prayer to the people of the Anglican Church of Southern Africa, asking that they keep the people of Madagascar in their hearts.

Archbishop Thabo Makgoba’s March 19 letter follows a report by the Primate of the Indian Ocean, Archbishop Ian Ernest who reported on March 16 that “weeks of opposition protests and turmoil on the Indian Ocean island have killed more than 135 people”

Archbishop Ernest reported that earlier that day the army had thrown “its weight behind opposition leader Andry Rajoelina and stormed a presidential palace in the heart of Antananarivo. The army also seized the central bank. Tanks and scores of soldiers are still guarding the buildings.”

Read it all in The Church of England Newspaper.

Archbishop Makgoba criticizes Madagascar “power grab”

Scenes from Alexandria: Indian Ocean and Tanzania February 21, 2009

Posted by geoconger in Anglican Album (Photos), Anglican Church of Tanzania, Church of the Province of the Indian Ocean, Primates Meeting 2009.
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The Primates of the Indian Ocean and Tanzania, Archbishops Ian Ernest and Valentino Mokiwa

The Primates of the Indian Ocean and Tanzania, Archbishops Ian Ernest and Valentino Mokiwa

African call for unity: CEN 9.26.08 p 8. September 25, 2008

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The chairman of the Council of Anglican Provinces of Africa (CAPA) has called upon the African church to put aside its differences and engage with its theological opponents within the Anglican Communion. CAPA should eschew a political solution to the divisions over doctrine and disciple Archbishop Ian Ernest said, and focus instead on the church’s transformation through Christian witness.

In his Sept 3 presidential address read to the joint meeting of primates and standing committee of CAPA in Nairobi, Archbishop Ernest, Primate of the Church of the Province of the Indian Ocean and Bishop of Mauritius, said CAPA must resist becoming one interest group among many within the Anglican Communion.

“The Church is going through trial times. This is nothing new, and it is certainly not the last time that our Communion faces challenges,” Archbishop Ernest said.

But what was new at this “critical juncture” was a “process of profound change. Our deliberations at this meeting will not only affect our lives today, but will contribute to shape the future of the Anglican Communion worldwide. Future generations will read the minutes of this meeting. These are both exciting and challenging times, and we must act with utmost responsibility,” he said.

“Our large family of love”-the Anglican Communion” had been “distressed by unilateral decisions” taken by the North American churches which “threaten the unity of our communion,” he said.

Archbishop Ernest also expressed “concern about the violence of arguments” that had so hardened positions that it raised serious concerns “about our ability to resolve such differences.”

However, he did not despair, for it “is in love, and with hope in our hearts, that we meet today, as we pray for unity and look to work together to build the church of God.”

Within the context of African Christianity, the church was facing a number of new challenges, as well as long term problems. The Church in Africa needed to face up to the challenge of militant atheism, ethnic and tribal jealousies, oppressive regimes, and sectarian divisions. While there was good news to report from Zimbabwe, the problems in Darfur remained.

To respond to these challenges, as well as to the wider divisions within the Anglican Communion, CAPA must “build up its strategy to be faithful to God’s mission.”

However, “we, unfortunately, are retreating into a collection of lobby groups that are divisive and this phenomenon runs the risk of making the Communion a federation of closed ecclesial systems.”

The proper path for CAPA was to be “transforming agents” for Christ in the world. “Jesus needs us to be his hands to serve, his feet to visit, and voice to speak for Him. This is our task. But very often as a Church we fail at this task. We belong to the Community of suffering and service, of faith, hope and love which carries saving mission to all people.”

“We can challenge the world if we abide in Christ,” Archbishop Ernest said, and “let CAPA be the prophet of its time by being different, loving but effective.”

“My appeal to you” is that we “leave aside the different opinions we may have about the present situation in the Communion. We have to seek to maintain that spirit of togetherness within the Council of the Anglican Provinces of Africa, so that we may leap forward to be a witness of what it means to abide in Christ,” he said.
“The African Continent needs us. So, it is only in our togetherness that we can demonstrate to the World how unity in spirit and deeds can transform the lives of many,” he said.

Archbishop Ernest told The Church of England Newspaper he was unable to attend the meeting, due to a back injury, and his address was read to the assembly. Rwandan Archbishop Emmanuel Kolini chaired the meeting in his absence. A delayed flight prevented Nigerian Archbishop Peter Akinola from attending the meeting, while Ugandan Archbishop Henry Orombi was obliged to leave early. The conference communiqué will be released shortly, Archbishop Ernest said.

The Archbishop of the Indian Ocean July 17, 2008

Posted by geoconger in Anglican Album (Photos), Church of the Province of the Indian Ocean, Lambeth 2008.
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The Most Rev Ian Ernest on the opening day of the Lambeth Conference

The Bishop of Tulear (Madagascar) July 16, 2008

Posted by geoconger in Anglican Album (Photos), Church of the Province of the Indian Ocean, Lambeth 2008.
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The Rt Rev Todd MacGregor on the opening day of the Lambeth Conference

Easter messages cover a range of social and theological messages worldwide: CEN 3.28.08 p 2 March 31, 2008

Posted by geoconger in Anglican Church of Aotearoa New Zealand & Polynesia, Anglican Church of Australia, Church of England Newspaper, Church of the Province of the Indian Ocean, The Episcopal Church.
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A spectrum of theological belief and social concerns at work within the Anglican Communion were on display in Holy Week and Easter sermons and pastoral letters this past week.

Presiding Bishop Katharine Jefferts Schori went Green for Easter asking American Episcopalians to consider the cost of their affluence. “We cannot love our neighbors unless we care for the creation that supports all our earthly lives,” she said and could not respect “the dignity of our fellow creatures if our sewage or garbage fouls their living space.”

“When atmospheric warming, due in part to the methane output of the millions of cows we raise each year to produce hamburger, begins to slowly drown the island homes of our neighbors in the South Pacific, are we truly sharing good news?” the presiding bishop wrote in an Easter message to the church.

New Zealand’s archbishops called Christians to see Easter as the celebration of love over death. Easter was the unique event in world history where the “final suffering of the Son of God reveal how deep God’s empathy is for the world, and how far divine love will go to redeem the pain and sin of the world. Evil manifested in so many forms – political, religious, psychological, and spiritual – poured itself out completely in this event.”

“And the Easter miracle is this – these murderous forces exhausted themselves without finally exhausting the faith, hope, and love of God,” Archbishops Brown Turei, David Moxon and Jabez Bryce wrote. “The resurrection,” they said “is the place in human history where evil, injustice, and prejudice are transfigured into justice, goodness, and enlightenment.”

The Dean of Perth urged Anglicans to rid themselves of outmoded notions of Easter. “The Resurrection of Jesus ought not to be seen in physical terms, but as a new spiritual reality,” the Very Rev. John Shepherd said, noting it was “important for Christians to be set free from the idea that the Resurrection was an extraordinary physical event which restored to life Jesus’ original earthly body.”

The resurrection was a spiritual event for the disciples and not “historical records as we understand them. They are symbolic images of the breaking through of the resurrection spirit into human lives,” Dean Shepherd said.

The Archbishop of Sydney used his Easter message to warn Christians against false teaching and the occult. The popular fascination with ghosts reprented “the longing of the human heart for an existence beyond the grave,” Dr. Peter Jensen said.

Yet Christians believed death was not the end. “When you trust in Jesus Christ, you are trusting the one person who can take you through the greatest calamity of life and bring you safe to the other side. Christians don’t try to contact their dead because we know that they are with Jesus and we will join them as whole people – in fact those who belong to Jesus will be transformed people,” Dr. Jensen said as it “shows you that new beginnings are possible.”

The president of the Council of Anglican Provinces of Africa (CAPA), Archbishop Ian Ernest of the Indian Ocean, wrote he hoped the Paschal season “will instill in us an urge to seek transformation and thus empower us to work towards the making up of a society based on gospel values.”

“By his precious death and glorious resurrection, Jesus has reconciled the world to his Father. It is therefore imperative for CAPA to emerge as a reconciling body in Christ,” he said, and “facilitate conversations and dialogue in the midst of conflicts” that continue to plague Africa.