Listening: Archbishop of Canterbury to visit South Africa, Angola

March 1, 2007

The Archbishop of Canterbury, Dr. Rowan Williams, is scheduled to be in South Africa and Angola March 5-13 as part of an official visit to the Anglican Church of Southern Africa, one of the 12 Anglican Provinces on the African continent. The visit, announced in the Archbishop's Presidential Address to the Church of England's General Synod on February 26, will begin in Boksburg, South Africa, where Williams will be a keynote speaker at the Towards Effective Anglican Mission (TEAM) conference that will focus on the church's contribution to achieving the United Nations' Millennium Development Goals. Hosted by Archbishop Njongonkulu Ndungane of Cape Town, TEAM will bring together delegates from around the Anglican Communion to focus on ending extreme poverty, stopping the spread of HIV/AIDS, and ensuring proper care and treatment of those affected by the virus. Around 350 people are expected to attend from across the Communion to discuss how the church can do more as one of the world's largest grass roots development networks. A key theme of TEAM is the Christian faith as a powerful component in the transformation of motivation needed to end poverty and face the issues of climate change both in the affluent North and global South. "It is upon the grass roots delivery networks of the churches in Africa that achieving the Millennium Development Goals will depend, to a very great extent," said Williams, who will preach at the opening Eucharist in Tsakana and give a keynote address at the Conference on March 7 on the biblical principles for social activism and programs by the church. On March 9, Williams will travel to the recently inaugurated Diocese of Angola, where he will dedicate two schools, attend a Eucharist in a football stadium in Uige, and visit a shrine in memory of clergy and others killed during the struggle for independence from Portugal and in the subsequent civil war. Williams will see at first hand development and human rights work being undertaken in conjunction with the church. He will meet government and non-governmental leaders as well as those working to encourage better human rights and a wider civil society in a country emerging from the effects of decades of civil war. Williams said the visit would be vital in coordinating what the churches of the Anglican Communion had to offer. "The TEAM meeting represents the best opportunity Anglicans will have in the coming year to put the extraordinary human resources of our Communion at the service of the most vulnerable in our world and our own local communities," he said. "Angola is one of the youngest and most vulnerable of our Anglican churches. The new diocese of Angola is growing rapidly and is engaged both in active development work and in a fast-expanding program of primary evangelization. I am hoping to hear at first hand of their experience, see some of the aid and development work that they are involved with and take them encouragement from their brothers and sisters across the Anglican Communion."