The Anglican Church of Southern Africa held a consultation on the Sustainable Development Goals with a particular focus on Climate Change, poverty and gender
The Consultation was jointly organized by Hope Africa and the Green Anglicans.
Day one was held with representatives of the Provincial Organisations, namely College of the Transfiguration, Mothers Union, Bernard Mizeki , Anglican Womens Fellowship , AYSA, ASF and GTC as well as the liaison Bishops for Environment, Gender and Social Development
Canon Delene Mark shared what the Sustainable Development Goals (or Global Goals) are all about
We then had a Bible Study (from Anglican Alliance) looking at Jesus Manifesto in Luke 4:14-21 and identified who are the poor, the prisoners, the blind and the oppressed in our time
Each organisation presented the programmes that they are involved in in the areas of poverty, environment and gender. We also showed the results of a survey that had been carried out. It was encouraging to realise that all Dioceses are indeed involved in the SDGS, in many different ways, but we do not name them in terms of the SDGS. There is also duplication as we don’t know what each other is doing.
Cecilia Njenga head of United Nations Environmental programme in South Africa gave us an inspiring talk on the Faith for the Earth Initiative. We were also delighted to have Hope Kabamba from United nations join us for the whole day.
Dr Kgabe then presented the resolutions that had been passed at provincial Synod and Anglican Consultative Council , on climate , gender and the SDGS
We then brainstormed how the SDGS could become part of the mission and vision of the church.
We ended the day with an evening prayer on the theme of gender led by Toby Koloti from Anglican Students Federation
On Day 2 we began the day with an outdoor environmental Eucharist and reflected on the theme of the just fast from Isaiah 58 – we are called to be prophetic and to loosen the chains of injustice.
We identified why we should work with the Global Goals: The Global Goals are the voice of the poor and the marginalised; They enable us to amplify what we are already doing into advocacy; They ensure implementation; they will improve partnership, and streamline programmes to avoid duplication
We then joined the Bishops of the Province with some of the Vicar Generals for day two.
Canon Rachel Mash shared the links between gender, climate change and poverty. We saw how the fact that the goals are global can inspire us to work together for our common home.
The Bishops then divided into discussion groups (facilitated by the youth people and organisation reps) to do a bible study on a vision for the New Earth from Isaiah 65 ; 17-25.
Then the discussion groups looked the various resolutions passed at Province and by ACC and looked a way forward for the province of Southern Africa and the Sustainable Development Goals.
It was felt that a process of awareness building, strategic prioritising and training should take place, underpinned with spiritual resources such as Bible studies and sermon materials
It was felt that they are a very useful tool to help us to work better together, strategize, and evaluate process. Watch this space!
In the words of Bishop Ellinah- Diocese of Swaziland “we can see in them the footprints of Christ”
By : Rev Rachel Mash
Photos Vicentia Kgabe, Bino Makalanyane,