Day One of the Council of Anglican Provinces of Africa meeting

February 7, 2012

[Anglican Communion News Service]


6th February 2012 Bujumbura, Burundi
“Harnessing our unity to unlock our potential and secure our future”

The programme for the first day of business began with devotions at which the Archbishop of Burundi, the Most Rev. Bernard Ntahoturi shared the ‘double vision’ of Jesus in relationship to the apostle Peter – ‘Jesus looked at him and said… you will be’. As Jesus saw Peter’s potential and value so we should, as followers of Jesus see the possibilities for transformation and the gifts in others.

Welcome remarks were received. The Bishop of Bujumbura, the Rt. Rev. Pie Ntukamazina extended an invitation to delegates to visit the Anglican Church of Burundi and strengthen unity through south to south partnership. The Archbishop, the Most Rev. Bernard Ntahoturi reiterated his welcome and particularly thanked the Primates for their prayers, support and the refuge given by neighbours to Burundian refugees during the conflict.

The Most Rev. Ian Ernest, Chair of CAPA among his opening remarks said “CAPA remains to be a facilitator and a powerful instrument that our provinces and dioceses may use to enhance the quality of their ministry. We all need each other.” He looked forward to the Council as it sought to implement the resolutions that came out of the All African Bishops’ Conference held in Entebbe, in August 2010. The challenge remains to empower and equip the Church as it seeks to address the needs and concerns of Africa.

Delegations from Nigeria, Uganda, Kenya, Sudan, DR Congo, Burundi, Rwanda, Central Africa, the diocese of Egypt, Tanzania, West Africa, South Africa, Indian Ocean, were introduced and brought news and greetings from their respective Provinces. Some of the key points mentioned included widespread numerical growth through evangelism, the need for believers to be nurtured, the need to raise the competence of clergy through training, the multi-dimensional needs of the new nation of South Sudan and the necessity for solidarity with the Christians in North Sudan, and the on-going challenges in Zimbabwe and North Africa.

Partners and observers from the Archbishop of Canterbury’s office, the Anglican Alliance, the Anglican Communion Office, USPG, United Thank Offering, Netsforlife, Trinity Church, TEC, CMS Africa, Christian Aid, and ECoH were introduced. The Most Rev. John Chew from the Global South Primates was welcomed.

The Archbishop of Canterbury sent greetings and promise of his prayers for the meeting. He said “The work of the Anglican Provinces in Africa for holistic mission and development, grounded in the Good News of Jesus, is an inspiration to all your Anglican brothers and sisters, throughout the world, and it is a joy to see it developing so richly. Your witness to Christ in so many situations that are both materially and spiritually challenging is a gift from God”.

The Chair’s address noted that there is a process of profound change taking place in Africa as well as other parts of the world and that CAPA is called to be a transforming agent especially in places where people have no voice. Among the many issues that need to be addressed are the proclamation of the Gospel and the nurturing and training of Christians; strengthening organs of management in the provinces of Africa; the role of the Church in nation building and where there is turbulence such as North Africa; mechanisms for conflict management and transformation; accountability of leaders; mechanisms for sharing ideas on issues of concern; the proliferation of arms in the Continent; relationships between Christians and Muslims; and the means to strengthen fellowship, solidarity and unity especially where there are doctrinal and other differences.

The Chair acknowledged the role of the Church in the creation of South Sudan as a new nation. He congratulated the new Primates of Central Africa, DR Congo, Rwanda, Kenya, Tanzania and Nigeria. He also registered appreciation of the contribution to the life of CAPA from former members who have recently retired.

Speaking to his report the General Secretary, the Rev. Grace Kaiso, identified achievements since the last CAPA meeting in 2007 in Mauritius and the development of CAPA. He referred to the presentation of a strategic plan and constitution. He stressed the importance of mutual support between the Provinces and referred to the training, facilitation and support of Provincial Secretaries, Bishops and Archbishops and ways of nurturing solidarity through Provincial visits and contributions to regional and global conferences and consultations.

He acknowledged the strengthening of relationships with partners through consultation and the establishing of principles of partnerships and frameworks for programmes. The inaugural consultation of the Anglican Alliance in April 2011 set a new spirit of generosity and sharing, for example, through scholarships and capacity building. He mentioned the visit of the Archbishop of Canterbury to CAPA in July 2011 when support was sought in advocating against the small arms trade and policies that are responsible for climate change.

Dr. John Muhoho Kimani presented the financial report, thanked Provinces for their support and encouraged mechanisms for mobilising resources across the continent.

CAPA’s Strategic Plan for the next 5 years was presented by Emmanuel Olatunji, Programme Director and adopted by the Council.

One of the concerns faced by the Church is the issue of food security on the continent. With that in mind guest speaker, Edwin Kamau from ECoH (Environment Conservation and Health), brought the challenge of the Church’s call to sustainable development through his presentation to the Council. He stressed that the Church has the key to unlocking the potential. It must take the lead in the fight against poverty and disease and work in unity with governments, institutions and organisations to transform lives and communities.

A Partners Round Table was held after the closing prayer.