The leaders of Africa’s Anglican churches have expressed their “deep concern” that the continent has yet to achieve a sustainable peace. In a communiqué issued at the end of last week’s meeting of the Council of Anglican Provinces of Africa (Capa) in Kigali, Rwanda, the continent’s primates said that they “decry the numerous lives lost and futures and hopes destroyed in meaningless wars.” They were challenged by Rwandan government minister Francis Koboneka to use their influence “to contribute to building cohesive, peaceful and thriving communities” on a continent that is “deeply wounded and needs healing.”
They added: “The continuing mis-investment in weapons of war at the expense of productive sectors like agriculture, social services, job creation and research into initiatives that will enable communities mitigate the effects of climate change and food insecurity is a major concern to us.”
They expressed particular concern about the situation in South Sudan and expressed their solidarity with the Christian community in that and “other countries that are experiencing political strife” and called on the leaders of South Sudan to “bring the fighting to an end and firmly commit to a sustainable peace.”
In their detailed communiqué, the leaders also addressed human trafficking and modern slavery, saying that they were “increasingly concerned” at the issue which was “adversely affecting the human capital of the continent and putting Africa’s people in situations that undermine their human dignity.”They said: “we took the challenge to use our influence and structures to contribute to the ending of this outflow of Africa’s people and to advocate for security and favourable environments in the continent for job creation.”
They resolved that the threats from fundamentalism and radicalism “should not paralyse us from engaging with radicalised groups” but that they should instead “renew our calling and deepen our commitment to being the light and the salt.” They asked for theological colleges to develop resources to help the church “respond more appropriately to the emerging pastoral challenges.
They welcomed the address by the secretary general of the Anglican Communion, Dr Josiah Idowu-Fearon, “and his call for the Church in Africa to rise up to the challenges of our time by drawing on their rich cultural and spiritual heritage and set the pace for the Anglican Communion.” And they reaffirmed their commitment to uphold the 1998 Lambeth Conference resolution 1.10 on human sexuality.
The communiqué concludes by confirming the election of Archbishop Albert Chama of Central Africa as the new chair of Capa; and of Archbishop Stanley Ntagali of Uganda as its vice chair. “We look forward to God’s continuing blessing as we continue to collaborate as the African Anglican family to grow the Church and enable the continent to realise all its aspirations.”